Definition of carbohydrate in English:



  • 1Any of a large group of organic compounds occurring in foods and living tissues and including sugars, starch, and cellulose. They contain hydrogen and oxygen in the same ratio as water (21) and typically can be broken down to release energy in the animal body.

    ‘water-soluble carbohydrates’
    [mass noun] ‘dehydrated foods high in carbohydrate’
    [as modifier] ‘carbohydrate metabolism’
    • ‘Carbohydrate is the primary energy source used by the body during distance / endurance events.’
    • ‘The choices are designed to make sure children have a helping of protein, carbohydrate and vitamins.’
    • ‘Beverages containing carbohydrate in concentrations of 4 - 8 % are recommended for intense exercise events lasting longer than one hour.’
    • ‘When used in a vaccine, these pieces of carbohydrate stimulate the immune system to make antibodies against the real carbohydrate targets on the bacteria.’
    • ‘Scientific research suggests that alpha lipoic acid helps increase the carbohydrate absorption and storage by your muscles, independent of insulin.’
    • ‘Antibiotic associated diarrhoea can also result from a decrease in metabolism of carbohydrates and bile acids.’
    • ‘During anabolism, small molecules are changed into larger, more complex molecules of carbohydrate, protein, and fat.’
    • ‘The most abundant organic compound in the biosphere is a carbohydrate - cellulose, a substance which gives strength and integrity to plant cell walls.’
    • ‘The hard component was often formed from calcium carbonate, as found in shellfish, but other durable defences were provided by chitin (a complex carbohydrate) in crustaceans and insects.’
    • ‘Riboflavin is important in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.’
    • ‘Use food labels to keep track of the grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates in each food.’
    • ‘When they start to feed a sudden shift from fat to carbohydrate metabolism occurs and secretion of insulin increases.’
    • ‘Glycerol is a carbohydrate with a chemical composition similar to that of simple sugar.’
    • ‘It is here when you have used up all your carbohydrate energy stores and can really begin to struggle.’
    • ‘Cellulose is a carbohydrate of the polysaccharide type; its molecules consist of long chains of simple sugar molecules.’
    • ‘The body readily converts alcohol to carbohydrate - each gram provides about seven calories.’
    • ‘These properties are not present in the cauliflower's constituents, such as carbohydrates or water.’
    • ‘Carbohydrate comes in two forms - starches and sugars - and both types have been shown to help improve performance by boosting the body's stores of glycogen.’
    • ‘Among genes participating in carbohydrate metabolism, two distinct groups were recognized.’
    • ‘Food is a mix of carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and other things.’
    1. 1.1Food consisting of or containing a lot of carbohydrates.
      ‘before the event I will starve myself of carbohydrates and eat a lot of protein’
      [mass noun] ‘make sure you feed them lots of carbohydrate’
      • ‘After you finish your workout, you may crave carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen stores you've depleted.’
      • ‘The South Beach Diet is similar, but allows more carbohydrate consumption.’
      • ‘I'm not saying we should not eat carbohydrates.’
      • ‘When I ate fewer carbohydrates, my appetite decreased.’
      • ‘More than half the recipes have 10 grams of carbohydrates or less.’
      • ‘I don't eat too much carbohydrate.’
      • ‘I know that when I eat fewer carbohydrates I feel healthier and have more energy.’
      • ‘I still eat quite a lot of carbohydrates but fairly plain things.’
      • ‘Carbohydrates eaten just before you wind down and go to bed don't get digested or burned up as efficiently as when we are active.’
      • ‘When we are hungry and low on energy you will find your body craving carbohydrates.’
      • ‘"Active women need to eat carbohydrates," explains Kristia.’
      • ‘Posh people don't eat carbohydrates any more, so there is no point in opening Italian restaurants.’
      • ‘Friends talked ecstatically of losing pounds by not eating carbohydrates, or only eating meat.’
      • ‘The month before I go on a trip I eat lots of carbohydrates - oatcakes, brown rice and potatoes - at every meal.’
      • ‘Reduce your carbohydrates to 40 - 70 grams a day for three consecutive days to burn the stored glycogen out of your muscles.’
      • ‘Carbohydrates, especially when eaten alone, boost levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with positive mood states.’
      • ‘They say a low-fat diet is dangerous because it invites us to eat too many carbohydrates.’
      • ‘Winter for me means constantly craving carbohydrates to send me into a drowsy state of contented bliss.’
      • ‘"You feel like you're eating healthily, but most people pick the carbohydrates that contain more sugars, such as pastas and breads."’
      • ‘Also, when carbohydrates are eaten, it stimulates the body to burn carbohydrate as fuel, and this can be at the expense of the body's fat-burning potential.’


Mid 19th century: from carbo- + hydrate.