Some people have an abnormal urge to eat cornstarch. It is due to a medical condition called Pica, in which they crave to have non-nutritional substances like dirt, chalk, or hair. Often people with zinc and iron deficiency develop Pica. Let’s dig a little deeper and know everything about cornstarch.
What is Corn Starch?
As the name indicates, corn starch is made entirely of corn, just like corn flour. However, these by-products of corn are different in terms of nutrition, flavor, and use. While corn flour is a fine powdered form of whole corn kernels, cornstarch is also a fine powdered form but made only from the starchy part of the corn.
Cornstarch is completely gluten-free. It is high in calories and low in nutrients. People who are gluten intolerant consider corn starch or corn flour as a good alternative to wheat flour. However, with fewer health benefits, it is preferably avoided.
Is it Safe to Eat Raw Corn Starch Straight from The Packet?
These days many videos surface online showing how people consume cornstarch straight out of the packet in its raw form. Since cornstarch has a pleasing crunchy flavor, people with anemia have this urge more. You may also find some athletes prefer it because of its rapid digestibility.
It is fine to eat cornstarch straight from the packet in moderation when advised by a health practitioner. People with glycogen storage disorder or hypoglycemia are suggested to have two tablespoons of raw cornstarch every six hours. Likewise, it also helps patients who have low glucose due to insulin.
[ Read: What Happens If You Eat Expired Yogurt ]
Can People Eat Cornstarch?
Cornstarch is not toxic; therefore, there is no harm in eating it. It is a pure form of carbohydrate which is often used in preparing sauces. Cornstarch is also used in the kitchen to thicken liquids, like in soups and curries.
When eaten in moderation, cornstarch does not pose any harmful effect on the body. However, if you overeat sauces made with cornstarch, you may end up with a bloated stomach. Also, cornstarch, a high source of calories, will make you feel full without contributing to your health or nourishment.
How Does The Body React When You Eat Cornstarch?
Cornstarch is a processed product with low nutritional value. It lacks minerals, vitamins, and fiber. If you consume cornstarch in high amounts, you may end up with a bloated stomach, and the level of blood glucose will increase. At the same time, it can be dangerous to your heart. Therefore, it is always advised to avoid refined carbs.
Drawbacks of Cornstarch
Although cornstarch is nothing but a carbohydrate, it has certain drawbacks that everyone should be aware of-
Cornstarch is high in calories and low in nutrition.
- It can be dangerous when inhaled in a large amount. The fine granules of corn starch reach the lungs and cause irritation.
- People with diabetes and those following low-carb diets should limit their consumption of cornstarch due to health reasons.
- If the brand is not trustable, it is better not to consume raw cornstarch as it may contain bacteria and harm your body.
Why Do Females Eat Cornstarch in Pregnancy?
When a woman is pregnant, her body demands more nutrition. Deficiency occurs if this nutritional demand is not fulfilled through healthy foods and nutritional supplements. The urge to eat cornstarch is largely attributed to zinc and iron deficiency which usually occurs during pregnancy.
Since cornstarch has a peculiar crunchy flavor, women love eating it raw when their body is iron and zinc deficient. If you have the same issues, it is advised to visit your ob-gyne immediately. A deficiency of iron means you are suffering from anemia which is not good for your health.
Even though consuming cornstarch will not pose any harm to the body or the developing fetus, it will make your body poorly nourished. Eating it in high amounts only to satisfy the craving may let you neglect more serious problems that may occur in the coming months.
Are All Corn starch Gluten-Free?
Corn is a gluten-free grain. Since cornstarch is made only from corn, it should be completely gluten-free. However, these days when adulteration is in practice, you may end up eating cornstarch that contains gluten.
Additionally, sometimes cornstarch is manufactured on the same equipment, which is used in grinding other grains like wheat. It means the chances of cross-contamination are there, making cornstarch not completely gluten-free. So, if you are a celiac person, ensure to buy only from trusted brands.
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