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Healthy Community Healthy You: Cornstarch – Taste vs Nutrition

By   /  April 30, 2023  /  No Comments


Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough -Cornstarch has a bad reputation but is still so popularly used and consumed. It is an ingredient that thickens soups, sauces, and desserts. Cornstarch is versatile and the answer to many cooking recipes. Other uses include softening baked goods, holding together fruit fillings, and adding crispy coating to meats, vegetables, and crusts. Many people have it in their pantry because it is used for so many purposes. However, as good as it is for cooking, it isn’t so good nutritionally. It is considered a highly processed food that is stripped of all its nutrients.

When it comes to cornstarch in our diet, well, it happens to be high in both calories and carbohydrates. The good nutrients we benefit from and need like protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, are not part of the picture. Although we don’t consume a full cup of cornstarch when we do eat it, for content purposes, one cup of cornstarch has 488 calories, 117 grams of carbs, and only 0.5 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber. If you were to eat a fruit tart, you probably only have a tiny, tiny amount of cornstarch, but even this amount can affect your blood sugar. This is because cornstarch is high on the glycemic index. When we have foods that contain cornstarch, it is digested very quickly so your blood sugar spikes up quickly. Type 2 diabetics must be cautious.

A healthy diet can still have a minimal portion of cornstarch in it. Keep in mind, if cornstarch is used to thicken foods, well, it can do the same to your body. One to two tablespoons at a time on occasion is okay. It’s typically the type of foods you are eating that have cornstarch in them that probably aren’t the greatest. Having gravy, sauces, and desserts wouldn’t be foods to have daily. Puddings, custards, pancakes, waffles, beers, and ales aren’t what a healthy diet entails on a daily basis. The best way to stay away from cornstarch is to avoid processed foods entirely and when you cook leave this ingredient out of it. Basically, all foods with cornstarch also have plenty of sugar, fat, and sodium. There are other cooking alternatives to cornstarch such as tapioca, arrowroot, potato starch, or wheat flour. Be mindful, enjoy bites, and portion control might take willpower, but your overall health and body weight will thank you.


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