Is Corn Bad for Diabetes? Is It High in Carbs?

As a doctor, I can tell you that corn is a moderately safe food for diabetics. It’s important to consume it at controlled limits to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Corn is a great source of energy-supplying nutrients and an immediate source of carbohydrates for the body.

It also contains many vital nutrients that keep the body’s functions and organs in good health. One of the best qualities of corn is that it is very low in fats, which is crucial for diabetic patients to maintain a healthy weight and keep the heart healthy. Additionally, corn is also lower in calories, making it a good snacking option for diabetics.

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Corn also has good amounts of fiber that help balance out the sugar portions, which helps to control the release of sugars into the bloodstream and maintain normal blood sugar levels. However, it’s worth mentioning that sweet corn should be consumed with caution as it contains some sugar. It’s always best to consult with a doctor to determine how much corn is safe for you to consume based on your current diabetic conditions.

Let us delve deeper into this discussion.

Is corn high in carbs?

Is corn high in carbs

No, corn has a medium amount of carbohydrates. Until now, we talked and clarified how corn is safe for diabetic consumption. We also had a look at its sugar levels according to the glycemic index and glycemic load.

But let us now closely look at how much carbohydrates corn contains.

A medium corn cob accounts for around 100 g – 102 g of corn. One hundred grams of corn contains around 17 grams of carbs.

These 17 grams of carbohydrates are made up of 2 grams of dietary fiber and around 6.26 grams of sugar.

This is a medium amount of carbs in a food. Hence, the total quantity of corn consumed must be kept moderate.

Let us have a look at the total nutritional composition of corn.

Does corn raise your blood sugar levels?

Corn is said to be a healthy starchy vegetable. It is sweet and has sugars, but it is also high in other vitamins, minerals, and fiber that manage the overall sugar levels.

Corns, although they contain sugar, are low in glycemic index and glycemic load. That is what proves that it is safe for consumption by diabetic patients.

The glycemic index is the measure of how the sugars in a particular food affect the body. This is a very effective way to predict how one’s diabetic health will respond to the consumption of that particular food.

The glycemic load of food is measured on a 0 to 100 rating scale. It is then ranked as per its sugar contents into safe, moderately safe, or unsafe for being consumed by diabetic patients.

The following table shows how glycemic index categories are classified:

Sl. No. Glycemic Index categoriesGlycemic Index ranges
1.Low Glycemic Index (safe for diabetics) 0 to 55
2.Medium Glycemic Index (safe when taken within moderate quantities)55  to 69
3.High Glycemic Index (unsafe for diabetics)From 70 and above

Now, you must be thinking about what the glycemic index of corn is. Well, fortunately, it has a low and safe glycemic index of 52. From the above table, it will be clear that corn falls under the low glycemic range and is fit for diabetic consumption.

This shows that corn does not have any spiking effects on blood sugar levels.

Along with keeping a check on the glycemic index, the glycemic load of food is also a great way to ensure that you include foods that do not affect your diabetic levels as much.

The glycemic load of foods focuses on the effects of a specific portion of the food will have on your body. This is often more accurate as it takes into consideration the quantities of items consumed.

Like the Glycemic index, Glycemic load is measured on a scale and then classified as safe, unsafe, or moderately safe for diabetic patients.

The glycemic load categories are as follows:

Sl. No. Glycemic Load categoriesGlycemic Index ranges
1.Low Glycemic load (safe for diabetics) 0 to 10
2.Medium Glycemic load (safe when taken within moderate quantities)11  to 19
3.High Glycemic load (unsafe for diabetics)From 20 and above

The glycemic load of one medium cob of corn is 15. This shows that it is under the medium glycemic load category.

Thus, relating to our previous explanation of why diabetics must be including corn in moderate quantities in their diets to prevent any risks or high blood sugar complications.

It must be clear that corn is safe to be had in regulated amounts and will not raise sugar levels when taken in limits.

What are the Nutritional values of corn?

Carbohydrates make up only one small portion of the many macro and micronutrients present in corn. Numerous helpful vitamins and minerals found in corn can help the body maintain healthy overall functioning.

The below table shows the nutritional elements found in 100 grams of corn:

Sl. No.Nutrients in 100 grams of cornAmount available
1.Calories86
2.Carbohydrates17 g
3.Proteins3.27 g
4.Fats1.35 g
5.Water76.05 g
6.Cholesterol0 mg
7.Magnesium37 mg
8.Potassium270 mg
9.Manganese0.163 mg
10.Phosphorus89 mg
11.Zinc0.46 mg
12.Choline23 mg
13.Iron0.52 mg
14.Copper0.054 mg
15.Sodium15 mg
16.Selenium0.6 µg µg
17.Calcium2 mg
18.Vitamin C6.8 mg
19.Vitamin A187 IU
20.Folate42 µg
21.Vitamin B10.155 mg
22.Vitamin B50.717 mg
23.Vitamin B31.77 mg
24.Vitamin B60.093 mg
25.Vitamin B20.055 mg
26.Vitamin K0.3 µg
27.Vitamin E0.07 mg

Therefore, corn is filled with nourishing properties that can have several advantages on health. But can there be any disadvantages to eating corn?

What are the disadvantages of eating corn?

There are certain things that you must be careful of. Corn can have some side effects such as –

  • Excess eating of corn can cause issues like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. These effects are usually seen in people with sensitive digestive systems.
  • Corn can often be genetically modified, which strips it of its good nutrients.
  • Corn syrups can be harmful to diabetic health.

What happens if we eat sweet corn daily?

Having sweet corn daily can boost your health in many ways. It can have the following benefits:

  • Corn is enriched with fiber and can keep the metabolism healthy and functional. It can also reduce the occurrence of constipation and stomach issues.
  • Eating sweet corn can also aid in preventing anemia as it is a good resource of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid.
  • Corn has many bioflavonoids and carotenoids that improve the cholesterol levels of the body. It is also good for decreasing the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
  • Corn has omega-three fatty acids that maintain heart health. It is known to prevent risks of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Vitamin A is also richly available in corn. This can benefit the vision as well.
  • Corn is also said to improve blood circulation to the skin and scalp. This results in healthy hair and prevents premature skin aging.

References

  1. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/39/1/25/4691041
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17441692.2012.736257
  3. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajprenal.00106.2012
  4. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0079823
  5. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-011-0274-4
  6. https://synapse.koreamed.org/upload/SynapseData/PDFData/0161nrp/nrp-9-22.pdf
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352385918300355
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5983097/
  9. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/4/4/464.short
  10. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168822718316310
Dr Sharon Baisil MD
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