Image Caption : Galactose Molecule : Galactose is a monosaccharide, or simple sugar, that occurs naturally in only a few foods. Within animals and plants, galactose exists in trace amounts. Free molecules of galactose are found in semen, urine, and human milk. Galactose shares a chemical formula with glucose (C6H12O6), as fructose does, but the molecules are arranged in a structure that differentiates the sugar. Galactose is produced in the body by the metabolism of another sugar, the disaccharide lactose, which is found in milk and breaks down into the monosaccharides galactose and glucose. Like other sugars, galactose can be metabolized to produce energy for cells.

In this model, carbon atoms are dark gray, hydrogen atoms are white, and oxygen atoms are red.


An aldohexose that occurs naturally in the D-form in lactose, cerebrosides, gangliosides, and mucoproteins. Deficiency of galactosyl-1-phosphate uridyltransferase (GALACTOSE-1-PHOSPHATE URIDYL-TRANSFERASE DEFICIENCY DISEASE) causes an error in galactose metabolism called GALACTOSEMIA, resulting in elevations of galactose in the blood.


A disaccharide of GLUCOSE and GALACTOSE in human and cow milk. It is used in pharmacy for tablets, in medicine as a nutrient, and in industry.


A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement.

National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine


Also called: Carbs

Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients. They are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs. It stores any extra sugar in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.

Carbohydrates are called simple or complex, depending on their chemical structure. Simple carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, milk, and milk products. They also include sugars added during food processing and refining. Complex carbohydrates include whole grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables and legumes. Many of the complex carbohydrates are good sources of fiber.

For a healthy diet, limit the amount of added sugar that you eat and choose whole grains over refined grains.

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