Corn, be it roasted, curried, or fried with spices, is a staple in Indian households. Eating boiled corn kernels in cups or simply seasoning them with chilli, lime juice, and butter brings back nostalgic memories. There is no doubt that corn is a kitchen favourite, a very familiar food. However, most people with diabetes shy away from corn due to its carbohydrate content and sweet taste. So, is corn good or bad for diabetes? Let’s find out.
Is Corn Diabetic Friendly?
People with diabetes often have to consider whether or not they can eat a particular food, where the glycemic index and glycemic load become deciding factors. The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how quickly sugar from any food gets absorbed into your bloodstream. Glycemic Load (GL) indicates how much sugar from any food gets absorbed into your bloodstream.
Coming back to corn, it has low to moderate GI and GL, depending on the variety and how you cook it. The GI of boiled corn is 52, making it a low-GI food suitable for people with diabetes. Similarly, sweet corn has a moderate glycemic load value of 15 and a GI value of 52. Therefore, eating corn in moderation does not cause any unhealthy spike in your blood sugar levels.
Every 100 grams of sweet corn offers 19 grams of carbohydrates, 3.2 grams of proteins, and 1.18 grams of fat, which can be a healthy addition to your diabetes diet in moderate quantities. Further, a study says that individuals with insulin resistance significantly improved their gastrointestinal health and glycemic response after consuming corn.
The question remains, can corn raise your blood sugar? The short answer is yes. Too much corn raises blood sugar to a certain extent because it is still a starchy food group. Always stick to the optimum portion size if you plan to use corn or its varieties as a diabetic snack. Ultimately, you can add moderate quantities of corn to your meals with no guilt. However, avoid eating it if you have a corn allergy.
The HealthifyMe Note
Corn’s glycemic index and glycemic load do not cause any significant blood glucose spikes. However, sweet corn has a high level of natural carbs or sugar, so a person with diabetes should have it in moderate quantities. The best way to eat corn is raw or with stews, salads, toppings, and soups. Preparing healthy servings of corn is the key to diabetes management.
Benefits of Corn for Diabetics
- Corn contains vitamins B1, B3, and B6. These B complex vitamins are essential for turning food into energy and keeping your brain, immune and nervous system healthy.
- The low-fat nature of corn works for people with diabetes., Plain corn being a low-fat food, does not increase cholesterol and does not harm the heart as well.
- The starch in sweet corn causes slow digestion and prevents the immediate rise in blood sugar levels.
- Air-popping corn kernels without oil make a high-fibre, low-calorie snack good for diabetes.
How to Eat Corn if You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you may already track the foods you eat or follow a special diet. If not, try the plate method. Fill a moderate-sized plate with sections of different kinds of food. For example, put corn in the section for starchy vegetables. Add corn without other fats, like butter or salt. But feel free to add as much basil or coriander as you like and a sprinkle of olive oil. Make sure to fill most of the other sections of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, which are low in carbohydrates. Fill the last section with lean proteins, which are low in fat and healthier.
You can eat some corn alongside your salad, either with raw vegetables or some boiled ones. To make it even better for your health, add some vegetables to the pan you will use to boil your corn. It will make the meal more wholesome while reducing the GI of the corn at the same time!
Plain popcorn is 100% unprocessed corn with a healthy amount of plant fibre. However, do not eat more than two servings or 30 Cal of plain popcorn at once. Eating air-popped corn without adding extra butter, cheese, caramel, oils, or other taste-enhancers is best. Not following the correct preparation techniques can cause high blood sugar levels.
Since sweet corn contains a moderate amount of carbohydrates, it’s best to eat them when the body’s energy demand is at its peak. You can enjoy sweet corn in its raw form as a snack or add them to stews, soups, curries, and salads after boiling.
Fresh, Frozen, Or Canned Corn?
Nothing beats eating preservative-free, fresh corn when it is in season. Canned and frozen corn are perfect alternatives when fresh corn is not available or is not in season. However, ensure to choose low-sodium options. Or, discard the liquid in canned corn and rinse it to minimise the sodium content. In addition, read the nutrition label to check the number of carbohydrates per serving if you limit carbohydrates to manage your blood glucose.
Keeping blood glucose within target levels is essential, so eat in moderation regardless of which corn you eat. In the case of over-consumption of corn, it can lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. However, the moderate glycemic response of corn means its ability to increase blood sugar is somewhere in between. Therefore, pay attention to the serving size.