Corn can be a very healthy dietary option when it is consumed in moderation. It’s part vegetable, part starch, and even part grain, so the diet gets a little bit of everything. As with any food product, however, there are some disadvantages that come along when too much corn is consumed. Should you be looking at a corn based diet today? Here are the pros and cons of going on it.
The Pros of a Corn Based Diet
1. It provides you with a high dose of dietary fiber.
Just once serving of corn can provide people with up to 10% of their recommended amount of daily fiber. This high fiber option creates more regularity within the digestive tract and there are a wide variety of ways it can be used. Masa flour can be turned into tortillas, chips, bread, and a number of other healthy eating options.
2. Pesticides are rarely used on corn products.
Unlike other crops, farmers don’t need to do much for the care of their corn except to provide it with enough water and hope the summer heat comes in on time to spur growth. This means there aren’t as many of the harmful chemicals on the corn products that you’ll be eating on a diet like this and not having chemicals in your body is generally a good thing.
3. It limits caloric intake.
Corn is a food product that makes people feel rather full very quickly. If eating corn in its natural state, then there are more than 800 kernels that will be consumed at one time in an average setting. About 50% of corn that is consumed isn’t properly digested, which means the total caloric intake from the meal that was consumed is less than if it were of other foods. Lower calories equates to a better chance of losing inches.
4. It provides a whole grain resource for the diet.
Whole-grain corn products like popcorn or tortillas help the body to better process and regulate the foods that have been consumed. This helps people to feel fuller for a much longer period of time and avoid the trap of boredom eating. Although over-consumption of these products could be problematic, the goal here is to eat all natural foods that aren’t processed. Why? Because most processed foods have at least one additional corn-based product in them to help preserve the item.
5. It’s a healthy starch.
Corn has an advantage over other starches in that in its natural state, it isn’t highly processed. This makes it a healthier option when compared to items like white bread, dried pasta, and other common food options that are part of the standard American diet. Too much starch will always be a bad thing, so don’t replace vegetables with corn on the plate, but a little bit every day can be a very good thing.
6. Corn is widely available.
Corn can be found canned, in the produce aisle, at the farmer’s market, and virtually everywhere that food is sold. If you want to eat corn, you’ll be able to find some.
The Cons of a Corn Based Diet
1. It isn’t going to be cheap.
Corn products are being diverted into fuel resources because it is a renewable energy source. One of the primary places this occurs is the conversion of corn into ethanol. With subsidies in place that make it more profitable to create fuel than food, the prices of edible corn rise because croplands are used for fuel instead. Add in the livestock feeding needs and food-based corn croplands are even more scarce.
2. It is high in carbohydrates.
Many people think of corn as a vegetable only, but it is more like a grain that is filled with carbs than anything else. Having some corn is going to be healthy for you. If you eat corn expecting the benefits of a vegetable, however, and then you eat other high-carb grains and food products, then you can overwhelm your system on a corn-based diet rather rapidly.
3. Corn products are usually genetically modified.
Although corn products are generally free from pesticides and herbicides, most of the crops that are grown today are genetically modified in some way. There is no long-term research available to let us know what the consequences might be of eating GMO foods on a regular basis. It could be beneficial, but it could also cause future health problems we haven’t even begun to consider as of yet.
4. Some corn products change the chemical composition of the human body.
The worst offender for this is high fructose corn syrup. Corn products can change the composition of the human body so that people actually crave eating even more corn products throughout the day. When sugary corn products are consumed, this behavior is enhanced. In many ways, a corn-based diet creates an addiction that can be difficult to break.
5. Corn can be very hard on the soil.
There is a good possibility that excessive corn production could limit the ability of current croplands to produce viable foods in the years to come. This is because it drains the soil of nutrients very rapidly. As more people approach a corn-based diet and more lands are dedicated to its growth, the ability to rotate crops will be lessened and this may ultimately limit the food supplies that are available.
6. The body often stores corn calories as fat.
For the corn that does get digested in a corn-based diet, the sugars are quickly absorbed into the body to create a blood sugar spike. To counter this issue, the body does the only thing it can do to regulate levels: turn corn sugars into fat. This also means blood sugar levels become unstable and makes corn a difficult food to consume when diabetes or a pre-diabetic condition has been diagnosed.
7. Corn is often served with high-fat food options.
How often have you seen a cob of corn served with a pad of melting butter? Now add in an extra couple shakes of salt and maybe a couple of other additional components and that low-calorie food option just became a high-calorie, high-fat food that will pack on some pounds quickly. Some of this can be limited by altering eating habits, but most corn products generally come with additional items that aren’t taken into dietary consideration.
There are some benefits to a corn-based diet that make it worthwhile to try. There are some disadvantages that may drive some people away from adopting this eating lifestyle. By evaluating all of the pros and cons of the corn-based diet, the right choice can be made for every person who is looking to lose weight or improve their health.