Differences Between Starch And Glycogen

Last Updated on March 19, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

While starch and glycogen are both carbohydrates, they differ in their chemical makeup. Starch is made up of glucose molecules that are extracted from the plant’s cells during photosynthesis. Glycogen, on the other hand, is a polysaccharide formed by linking together many units of glucose through glycosidic bonds. The difference between these two molecules lies mainly in how they are stored-starch can be found inside plants or animals while glycogen stores itself within muscle cells to provide energy for physical activity. 

Another major difference between these two types of carbohydrates is how quickly each molecule breaks down into individual sugar molecules after being ingested. For example, when you eat an apple with your lunch then your body will break down its starch into glucose over several hours because that particular type of starch takes time to digest.

Comparison Between Starch And Glycogen

Parameters of ComparisonStarchGlycogen
Long and short starch is made up of shorter chainsGlycogen is a long chain of glucose molecules
Broken Starch can be broken down into maltose or maltotriose units by hydrolysisglycogen cannot because it lacks the enzyme amylase
Capacity Lower capacity Higher capacity
Made up Glycogen is the form of glucose that is stored in your liver and musclesstarch is a polysaccharide made up of sugars

What Is Starch?

Starch is a carbohydrate that occurs naturally in plants and can be found as an additive in common foods such as bread, cereals, potatoes, and pasta. It’s also used as a thickening agent for cooking. Starch contains both amylose and amylopectin, which are responsible for the way it behaves under certain conditions like heat or moisture. The two components of starch have different properties; starch made up of mostly amylopectin is easily digested by humans while starches containing more amylose take longer to digest because they contain hard-to-digest bonds between sugar molecules. This means that eating high-amylose foods has less of an impact on blood sugar levels than eating those with higher amounts of amylopectin.

Starch is a polysaccharide carbohydrate that is found in the cell walls of plants. It’s also one of the most important carbohydrates in nutrition and it’s an important component in many food products like bread, pasta, cereal, and crackers. All starch is composed of two molecules; amylose and amylopectin. The difference between these two molecules can be seen through their shape. Amylose has a linear shape while amylopectin has a branched or “beaded” shape which allows for more densely packed arrangements with other starches to make up larger structures like plant cells walls or storage granules within seeds. 

What Is Glycogen?

Glycogen is a glucose-storage molecule that the body uses as an energy reserve. It is made of long strings of molecules called glucose. The liver and muscles store glycogen and release it for use by cells all over the body when there isn’t enough blood sugar to supply them with what they need to function properly, such as during strenuous exercise or fasting. This process of converting glycogen back into glucose can be reversed; this allows both liver and muscle cells to rapidly-produce glucose from other sources like amino acids (proteins). 

Glycogen is a polysaccharide that the body uses for energy storage. It is made from glucose and stored in the liver and muscles, where it can then be broken down into glucose when needed by the body. Glycogen consists of roughly 10,000 monosaccharide units of glucose connected to form a branched-chain. This simple structure allows glycogen to store large amounts of carbohydrates within a small space inside cells. The reason glycogen stores are so important is that they provide an immediate source of energy whenever you need it, such as during intense exercise or periods without food intake (fasting). In addition, your brain depends on them for survival.

10 Differences Between Starch And Glycogen

1. Glycogen is a long chain of glucose molecules, while starch is made up of shorter chains.

2. The structure of glycogen allows for more branching and the formation of alpha-glucosidic linkages, which are not found in starch.

3. Starch can be broken down into maltose or maltotriose units by hydrolysis, but glycogen cannot because it lacks the enzyme amylase.

4. Glycogen has a higher capacity to bind water than does starch. 

5. When compared with other polysaccharides such as cellulose and pectin, both have about twice as many bonds per unit weight. 

6. In plants, glycogen’s primary function is to store carbohydrates that can be converted to energy when needed.

7. Glycogen is the form of glucose that is stored in your liver and muscles, while starch is a polysaccharide made up of sugars.

8. Glycogen provides quick energy for short-term activities like sprinting or weightlifting, while starch can be converted into glycogen to provide fuel for long-term activities like running marathons.

3. The average person can store about 100 grams of glycogen at one time but has no limit on the amount of starch they can eat.

9. Starch requires more time to break down than glycogen – around 4 hours vs 1 hour.

10. Glycogen stores are limited by how much you exercise, while there are no limits on how much you consume when it comes to eating starches. 

Interesting Statistics Or Facts Of Starch

1. Starch is made of many glucose molecules.

2. Glycogen is made of 1 molecule of glucose and 3 molecules of water.

3. Starch can be stored in the form of a granule, whereas glycogen cannot.

4. Glycogen has more energy than starch does.

5. When you consume too much starch, it turns into fat; when you consume too much glycogen, your body will turn it into lactic acid which causes fatigue.

6. Too little glycogen means that your muscles won’t have enough fuel to work efficiently; too little starch means that your brain will not be able to function properly because there’s not enough sugar for it to use as an energy source.

Interesting Statistics Or Facts Of Glycogen

1. Glycogen is a form of glucose that can be stored in the liver.

2. The average person has about 100g of glycogen storage capacity.

3. Glycogen is used as an energy source during exercise to maintain blood sugar levels.

4. Glycogen stores are depleted after prolonged or intense exercise, such as marathon running.

5. When exercising, your body uses up its glycogen stores for fuel and then replenishes them by breaking down carbohydrates from food.

6. If you don’t refuel with carbs, your muscles will turn to fat for energy – this process is called “ketosis” which can lead to weight loss if done responsibly.


Glycogen is a form of carbohydrate energy stored in the liver and muscles. Glycogen can be converted to glucose, which provides quick energy for cells in the body that need it. It is also used when there are low levels of blood sugar or insulin. If you have diabetes, your body may produce less glycogen than someone without diabetes because it cannot use this type of sugar as easily (Source: Diabetes Research Foundation).-Starch has different functions depending on where it’s found in plants; what we’re talking about here is dietary starch–found mostly in grains like rice and wheat but also other foods such as potatoes and beans (source: National Institutes of Health). 


Resource 01: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/high-starch-foods
Resource 02: https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/glycogen.html

Scroll to Top