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Is corn healthful?

The widespread use of corn in meals merchandise has led to debate about whether or not corn is healthful. Nonetheless, corn has dietary advantages, and there’s no proof that it’s dangerous to well being.

The web is stuffed with conflicting recommendation about corn. Some different well being websites concentrate on the perceived harms of genetically-modified organism (GMO) corn or they dismiss corn as a probably harmful grain. Corn proponents, nonetheless, insist that corn kinds a core a part of a healthful weight loss plan.

Corn is in every thing from soda to cereal. In keeping with the Tufts College Well being & Vitamin Letter, Individuals eat about 160 kilos of corn per individual every year. This consumption has raised issues about whether or not corn is changing extra healthful meals.

Equally to most meals, corn is neither a cure-all nor a poison. Moderately, it could possibly kind a healthful a part of most individuals’s diets.

On this article, we discover the dietary content material and potential well being advantages of corn. We additionally talk about dangers, well being myths, and a few ideas for consuming and getting ready corn.


Corn on the cob on plate.
Corn incorporates fiber and protein however is low in nutritional vitamins and minerals.

At present’s corn is way totally different from the corn that the indigenous peoples of North America as soon as grew. Via selective breeding, farmers have steadily domesticated corn, altering its measurement, colour, and taste within the course of.

Most individuals consider corn as candy yellow corn, a big type of maize. In keeping with the USA Division of Agriculture (USDA), a 90-gram (g) ear of recent corn incorporates:

In comparison with many different vegetables and fruit, corn is low in nutritional vitamins and minerals. A 90-gram (g) ear of recent corn incorporates:

  • four p.c of the beneficial each day consumption (RDI) of vitamin A
  • 6 p.c of the RDI for vitamin C
  • 2 p.c of the RDI for iron
  • zero p.c of the RDI for calcium

Many diet advocates have expressed concern about corn’s excessive proportion of carbohydrates in comparison with its low focus of nutritional vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates are filling, so that they argue that corn could exchange extra nutritionally dense meals.

Research of diets that exclude corn, equivalent to paleo and ketogenic diets, include too many variables to isolate the advantages of corn avoidance. Nonetheless, there’s little different proof to recommend that consuming corn is dangerous, particularly in its natural, historical kind. Moderately, corn can nonetheless be part of a healthful weight loss plan.

Well being advantages

Corn gives a number of potential well being advantages. These embrace:


Producers can develop corn simply and shortly in many various areas of the world. Hybridization and domestication have made corn even simpler to develop, making corn an reasonably priced commodity.

For individuals with very low incomes, particularly these residing in creating nations, corn is an inexpensive and prepared supply of energy, carbohydrates, and protein.


Some corn varieties are wealthy in antioxidants, particularly in a bunch of antioxidants referred to as carotenoids.

Antioxidants fight the results of dangerous free radicals within the physique. Analysis means that free radicals could play a job within the getting old course of and the event of plenty of persistent illnesses.

Many vegetables and fruit, together with darkish leafy greens, carrots, and candy potatoes, are additionally wealthy in carotenoids.

Dietary fiber

People eating corn on the cob at outdoor BBQ
In contrast with different greens, corn is low in vitamins.

Corn, equally to many grains, legumes, and greens, incorporates dietary fiber.

Nonetheless, the quantity of fiber in corn is usually decrease than that from different sources. As an illustration, a half cup of cooked navy beans offers 9.6 g of fiber, whereas a half cup of cooked corn offers solely 2.1 g.

Fiber will help with digestion and cut back the chance of constipation. Some analysis additionally suggests fiber could assist individuals stay longer. A big 2011 research discovered a correlation between dietary fiber consumption and a decrease total threat of untimely loss of life, particularly from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory illnesses.


Though corn is technically a grain, it’s also gluten-free. This makes corn a secure choice for individuals with celiac illness or gluten intolerance who wish to add grains to their weight loss plan.

Excessive in protein

Corn is increased in protein than many different greens, making it a sensible choice for vegetarians and vegans, or for individuals hoping to eat extra protein from nonanimal sources.

Some research additionally recommend weight loss plan wealthy in protein could assist healthful weight reduction by both lowering starvation or serving to the physique burn further energy.


The first well being concern that diet advocates have with corn is that it could act as a filler, which can trigger individuals to eat too many carbohydrates and too few of extra nutrient-dense meals.

In accordance the Tufts College Well being & Vitamin Letter, greater than a 3rd of corn individuals eat within the U.S. is within the form of excessive fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. This sugar, which is a spinoff of cornstarch, has triggered quite a few debates about producers including sweeteners to consumables.

The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) state that there isn’t any compelling proof that HFCS is extra dangerous than different sugars. Nonetheless, the FDA additionally recommends that everybody restrict their consumption of all added sugars, together with HFCS and common sugar.

Well being issues

A number of issues about corn have turn out to be standard, particularly on message boards and different well being websites. We talk about some frequent issues beneath:

GMO corn

Some pure well being advocates argue that GMO corn is harmful. Whereas farmers in America have been utilizing GMO crops for a very long time, a 2013 evaluation said that information is scarce concerning GMO crops and their potential well being results.

A 2012 research, showing in Meals and Chemical Toxicology, discovered that rats who ate GMO corn skilled adverse well being results. Nonetheless, the journal subsequently retracted the paper amid issues about fraud and defective information.

The journal editors by no means uncovered proof of fraud, however they did discover that the info was insufficient, which basically undermined the research’s findings. Additionally, an anti-GMO group helped fund the research.

In keeping with 2015 article from Harvard College’s Science within the Information, each the World Well being Group (WHO) and the American Medical Affiliation have concluded that GMO crops are secure for human consumption.

Corn is excessive in sugar

Some individuals confuse corn with HFCS, which is a sugar. Corn does include naturally occurring sugars, however the quantities are comparable with these current in different starchy greens, though barely increased.

The physique can’t digest corn

Corn is excessive in cellulose, which is an insoluble fiber that the physique can’t digest. Nonetheless, the physique breaks down the opposite elements of corn.

Chewing corn for longer may assist the digestive system break down cellulose partitions to entry extra of the vitamins.

Some producers nonetheless use an historical methodology of corn preparation often known as nixtamalization. This course of includes soaking and cooking the corn in lime, which is an alkaline answer containing calcium hydroxide.

The producers then wash and hull the corn for processing into meals merchandise, equivalent to cornmeal, tortillas, tamales, and others.

Nixtamalization enhances digestibility, taste, and aroma whereas lowering mycotoxins, which come from fungal contamination.

Corn is excessive in fats

Naturally, corn will not be excessive in fats. Nonetheless, many individuals put together it in a method that will increase the fats content material. Including butter and different fat or oils to corn can flip it right into a high-fat, high-calorie meals.

Ideas for consuming and getting ready corn

Sweet corn in bowl
Corn is edible in its uncooked state.

Most individuals desire to eat corn after cooking it, usually with butter, oils, and seasonings.

It’s also suitable for eating corn uncooked. Many individuals discover that younger, tender corn tastes finest when uncooked.

The kernels can add texture to salads, soups, and casseroles. The USDA provide the next ideas for getting ready and storing corn:

  • Retailer raw corn within the fridge for as much as 5 days.
  • It’s secure to freeze cooked corn at zero levels Fahrenheit for as much as 6 months.
  • When utilizing prepackaged corn, verify for the “finest by” or “finest if utilized by” date.
  • Take away corn kernels by putting corn stem-first right into a bowl of shallow water. Whereas holding the corn, minimize kernels away from the cob with a knife.


Corn will not be a dangerous meals, however whereas it does have a number of dietary advantages, it’s not significantly wealthy in any particular nutrient and incorporates much less fiber than different complicated carbohydrates.

Some individuals could have dietary restrictions that may make corn a poor option to eat. As an illustration, individuals making an attempt to cut back carbohydrate consumption ought to keep away from corn as it’s excessive in carbs.

Individuals in search of a high-protein weight loss plan could wish to select nuts, lean meat, fish, and dairy merchandise as an alternative since they’re increased in protein than corn.

There isn’t any hurt in eliminating corn from the weight loss plan, so it’s completely secure for individuals to keep away from. Nonetheless, many merchandise include corn and corn byproducts, so it’s essential to verify ingredient labels. Individuals involved in regards to the healthfulness of corn ought to discuss to a health care provider or dietitian.

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