Is cornstarch bad for you

Is cornstarch bad for you?

Cornstarch is a common thickening agent for soups, stews, sauces, and desserts. It can also be used in a variety of other recipes to keep together fruit-based pie fillings, soften baked goods, and give vegetables, meats, and crusts a crisp coating.

Despite its versatility, many people are unsure whether this basic cooking essential is healthy.

This article examines the nutritional data and health implications of cornstarch in order to help you decide whether or not to include it in your diet and to help you answer the question “is cornstarch bad for you”.

What is cornstarch?

Cornstarch is formed from the endosperm of maize kernels and is a white, thick powder. It’s commonly used to thicken meals like gravy, soups, and stews.

To get the proper consistency in particular recipes, some cooks substitute cornstarch for flour. It’s also used to cover meat and veggies in baked products.

When corn starch is used in recipes, it is usually in very small amounts. It provides extremely little calories and just minor amounts of vitamins. It has a minimal impact on your daily nutrition.

What is modified cornstarch?

Modified cornstarch is cornstarch that has been modified physically, enzymatically, or chemically to extend its shelf life, improve its capacity to withstand higher temperatures, or improve the starch’s desired effect.

Modified cornstarch, for example, could help keep a sauce thicker for longer.

Modified does not necessarily mean genetically modified in this situation, however, it is likely that non-organic or non-GMO modified corn starch is made from genetically modified corn.

It is commonly found in “instant” foods such as gravy packets, quick puddings, and meals or mixes that require only the addition of boiling water.

Is cornstarch bad for you?

Generally speaking, cornstarch is not necessarily good for you. Most people typically take 1–2 tablespoons (8–16 grams) at a time, despite the fact that huge amounts supply tiny levels of minerals like copper and selenium.

Cornstarch has a lot of calories and carbs, but it’s lacking in critical elements. It also has the potential to raise blood sugar levels and impair heart function.

What are the health benefits of cornstarch?

Many people who use cornstarch in recipes on a regular basis may not notice any significant health benefits from having the powder in their diet. However, there are some conditions in which cornstarch may have a positive impact on health.

Here are some of the health benefits of cornstarch.

It makes it easier to swallow liquids

People with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) may be able to enhance the viscosity of their beverages with cornstarch to make swallowing easier.

Dysphagia is a condition that increases in prevalence as we grow older. To improve bolus control, thickened liquids are frequently utilized in the treatment of dysphagia.

A bolus is a tiny lump of food that has been chewed. Thickened drinks also aid in the prevention of aspiration and the improvement of swallowing safety.

Corn starch is a thickening that has traditionally been used to thicken liquids for dysphagia sufferers. Gum-based thickeners have become more popular in recent years, but there has been some worry about their safety, particularly in newborns.

Possibly Beneficial in the Treatment of Hypoglycemia

There is some evidence that a diet rich in uncooked cornstarch may be beneficial to those with hypoglycemia.

The American Diabetes Association published a review of studies looking into the use of a cornstarch-based evening snack and its capacity to minimize nocturnal hypoglycemia, especially in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Researchers found that raw cornstarch prevented nighttime hypoglycemia by acting as a glucose reservoir in the intestine, where it is slowly digested over a 6 to the 8-hour period [source].

In another trial, participants with type 1 diabetes who took an uncooked cornstarch bedtime supplement for four weeks experienced a 70% reduction in the incidence of self-reported hypoglycemia three hours after administration of the supplement [source].

Healthier Alternative to Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is used as a thickening factor in some processed foods and even home recipes. High fructose corn syrup, for example, may be included as an ingredient in some items, such as fruit pies.

Cornstarch can be substituted for corn syrup in some cases. This substitution may have health benefits, but there isn’t much research to back it up.

In one short study, researchers compared the health consequences of a small group of men (21 total, 10 hyperinsulinemic and 11 non-hyperinsulinemic males) who ate a diet high in fructose or high-amylose cornstarch (20% of calories).

Cornstarch that has been created to contain a higher degree of amylose and less amylopectin is known as high amylose cornstarch [source].

After five weeks, researchers discovered that when study participants ate a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet, fructose elevated the levels of risk markers linked to heart disease, particularly in hyperinsulinemic men. Corn starch did not appear to have the same effect.

Weight Loss May Be Affected

Researchers have looked into whether a diet high in amylose cornstarch could be beneficial in the treatment of obesity. Cornstarch’s sluggish glycemic response may help lower hunger, promote fullness, and reduce overall energy intake, according to scientists.

However, the results of a study including young healthy women were not uniformly favorable. Even though glucose absorption was reduced when the ladies drank a beverage containing high amylose corn starch or glucose, the corn starch did not alter hunger or energy (calorie) consumption [source].

Side effects


Cornstarch should be avoided by anyone who has a corn allergy. Corn allergy symptoms can range from moderate to severe, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Vomiting, stomach issues, wheezing or difficulty breathing, a weak pulse, skin changes such as hives, swelling of the lips or tongue, disorientation, or confusion are all possible symptoms. Anaphylaxis can occur in severe situations. Allergies

Cornstarch should be avoided by anyone who has a corn allergy. Corn allergy symptoms can range from moderate to severe, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Vomiting, stomach issues, wheezing or difficulty breathing, a weak pulse, skin changes such as hives, swelling of the lips or tongue, disorientation, or confusion are all possible symptoms. Anaphylaxis can occur in severe situations.

May increase blood sugar levels

It has the potential to raise blood sugar levels. Cornstarch is heavy in carbohydrates and has a high glycemic index, which is a measurement of how food influences blood sugar levels. Fiber, a vital ingredient that inhibits the absorption of sugar into your system, is also lacking.

As a result, cornstarch is quickly absorbed in your body, perhaps resulting in blood sugar increases.

Thus, whether you have type 2 diabetes or want to better regulate your blood sugar levels, cornstarch may not be a good addition to your diet.

Could be harmful to your heart’s health.

Cornstarch is a refined carb, which means it has gone through a lot of processing and has lost all of its nutrients. According to studies, eating foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as cornstarch, on a frequent basis can harm your heart [source].

Diets high in refined carbohydrates and meals with a high glycemic index have been related to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, according to one study.

Storage and safety

Cornstarch should be stored in a well-sealed container in a cool, dry location. When stored properly, it should last around 18 months, according to the USDA.

It’s not a good idea to freeze cornstarch.

How to prepare cornstarch

Many recipes that call for flour as a thickening can be substituted with corn starch. It’s one of a number of low-carb thickeners that can come in handy in the kitchen.

Cornstarch, on the other hand, is thicker, so use about one tablespoon for every two tablespoons of flour called for in the recipe.

When thickening hot foods (such as gravy, soups, or stews), always start with a tiny amount of cold water or plant-based milk. Then mix slowly into the heated liquid.

Keep in mind that cornstarch isn’t the greatest thickener to use if you’re creating a large amount of soup or stew to freeze. Cornstarch decomposes when it is frozen.


Is cornstarch as bad as you think it is? It is dependent on the situation. If you’re attempting to stick to a strict diet or have underlying health conditions, it’s probably preferable to use another thickening in your dishes.

It’s also worth noting that cornstarch is ingested in tiny amounts — typically 1 to 2 tablespoons — so it can be eaten in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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