We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Differences between Monosaccharides and Disaccharides?

By Shelby Miller
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Monosaccharides and disaccharides are the two kinds of simple sugars, a form of carbohydrate. In contrast to polysaccharides, which contain three or more sugars and are also known as complex carbohydrates, monosaccharides and disaccharides contain one and two sugars, respectively. Monosaccharides include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Disaccharides, by contrast, include sucrose, lactose, and maltose, and these are made up of two monosaccharides bonded together, such as glucose and fructose or even glucose with glucose. Monosaccharides require the least effort by the body to break down and therefore are digested and subsequently available for energy more quickly than disaccharides.

Carbohydrates are the body’s most immediately available source of energy, the source it relies upon for everything from getting through a workout to fueling the brain. The more complex the carbohydrate — that is, the more sugars it contains — the longer it takes to be broken down in the intestines to its simplest components, monosaccharides and disaccharides. Glucose, a form of monosaccharide, is the body’s preferred energy source, and it is also known as blood sugar. Most carbohydrates, whether disaccharides or polysaccharides, end up in glucose form once broken down in the digestive tract. In other words, a major difference between monosaccharides and disaccharides is that monosaccharides are used immediately for energy, whereas disaccharides must be converted into their monosaccharide components before they are of use to the body.

The foods from which monosaccharides and disaccharides like fructose and sucrose are derived for commercial purposes is another difference between the two. Glucose is found in a large number of living organisms, from plants, to insects, to humans. In commercial food production, however, fructose tends to be the preferred sweetener, as it is sweeter than table sugar and can be made cheaply from corn. High fructose corn syrup, for instance, is a fructose sweetener derived from corn that is found in many sweet foods and beverages like baked goods and soda.

Disaccharides are obtained from a variety of plant and animal sources, sources that naturally contain a combination of monosaccharides. Sucrose, the scientific name for table sugar, is a disaccharide that contains both glucose and fructose. It is typically derived from the sugar cane or sugar beet plants, both of which are vegetables. Lactose, another disaccharide, comes not from plants but from animals as it is the type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products. It is made up of glucose combined with galactose.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Kat919 — On Oct 23, 2011

@MrsWinslow - Good luck with your baby dreams! I hope that getting healthy will pay off in the way you are wishing for.

It's interesting what you said about white potatoes being associated with ovulatory infertility. I read recently that they are also the #1 food associated with weight gain over the years! And not just French fries; they were the worst offenders, but even boiled and baked potatoes were linked to weight gain.

Other simple carbs were also associated with weight gain. I've been trying to cut back on them, too. I'll never totally eliminate sugar from my diet, but I'm trying to make it more of a special occasion thing. I think my taste buds are slowly being reprogrammed to not expect so much sweetness.

By MrsWinslow — On Oct 22, 2011

I think it's one of the great ironies that glucose is our bodies' natural fuel; the basic function of monosaccharides is to provide fuel for living cells. But actually *eating* the simplest of sugars seems to be pretty deadly!

More and more evidence seems to be mounting that while fats, even saturated fats and (the good kind) of cholesterol may not be as harmful as we thought, refined carbs may be more dangerous than anyone realized.

I've been trying to get healthy so that I can get pregnant (I am overweight and have polycystic ovarian syndrome - PCOS). I read a while back that some foods can really affect your fertility, which was a new idea for me. For instance, whole dairy products, like whole milk and even a little ice cream, were found to be beneficial to ovulatory fertility. (Other causes of infertility, like blocked Fallopian tubes, won't respond to these dietary changes.)

Meat was found to be harmful to ovulatory fertility, and plant protein was beneficial. But the biggest thing that was bad for your ovulatory fertility was refined or simple carbohydrates! In fact, the #1 food associated with ovulatory infertility was white potatoes. I've tried to cut these foods out of my diet as much as possible and I'm already feeling better.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.