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Difference Between Glycogen and Starch

Glycogen vs Starch

Our bodies need energy to keep us going. If we lack energy, we feel weak and our organs are unable to function properly. Without it we are unable to move and do even the most basic things like walk or eat. To keep up with our bodies� energy need, we have to get a substantial intake of sugar or glucose which is an energy source for our cells.

Glucose or sugar can be acquired from starch. We get starch from both plants and animals. The organs of our bodies like the liver, stomach, and the muscles are naturally able to produce the animal starch glycogen but we get most of our sugar from the starch which is produced by plants such as potatoes, wheat, and rice.

After we take in starch, our bodies process it into carbohydrates which are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules. The carbohydrates are then stored in our cells for use when we need energy to do things.

Following are some facts about glycogen and starch to help understand how they are used by the cells of the body in the production of energy that we need.


Glycogen is a molecule made by the liver, muscles, brain, uterus (of pregnant women), and stomach which is the secondary energy storage in animal cells. It is often referred to as animal starch and plays an important part in the glucose cycle. It helps cells store glucose ensuring them of a steady supply of energy.

The energy reserve formed by glycogen can be quickly used when there is a sudden need for glucose and only the glycogen made in the liver is accessible to other organs of the body. The other organs can get their glucose from the food that we eat.

The amount of glycogen stored in the body depends on a person�s physical health, basal metabolic rate, and diet. Our energy need is the reason why starch is a staple in our diet.


Starch is a carbohydrate produced by all green plants that has a large number of glucose units used to store energy. Plants such as potatoes, wheat, corn, rice, and cassava, are all rich with this type of carbohydrate which is necessary for man.

Starch contains 20-25% amylase and 75-80% amylopectin molecules. It is processed to produce sugar which is an important ingredient in man�s food. It can also be used as thickening and stiffing agent or as glue.

People from different cultures used starch in a variety of ways. Ancient Romans used it for cosmetic, ancient Egyptians used it in weaving and in gluing papyrus and it was used in China to treat paper. It is most often used in food though, as an important energy source.


1. Glycogen is made up of only one molecule while starch is made up of two.
2. While both are polymers of glucose, glycogen is produced by animals and is known as animal starch while starch is produced by plants.
3. Glycogen has a branched structure while starch has both chain and branched components.

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  1. **Starch contains 20-25% amylose, not amylase.

    • Good catch! trying to learn some things because my teacher is doing a crappy job of doing so, and i almost wrote down that it is part amylase, but its amylose. Amylase does the breakdown. Thanks!

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