Living with a corn allergy has opened my eyes to all the things corn products sneak in to. If you have an allergy or are just trying to avoid/limit the corn in your diet, check out this corn allergy guide.
When I found out I had a corn allergy (among many other food allergies) a few years ago, I was devastated. Popcorn was one of my go-to healthy snacks, and I was sad to give it up. I thought ditching my little treat would be the end of it, but as I started paying more attention to food labels, I realized corn sneaks into so much more than I ever thought. Cornstarch and high fructose corn syrup seem to make their way into everything – from breads to dairy products.
Since corn isn’t one of the top eight allergens, it isn’t listed in the allergen label on food products. It also isn’t as regulated, meaning you may be eating things with corn even when “corn” is nowhere to be found on the ingredient list.
Soooo I thought it might be helpful to share some tips on living corn free. Whether you think you may have an allergy or are trying to eliminate corn as part of a grain free diet, such as Paleo or Whole 30, give yourself a shot at success by being wary of some of the ways corn can sneak its way into your diet.
Alcohol – Many whiskeys contain a mash made from grains including corn. Some gluten-free vodkas are gluten free because they are made with corn over wheat, and many American beers use corn syrup as a sweetener. If you like a good adult beverage from time to time, gin and tequila are safer choices. Be wary of mixing with tonic, however, as many brands contain corn syrup, as well.
Baking Powder & Soda – This one really surprised me when I found out about it. Generic and store label brands tend to contain cornstarch. If you’re looking for a corn-free brand, Bob’s Red Mill (affiliate link) is one of my favorites.
Bread – Many pre-packaged breads contain cornstarch, corn meal, corn fiber or high fructose corn syrup for sweetening. Why? I do not know, but be sure to check your labels. Even gluten free brands are guilty, sometimes even more so.
Cheese – This is another one I don’t understand, but a lot of pre-grated cheeses have cornstarch or cellulose, which is usually derived from corn. Organic brands tend to be a safer bet, but again, it’s always good to check labels.
Gluten Free Pastas – If a pasta isn’t made of wheat, what is it made out of? A lot of gluten free pastas are made of a combo of other grains, including corn. I actually learned at the NOW Foods Immersion that a lot of people with gluten allergies and sensitivities are also allergic or sensitive to corn! Therefore, all of NOW’s gluten free pastas are also corn free. Bazinga!
Honey – If your honey isn’t 100% pure, there’s a good chance it contains high fructose corn syrup. Oh, America and your corn subsidies…
Soups, Sauces and Dressings – Soups, sauces and dressings are where you really need to be careful with reading labels or asking waiters at restaurants. Cornstarch is a common thickening agent in all of these things.
Spice Blends – Spice blends are a wonderful thing. They make it so much easier to give your dish an extra punch of deliciousness without having to dig through your spice cabinet and measure out 10 different spices. That said, some spice blends, such as Lawry, contain cornstarch.
Yogurts – Cornstarch and high fructose corn syrup can also make their way into yogurts, especially dairy free yogurt brands. It’s what helps gives them a thick texture and sweetness.
As I mentioned before, corn isn’t as regulated as the top 8-allergens, so sometimes it can go by sneaky names. If the words “cellulose, dextrin, dextrose, maize, maltodextrin, and/or modified food starch” appear on the label, the item MAY contain corn.
Head over here for more info on corn allergies and what to look out for.
Do you try to avoid corn?
Did you realize corn was in so many things?
This post is linked up with Meatless Mondays.
*Please note, I am not a doctor or dietitian. The contents of this post are based off my own observations and research. If you think you may have a corn allergy or sensitivity or are trying to avoid corn, please contact your dietician or doctor for guidance.