Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Carbohydrates are a common source of energy in living organisms, however, no carbohydrate is an essential nutrient in humans. Carbohydrates are not necessary building blocks of other molecules, and the body can obtain all its energy from protein and fats.
The brain and neurons generally cannot burn fat for energy, but use glucose or ketones. Humans can synthesize some glucose (in a set of processes known as gluconeogenesis from specific amino acids, from the glycerol backbone in triglycerides and in some cases from fatty acids. Carbohydrate contains 15.8 kilojoules (3.75 kilocalories) and proteins 16.8 kilojoules (4 kilocalories) per gram, while fats contain 37.8 kilojoules (9 kilocalories) per gram.
In the case of protein, this is somewhat misleading as only some amino acids are usable for fuel.