The monomer of a carbohydrate is a monosaccharide or simple sugar. A monomer is a single molecule that can be bonded to other molecules to form a polymer. Examples of carbohydrate monomers include glucose, fructose and galactose.
These are the simplest form of carbohydrates. Monosaccharides are bonded together to form more complex chains of sugars. Glucose, fructose and galactose are all monosaccharides. Glucose is sugar from corn or grapes; fructose comes from honey; galactose is a part of lactose, which is sugar from milk.
A disaccharide is made up of two monosaccharides. One example of a disaccharide is maltose, the sugar made in brewing beer. Maltose is made up of two glucose molecules. Another common disaccharide is table sugar, or sucrose, which is made up of glucose and fructose.
A polysaccharide is made up of several monosaccharides. An example of a polysaccharide is starch. Starch is found in foods such as bread, pasta, crackers and potatoes.
Once a disaccharide or polysaccharide enters the body, it is broken down to its simplest monosaccharide form to be circulated throughout the blood and used as a quick energy source for cells. The more complex the carbohydrate, the longer it takes to break down into blood glucose.