{"id":556047302729,"title":"Is Cornstarch Bad For You?","created_at":"2021-12-13T13:20:34-05:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Is Cornstarch Bad For You?\",\n \"keywords\": \"is cornstarch bad for you\",\n \"description\": \"Our MD reviews some of the medical research on cornstarch to determine whether it’s a risk to your health. We explain how low it is in nutrients compared to other thickeners, and offer some healthier alternatives.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-cornstarch-bad-for-you\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Taylor Graber MD\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/taylor-graber\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/taylor-j-graber-md-81351642\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Content Partner\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"medicine, health, anesthesiology, iv therapy, science, drugs, pharmaceutical, medical research, scientific research, medical journals, entrepreneurship, healthcare, orthopedic surgery, biomedical engineering\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"University of California San Diego\",\n \"Arizona University\",\n \"University of Arizona College of Medicine\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"contributor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. 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class=\"dc\"\u003eC\u003c\/span\u003eornstarch is popular in baking recipes as a filler and thickening agent, and it’s also an ingredient in many processed foods, but is it bad for you?\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll review some of the medical research on cornstarch to determine whether it’s a risk to your health, as well as offer some healthier alternatives.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eHigh Glycemic Index\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFoods rich in carbohydrates can be measured on a scale called the glycemic index, which indicates how quickly the food raises blood sugar when eaten in isolation.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBlood sugar spikes can be harmful to the cardiovascular system even in nondiabetic subjects, as suggested \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4558450\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eby an animal study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe glycemic index is a scale from 1-100, and cornstarch is a 97 which is very high. This suggests that cornstarch can spike blood sugar to unhealthy levels if eaten in large portions. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt’s worth noting that the glycemic index changes based on the composition of the meal. Eating carbs with fats, with acids and with proteins all lower the glycemic index of the meal overall. That being said, higher glycemic index foods are still considered somewhat less healthy.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eLow in Nutrients\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eCornstarch is a nutrient-poor food. Per calorie, it doesn’t offer much nutritional value. In large quantities it can provide a fraction of certain trace minerals like selenium, but in the amount used in processed foods and most recipes, cornstarch isn’t providing much other than filler carbs.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt’s important that health-conscious consumers try to eat nutrient-dense foods for most of their calories, as this dietary model \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4517043\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ehas been shown\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e in medical research to improve health outcomes overall, which shouldn’t be surprising.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eHighly Processed\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt’s a common misconception that corn starch is made by grinding whole corn kernels into a flour. However, that is corn \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eflour\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, while corn \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003estarch\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is made by removing the outer layer of a corn kernel and processing the endosperm of the corn kernel into a consistent, fine white powder.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMuch of the nutritional value of corn is lost during this manufacturing process.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eEating a minimally processed, whole-foods diet is generally associated with improved health, and cornstarch clearly doesn’t fit into that diet model.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eHealthier Cornstarch Alternatives\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003ch3\u003e\u003cb\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Healthier_Cornstarch_Alternatives_Optimized.png?v=1639420068\" alt=\"\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\n\u003ch3\u003e\u003cb\u003ePsyllium Husk\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePsyllium husk is a fibrous powder made from a plant called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePlantago ovata\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. It’s dense and can act as a thickening agent like cornstarch.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe reason we consider it healthier than cornstarch is because it’s much higher in fiber, and lower glycemic index. 100 grams (g) of psyllium husk powder contains 75 g fiber \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/fdc.nal.usda.gov\/fdc-app.html#\/food-details\/703086\/nutrients\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eaccording to\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e100 g of cornstarch contains only 1.9 g fiber.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe know \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/19335713\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003efrom medical research\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that increased fiber intake benefits gastrointestinal (GI) health, and can aid in weight loss efforts, which is why psyllium husk is one of the most popular fiber products in GI supplements like \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/colon-broom-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eColon Broom\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch3\u003e\u003cb\u003eCoconut Flour\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eCoconut flour is made by drying whole coconuts, making it a minimally-processed alternative to cornstarch.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe consider it to be a healthier alternative because it’s much higher in nutrients. Per 100 g, coconut flour contains 1,867 milligrams (mg) potassium, 67 mg calcium and 33.3 g fiber according to the same USDA FoodData database linked above.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eCornstarch contains 3 mg potassium, 2 mg calcium and 0.9 g fiber for the same dose.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe database didn’t measure trace minerals like selenium and phosphorus, but it’s likely coconut flour would be higher in these too.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eClearly, coconut flour provides a much higher dose of vitamins and minerals than cornstarch. It can also make a great replacement because it’s relatively odorless and plain.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eConclusion\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eCornstarch may not be necessarily unhealthy if it’s not consumed alone (which can spike blood sugar), but it’s pretty much just a “filler food” with almost zero nutritional value.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe recommend alternatives like psyllium husk and coconut flour which can achieve the same texture effects but are higher in fiber and nutrients.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2021-12-18T12:00:00-05:00","updated_at":"2022-10-23T01:51:25-04:00","summary_html":"\u003cmeta charset=\"utf-8\"\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan\u003eWe review some of the medical research on cornstarch to determine whether it’s a risk to your health, as well as offer some healthier alternatives.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","template_suffix":"","handle":"is-cornstarch-bad-for-you","tags":"_related:nutrition"}

Is Cornstarch Bad For You?

Is Cornstarch Bad For You?


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Cornstarch is popular in baking recipes as a filler and thickening agent, and it’s also an ingredient in many processed foods, but is it bad for you?

In this article we’ll review some of the medical research on cornstarch to determine whether it’s a risk to your health, as well as offer some healthier alternatives.

High Glycemic Index

Foods rich in carbohydrates can be measured on a scale called the glycemic index, which indicates how quickly the food raises blood sugar when eaten in isolation.

Blood sugar spikes can be harmful to the cardiovascular system even in nondiabetic subjects, as suggested by an animal study.

The glycemic index is a scale from 1-100, and cornstarch is a 97 which is very high. This suggests that cornstarch can spike blood sugar to unhealthy levels if eaten in large portions. 

It’s worth noting that the glycemic index changes based on the composition of the meal. Eating carbs with fats, with acids and with proteins all lower the glycemic index of the meal overall. That being said, higher glycemic index foods are still considered somewhat less healthy.

Low in Nutrients

Cornstarch is a nutrient-poor food. Per calorie, it doesn’t offer much nutritional value. In large quantities it can provide a fraction of certain trace minerals like selenium, but in the amount used in processed foods and most recipes, cornstarch isn’t providing much other than filler carbs.

It’s important that health-conscious consumers try to eat nutrient-dense foods for most of their calories, as this dietary model has been shown in medical research to improve health outcomes overall, which shouldn’t be surprising.

Highly Processed

It’s a common misconception that corn starch is made by grinding whole corn kernels into a flour. However, that is corn flour, while corn starch is made by removing the outer layer of a corn kernel and processing the endosperm of the corn kernel into a consistent, fine white powder.

Much of the nutritional value of corn is lost during this manufacturing process.

Eating a minimally processed, whole-foods diet is generally associated with improved health, and cornstarch clearly doesn’t fit into that diet model.

Healthier Cornstarch Alternatives

Psyllium Husk

Psyllium husk is a fibrous powder made from a plant called Plantago ovata. It’s dense and can act as a thickening agent like cornstarch.

The reason we consider it healthier than cornstarch is because it’s much higher in fiber, and lower glycemic index. 100 grams (g) of psyllium husk powder contains 75 g fiber according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

100 g of cornstarch contains only 1.9 g fiber.

We know from medical research that increased fiber intake benefits gastrointestinal (GI) health, and can aid in weight loss efforts, which is why psyllium husk is one of the most popular fiber products in GI supplements like Colon Broom.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is made by drying whole coconuts, making it a minimally-processed alternative to cornstarch.

We consider it to be a healthier alternative because it’s much higher in nutrients. Per 100 g, coconut flour contains 1,867 milligrams (mg) potassium, 67 mg calcium and 33.3 g fiber according to the same USDA FoodData database linked above.

Cornstarch contains 3 mg potassium, 2 mg calcium and 0.9 g fiber for the same dose.

The database didn’t measure trace minerals like selenium and phosphorus, but it’s likely coconut flour would be higher in these too.

Clearly, coconut flour provides a much higher dose of vitamins and minerals than cornstarch. It can also make a great replacement because it’s relatively odorless and plain.

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Conclusion

Cornstarch may not be necessarily unhealthy if it’s not consumed alone (which can spike blood sugar), but it’s pretty much just a “filler food” with almost zero nutritional value.

We recommend alternatives like psyllium husk and coconut flour which can achieve the same texture effects but are higher in fiber and nutrients.




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