Corn Is Technically a Grain, But Look Out For the Sugar
Corn is a high-carbohydrate food with lots of fiber (nearly 5 grams per cup of cooked kernels), some protein, B vitamins (notably thiamin and folate), a little vitamin C, and a handful of minerals (such as potassium, iron, and magnesium). Treating corn with lime (as is done with tortillas) make certain amino acids and the B vitamin, niacin more available to the body. But as a starchy vegetable (not), corn contains more than most other vegetables—about 110 calories in a medium–sized ear, or 175 calories in a cup of cooked kernels.
Yellow and white corn are similar nutritionally, except that yellow corn is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin—carotenoids that may help keep eyes healthy and possibly protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Yellow corn also contains some beta carotene; white has none.
Corn should be kept cool and eaten as soon as possible—the sugar in starch gets converted to starch more quickly at warm temperatures. Boil, grill or steam corn. Don’t add salt to the boiling water, because salt toughens the kernels. Instead of butter, try rubbing with wedges of lemon or lime. Instead of salt, sprinkle with cayenne, dill or other spices and herbs.
Corn sweeteners, widely found in soft drinks and other processed foods are another source of sugar. High-fructose corn syrup, in particular, may raise triglycerides and have other negative health effects. Much of my research points to the development of HFCS as the trigger that set this country on a path leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes—back in the late 60s. Today you would be hard-pressed to find baked goods, candy, gum, bread and even pickled herring without reading high-fructose corn syrup in the ingredients. Some products only indicate corn syrup, but it is not the friend of those with diabetes or weight problems. When you go to a restaurant, you may want to ask for a substitute for corn - in the form of peas, green beans or mixed vegetables. Mediterranean vegetables are preferable to eating corn. I always get the substitute and appreciate the Greek restaurant owner’s willingness to allow for a healthier choice. Even the natural sugar alcohol called Xylitol is now being made from corn sources. You may need to bring a small magnifier to read these ingredients and then look out for the hidden sources of sugar.
Sugar is a major enemy to the health of young people and those already losing limbs, eyesight and suffering immune problems. Those schools removing their vending machines are finding fewer discipline problems, more focused students and their parents are not filling prescriptions for Ritalin. Over active children do not need mega doses of processed sugar—they are usually very active without any chemical additives.