By Dr. Bryan Walsh
If you’re reading this article, chances are you already know the detrimental health effects of corn-based products, such as corn oil and high-fructose corn syrup. But how about corn itself – should it be avoided as a food as well?
As a fat
Corn has a relatively high amount of omega-6 fatty acids, which have been associated with increasing arachidonic acid, and thus inflammation in the body.
As a grain
If you are interested in increasing the carbohydrates in your diet, corn is not as viable an option as other grains. (Remember, corn is a grain, not a vegetable.)
Let’s compare a 100g serving of corn to long-grain brown rice.
|Corn (100g serving)||Long-grain Brown Rice (100g serving)|
While yes, in general, corn has more fiber and certain nutrients than rice, it also brings with it quite a bit more carbohydrates and omega-6 fatty acids.
Corn and Fungus
In the agricultural industry, corn are well known for their risk of contamination with mycotoxins, which are toxic byproducts produced by various strains of mold and fungus.
Many of these mycotoxins have been shown to have negative physiological consequences in animals consuming contaminated corn, such as liver cancer, though no human trials have yet to show a similar connection.
Obviously another issue of contaminated food will be the necessity to use chemical fungicides, many of which likely have a negative impact on human health.
Is Corn Inflammatory?
By its definition, an inflammatory food will cause inflammation in 100% of people that eat it. So no, I don’t believe there are any studies suggesting corn.
However in certain populations of people like those with the autoimmune condition rheumatoid arthritis, corn is one of the most reactive and inflammatory foods.
This obviously does not necessarily relate to the rest of us, but it is something to keep in mind.
The Bottom Line
So is corn good or is it bad? If you’re eating mostly processed food, you are probably eating far too much corn whether you realize it or not, and I would say this is less than desirable.
It’s been suggested that approximately 45,000 food items found in the average supermarket contain corn as an ingredient.
And when one considers the health impacts of livestock eating a corn-based diet, I think corn is best avoided
On the other hand, if you are eating primarily a whole-food diet, an ear of corn now and again probably won’t kill you.