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The Relationship Between Corn And Keto

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Whether recollecting childhood memories of playing hide-and-seek among the golden cornfields or the pleasant moments spent strolling along the pier with your grandparents, the taste of buttery, salty corn surely brings us a feeling of solace.

Once you commit to starting the keto diet, you must start looking at the meals you were formerly consuming and decide if they are acceptable on your new low-carb, high-fat eating plan.

When you decide to go on a ketogenic diet, you have to reevaluate a lot of the foods that you usually enjoy. You may be wondering if corn is allowed on the keto diet. If you grew up in a rural area, it was probably easy for you to tell what season it was based on the height of the corn in the field.

Maybe you feel sentimental when you chomp down on a piece of corn on the cob that is covered in butter and salt. Corn is prevalent in a lot of food items that are available today, which means it is probably a bigger part of the typical American’s diet than one would assume.

Sadly, the corn in products such as corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn flour, fried corn tortillas, and other packaged goods is altered and can be detrimental to your wellbeing.

You may begin to wonder if corn is suitable for a keto diet.

I’m afraid the answer is a negative. Corn does not fit into a ketogenic diet.

If you choose to consume foods made of corn, like corn tortillas, cornflakes, or corn flour, you should be aware that they may not be good for your health.

Origins Of Corn

Maize has been around for centuries and was originally found in South and Central America. This amazing vegetable has been incorporated into all types of cooking styles globally and is usually seen in the majority of meals.

Corn is incredibly versatile and its uses have expanded beyond just eating it as is. A variety of foods have been created from corn, like tortilla, corn syrup, and even corn tortilla chips which make a delicious treat!

In addition, corn is an essential food for the nourishment of farm animals. Approximately two-thirds of the corn produced globally is used as livestock feed.

How Corn Is Grown

Corn is a grain grown throughout the summer season. Traditionally seen as a yellow food item, corn is cultivated in a variety of hues.

If a large area is being cultivated, maize can be planted using a corn seeder. If you have a vegetable patch in your yard, you can manually sow sweet corn seeds with the help of a hoe. The requirement for corn in the US is so intense that more of it is cultivated annually than any other cereal.

Corn can be used as a food source for animals that are raised on a farm. Despite this, corn has been given an unfavorable reputation due to the use of GMOs in some substandard agricultural practices in the US.

It is regularly employed to nourish cattle, swine, and other creatures that are eaten as food. This implies that not only are the animals affected by it health-wise, but humans consuming the meat of these animals are also at risk.

Net Carbs In Corn

Corn is one of the most well-known veggies around, and it is difficult to find a suitable substitute – there are not many veggies that can come close to corn! Sadly, for those of us who are on the ketogenic diet, corn is a high-carbohydrate vegetable.

What does this mean?

Starchy vegetables tend to have a high carb count. Maize is similar to other starchy vegetables, even though it does not look like the other starchy vegetables such as the potato.

Corn is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. This food item contains 6% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A, 12% of vitamin C, 4% of vitamin B-6, and 17% of thiamin (vitamin B1).

Although corn is gluten-free, it’s considered a grain. This may lead to allergies that you don’t know about. Certain people can experience a great deal of distress and strain on the digestive system from consuming grains (including whole grains).

Grains can have a range of adverse effects on the body, including causing skin irritations such as rashes or hives, nausea, abdominal pain, indigestion, migraine, asthma, and more.

What are the carbohydrate levels of other corn-based items, and which ones are the most suitable for a ketogenic diet? Let’s take a look at how much carbohydrates are present in field corn, shall we?

Here is the nutrient breakdown of field corn in a single ear, weighing 103 grams (which is approximately 2/3 of a cup).

    • Total Calories: 99
    • Total Fat: 1.9 grams
    • Total Carbs: 22 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Net Carbs: 19.5 grams
  • Protein: 3.5 grams

A single ear of corn, which is also called corn on the cob, can consume your entire daily net carb allowance if you follow a rigid keto diet. Therefore, corn on the cob is not suitable for those following a low-carbohydrate diet and cannot be included in ketogenic meal plans.

Carbs In Sweet Corn

Let’s take a look at the macronutrient profile and see the carb content that one cup (184g) of sweet corn contains:

  • Total Calories: 177
  • Total Fat: 2.1 grams
  • Total Carbs: 41.2 grams
  • Fiber: 4.6 grams
  • Net Carbs: 36.6 grams
  • Protein: 5.4 grams

It is evident that a single portion of sweet corn has way too many carbohydrates to be used as a replacement in the ketogenic diet. In addition, the 41.2 grams of carbs from starch have been demonstrated to raise your blood sugar.

Carbs In Baby Corn

Baby corn is becoming increasingly popular in Western countries, likely due to its frequent presence in Eastern Asian cuisine. It is easy to see why it is so beloved. While it has been determined that corn is a carbohydrate-rich starchy vegetable, baby corn is not as starchy.

Baby corn is distinct from field and sweet corn because it is taken off the plant before it has had the chance to reach its full growth (which is why it is called “baby corn”). This early pick means we can consume both the corn and the stem, which are not able to be eaten once the corn has fully matured.

Let’s analyze the macronutrient composition of 85 grams of baby corn and determine if it is suitable for a keto diet.

  • Calories: 19
  • Total Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Total Carbs: 4.2 grams
  • Fiber: 0.5 grams
  • Net Carbs: 3.7 grams
  • Protein: 0.7 grams

It seems that baby corn is the optimal choice for those following a ketogenic diet. This veggie is a great choice for the keto diet due to its minuscule amount of fat and only 4.2 grams of carbs.

Is Corn Keto Diet Friendly or Too High in Carb

It should be obvious now that consuming corn is not compatible with a keto diet. Both field corn and sweet corn have a large amount of carbohydrates which cannot be included in a low-carb lifestyle.

Although you may want to maintain the fond recollection of eating corn, you can include a half cup of either sweet corn or field corn in your meals if you are not on a stringent keto diet.

A half cup of sweet corn contains approximately 16-18 grams of net carbs, so it can be consumed freely as a snack throughout the week.

Baby corn can be classed as suitable for a ketogenic diet. You can get a feeling of fullness and gain the nutritional advantages of baby corn by adding it to your meals since one serving has less than 5 grams of net carbs.

When Corn Might Have a Place in the Keto Diet 

There are a few versions of the keto diet that permit you to consume more carbohydrates than the standard ketogenic diet. Two of the dietary plans are the targeted keto regimen (TKD) and the cyclical keto regimen (CKD).

The intended audience for both of them is people who are more physically active, yet there is a distinction in when one eats their carbohydrates.

The TKD is intended for people who lead an active lifestyle and need more carbohydrates around the time they exercise.

This type of ketogenic diet permits you to take in an extra 20 to 50 grams of carbs before and after your set exercise period. This amount of carbohydrates should give you the energy to exercise without disrupting your ketosis for an extended period, if any.

This diet is specifically designed for athletes, bodybuilders, and other people who exercise intensely and require a higher intake of carbohydrates for optimal performance.

The CKD usually employs a standard template for the majority of the week, with the remaining days being dedicated to a full carb backloading period.

You have the chance to eat 600 grams of carbohydrates in a 24-48 hour period so that your muscle glycogen is completely refilled.

When to Avoid Corn

Although some people may classify corn as a vegetable with low-carb content, it is not considered a suitable food item in the keto diet. Eating just a few kernels of corn probably won’t have a huge impact on your carb count, but if you consume an entire ear of corn, it could throw you out of ketosis.

The keto diet can not only decrease inflammation, but also balance blood sugar levels, suppress appetite, clear up skin issues, and enhance digestive system health.

Unfortunately, corn may carry toxic compounds. In the US, corn is apt to contain aflatoxins, which are created by a particular sort of fungi mostly found in corn and peanuts.

Consumption of aflatoxins has been linked to potential liver cancer and is harmful to the human body.

Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) cautions that aflatoxins may be able to harm DNA, lead to birth abnormalities, and reduce the body’s immunity to diseases.

It is feared that the corn consumed presently, being a genetically modified organism, may be leading to problems not experienced a century ago. There has not been enough research to conclusively determine whether or not there are any long-term impacts of GMOs, so health officials cannot assure that there are no lasting effects.

So, what’s the worst part? Well, you’ve heard the term dirty keto, right? It may come as a surprise when we tell you that corn may in fact be a dirty food, and here’s why:

  • A lot of corn and corn products found around the world are genetically modified. This genetic modification of corn has led to resistance to certain herbicides such as glyphosate.
  • This means that there may be some unabsorbed glyphosate on the corn which you are eating, which has also been shown to have carcinogenic properties. Additionally, eating genetically modified corn has shown that damage could be caused to your organs. 
  • Corn has been shown to possess similar qualities to that of gluten and may trick your body is responding similarly to it does to gluten.  Therefore, if you have decided to join the keto community to avoid gluten, you may want to avoid corn.
  • Corn is classified as a grain, which puts it into the same category as rice and wheat, which renders it a dirty keto food.

Side notes

Corn is not suitable for a low-carbohydrate diet or a ketogenic diet because it contains too many carbs. You might want to avoid eating corn even though it does contain some health benefits and is a good source of fiber.

When taking into account the inadequate food system practices of the present, this grain could cause harm to your well-being by potentially triggering allergies. Corn would be considered keto-friendly if (and only if)

  • You are following the targeted ketogenic diet and have a small amount of corn pre- or post-workout.
  • You are following the cyclical ketogenic diet and are consuming the corn on your carb backloading day(s).
  • Your carb intake for the day (including the corn) is below 50 grams — depending on your ability to handle carbs and enter in and out of ketosis.

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