If you grew up around rural, farm towns, chances are you could tell what time of year it was simply from the height of the corn stalks in the field.
For others, maybe it’s the nostalgic feeling you get when you take a big bite from your crunchy corn on the cob slathered with salt and butter.
Corn is found in many food products out on the market today, making it much more common in the average Americans diet than one may think.
Unfortunately, the type of corn found in products such as corn oil, corn flour, fried corn tortillas and other packaged goods are completely processed and can actually be extremely harmful to your health.
Corn, also called maize in Spanish, has been around for 10,000 years.
This cereal grain is a staple food found in traditional cuisines of Native Americans as well as being very popular is South America.
While it originated in South and Central America, corn is now included in dishes all around the world. While corn is found in some artificial and packaged food products, it can also be found in dishes including tacos, burritos, polenta, fritters, soups and even different sauces.
What is Corn?
Corn is a grain grown throughout the summer season. While traditionally thought of as being a yellow vegetable, corn is grown in an assortment of colors.
Most corn today is planted via planter or by a hoe depending on the amount of land. The demand of corn in the United States is so high that more corn is produced each year than any other grain.
Another use of corn is its ability to provide a source of food for farm-raised animals.
However, this adds to the practice of poor farming systems for a number of different reasons.
While it may be used to feed cows, pigs and other animals we consume, it can not only affect the health of the animals, but affects the health of the human consumers ingesting them as well.
When it comes to macronutrients, one ear of corn (or about three quarters of a cup) comes to about 123 total calories including two grams of fat, five grams of protein, 27 grams of carbs, 23 grams of net carbs and only four grams of fiber.
Corn contains different vitamins and minerals such as folate, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. However, since it is considered a grain, it may cause some allergies you’re not even aware of. For some individuals, grains create a serious discomfort and increase stress to the gastrointestinal tract.
More symptoms you may experience from the consumption of grain include skin irritation, such as a skin rash or hives, nausea, stomach cramps, indigestion, headaches, asthma or more.
How and When Does Corn Fit Into a Low Carb or Keto Diet?
Don’t let it’s abundant amount of micronutrients fool you. Sure, corn may have some health benefits, but you may want to be cautious if you’re trying to fit it into your ketogenic diet.
With 23 grams of of net carbs per serving, the chances of you fitting an ear of corn into your daily carb intake for the day are slim to none.
The standard ketogenic diet (SKD) recommends a diet consisting of high fat, low carb and moderate protein intake in order to enter a ketogenic state and maintain it. “Low carb” meaning a carb intake of no more than 50 grams of net carbs per day — and often times much less.
This is the ketogenic diet recommended to the average individual with the goal of fat loss or beginners new to the keto diet. However, this isn’t the only type of keto diet out there today. So if you’re really craving some corn in your diet, one of the following options may suit you best.
There are a couple different keto diets out there today that allow you to have more carbs than the SKD. Two of these diets being the targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) and the cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD). While they are both meant for more active individuals, they do differ in when you consume your carbs.
The TKD is meant for individuals that live a more active lifestyle that need a little more carbs around their workouts. This type of ketogenic diet allows an additional 20 to 50 grams of carbs both before and after your designated workout window. This is just enough carbs to fuel your workout without “kicking” you out of ketosis for long, if at all.
The CKD is meant for athletes, bodybuilders or another individuals that train at such a high level that they need more carbs in order to perform at their desired intensity. The CKD follows a STD template for five or six days of the week, with the other day or two being a full on carb backloading period. Carb backloading gives you the opportunity to consume up to 600 grams of carbs in a 24 to 48 hour time period in order to completely refill your muscle glycogen stores.
When Should Corn Be Avoided on a Low Carb or Keto Diet?
Corn is abundant in carbs, sure, but this isn’t the only reason to avoid corn on a ketogenic diet. One of the biggest benefits of switching to a ketogenic diet in the first place is to reduce inflammation. However, this isn’t the only benefit of this low carb diet. Along with reducing inflammation, the keto diet has the ability to stabilize blood sugar, reduce hunger, improve skin and improve the health of your digestive system.
Unfortunately, being a grain, corn (or any food product with corn as a main ingredient) can do the opposite of those health benefits you’d otherwise receive from the keto diet — creating more inflammation along with spiking blood sugar levels and possibly creating gut issues in the process.
So Is Corn Keto Friendly?
While there may be certain situations such as following the targeted ketogenic diet or cyclical ketogenic diet in which your macros will allow for a higher carb intake, you may still want to skip the corn. With adding to the poor food system practices we still have today, this grain also has the ability to negatively impact our health with possible allergies (depending on the individual). 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 the individual and their ability to handle carbs and enter in and out of ketosis.
Corn is not keto friendly.