Is Corn Good for Diabetes
Nutrition

Corn and Diabetes: Everything You Need to Know

Diabetes is a chronic disease. In diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce insulin, or the body cannot use the insulin produced by the pancreas. Insulin is an essential hormone that allows us to use glucose from our food to produce energy. Carbohydrate food consumed by us is broken into glucose. Insulin helps in getting glucose into our blood cells.

Diabetes can be majorly controlled with good food habits. The experts prefer some food items as beneficial for patient with diabetes.

For a person with diabetes, the glycemic index is a guide to select food for their consumption. The glycemic index of a food item is a classification of the carbohydrate content of the food. Food with a high glycemic index can raise your blood sugar level.

For people with diabetes, a food with a glycemic index of more than 70 is strictly not advisable.

Is corn good for diabetes? Does corn help in treating diabetes? Continue reading to find out.

Research on Sweet Corn for Diabetics

Many pieces of research have been conducted in the past to determine whether ‘is corn good for diabetes’ or not. According to the latest studies, people with diabetes can maintain better and healthy glucose levels in their bodies through regular corn consumption. According to the studies, corn oil and sweet corn can control insulin levels, reduce cholesterol levels, and enhance the blood flow in the body. Thus the most asked query, ‘is sweet corn good for diabetes,’ receives a resounding yes. In fact, corn is good for diabetes and cholesterol patients.

Sweet corn contains starch, which aids in constituent digestion delays and creates energy. Corn also contains certain phytochemicals that help lower insulin absorption in the body, thereby controlling sudden drops and spikes in blood glucose levels. So overall, sweet corn is good for diabetes.

Can Diabetics Eat Corn

Maize is the highest producing grain globally, and sweet corn is its most popular variety. Hence, it is crucially important to understand if sweet corn is good for diabetes.

The answer to the above question is yes. The following points shall help in understanding the same:

  • Sweet corn is low in carbohydrates and has a high fibre content.
  • Starch is present in high quantities in sweet corn. That helps slow down digestion speed, thereby preventing a sudden spike in blood level, which is dangerous for people with diabetes patients.
  • Phytochemicals found in sweet corn do not allow insulin to be absorbed in the body. This helps in preventing rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
  • A strong antioxidant called polyphenol is liberally found in sweet corn. Experts suggest that the presence of polyphenol in sweet corn works as a prevention for type 2 diabetes.
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Glycemic Index of Corn

You can quickly determine whether corn good for diabetes by checking its glycemic index. The GI determines how food affects blood glucose levels. Food items with GI from 56 to 69 are considered medium, and anything less than 55 score is considered low GI. Food items with a GI of 70 and above can increase blood sugar levels, so they should be consumed with caution. The corn glycemic index is 52.

If you eat food items that are also made directly from corn, 

  • Corn tortilla - 46
  • Popcorn - 65
  • Cornflakes - 81

People with diabetes should have a special focus on low-GI food items. You’ll have excess blood glucose if your body doesn’t produce the required insulin quantity. High-GI food items release glucose quickly, and low-GI food tends to release glucose slowly and steadily, helping control blood sugar levels. The GI scale is from a scale of 0 to 100, wherein 100 stands for pure glucose.    

Glycemic Load of Corn

For the uninitiated, glycemic load is a simple and effective measure that considers the carbohydrate in a portion of food and how quickly they can raise blood sugar levels. The glycemic load is 15 for a medium ear of corn. Determining whether ‘is corn high in sugar’ becomes easy by checking the glycemic load.    

Is it Better to Eat Fresh Corn, Frozen Corn, or Canned Corn?

Although it is always best to eat fresh corn, you can choose a frozen option when fresh produce isn’t available. Frozen corn is the second best alternative to fresh corn since it retains most of the nutritional profile while being frozen. Canned corn, on the other hand, isn’t as nutritious as fresh and frozen versions because preservatives and sugar make their way into canned corn. If you were wondering, ‘does sweet corn increase blood sugar,’ the answer is no, provided you consume it in moderation. If you know someone who has diabetes and was thinking, can diabetics eat corn, the answer to this question is also yes. Try to pick fresh or frozen corn instead of canned corn to enjoy its nutritional benefits.

Does Sweet Corn Increase Blood Sugar?

Is corn bad diabetics? Well, you wouldn’t know if you aren’t aware of its sugar content and whether it can result in blood sugar spikes. Sweet corn contains natural sugar, so it should be consumed in moderation to prevent any instances of blood sugar rise. It generally contains high quantities of polyphenols, an antioxidant that is defensive against type 2 diabetes. Regular consumption of corn at moderate levels will help you reduce your existing risk of type 2 diabetes, but overconsumption of sweet corn can increase blood sugar spike. So if you were thinking, ‘is sweet corn good for type 2 diabetes,’ the answer is yes, but it will depend entirely on your consumption levels. So always put a limit on your corn consumption for the best results.  

Nutritional Profile of Sweet Corn

If you consume 100 grams of sweet corn, you will get carbohydrates of 19.02 gms, proteins of 3.2 gms, and fat of 1.18 gms which is pretty low and therefore not harmful for people with diabetes. 

The table below gives you the nutritional component of corn:

Carbohydrates 19.02 g
Sugar 3.22 g
Dietary fibre 2.7 g
Protein 3.2 g
Water 75.96 g
Vitamin A 9 ug
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) 0.200 mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3) 1.700 mg
Folate (Vitamin B9) 46 ug
Vitamin c 6.8 mg
Iron 0.52 mg
Magnesium 37 mg
Potassium 270 mg
Choline 23 mg
Phosphorus 89 mg
Manganese 0.163 mg
Zinc 0.46 mg
Calcium 2 mg

Benefits of Corn in Diabetes

Corn is a moderately safe and can be included as a part of a Diabetes friendly Diet as long as the portions are controlled. Consuming Corn in recommended quantities allows you to enjoy the multiple brilliant nutrient benefits of eating corn.

Some of the benefits of corn for people with diabetes are as follows:

1. Low Fat

This is one of the best qualities of corn that works for people with diabetes. Low-fat contents help keep the body weight under control which is an area of concern for people with diabetes. Being a low-fat food, it does not harm the heart as well.

2. Low Calorie

Corns contain low levels of calories; hence, they are a good snacking option for people with diabetes.

3. High Fibre

The presence of fibre contents in corn helps control the release of sugar in the bloodstream. Therefore, it helps in keeping the blood sugar under control.

4. Prevents Cancer

Consumption of corn encourages the growth of certain good bacteria, which prevents a body from colon cancer.

5. Improves Eye Health

Corns contain antioxidants called zeaxanthin and lutein, which helps prevent degeneration of the eyes.

Does sweet corn increase blood sugar?

Sweet corn is often considered moderately safe for a person with diabetes as it offers an ample amount of energy and nutrients. Low levels of sodium and fat can also prove to be beneficial for a person living with T1D or T2D. However, it would be important for each person to set a limit to the number of carbs that are consumed in a day. The same rule applies to corn for diabetes. Sweet corn has high sugar content since it is formed as a result of a mutation of genes that converts sugar into starch. It is rich in dietary fiber and has a good ratio of insoluble to soluble fibers. 

The nutritional profile of average-sized sweet corn would contain approximately 17 grams of carbs, 77 calories, 2.9 grams of sugar, and several other vitamins and minerals that are helpful for a person’s well-being and nutrition. Starch and sugars are high in corn (corn glycemic index value – 52), therefore, if a person with diabetes wants to consume corn, they must do so with proper portion control and in moderate amounts. To answer ‘is corn good for diabetes?’ pairing it with other high-protein or fatty foods can help regulate blood sugars better.

Effect Of Corn on  Blood Sugar Levels

  • Corn has a Glycemic Index of 52 and a Glycemic Load of 15, categorizing it as a food with moderate glycaemic response which means its ability to increase blood sugar is neither too high nor too low but somewhere in between.
  • Corn contains phenolic compounds like Flavonoids that when consumed help in reducing the risk of Diabetes, while also keeping a check on lifestyle disorders like HTN, Diabetes, Obesity and atherosclerosis.
  • Consuming approx 1 tablespoon of Corn acts as resistant starch which moderates and slows down the responses of carbohydrates and insulin.

In a study conducted on a group of individuals having Insulin Resistance, it was seen that those individuals who consumed Corn, had a significant improvement in their gastro-intestinal health.

Five Minute Expert Recipe

Garden-Fresh Corn Salad

Ingredients :

  • Fresh or Frozen Corn : 1 Cup
  • Veggies (1 nos. each) : Onion, Tomato, Bell Peppers, Carrot, Ginger, Chilly (optional)
  • Lemon Juice : 2 Tablespoons
  • Seasoning : Pinch of Salt, Pepper, Cumin Powder (Jeera) and Red Chilly Powder (optional)
  • Toppings (Garnish) : Fresh Coriander and Mint Leaves.
  • Other Raw and Cooked Veggies with a Low Glycemic Index (less than 55)  : Broccoli (10), Cabbage (10), Lettuce (10), Mushrooms (10), Spinach (15), Zucchini (15), Cucumber (15), Bean Sprouts (25) and Fresh Peas (48).

Ingredients for Garden-Fresh Corn Salad

Preparation :

  • Boil the Sweet Corn with lots of water till kernels become soft.
  • Drain the water completely and set aside.
  • Finely Chop 1 Onion, 1 Tomato, 1 Bell Pepper, 1 Chilly (optional), Coriander and Mint leaves
  • Grate 1 medium sized Carrot and 1/2 inch of Ginger
  • Add the boiled corn and all vegetables except the garnish into a big salad bowl.
  • Add in a pinch of Salt, Cumin Powder (Jeera), Red Chilly Powder (optional) as per taste.
  • Add in 2 Tbsps of lemon juice.
  • Mix all contents well and top it off with fresh coriander or mint leaves.

Your healthy, wholesome and mouth watering Garden-Fresh Corn Salad is now ready.

Expert Tip

  1. As much as possible, try and use fresh corn that's still on the cob, instead of the frozen bags from the supermarket. Freshly harvested corn has the sweetest, most delicious flavor that diminishes with time.
  2. Struggling to get the corn kernels off the cob? Try this-Lay the corn down on the cutting board. Slice off a strip of kernels lengthwise with a sharp knife, rotate so the flat side is against the cutting board, and repeat as necessary.
  3. Love barbecues? For a smoky flavor, grill your corn instead of boiling it.
  4. Step-up your veggie game. In addition to the raw veggies, double the benefits and include other boiled /cooked Low GI vegetables. Raid the fridge for your favourite veggies and boil or cook them in the same utensil alongside the corn. This not only makes the meal more wholesome, but also helps in reducing the Glycemic Index (GI).

Bottomline

Corn is a versatile vegetable with many beneficial nutrients, even for people with diabetes. Although it can spike glucose levels, the other advantages like being rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre plus having low fat, sodium and zero cholesterol outweighs the risks if you keep a check on the quantity of corn you are consuming.

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FAQs

Is corn good for diabetes

Yes, corn has moderate GI and specific valuable contents that help keep the blood sugar under control. Hence, people with diabetes can eat corn.

Can people with Diabetes eat Sweet Corn?

Yes, people with diabetes can eat sweet corn as it is full of minerals and nutrients that help keep the blood sugar in check. However, sweet corn has a high level of natural sugar; hence, a person with diabetes should have it in moderate quantities.

Are Corn Flakes Good for Diabetes?

Not at all. Corn flakes have a glycemic index of 82 which is far above acceptable limits for people with diabetes. It is advisable for people with diabetes do not to consume corn flakes.

Is Corn Flour Good for Diabetes?

Corn flour has a high glycemic index and high carbohydrate content, making cornflour a wrong food choice for people with diabetes.

What are the Disadvantages of eating Corn?

Consumption of corn may lead to bloating and diarrhoea. Hence, a person with a weak digestive system should go slow in eating corn.

How much Sweet Corn be consumed every day?

In diabetes, it is not recommended to consume more than 10 grams of Corn in a day. This can be by either consuming a half-cup serving of cooked or boiled corn (10-15 grams of Carbs) OR one cup of air-popped popcorn (6 grams of Carbs)

Are there any side effects of eating Sweet Corn?

Overconsumption may spike the Blood glucose levels. Consider the amount and form in which it is going to be consumed.

Is Sweet Corn good for weight loss?

Sweet Corn has an award winning combination of nutrients which make it High in Carotenoids & Fibre, Low in Fat and most importantly-Zero Cholesterol. Hence, Corn consumed in moderate amounts can be beneficial for Weight Loss, Gastrointestinal and Heart health.

Is Sweet Corn Good for Type 2 Diabetes?

Yes, sweet corn is good for type 2 diabetes patients. Fresh and unpackaged corn is a rich source of nutrients and energy, so you cannot go wrong with this delicious food item. However, try to avoid overindulge in sweet corn because of its natural sugars. Excess consumption may influence your blood sugar levels.

Can Diabetics Eat Corn?

Yes, diabetics can eat corn. Natural and fresh corn is full of minerals and nutrients that do an excellent job of keeping your blood sugar in check. But since it contains natural sugar, ensure you don’t overconsume corn to prevent any sudden blood sugar rise. People with diabetes should consult their dietician or doctor on the maximum quantity they can have in a single day.

Is Corn Bad for Diabetics?

No, corn is not bad for diabetics. Fresh corn is a source of energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is also low in fat and sodium, making it safe for consumption. However, it contains slightly higher carbohydrates than other starchy vegetables, so be mindful of the portions to avoid any unwanted blood sugar spikes.

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