Corn Sensitivity Food Guide
If you have a corn allergy or sensitivity and you need to avoid corn, one thing you HAVE to do is read the ingredients list on EVERYTHING you eat.
As someone who regularly works with corn allergy suffers, I’ve got to warn you…corn is everywhere! You can find corn in anything from medications to food to beauty products.
The hardest thing about finding corn on an ingredients list is that it is not always listed as simply as ‘corn’ – in fact, corn can be listed under many different names.
I have seen many patients who think they are avoiding corn and are still having allergy or sensitivity symptoms. As I look at what these patients are eating, I can usually find that there are foods, medications or supplements they are consuming that do in fact contain corn.
Upon removing these foods, these patients feel much better. Here is what is really important to understand: because corn is found in so many products, under a wide variety of names, it is very easy to ingest corn without knowing.
The list provided in this post contains ingredients and food items that may be derived from corn, the ingredients may also be derived from other sources. If you need to avoid corn, and these ingredients are listed in what you are eating, you need to call the food or drug manufacturer to ask if the ingredient in question is derived from corn. The list is not all inclusive, but it is very comprehensive – making it a good place to start.
If you’ve scanned the ridiculously long list below, you may be wondering WHY corn is EVERYWHERE. The truth is that corn is a super cheap material (largely because it is a genetically modified crop – more on that later) and it’s very versatile so it has a variety of uses.
Ingredients and food items that may be derived from corn*:
Blended sugar (sugaridextrose)
Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)
Calcium stearoyl lactylate
Caramel and caramel color
Citrus cloud emulsion (CCS)
Coco glycerides cocoglycerides
Corn alcohol, corn gluten
Corn oil, corn oil margarine
Corn sweetener, corn sugar
Corn syrup, corn syrup solids
Corn, popcorn, cornmeal
Dextrose (found in IV solutions)
Dextrose anything (such as monohydrate or anhydrous)
Distilled white vinegar
Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose syrup (also found in IV solutions)
High fructose corn syrup
Hydrolyzed corn protein
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose pthalate -HPMCP
Invert syrup or Invert sugar
Malt syrup from corn (barley malt ok)
Malt, malt extract
Modified cellulose gum
Modified corn starch
Modified food starch
Molasses (corn syrup may be present; know your foods)
Mono and di glycerides
Polylactic acid (PLA)
Polysorbates (e.g. Polysorbate 80)
Propylene glycol monostearate
Salt (iodized salt)
Semolina (unless from wheat)
Sodium starch glycolate
Sodium stearoyl fumarate
Sorghum (syrup /grain can be mixed with corn)
Starch (any kind not specified)
Sugar (not identified as
cane or beet)
Tocopherol (vitamin E)
Treacle (aka golden syrup)
Vanilla, natural flavoring
Vanilla, pure or extract
Vegetable anything not specific
Vinegar, distilled white
Vitamin C and Vitamin E
If this list has you feeling overwhelmed, there are three things you can do to make this process less of a chore:
- Meet with a registered dietitian (who specializes in food allergies or sensitivities) for additional guidance and support. I design personalized grocery store tours for my patients, and the ones on restricted diets find the tours to be very helpful. Why spend two or three hours perusing grocery store shelves if there is an expert who can guide you along on a tour?
- Clean up your diet. Many of the ingredients derived from corn are found in processed foods. If you can take these out of your diet….voila! There goes a lot of the corn you were consuming. Getting rid of processed foods also means less label reading – because whole foods (or foods that come from the earth and are minimally processed at best) will not contain added ingredients. When trying to consume more whole foods, think in the direction of fruits, veggies, whole grains and high quality meat and poultry. Speaking of high quality meat – if you are sensitive to or allergic to corn, it may help to alleviate symptoms if you consume meat from grass-fed cows. Many cows are fed corn, and it is possible for someone who is highly sensitive to corn to react to beef from a corn fed cow.
- Do not forget to check your medications and supplements. NEVER stop taking a prescription medication without your doctor’s permission. If you are taking any type of medication with corn, you may be able to have it compounded at your local compounding pharmacy. When a medication is compounded, the offending ingredient (in this case corn) is removed. This can be expensive, so be sure to check with the pharmacy on the pricing of the compounded medication to make sure it fits in your budget. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe a similar medication that is manufactured corn free. Oh…and here’s a (not so) fun fact – vitamin C is almost ALWAYS derived from corn! So if you have a corn allergy, and take a multivitamin, or a vitamin C supplement, you could be ingesting corn.
*This might make things easier for some of you – it’s my personal opinion based on my clinical experience – if you need to avoid corn and it is in your beauty products and you do NOT have skin issues, it may not be an issue for you when applied to the skin. However, I would encourage everyone who has been diagnosed with an allergy to sensitivity to corn to be really intentional about not ingesting corn.