Is Corn Flour Good for Diabetics? Benefits &Daily Limits

Diabetes is generally a life-long ailment that can occur in any age group. It is characterized by the disorder of the body’s metabolism. It is very crucial to take responsibility to control this chronic condition to ensure a healthy life.

Eating healthy and choosing safe food that matches your diabetic condition is the key way to manage diabetes. But this can often be a hectic task as it is impossible to know all about each food item.

That is the reason why we are here for your assistance. Today we will help you decipher the details of a very common kitchen item – Corn Flour.

Are you wondering …

  • Is corn flour good for diabetics?
  • What are its nutrients and their values?
  • Are there any daily limits for corn flour?
  • Does it have any health benefits?

Well, we will answer all these questions for you.

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But before that, let us begin by knowing what corn flour is.

What is Corn Flour?

What is Corn Flour

Corn flour, also commonly called – corn starch, maize starch, etc., is a major kitchen and cooking ingredient. They are almost related items and often used interchangeably.

Corn flour is a smooth, white, and light, powdery flour derived from corn.

The main purpose is to thicken sauces, soups, gravies, curries, creams, etc.; it is often used in baked goods and many cuisines.

This kind of flour is obtained from the dried corn kernels. It is milled and processed into flour to make it usable for a variety of purposes.

The germ, hull, as well as endosperm of the corn kernel are put to use. Therefore, this flour is remarked to be a whole grain one.

Corn flour is super fine in texture and mixes with any other flour or water easily. It is smoother than wheat flour.

It is generally yellow but can also range in shades of white and off-white depending on the variety of corn used.

It does not have any particular taste as raw flour. But it is mixed with other ingredients to give a texture, smoothness, and sometimes to add in some crunch. After cooking, it adds in an earthy and mildly sweet flavor.

Corn flour adds and maintains structure in food. That is the sole reason for including it in soups, creams, sauces, etc. It helps to provide a smooth, creamy, and thick consistency to foods. It is also used as a primary marinating or coating ingredient.

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This corn flour is used to make – bread, cakes, muffins, pancakes, waffles, ice-creams, etc. it is added to water and made into a slurry to thicken gravies curries, soups, etc. it is also used as a batter to fry, bake, marinate, grill, etc.

But for now, there might be more important questions in your head about this. Let us move on to them.

Is Corn Flour Good for Diabetics?

Is Corn Flour Good for Diabetics

Corn flour has very high carbohydrates and a high Glycemic Index too. Hence, it is not so good for diabetic patients, and it is NOT suitable for their health conditions.

Corn flour or corn starch, as the name suggests, is a starchy and carbohydrate-rich item. And in addition to that, it is filled with simple carbohydrates. Simple sugars are carbohydrates, which also add up as the total carbohydrate in a food.

Dietary fiber, being a complex carbohydrate, is harder to digest. It needs more time and is, therefore, a slowing agent in the process of digestion. But the amount of dietary fiber in corn flour is very minimal.

Fiber’s slowed down digestive functioning assists in keeping the sugars under control. The carbohydrates are absorbed and released slowly and gradually and not suddenly. Thus, avoiding and preventing the risks of any blood sugar spikes.

But corn flour does not support this goodness in the digestive system. In contrast, it does the exact opposite. It can lead to excessive sugar absorption and release in the body, resulting in high blood sugar levels.

This is an important factor for foods to be deemed safe for diabetic consumption. Hence, corn flour is an unhealthy source of nutrients for any diabetic individual. It cannot help keep the body’s sugar levels under control and manage diabetic health conditions.

Moreover, it aids your blood glucose to reach shooting levels. When added to other meals, it adds carbs and increases the meal’s overall carbohydrate and calorie value. This can be harmful to diabetic health.

Corn flour may have certain other benefits for the body and health, but the high carb and calories proportions available color its overall judgment as a good meant for diabetics.

Hence, corn flour intake can induce many diabetes-specific discomforts to your body. A controlled intake of corn flour can be a safer option. We will talk about this controlled amount and its importance later in this article.

In addition to all the above severe effects of corn flour on health, it is also unsafe for the heart. Corn flour has been studied to increase the levels of bad cholesterol or – LDL in the body.

Its lack of fiber also infuriates the chances and risks of developing heart issues. Thus, all in all, corn flour is a ‘no’ for diabetic patients.

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What is the Glycemic Index of Cornflour?

What is the Glycemic Index of Cornflour

According to their glycemic index, the measuring and classification of food is an easy way to ensure good foods for the diabetic body. The ranges varying from 0 to 100 help determine what foods are to be included and what should be avoided in a diabetic diet.

The below table shows the categories of Glycemic Index according to which foods are classified:

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

As we have already discussed, the Glycemic Index of corn flour is on the higher side of the scale, above 70. Thus, making it unsafe for diabetic consumption.

The Glycemic Index of corn flour is – 87. You might be able the effects it can have on your blood sugar levels.

What are the daily limits for Corn Flour?

What are the daily limits for Corn Flour

It has been made clear that the inclusion of corn flour in dishes can make them harmful to health. But there still a definite harmless portion size that can be considered in this matter.

  • For a diabetic patient, a good and safe amount of corn flour in a day is restricted to a tablespoon. It should not be crossed if trying to maintain a good and healthy lifestyle. This is somewhere around 8 to 15 grams of corn flour in a day.
  • It is also recommended not to include corn flour in daily meal ideas or recipes. Baked and other foods that have excess corn flour must be avoided.

It is always a good decision to consult your diabetes expert and doctor to receive the best advice. They know your health better and can deal with as well as suggest better alternatives too.

When it up to keeping diabetes under control, there must not be any risks taken.

Nutritional facts of Cornflour

Nutritional facts of Cornflour

Let us have a quick look at the nutritional composition of corn flour to understand its health profile in a better and closer manner.

The health benefits or harm that food can provide to the body depends entirely on its nutritional elements.

Sl. No.Nutrients found in 1 Tbsp. of CornflourAmount available
1.Calories44
2.Carbohydrates9.1 g
3.Fats0.5 g
4.Proteins1.1 g
5.Fiber1.2 g
6.Calcium16.9 mg
7.Iron0.86 mg
8.Magnesium13.2 mg
9.Phosphorus26.7 mg
10.Zinc0.22 mg
11.Potassium35.7 mg
12.Vitamin B10.17 mcg
13.Vitamin B20.09 mcg
14.Vitamin B31.17 mcg
15.Folate27.9 mcg
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From the above table, you can determine the nutritional profile of cornflour. The nutrients are mostly all lost because of the processing that it has to go under. And so, corn flour adds no nutritional value to your meal.

What are the benefits of eating corn flour?

Well, there are some minor health benefits of eating corn flour too. They are:

  1. It is not so bad when it comes to providing protein to the body. A small amount of corn flour can add some protein to the body.
  1. Derived from corn, which is a naturally good and nourishing item, the corn flour also contains antioxidants. It helps keep the body out of the risk of developing chronic ailments and combats the body’s free-radicals. This is also good to control and reduce inflammation.
  1. Corn is a gluten-free food, and so is corn flour. It is free of gluten, unlike wheat. Thus, people with celiac disorders can use corn flour as a thickener over other flour thickeners. 

Disadvantages of eating cornflour

Disadvantages of eating cornflour

Following are the risks of having corn flour:

  1. It is bad for the heart and cholesterol levels. It causes an increase in the amount of bad cholesterol in the body.
  1. Has excess calories and carbs and, thus, unsuitable for weight loss.
  1. The excess carbohydrate found in it leads to higher diabetic blood sugar levels in the body.

In conclusion, it is best to avoid corn flour by diabetics. Be it a thickener, crunchy coating, dessert, or baked good; special care must be taken when using corn flour.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30619866/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24996358/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7732677/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32908532/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31762024/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31762994/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33088579/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29146347/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32964015/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21733309/
Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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