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Cornstarch: Possible Health Benefits

Cornstarch is a food product obtained by grinding corn kernels into a fine powder. It is a common ingredient used in culinary to thicken, stabilise and blend food items like curries, soups, sauces and stews. Cornstarch is also a popular product in baking and fried foods to add crispness and softness.

Possible Benefits Of Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a highly processed food item. The nutritious portion in corns i.e. bran and germ are mainly removed from the corn kernels to produce cornstarch. This makes it flavourless and low in essential nutrients like fibre. However, the content of carbs and calories remain intact. This is why the benefits of cornstarch are limited.

1. It is gluten-free

Gluten sensitivity is an autoimmune disorder in which a person is sensitive to gluten found in dietary sources like wheat, cereals and barley. As corn is gluten-free, cornstarch obtained is also free of gluten, which makes for a good option for people with celiac diseases or gluten sensitivity. Caution, double-check the gluten count while buying market-based cornstarch as some may contain lower amounts of it.

2. Provides instant energy

When cornstarch is processed, the fibre in them is removed or reduced to obtain a fine powder. With low fibre content, cornstarch easily gets digested by the body providing instant energy. Also, carbs in them fuel your body at a faster rate and provide you with energy.

3. Helps with weight gain

Cornstarch is high in carbohydrates and calories that add to weight gain. One cup (128 g) of cornstarch contains 488 kcal of energy. Therefore, regular consumption of this food item can lead to increased weight. Though cornstarch is safe for weight gain, it shouldn’t be consumed every day as it may increase diabetes risk.

Downsides Of Cornstarch

1. May spike glucose levels

The high carbs, calories and glycemic index of cornstarch can spike glucose levels in the body and increase the risk of diabetes. If you are already a diabetic, it may worsen the symptoms. Also, the low fibre count in the food can process it at a faster rate, thus raising the sugar levels instantly.

2. May cause nutritional deficiency

The lack of many vital nutrients in cornstarch due to high processing can cause nutritional deficiency if not accompanied by other nutrient-dense foods. Therefore, to ensure a well-balanced diet, combine cornstarch with some fibre-rich or low glycemic index foods.

3. May cause heart diseases

Cornstarch is refined carbs which may increase the risk of heart diseases by 10-20 per cent if consumed in large amounts. Also, a high proportion of calories can lead to diabetes-related heart diseases.