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Carbohydrates

The Carbohydrates Lab explores how carbohydrates are broken down by the digestive system and taken up into the bloodstream.

About This Simulation

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a diet because they provide energy to the body. Most people are familiar with carbohydrates, especially when it comes to what we eat. For example, to lose weight, some individuals adhere to “low-carb” diets. Athletes, in contrast, often “carbohydrate-load” before important competitions to ensure that they have enough energy to compete at a high level. Grains, fruits, and vegetables are all natural sources of carbohydrates for energy. These foods consist of both soluble and insoluble carbohydrates; the insoluble part is known as fiber, which is mostly cellulose.

Your goal is to learn how carbohydrates are digested and taken up by the body to be used as energy source.

Use the in-lab molecule visualizer to study the chemical structure of sugars. Learn the basics about molecule structures and chemical formulas.

You are encouraged to perform a real experiment and sense how the amylase breaks down starch. A 3D animation will visualize the molecular process of carbohydrate digestion.

Depending on the composition of food the effect on the blood glucose level is very different. You can choose different food items and measure the increase of the blood glucose level of a virtual test subject.

Screenshots

Collaborators

Learning Objectives

  • Exploring the molecular structure of sugars and polysaccharides
  • Understanding digestion and appreciate the complexity of the human body
  • Experimenting with different foods and measure their impact on the blood sugar level

Techniques

  • Reading scientific papers
  • Analyzing blood sugar measurements

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