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It may reflect on a personal journey surrounding struggles with an illness or medical condition, involve product comparisons, diet considerations, or other health-related opinions.
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Is Corn Good For Weight Loss 2023? Reasons Why & How It Helps
There is no black or white in nutrition. There are many debates over corn, also known as maize, pertaining to its consumption and health effects. To explore this rationally, we need to use science, i.e., scientific articles, to answer the question “Is corn good for weight loss?”.
Corn is the staple food of many countries. It is also involved in the production of many different food products as it is a naturally gluten-free product that many people prefer as a carbohydrate source.
Eating corn provides carotenoids, phenolic compounds, vitamin E, antioxidant enzymes, and minerals which have numerous health benefits. This content of corn also makes it suitable for a weight loss diet.
Is Corn Good For Weight Loss?
According to a comprehensive review of macronutrients in corn, corn with high amylose, particularly, has a slow digestive rate and beneficial effects on blood sugar and insulin levels, insulin sensitivity, satiety and appetite control, lipid metabolism, weight management, colon health, and mineral absorption.
Does Corn Help You Lose Weight?
The molecular structures of starch, non-starch polysaccharides, and protein content differ among the corn varieties. The ones with high amylose and high protein are grabbing the scientific world’s attention.
It is stated in the same paper that the high amylose content of corn reduces its glycemic index, which shows its contribution toward maintaining blood sugar levels. On the other hand, sweet corn has lower starch and amylose levels but a high free glucose level responsible for its sweet taste, causing it to raise sugar levels. Sweet corn or boiled corn can be good for a weight loss journey only if you consume it with portion control.
Corn can be a low-calorie food, but it depends on the type of corn product you consume.
Popcorn is good for weight loss diets as a snack if you can control your portion. Low-fat popcorn can be an enjoyable and low-calorie snack, and it is an excellent alternative when you can prepare it at home instead of eating highly processed and packaged snacks.
For example, you can have one serving of popcorn using 2 tbsp corn kernels. If you don’t use oil, one serving of popcorn is 110 kcal. That is a good size snack, and you can even use 1 tbsp unsaturated oil (45 kcal) for popping the corn to increase the taste.
Sweet corn is a naturally sweet food product that may satisfy your hunger for carbs while avoiding eating highly processed sugar-containing products. But it may lead to higher blood sugar or a spike. Lowering the amount of sweet corn can help you regulate it, and you can add healthy nuts or dairy products to avoid sudden blood sugar increases.
Corn is a naturally low-fat food. Reducing fat, especially saturated and trans fats is important in the diet to reduce your heart disease risk. Your diet should include low-fat foods if you have any cardiovascular or fatty liver diseases, high blood lipids, or unhealthy body weight. Corn is a good alternative for low-fat energy sources.
Corn contains vitamins B1, B3, B9, and vitamin C. The B-group vitamins are important for the energy management of the body. Vitamin C is essential for the immune system and antioxidant mechanisms. That means corn can help you with energy expenditure regulation while it protects your body from the free radicals that occur during metabolism.
Our body needs several trace elements to maintain an overall healthy metabolism. Magnesium has important roles in energy production, DNA and RNA synthesis, glucose metabolism, and bone and muscle metabolism. Corn has a good amount of magnesium, contributing to your dietary intake.
Potassium is one of the ions that safeguards cardiovascular health and regulates insulin synthesis. It is important to consume low-sodium and adequate-potassium foods for cardiometabolic diseases.
Corn is a vegetable, so it includes dietary fiber to contribute to human health. It helps with appetite control and regulates blood sugar. Increased dietary fiber intake helps you to lose weight and reduces your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, or cancers.
One regular ear of corn (nearly 105 g) includes (with %Daily Value):
- Calories: 90 kcal
- Carbohydrate: 20 g (7%)
- Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g (8%)
- Protein: 3.4 g (7%)
- Fat: 1.4 g (1%)
- Saturated Fat: 0.3 g (2%)
- Sodium: 15.75 mg (1%)
- Potassium: 283.5 mg (6%)
- Magnesium: 35.85 mg (9%)
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 0.163 mg (14%)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): 1.85 mg (12%)
- Vitamin B9 (folate): 44.10 mcg (11%)
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): 7.1 mg (8%)
How To Consume Corn For Weight Loss?
You can evaluate the nutrient facts of corn to decide whether or not corn will help you lose weight. The main strategy is how to consume it.
Because of the taste of corn and its variety, it proves versatile in adding it to your daily diet.
You can add corn on top of your salads to add to its taste.
You can add corn, especially baby corn, to an oven-prepared meal. You can add grilled corn as a side dish to your main meal.
You can eat low-fat, unsalted popcorn as a snack. No worries about getting too many calories if you don’t eat to excess or don’t add extra fat, sugar, or sauces.
It is good for making bread without gluten. Celiac disease patients, for example, prefer corn flour in preparing natural, gluten-free bread.
Other Health Benefits Of Eating Corn
Laboratory analysis showed that traditional corn has inhibitory effects on several enzymes related to the mechanisms of diabetes and hypertension (glucosidase, α-amylase, and angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE)), leading to better regulation of blood sugar and hypertension.
Corn varieties with high amylose content contribute to intestinal health as they are slower to digest. Since they have a low glycemic index, they do not raise blood sugar quickly. It is more suitable for individuals with metabolic diseases.
In addition, corn is a suitable carbohydrate source for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
Corn is shown to have anthocyanin, which is one of the important antioxidant phenol species in colored fruits and vegetables. Corn is the cheapest source of anthocyanin in the food industry to use as a natural colorant.
Corn has carotenoid content, but it differs among corn grains. Carotenoids are shown as powerful immune supporters obtained from the diet. Carotenoids’ effects on reducing oxidative stress and free radicals help to prevent age-related diseases such as macular degeneration. There is also a rarely known corn type (Zea mays L.) with a purple color that includes a great number of phenolic compounds with anti-cancerogenic effects.
Suitable For Cardiovascular Disease Diets
Corn has low sodium and high potassium levels, and there is zero cholesterol, which covers the basics for cardiovascular disease-preventive diets. People with high blood fat (cholesterol and/or triglycerides) or hypertension may consume corn in a daily diet with portion control.
Suitable For Biofortification
In addition, corn is a product that can be enriched in terms of nutrient content. The deficiencies in some minerals, such as iron and zinc, can be targeted for biofortification.
Protein enrichment of corn (quality protein maize) with specific gene modification for increasing the protein intake of children at risk for nutritional deficiencies. This corn type has twice as many lysine and tryptophan amino acids as ordinary corn. This is important for many children in rural areas, for growth and development, or for vegan or vegetarian people to have an adequate protein intake.
Is Corn Healthy?
This is the most discussed part of the corn controversy. Surely, corn-based products contain high fructose corn syrup or processed corn-based foods, cereals, or snacks, which is unhealthy and may lead to many diseases.
However, when it comes to genetic modification in corn production, we need to read more. First, there are several reasons behind genetically modified foods: stability, durability, increasing nutrients, repelling harmful insects and bacteria, and increasing the yield for population needs.
Still, genetic modification is new, so we need more knowledge about the health effects of these applications and further studies about genetic modification in foods are required. However, we still need to acknowledge that there are too many people in the world who need access reach sustainable, nutritious, and cheap foods. If you are concerned with uncertainties, keep up with science and any novel scientific developments.
The Bottom Line
Your nutrition shouldn’t have strict boundaries, but there are some guidelines you should follow in your diet. Consuming corn in moderation can be a good option for a weight loss diet as corn is a low-fat, low-calorie, plant-based, fiber-rich food product. The corn variety you prefer will determine its health effects.
Corns that include high starch (amylose) or high phenolic compounds (such as purple corn) are better to consume in your diet than consuming sweet corn. Also, the harmful effects of high fructose corn syrup in processed foods are obvious and not recommended for any diet.
+ 15 sources
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