Carbohydrates: The sugars that feed us Virtual Lab

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

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  • Description
  • Features

About the Carbohydrates: The sugars that feed us Virtual Lab

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.

Different types of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a diet because they provide energy to the body. 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.

Learn how carbohydrates are digested

Your goal in the Carbohydrates lab is to learn how carbohydrates are digested and utilized by the body as an energy source. Use the in-lab molecule visualizer to study the chemical structure of sugars and learn the basics of molecule structures and chemical formulas. You will also perform a real experiment and get a sense of how the amylase breaks down starch. A 3D animation will visualize the molecular process of carbohydrate digestion.

Test the effect on blood glucose levels

You will find that the effect on the blood glucose level is very different, depending on the composition of food. For that reason, you can choose different food items and measure the increase of the blood glucose level of a virtual test subject.

Will you be able to use your carbohydrates knowledge to figure out which foods will cause a spike in the blood glucose levels?

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

Techniques in lab
Reading scientific papers, Analyzing blood sugar measurements
Learning objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to...

  • Understand the molecular structure of sugars and polysaccharides
  • Understand digestion and appreciate the complexity of the human body
  • Experiment with different foods and measure their impact on the blood sugar level
Simulation features

Length: 30 Minutes
Accessibility mode: Not available
Languages: Danish, English (United States), Spanish, French, Italian, German

NGSS

HS-LS1-3, HS-LS1-6

IB

2.3 Carbohydrates and lipids

AP

Biology Unit 1.2: Elements of life

Biology Unit 1.5: Structure and Function of Biological Macromolecules

Biology Unit 1.3: Introduction to Biological Macromolecules

Biology Unit 1: Chemistry of Life

Biology Unit 1.4: Properties of Biological Macromolecules