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What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Corn

Is it as healthy as some claim? We turn to the research.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

As one of America's top cereal grains, corn is sprinkled into our food system in sneaky ways. Corn has been processed into a sweetener, an oil, a flour, and is used as one of the main feeds for livestock. But if you eat corn by itself, it's still a healthy vegetable, right? While corn is continually portrayed as a healthy food to eat, there are some sneaky upsides and downsides to know if you eat corn regularly.

Here's what you need to know about what happens to your body when you eat corn, and for even more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

1

You might stay full longer.

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High in fiber and low in calories, popcorn is an all-time favorite snack for many. Popcorn, especially homemade or air-popped, is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense snack that has shown to keep you full longer. Choose homemade kernels and pop in olive oil for the healthiest snack option or buy air-popped and mix it up with The One Ingredient Everyone's Adding To Their Popcorn.

2

You can develop an intolerance.

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Corn intolerance is on the rise. Intolerance symptoms might be a result of digestive issues like IBS or celiac disease. Key signs of corn intolerance include bloating, gas, and diarrhea after consuming a meal with corn. Some develop a rash or itchiness as well, a key sign of inflammation. Moderation is key here; notice whether or not symptoms subside with less corn in your diet, and be sure to consult your doctor if you are experiencing any adverse symptoms.

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3

You might increase levels of inflammation.

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Processed corn does not seem to carry the same nutritional value as whole corn. Processed corn has been stripped of its nutrients and left with only sugar or oil. High fructose corn syrup has quickly become a commodity in the food industry and has been widely documented as a correlate for many chronic diseases like diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease. Corn oil is high in polyunsaturated oils that tend to raise inflammatory markers when compared to monounsaturated oils.

Read more: Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Really That Bad For You?

4

You might get an increase in energy.

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Corn is high in vitamin B6 and vitamin B9 – two major vitamins that play a role in energy metabolism. B vitamins help the body break down starches into sugars which is helpful since the main sources of fuel in corn comes from starch!

Get even more of a boost of B vitamins with these The 11 Best Food Sources of B Vitamins for More Energy.

5

Your blood sugar could spike.

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If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or have a family history of blood sugar issues, you might want to curb your corn consumption. The primary macronutrient in corn is a carbohydrate that gets broken from starch to sugar in the body. To improve any post-meal spikes, portion out your corn serving and pair with a protein and vegetable to slow absorption!

For more help getting blood sugar under control, try these 7 Weight Loss Tips That Lower Your Diabetes Risk.

Caroline Thomason, RDN
Caroline is a women's health Registered Dietitian and diabetes educator based in Northern Virginia. Read more
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