You might think that adopting a corn-free diet is easy – you know what corn looks like, so just eliminate those bright yellow kernels, right? Wrong. It’s surprising how many common food products contain corn. It’s in almost everything.
There can be a number of reasons to eliminate corn, or at least some types of corn products from your diet. For instance, if you have an allergy to corn, it’s probably to the corn protein, so corn byproducts like corn starch and clean corn oil won’t cause you any distress. In a few cases, people are allergic to the entire kernel, and anything and everything corn-related has to be eliminated.
Occasionally, it becomes necessary to temporarily eliminate corn products that are abrasive to the digestive tract. People with inflammatory bowel problems, for instance, should stay away from corn, cornmeal, and popcorn when they’re having a flare-up.
As major concern these days is genetically modified food. The debate continues as to whether these foods are harmful, so if that’s something that worries you, you need to know that more than eighty percent of our corn products are genetically modified, and that food producers are not required to let you know when this is the case. Don’t expect to see a label on your corn or corn products stating “GMO.” In order to be sure, you’re going to have to look for labelling that says “non-GMO,” or “GMO-free.” Even organically grown corn could be cross-contaminated.
As previously stated, practically anything can contain corn. This includes the obvious, like corn oil, corn syrup, corn meal and cornstarch. Less obvious are baking powder, citric acid, and MSG. If the label states that the product contains maltodextrin, that’s a corn product. Even “natural flavors” on the label can indicate the presence of corn. Look for baking powder that doesn’t contain cornstarch, and make sure to use pure cooking oils like olive, peanut or safflower.
Corn is an ingredient in most processed foods, so if you are planning to follow a corn-free diet, eliminating processed foods is the best way to start. Rediscover your kitchen, and make meals from scratch using whole foods. You can create delicious meals using whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean cuts of meat, poultry or fish. You’ll eliminate most of the corn from your diet, and you’ll never miss those over-processed foods.