I wanted to start a small series about how to read ingredients. Although I suggest eating things without a label and ingredient list on the box or bag (eating whole, unprocessed foods), there are always things that will have a nutrition label and ingredient list like yogurts, cereals, oatmeal packets, etc. These in themselves might not be bad, but when you have a food allergy, knowing what some of those ingredients are can make or break it. I’m going to start off with one of the most diverse, corn.
We’ve come to know and might have read or heard the reports of how much corn is used is everything, not just food. It’s quite remarkable, but something not so great for someone with a food allergy.
One thing I do want to know – If you have a corn allergy, how does it effect you? Is it more physical or emotional?
Just a little curiosity of mine… Moving on. Corn is becoming more and more of an allergen for people because of how much we can be exposed to it. One of the things my doctor asked my mom was if we lived in the country on the farm since most of the children and adults they’ve seen with a severe corn allergy were on a corn farm. Interesting huh?
Names of Corn
This list might not cover all of them, but I’m going to cover the major foods to watch out for and the names corn can be under. Here we go…
- Corn flour, corn meal, corn flakes, etc.
- Can be listed as just starch or vegetable starch – be careful!
- Watch out for baking powder. A lot just stay starch or corn starch, but have found potato starch.
- Corn Oil
- Vegetable Oil, Shortning
- Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup (which also has multiple names)
- Fructose or crystalline fructose
- Sorbitol – artificial sweetener
Other Things to Consider
These are some things other than food, or commonly used in the kitchen, that you might not think about.
- If you need to get a medication and have a severe allergy to corn, make sure the doctor knows so that the medications can be corn-free.
- Cosmetic companies will use corn products as well so make sure to look them up.
- Corn or corn products can also be used in brewing certain beers and fermenting wine.
- Non-stick sprays will sometimes use maltodextrins.
- Imitation flavoring extracts will use dextrose.
- And then of course that lovely “sweet” seal on envelopes. I’m so grateful for the peel and stick kind for so many reasons!
Know Your Labels
It’s so important to know what you are putting in your body. When you eat less processed things and more whole food you can control what you are eating without going crazy reading food labels every time you turn around. But when you do get that delicious pancake mix, cereal, or your favorite condiment you can check the label for some of the major corn products in foods. Some companies will label corn under the “Contains” portion with the other top allergens, but sometimes not.