Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family

Why Corn May be the Next Gluten

By Sarah Axtell, ND August 30, 2019

Have you removed gluten from your diet but are still having issues with your health? Corn may be to blame.

I often recommend gluten-free diets. I always caution individuals on over-consuming highly processed gluten-free products (gluten-free crackers, breads, bagels, muffins, cookies, cereals, etc) as they are full of empty calories, often derived from corn. And when we over-consume corn, we don’t allow our bodies to heal and are still in an inflamed state (despite following a GF diet), leading to IBS, leaky gut syndrome, eczema, allergies, headaches, and weight loss resistance.

Occasional corn on the cob in the summertime is ok. The problem with corn is that it is genetically modified and highly processed in the American diet. Processed derivatives of corn include toxic high fructose corn syrup and corn oil.

Reasons to be mindful of the amount of corn in your diet:

  1. Weight gain. Farmers feed cows corn to fatten them up quickly. The same thing happens to us when we eat corn. Corn is a high glycemic, high carbohydrate food.
  2. Digestive distress. Undigested corn kernels in your stool is testament that we cannot properly break it down. We lack an enzyme to fully digest the cellulose in corn. This can lead to gas, bloating, acid reflux, diarrhea and/or constipation.
  3. Top GMO food. About 90% of all corn grown in the US each year is genetically-modified. This means the corn seeds are modified in a lab to be more resistant to weeds, insects and rodents. Genetically modified foods can cause changes in the gut microbiome, endocrine (hormonal) disruption, and increased aging.
  4. High fructose corn syrup increases our risk of diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver and cancer. Avoid this at all costs. Make sure to check the list of ingredients for all of these variations: high-fructose corn syrup, natural corn syrup, isolated fructose, maize syrup, and glucose/fructose syrup.
  5. It’s not a vegetable. It’s a grain! Many individuals with gastrointestinal issues, such as celiac, IBS and IBD (Crohn’s or Ulcerative colitis), have difficulty digesting grains, notably corn. Many people with gluten sensitivity “cross-react” with corn.

Tips/Alternatives:

  • If you are going to eat corn, always buy organic!
  • Opt for cassava chips and cassava tortillas for taco night. Siete chips and tortillas are made from cassava and are delicious. These provide for a delicious and anti-inflammatory way to still enjoy chips and guac! These are available at most health food stores, such as Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, and Outpost.  
  • Opt for sprouted corn products, such as sprouted corn tortillas. When sprouted, it is lower in phytic acid, making it easier to digest and enhancing our ability to absorb vitamins and minerals.
  • In place of your beloved popcorn as a snack, opt for roasted nuts or roasted cauliflower. Yes, cauliflower! When chopped, tossed with salt and avocado oil and then roasted, cauliflower can be a delicious alternative to popcorn.

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.


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