Dreaded corn as a healthy snack

Dreaded corn as a healthy snack

There has always been some kind of controversy around corn. Women try to stay away from it because of its high-calorie content, some believe it´s fattening because pigs get fed by it, and then there´s this whole GMO dispute about the possible negative effects of genetically modified organisms on human health. There is something true in each of these claims and we will now unravel the truth about the popular myths you have probably heard about corn and show you it is not always the best idea to believe everything you hear.

Corn brings health to your skinny body

Half a cup of corn has only 63 kcal, including 14g or carbohydrate. Surprised? It´s because majority of people never look it up on the Internet and just assume that corn is unhealthy and high-calorie and because it´s starchy, it must be full of bad carbs we should avoid. Compared to oatmeal with its 150 kcal for half a cup and 27g of carbohydrates though, corn is actually twice as good for you as oatmeal if you want to lose weight. You can put it in a salad for breakfast instead of your usual porridge or eat it in a sandwich any time of the day as a healthy snack.
Corn is almost fat-free, containing less than 1g of fat per serving which is great for your weight-loss efforts. It is also a great source of vitamin B spectrum, especially B6 which in one serving provides a whopping 31% of your recommended daily intake. B6 is a very important vitamin, not frequently talked about though. It is necessary for brain development, it boosts immune system, and by releasing serotonin and norepinephrine, it helps with mood swings, for example it will help you focus and sleep better when stressed out. The same is ensured by a large amount of magnesium in corn – 32% or RDA. It is also rich in iron and zinc and acts like a natural antioxidant. A 2002 study by Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found out a very interesting feature about corn preparation, that is when corn is cooked for 25 min at 115°C, the antioxidant properties increase by 44%!!!

What about GMO corn?

Hopefully, we have convinced you that there is nothing wrong with eating corn, whether you´re a model, an athlete, or an office worker. The only problem with corn that may arise is when it´s genetically modified. The public hatred of corn started basically somewhere in the 2000s, especially after the release of a movie “Food, Inc.” It was a documentary about how the U.S. government tightly controls every little aspect of what Americans eat daily. A big part of this movie depicted in detail how corn is being heavily produced to supply all the big manufacturers producing processed foods, but also farmers who started feeding corn to their cattle because it was cheap. One big problem with this is that cows are not designed to eat corn so it makes them ill, and the other part is the well-known genetic modification.
GMO corn is used mainly in the USA and a lot of studies have shown that it can actually lead to cancer. In 2012, the journal of “Food and chemical toxicology” stated that there is evidence for GMO corn relation to developing tumors, however the study was conducted on rats which can never be 100% reliable in relation to humans. The real connection cannot be proven because humans cannot undergo such an experiment for moral reasons, naturally. The obesity studies though show another connection between GMO corn and chronic illnesses due to an over-consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), made of this genetically modified corn in the U.S. and present in almost everything Americans eat. The real problem in the States is that there is still no law that would force producers mark their labels for GMO content, even though HFCS has been linked to raising obesity and diseases related to it like cardio-vascular diseases, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes.

Slovaks can enjoy their corny mouthful

Since there are still some good food-safety laws here in Slovakia, we can be pretty much sure that what we eat won´t kill us. In the case of GMO corn, there are some researchers who already started developing genetically modified corn in Slovakia but the law says if more than 0.9% of the product´s weight represents GM organisms, it has to be stated on the label. Therefore, if you read those carefully, you don´t have to worry, and if you want to lose weight or you just didn´t know about the benefits of corn, add some of it into your diet and just enjoy the taste. It is healthy and delicious.

by Katarína Vicová

Calorie King (2015). Quaker old fashioned oats, dry. Retrieved from: http://www.calorieking.com/foods/calories-in-breakfast-cereals-to-be-cooked-old-fashioned-oats-dry_f-ZmlkPTEwOTk4MA.html
CBS News (2014). Study on genetically modified corn, herbicide and tumors reignites controversy. Retrieved from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-on-genetically-modified-corn-herbicide-and-tumors-reignites-controversy/
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Slovensko bez GMO (2013). Ako sa vyhnúť GMO. Retrieved from: http://www.vsetkoogmo.sk/index.php/slovensko-bez-gmo/ako-sa-vyhnut-gmo
Wolf, N. (2015). Is corn bad for a diet? Retrieved from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/407775-is-corn-bad-for-a-diet/