I was recently fascinated when I learned about polysaccharides (I am a biology newbie) and was wondering about some of their properties. After doing some googling I was unable to find any information regarding this scenario. This is purely theoretical, I am not insane enough to actually try this.

  • If my only source of carbohydrates was ingestion of pure glycogen, could I live healthily? (assuming I obtain all other necessities for life)
  • Approximately how many grams of glycogen would I need to live for a week (assuming I weigh 150 lbs)? Is this even possible to calculate?

  • What does pure glycogen taste like?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ See ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4802397 yes if you take glycogen alongwith proteins, fats, etc. you can survive. As for taste, I don't know how it tastes, it should be tasteless but should become sweet after some time due to action of enzymes. $\endgroup$ May 31, 2016 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ If you added that as an answer, I would upvote it. It doesn't address question #2, but it is vastly better than the current lack of answers. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2016 at 4:41

1 Answer 1


You asked three questions here, so I'll answer them one by one.

  • Yes, you can survive with glycogen as the only source of carbohydrates, assuming that you also take other nutrients like proteins, fats, vitamins, etc. also because carbohydrates cannot supplement all of them. See this article:

    There are three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fats. Macronutrients are essential for proper body functioning, and the body requires large amounts of them. All macronutrients must be obtained through diet; the body cannot produce macronutrients on its own.

  • No, there's no way to calculate this. If we were talking about glucose, a definite range could be given. But since glycogen is a polymer with variable amount of glucose molecules linked together (at least I couldn't find an exact number), its not possible to tell how many glycogen molecules are needed for the daily metabolism in the body.

  • Glycogen is an organic, non-polar polymer, insoluble in water just like starch. It does not have a specific taste, but once you eat it, an enzyme called salivary amylase will break it into glucose, maltose and limit dextrins, causing it to taste a bit sweet. See this article:

    This enzyme acts on starch, glycogen and related polysaccharides and oligosaccharides producing beta-maltose by an inversion.

Glycogen with glycogenin in center Source


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .