What Is the Difference Between a Monosaccharide and a Disaccharide?

The body requires less effort to break down monosaccharides, resulting in easier digestion and more energy for the body than disaccharides. Monosaccharides include fructose, glucose and galactose, while disaccharides include lactose, sucrose and maltose.

Both disaccharides and monosaccharides are a form of carbohydrate called simple sugars. Monosaccharides contain one sugar and disaccharides contain two sugars, and for a disaccharide to form, two monosaccharides must come together via a covalent bond. Many sugars present in foods are disaccharides, and they also exist in nature in the sucrose contained in fruits and vegetables. Sucrose cannot be hydrolyzed (adding water to cleave chemical bonds) but other disaccharides can be.

The simplest type of carbohydrate is the monosaccharide. Since they are the simplest form, further hydrolyzing is not possible. Monosaccharides work to reduce other sugars and they taste sweet. Due to their reducing abilities, they work in Fehling's or benedict's reagents to produce a positive result. They get their classification from whether they have a keto or aldehyde group and how many carbon atoms a molecule has. For example, if there are six carbon atoms on a monosaccharide, it is a hexose, and if there are five carbon atoms, it is a pentose.