Is Corn Good for You? Nutrition Facts and More (2023)

Corn is a starchy vegetable and cereal grain that has been eaten all over the world for centuries.

It’s rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

However, the health benefits of corn are controversial — while it contains beneficial nutrients, it can also spike blood sugar levels. In addition, the crop is often genetically modified.

This article looks at the possible benefits and disadvantages of eating corn.

Is Corn Good for You? Nutrition Facts and More (1)Share on Pinterest

Corn is considered both a vegetable and a cereal grain.

Sweet corn that you eat off the cob is usually considered a vegetable in the culinary world, whereas the dry seeds that are used for popcorn are classified as whole grains.

Corn originated in Mexico over 9,000 years ago and is known by its original name “maize” in many parts of the world. Native Americans grew and harvested this crop as a main source of food (1, 2).

Today, it’s one of the most widely consumed cereal grains worldwide (3).

Corn is usually white or yellow but also comes in red, purple and blue.

It’s eaten as sweet corn, popcorn, tortillas, polenta, chips, cornmeal, grits, oil and syrup and added to countless other foods and dishes.

What’s more, it’s widely used for fuel and animal feed. In fact, 40% of the corn grown in the US is used for fuel and 60–70% of corn worldwide is produced to feed animals (2, 4).

Summary

Corn is a popular food that is considered both a vegetable and whole grain. It can be eaten whole as sweet corn or popcorn or processed into chips, oil and syrup. However, most corn is used for animal feed and fuel production.

(Video) Is Corn Healthy?

Corn is high in carbs and packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. It’s also relatively low in protein and fat.

One cup (164 grams) of sweet yellow corn contains (5):

  • Calories: 177 calories
  • Carbs: 41 grams
  • Protein: 5.4 grams
  • Fat: 2.1 grams
  • Fiber: 4.6 grams
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the daily value (DV)
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1): 24% of the DV
  • Folate (vitamin B9): 19% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 11% of the DV
  • Potassium: 10% of the DV

Most of the carbs in corn come from starch — which can quickly raise your blood sugar, depending on how much you eat. However, it’s also high in fiber that can help balance your blood sugar levels (3, 6).

Due to its impressive nutrient profile, most people can benefit from eating whole corn and popcorn as part of a balanced diet. It’s also a naturally gluten-free food and can be eaten by those who avoid gluten.

On the other hand, processed corn products may not be very nutritious, as refined oil, syrup and chips lose beneficial fiber and other nutrients during production. Also, many processed products are high in added salt, sugar or fat (7, 8).

Summary

Whole corn is loaded with fiber and contains vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium. Processed corn products are not as nutritious.

Corn contains antioxidants and plant compounds that may provide a number of health benefits.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Content May Benefit Eye Health

Corn is particularly high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that may prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

This is likely because lutein and zeaxanthin make up a large part of the macular region of your eyes (9, 10, 11).

One study in 365 adults found that those who had the highest intake of carotenoids — especially lutein and zeaxanthin — had a 43% lower chance of developing AMD compared to those with the lowest intake (11).

(Video) Is Corn Healthy? | 5 Myths About Sweet Corn Busted | Dietitian Q&A | EatingWell

Therefore, regularly eating corn may promote eye health — especially for those who are at risk of AMD.

May Prevent Diverticular Disease and Other Digestive Issues

The fiber in corn may also provide health benefits.

Dietary fiber intake has been linked to a lower risk of several diseases, including heart disease and some cancers. Even more, eating enough fiber promotes healthy digestion and may protect you against gut issues (12, 13, 14).

Corn, in particular, may protect against specific digestive issues, including diverticular disease, which is characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract (15).

One 18-year study in over 47,000 adult men associated eating popcorn at least twice a week with a significantly lower risk of diverticular disease (15).

Based on these limited results, eating corn and popcorn may promote gut health and prevent digestive diseases. However, more research is needed.

Summary

Corn is loaded with plant compounds that are linked to a lower risk of eye diseases. Even more, the fiber in corn may provide a number of health benefits and reduce your risk of diverticular disease.

Since corn is high in starch, it can spike your blood sugar and may not be suitable for some populations.

People who have diabetes may need to limit their starchy carb intake, including corn.

Research specifically focusing on corn intake and diabetes is limited, but studies suggest that low-carb diets are more effective at managing diabetes (16).

A study in 115 adults with obesity and type 2 diabetes found that eating a diet with only 14% of calories coming from carbs resulted in more stable blood sugars and a reduced medication need compared to getting 53% of the daily calories from carbs (16).

Eating less of other corn products, especially high-fructose corn syrup, may help prevent diabetes.

One study found that the prevalence of diabetes was 20% higher in countries with easier access to high-fructose corn syrup, compared to areas where the syrup was not readily available (17).

(Video) The Health Benefits of Corn

Finally, people who are trying to lose weight may want to limit their intake of starchy carbs from corn.

A 24-year Harvard study in 133,468 adults found that each additional daily serving of corn was associated with a 2-pound (0.9-kg) weight gain per 4-year interval. Potatoes, peas and other starchy vegetables did not contribute to as much weight gain (18).

Summary

Corn can spike your blood sugar and may contribute to weight gain when consumed in excess. Individuals who have diabetes or are trying to lose weight may want to limit their intake.

Corn is one of the most genetically modified crops in the world. In fact, 92% of the crop grown in the US in 2016 was genetically modified (GMO) (19).

Corn crops are modified to increase yield and improve resistance to insects, disease or chemicals used to kill pests (19).

The impact of modified corn and other crops on human health and environmental safety is one of the most widely debated topics in the field of nutrition.

Current research on the safety of genetically modified corn for humans is limited and conflicting.

For one, studies have linked consumption of genetically modified corn with toxic effects on the liver, kidneys and other organs in animals (20, 21).

On the other hand, some research suggests that modified crops are not harmful to human health and provide the same nutrients as non-modified crops.

One study found no significant differences between the content of vitamin C, certain minerals, fatty acids, antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients in genetically modified corn compared to corn crops that were not modified (22).

More research is needed to help consumers make an informed decision about eating genetically modified corn. If you’re concerned about eating genetically modified crops, look for products that have a “non-GMO” label.

Summary

Most corn has been genetically modified. While more research is needed, some studies suggest that modified crops may pose health risks to humans.

Corn is a versatile food that can be added to your diet in many ways.

Sweet corn and corn on the cob are widely available at grocery stores and farmers markets in both fresh, frozen and canned varieties.

Fresh cobs can be prepared by heating them over a grill or by cooking them in boiling water. They’re usually served with melted butter and salt.

Kernels can be added to soups, salads, vegetable dishes or served on their own with butter or olive oil and seasonings.

Other varieties of corn, such as flour and dried kernels, can also be used. You can make tortillas with finely ground corn flour, water and salt. These can be turned into homemade chips by baking sliced pieces with oil and seasonings.

Finally, dried kernels can be used to make popcorn on your stove or in an air popper for a delicious and satisfying snack.

Summary

Corn on the cob, corn kernels, corn flour and popping corn are widely available at grocery stores and can be used in a variety of dishes.

(Video) Top 10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWEET CORN

Corn is rich in fiber and plant compounds that may aid digestive and eye health.

Yet, it’s high in starch, can spike blood sugar and may prevent weight loss when consumed in excess. The safety of genetically modified corn may also be a concern.

Still, in moderation, corn can be part of a healthy diet.

FAQs

Is corn good for you nutrition facts and more? ›

It consists primarily of insoluble fiber, which makes it a low-glycemic index food. This means it is a food that is digested slowly and doesn't cause an unhealthy spike in blood sugar. It also contains many B vitamins, as well as essential minerals, including zinc, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese.

Does corn have any health benefits? ›

Corn is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage and wards off diseases like cancer and heart disease. Yellow corn is a good source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for eye health and help prevent the lens damage that leads to cataracts.

What are 3 health benefits of corn? ›

Corn is high in dietary fiber, which is necessary for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Fiber is the bulk in plant-based foods that your body doesn't digest. Although it's indigestible, the fiber in corn offers many other advantages, like regulating bowel movements, managing blood sugar levels, and more.

Is corn good for gut health? ›

Corn, similarly to many grains, legumes, and vegetables, contains dietary fiber. Fiber can help with digestion and reduce the risk of constipation. Some research also suggests fiber may help people live longer.

Is corn healthier than rice? ›

Corn is a great source of potassium, which is said to help lower blood pressure, and it's a better source of antioxidants than wheat, rice or oats. It's especially high in carotenoids, the antioxidants that help keep your eyes healthy. And naturally, corn is high in fibre.

Does corn raise blood sugar? ›

Sweet corn contains low starch and high sugar content (majorly sucrose). Corn contains high amount of starch. It is form of carb that instantly increases the blood glucose level of a person. Diabetic people must take corn in moderate amounts.

What does corn do to the brain? ›

Eating corn helps the brain function normally, reducing your loved one's risk of experiencing memory loss. Corn contains high levels of vitamin B1, also known as thiamine. To help his or her body produce acetylcholine, your loved one needs to consume thiamine.

Is corn good for liver? ›

Corn peptides improved obesity-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease through relieving lipid metabolism, insulin resistance and oxidative stress.

Is corn good for high cholesterol? ›

Corn is a good choice as part of a heart-healthy diet because it is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. In addition, corn oil is high in polyunsaturated fat, which contributes to lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Is corn good for losing belly fat? ›

One must know that the high fibre content in corn assists in weight loss in several ways. Probiotics found in corn help with digestion and speed up the body's metabolism. As a result, the food gets digested more quickly, and you continue to feel full for longer. Corns significantly aid weight loss.

Is Sweet Corn inflammatory? ›

Corn is highly inflammatory, which means it can cause a range of health issues, including type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease, leaky gut, and more. As if that wasn't enough, corn is also high-glycemic, which means it causes blood sugar spikes.

Videos

1. How Many Carbs in Popcorn is the Question, NOT Calories! – Dr. Berg
(Dr. Eric Berg DC)
2. ✅Nutrition facts of Corn|Health benefits of Corn|how many calories,carbs,fat,fiber,protein in corn
(Food nutrition facts and FITNESS)
3. SWEET CORN - HEALTH BENEFITS AND NUTRITION FACTS
(Prof . M.THANGA DARWIN)
4. Is Corn Actually Good For You? | Health
(Health)
5. Nutrition Facts And Health Benefits Of Corn
(Eat & Fit)
6. 10 Amazing Benefits of Corn | Health And Nutrition
(Health and Nutrition)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated: 02/27/2023

Views: 5648

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.