From personal care products to adhesives found on stamps and envelopes, corn is everywhere! It’s also in so many of our processed foods—we eat way too much of this stuff. I had a hard time pinning this down, but we eat on average about 34 pounds per year per person…and that doesn’t include somewhere around 40 pounds of corn syrup per year per person. Refined corn sugar products are high-glycemic foods that can lead to blood sugar issues—fresh corn kernels make less of an impact due to the fiber they contain—but again, the bigger issue here is potential sensitivity problems.
Issues with corn
Dr. Peter Osbourne, spokesman for the Society and author of No Grain No Pain, points out that “Many claim that they don’t react to corn and feel fine after eating it. The same can be said of those with silent celiac disease. Remember that a lack of symptoms does not mean that internal damage is not occurring.”
Contrary to popular belief, corn contains gluten, but it is unclear if the type of gluten in corn causes the same effects as what is seen with grains. Many gluten-free products use corn as a “safe” grain substitute, but corn may still be an issue for those with a gluten sensitivity. The Gluten Free Society “…recognizes that corn gluten is a harmful component for the gluten-sensitive.”
Even without the gluten argument, he believes that folks may have issues with corn because of the following:
- It is the second-most commonly genetically modified food on the planet after soy. Genetic modification of foods continues to kill animals in scientific studies.
- It is an incomplete protein.
- It is difficult for humans to digest (ever see corn in your stool?).
- It is high in calories and low in nutrient value.
- It is a new food to the human genome.
- It is being used as a staple food for our cattle, fish, chicken, and cars. Cows and fish are not designed to eat grain.
- When animals eat corn as a staple, they have shorter life spans.
- Corn-fed beef is linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Grass-fed beef is not.
- Fructose derived from corn is toxic to the liver and contributes to severe health issues.
- Corn syrup has mercury in it.
How does corn affect our health?
The Gluten Free Society reports that “…evidence shows that corn and corn-based products are largely produced from genetically modified varieties (GMO) and can contribute to intestinal permeability, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and a host of other health issues.”
The Society’s website cites seven studies that link corn to health issues. The most pressing for me was from Plant Foods Human Nutrition (2012). It states that molecular mimicry is an issue for those with gluten sensitivities. What this means is that corn contains some of the same amino acid sequences that gluten does. This may trigger the immune system to mount the same kind of response that normally happens with gluten consumption.
The other study results linked corn sensitivity to gut and immune issues:
- Corn gluten causes an antibody response in celiac patients
- Gluten-free bread causes problems
- Corn causes gastrointestinal (gut) inflammation
- Corn oil causes atrophy to our gut villi
- Corn mold causes illness
I always have my clients remove corn from their diets to assure that we are not sabotaging their elimination diet.