From off the cob to the infamous high fructose corn syrup, we are a corn-fed nation. And the beloved vegetable may be slowly killing us. Hence, some testogen reviews and tips advice to curb corn consumption for your health.
Since the 1970s, corn use has been on a steep and steady rise. This pervasive vegetable is in bacon, hot dogs, coffee, canned pasta, salad dressing, pizza, rice, sodas, and almost every frozen convenience dinner available. Sixty pounds of high fructose corn syrup alone is consumed by the average US citizen each year.
Obesity and cases of diabetes have made a similar climb over the last thirty years. High fructose corn syrup, a substitute for sugar, has been labeled the number one culprit by consumers and nutrition experts desperate for a way to find a quick and easy solution to the nation’s health problems. According to Mary Englick, registered dietician at the Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, there’s nothing wrong with the sweetener itself, but rather how much is consumed.
“It is really a cheap form of sugar. It can sweeten foods and it can bulk them up. So the food manufacturers can increase the amount of food that they shove at us and make it cheap, and then the consumer looking for a deal says ‘Hey, I can buy this much soda or food and it’s really inexpensive,’ and then they buy and overeat it.”
High fructose corn syrup may be a deal on the shelves, but Englick stresses that buying and eating in bulk is expensive for our health.
Donna Feldman, a private practice registered dietician, agrees. “It is way too easy to suck down 600 empty calories in a soda pop that is not going to get burned off, especially by kids.”
It isn’t just high fructose corn syrup that has pervaded all the food groups, either. Corn starch and meal is used to give bulk and flavor to dough for all kinds of bread products and instant mixes for cakes and pastries. Cows are fed on corn, and so traces of the vegetable’s proteins are left in the beef they later provide. A ground composition of corn can keep pizza from sticking to pans and rice grains from sticking to each other. It’s even used in paper and plastic production, covering the disposable flatware that people eat off of.
“Because corn has such strong lobbyists, and we have so many things that are dependent on corn, it’s really hard to avoid,” Englick said. “It’s crazy how much corn we have in our diet.”
When a high amount of one type of food is consumed over a long period of time, Englick explains that ‘exposure to contamination’ is risked as a result. “When you eat a large volume of one thing, that volume increases your chance of being allergic to that item.”
This is not an unheard of theory. In America, rice is considered an allergy-safe food, and is often used in elimination diets when determining other food allergies. However, it is estimated that ten percent of Japan’s population, who consider rice a staple, is allergic to it.
Both Feldman and Englick agree that corn is considered a very rare allergy by allergists. However, they both agree that very few of those same experts realize that corn is, in fact, a grass. Allergy to grass is far more common and readily tested in the United States. Allergy sufferers are rarely tested for corn in comparison.
“Here’s what happens to allergists,” Feldman says. “They are massively frustrating. Environmental allergies are easy, because if you make contact with pollen and you have a reaction, you’re allergic. With food allergies, people can have delayed reactions or reactions they don’t expect, and doctors don’t like that because it’s messy, so they send them to (a nutritionist).”
Don Hijar, who has worked in the grass and agriculture industry for 20 years and is owner of the grass seed company Pawnee Buttes Seed, confirms that corn, zea mays, is part of the scientific family poaceae, the grass family. Those who suffer from grass allergy could possibly have reactions to the proteins in corn that activate reactions and not realize it.
High fructose corn syrup, the bulk of the nation’s indirect corn intake, does not have proteins that can cause an allergic reaction. Even the sugar substitute can cause problems, though, for people who both do and do not have an allergy to corn. High exposure to corn can also result in a food intolerance.
“A true allergy has a process. It can be defined. But say you have a kid with excema. You can test them for allergies, But if the kid has no globulins or other markers for an allergy, it could be an intolerance. Intolerances have hundreds of possibilities. There hasn’t been a lot of research into food intolerances. Trying to define why there is an intolerance doesn’t really help because we don’t have a medicine that can fix it, and I’m not sure we ever will,” Feldman says.
With a lack of research to define what an intolerance is and how it can be handled, it is largely left to the consumer to experiment with their diet and see what makes them feel unhealthy and what doesn’t. With the abundance of corn in our diets, those suffering from a variety of ailments should see if the culprit is sitting in the bulk of the everyday foods they eat.