Whenever there are digestive concerns, the first line therapy diet protocol is gluten-free, dairy free, sugar free, whole foods in their natural state with minimal processing and organic if possible.
Gluten is the protein molecule in grain that some people have an auto-immune reaction to, or they are sensitive to it, which means they do not digest it very well.
Casein is the protein molecule in dairy. The molecular structure of casein is similar to the molecular structure of gluten. If the body is having trouble digesting gluten, it can easily mistake casein for gluten and not process it properly.
Keep in mind, the problem is not the food. The problem is how the body is (or is not) processing the food.
Having said that, when a food is in its whole natural state, it contains all the nutrients (in the right balance) necessary to digest that food. One of the reasons gluten and casein are so difficult to digest is because these molecules have been isolated and added to many processed foods that have become a staple in our diet and are consumed daily. When we eat too much of one food, and especially when we regularly eat a food that has extra gluten or casein added to it, the food does not contain all the nutrients required to digest it properly. Eventually the body runs out of stored nutrients to process it, and digestive symptoms are experienced such as gas, bloating, constipation, loose stools, and eventually, weight gain.
However, many people eliminate gluten from their diet and still experience digestive problems or their weight still does not want to budge. WHY?
One of the reasons is corn. Processed corn is found in many processed foods because it is cheap. It is also found in many gluten-free foods because it does not contain gluten. You will find it in the form of starch as a filler, as a sweetener, and an oil. Below are some of the many different names of corn you will find on food labels. The list is extensive, so this is just a sampling of the more common names, but it gives you the idea.
|Corn meal||Corn syrup (solids) (HFCS)||Corn oil|
|Corn starch||High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)||Vegetable oil|
|Vegetable starch||Dextrose (HFCS)||Ethanol|
|Vegetable gum||Glucose (HFCS)||Free fatty acids|
|Food starch||Fructose (HFCS)|
|Maltodextrin*||Corn Sweetener/Sugar (HFCS)|
|Dextrins||Crystalline Fructose (HFCS)|
|Zein (corn protein)||Glycerin (can be corn based)|
*Maltodextrin can be made from corn, rice, potato, wheat or tapioca. If the label does not specify which type has been used, it likely is wheat or corn but you do not know for sure unless you contact the company. Tapioca starch is the easiest to digest, which is what I look for. Most companies who use tapioca starch specify the type of starch used on the label.
Where You Will Find Corn in the Products You Eat
The list of common food products and additives that are corn based is extensive. Below is a short list to illustrate where corn is found in products perceived to be healthy.
On the Member’s Portal, you will find a chart entitled Corn Products and Derivatives List prepared by the Institute of Responsible Technology which provides a much more exhaustive list. as you will see, corn can be found in everything, which is why it is so important to carefully choose which products to use from grated cheese to cough syrup.
|TYPE OF PRODUCT||EXAMPLE INGREDIENT LIST
(corn-based ingredients in red)
|Baked goods, especially gluten-free breads and pizza crusts
You might think that a cauliflower pizza crust is healthier, but I haven’t found one yet without corn starch. If you have identified you are bloated after eating corn starch, you will likely find potato starch and arrowroot starch/flour make you feel the same way, which is why I choose to avoid all three.
|Caulipower Pizza Crust
Cauliflower, Brown Rice Flour, Rice Flour, Water, Corn Starch, Tapioca Starch, Sunflower Oil, Eggs, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sugar, Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Xanthan Gum, Yeast, Vinegar, Salt. Contains: Egg.
|Chips and Tortilla Chips
When I stopped eating regular potato and corn chips, I switched to these rice chips which I loved. I thought I was eating healthy, but weight loss was still a struggle until I figured out the corn connection. There are few “chip” products available that are corn free but more options are starting to pop up on grocery store shelves such as Real Coconut Grain Free Tortilla Chips which can be found at Sobeys.
|Lundberg Rice Chips
Ingredients: *Parboiled Brown Rice, Expeller Pressed Sunflower Safflower Oil Blend, *Parboiled Brown Rice Flour, *White Rice Flour, *White Corn Flour, *Sesame Seeds, Sea Salt, Salt.
|Dairy Products, especially Low Fat
Fat is where the flavour is, therefore, low fat products tend to have several fillers and additives to make them taste good so there is more opportunity for corn-based products to be incorporated.
|Gay Lea Low Fat Sour Cream
Milk, modified milk ingredients, modified corn starch, propylene glycol mono fatty acid ester, pectin, colour, sodium phosphate, cellulose gel, carrageen, cellulose gum, bacterial culture
|Baking Powder and Baking Soda
Changing to a corn free baking powder/soda was one of the best changes I made to reduce frustration. When you are eating something that you think is healthy and are still feeling bloated, it is extremely frustrating. This is a small change, but the impact it had on me was huge.
|The brand I use now for both baking powder and baking soda is Purest. It is aluminium, corn and wheat free.|
Many people have a hard time staying consistent with their supplements. Perhaps it is not them. As you can see, several corn-based ingredients can be found in supplements. When we notice we feel better when we take something, it is easier to establish the habit of taking it. If something is not agreeing with us, we may subconsciously stop taking it. Afterall, our body does know best. Check your supplement labels. It is almost impossible to eliminate all corn-based products from your supplements, but at least if you are aware of it, you can control the amount you are consuming and choose products with the least amount.
|Centrum Woment 50+
Acacia, BHT, calcium stearate, carmine, citric acid, corn starch, crospovidone, FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake, gelatin, glucose syrup, Hypromellose, magnesium stearate, maltodextrin, medium chain triglycerides, microcrystalline cellulose, modified food starch, polydextrose, silicon dioxide, sodium ascorbate, sucrose, talc, tartaric acid, titanium dioxide, and trisodium citrate.
Eating clean while eating out is challenging for so many reasons but the most obvious ones are the amount of sodium and preservatives used. However, it certainly is a lot easier to select healthier choices today than it was 20 years ago.
I usually look for restaurants that offer gluten and/or dairy-free options as the food tends to be better quality and have less additives. Avoiding corn can be more challenging, but Ashley has found some great options for her at Cynthia’s Chinese Restaurant and Hey Caramba. The more questions you are willing to ask while dining out, the more possibilities you will find.
|Cynthia’s Chinese Restaurant, Newmarket – menu identifies gluten-free dishes; you can ask which dishes are corn-free.
Ashley has found many Mexican restaurants in the area will do tacos or tostadas in lettuce wraps. The owner of
Hey Caramba has been particularly helpful with providing modification recommendations.
A Note About High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
If you were to avoid only one type of refined sugar, High-Fructose Corn Syrup would be the one to avoid. The different names of high-fructose corn syrup are marked on the chart above with ((HFCS).
Until the 1970s, almost all sweeteners came from sugar beets or sugar cane and it was referred to as sugar or sucrose. Sucrose is a blend of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
In the 1970s, high fructose corn syrup was introduced, which, depending on the blend, can range from 42 to 80% fructose. Because it is cheaper, 50 percent of today’s processed sugar comes from corn.
Why is this important?
Glucose and fructose are both simple sugars but they are metabolized differently.
The Difference between Glucose and Fructose
After you eat and blood glucose levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin, which is the hormone responsible for moving glucose from the bloodstream into the cells to be used for energy. If the body has enough energy, the excess is stored as fat.
Eating glucose releases the hormone insulin and leptin, which tells the body to stop eating.
Fructose is rapidly metabolized in the liver and is rarely converted to glucose unless it is needed, which means almost all fructose is stored as fat.
Eating fructose releases the hormone ghrelin, which tells the body to keep eating because it is hungry.