Understanding the difference between non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) and structural carbohydrates, and how they are calculated, can be an important guide to maintaining healthy weight and a more balanced metabolism in easy keepers and metabolic horses.
There are two general categories of carbohydrates: non-structural and structural. Starches and sugars are known as non-structural carbohydrates. They are digested by enzymes and absorbed in the foregut. Although minimal carbohydrate digestion happens in the stomach, most of the digestion and absorption occurs in the small intestine.
Structural carbohydrates are fiber components like cellulose, pectin, fructan, and hemicellulose that are digested with the help of microorganisms in the hindgut.