Most of the energy in humans’ bodies is as a result of carbohydrate nutrients. To provide this energy, the carbohydrates must be broken down before being absorbed into the bloodstream. The process of digestion starts in the mouth where chewing crushes the carbohydrates into smaller pieces. Secretion of saliva from the salivary glands coats the food particles thereby aiding in the digestion. This aspect is because it contains salivary amylase, an enzyme that breaks down the bonds in disaccharides and forming maltose. It is important to note that only about five percent of starches are broken down in the mouth (Hinwood, 1997).

In the stomach, there is zero chemical digestion because the environment is too acidic for salivary amylase to function. Nevertheless, mechanical digestion continues through the strong peristaltic contractions of the stomach walls. This contractions lead to the formation of chyme, a more uniform mixture of the carbohydrates. The chyme is eventually pushed to the upper parts of the small intestine where pancreatic amylase continues with the chemical breakdown. As the name suggests, the enzyme is secreted from the pancreas and released through a duct. Additionally, sucrose, maltase and lactase enzymes are secreted in the intestines and break down sucrose, maltose and galactose respectively.

Upon their conversion into single sugar units, carbohydrates are then transported into the intestinal cells where they are absorbed into the bloodstream. These cells contain vast transport proteins within their membranes. These proteins carry the nutrients into the blood and eventually distributed to the rest of the body. The first recipient of the nutrients is the liver that converts some of the glucose into glycogen for storage and sends the rest back to the bloodstream. The amount of glucose stored as glycogen is regulated by hormones.