11 Surprising Side Effects Of Corn

This cereal grain may be delicious to eat, but the aftermath may not always be favorable.

Reviewed by Dr. Pallavi Srivastava, Clinical Nutritionist
Written by Tanya Choudhary, B.Desgn, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition
Edited by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Fact-checked by Moksha Gandhi, BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach  • 

What can go wrong with corn? They are tasty, they have versatile usages, they are nutritious—what else is there to know? Do you want to know about the potential side effects of consuming an excess amount of corn? Is corn bad for you?

Before we delve into its adverse effects, let’s clear up a big misconception. You may assume that corn is a vegetable, but it is actually a grain! While its roots can be traced to Mexico and Central America, today, corn is available all over the world. You can eat this nutritious grain in a wide variety of ways – roast it, boil it, or have it buttered, salted, or pureed. Also, the yellow corn that you see today is a result of agricultural advancements. In its original form, wild corn grew in shades of purple, brown, and blue.

You may love its sweet taste and feel tempted to eat it with every meal, but it is important to know about the potential risks associated with eating too much corn. Keep in mind that these side effects may occur only if you eat it in excess amounts or if you are at a high risk of developing a disorder. Read on to learn more about the potential health concerns associated with corn consumption.

protip_icon Know The Flip Side: Corn

Short-Term Effects
Increased blood sugar levels, skin rashes, anaphylaxis, asthma attack, vomiting, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Long-Term Effects
May cause osteoporosis, weight gain, tooth decay, intestinal disorders, and pellagra.

Drug Interactions

When To See A Doctor
If you experience excessive digestive issues, skin rashes, very high blood sugar levels (especially if you have diabetes), and swelling of the mucous membranes.

Top 11 Side Effects Of Corn

Eva De Angelis, Dietitian Nutritionist, says, “While the carbs in corn are more nutritious than those in white bread or processed foods, eating too many carbs, regardless of the type, will result in weight gain. Besides that, because corn is high in fiber, some people may experience diarrhea or gas if they overeat corn.”

A bowl of corn kernals against the backdrop of corn cobs
Image: Shutterstock

Here are some of the major corn side effects that you should be aware of:

1. Allergic Reactions

Consuming corn can lead to allergies and symptoms like rashes on the skin, that causes skin irritation, swelling of the mucous membrane, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, headaches, etc. Many people also suffer from asthma attacks and anaphylaxis after eating corn (1). The main reason behind the allergies is the ingestible protein present in the corn.

2. Risk Of Pellagra

Corn is a staple food of many people. If you consume corn in high amounts, then you are at the risk of pellagra (2). Pellagra is nothing but a deficiency of vitamins, especially niacin in the body. Corn is deficient in amino acids (lysinei  XAn essential amino acids that helps in growth and tissue repair. It assists in the absorption of calcium by the body. and tryptophan) and niacin, which help to protect the body from pellagra. If corn forms the major chunk of your diet, then make sure that you supplement your diet with vitamin-rich foods to prevent pellagra.

3. Not Good For Diabetics

Woman using a glucometer to check her blood sugar levels
Image: Shutterstock

Corn adversely affects people suffering from diabetes as it increases the blood sugar level in the body. Corn has a high carbohydrate content, which leads to the increase in blood sugar levels (3). So people suffering from diabetes should not consume corn in large quantities.

4. Causes Bloating And Flatulence

Corn contains a high percentage of starch. When you consume corn, it breaks down in the large intestine and produces a lot of gas. So if someone consumes corn in large quantities, then it can cause bloating and flatulencei  XMedical term used to refer to the expulsion of gas or “passing wind” from the digestive system via the anal passage. It may arise as a by-product of partial digestion of certain foods. .

5. Causes Indigestion And Stomach Upset

According to Eva, “Some people may have difficulty digesting the type of fiber found in corn, and this could lead to bloating.”

Corn is a good source of fiber and other vital nutrients, which helps with nutrient deficiencies and in flushing out bad toxins from the body. But an overdose of these fibers can be bad for your stomach. If you do not drink enough water. then these fibers can even cause constipation due to dehydration. Even if you eat large portions of cereals, then it can lead to digestive issues and stomach cramps (4)! So, keep a watch on how much corn you are consuming, in any of its forms.

protip_icon Trivia
The first documented domestication of corn was nearly 10000 years ago by native Mexicans, who then taught European colonists how to grow them.

6. Causes Intestinal Irritation And Diarrhea

Woman clutching her stomach and lying on the couch because of digestive pain
Image: Shutterstock

Corn should not be consumed raw as it can result in diarrhea (5). Corn also leads to many intestinal disorders (6). You must consult your doctor if you find symptoms that warrant some checking out.

7. May Cause Tooth Decay

Corn contains a good amount of sugar. Processed, cooked, or boiled corn can lead to tooth decay in some people (7). This is relatively one of the rare side effects of corn, but not one that should be taken lightly! Make sure you follow good oral hygiene and brush your teeth after eating corn.

8. May Cause Osteoporosis

People who depend on corn diet can suffer from osteoporosis as corn contains very less amount of calcium. But this is relevant only if corn is not supplemented with appropriate calcium-rich food.

9. Increases Weight

Woman about to step onto the weighing machine
Image: Shutterstock

As mentioned before, corn contains a heavy dose of sugar and carbohydrate. Overzealous eating of corn can surely lead to weight gain (8). People on a diet should avoid consumption of corn.

10. Leads To Lethargy

Woman feeling lethargic
Image: Shutterstock

Corn contains an ample amount of starch. Starch can cause fatigue, weakness, drowsiness, and lead to lethargy (9).

11. Corn Sensitivity

Corn contains lectins and zein proteins that could trigger immune responses, causing corn sensitivity in some individuals (10), (11). When the immune system perceives these components as threats, it initiates an inflammatory response as a defense mechanism. The inflammation may manifest in various ways, from digestive discomfort to more severe symptoms in sensitive individuals. While not everyone experiences these effects, it is important for those who suspect they may have corn sensitivity to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment options. Nevertheless, further research in this area is required to shed more light on the extent of these inflammatory responses.

Ginny, a blogger, shares her personal experience of initially switching to corn-based products after discovering gluten intolerance, only to develop even more severe symptoms. On her blog, she writes: “After a few weeks of indulging in more corn products than usual, I started to feel even worse than I did before. I was having some incredibly weird neurological symptoms, such as uncontrollable shaking, muscle spasms, brain fog, and almost passing out every time I stood up. I ached to the bone from the top of my head to my toes. It was terrible. Then, after loads of research, I came across numerous articles that stated corn intolerance can mimic gluten intolerance (i).”

These are the side effects of eating excess corn. Most of these so-called negative effects of corn can actually be countered with a balanced meal. For the rest, well, just watch your portion size!

protip_icon Quick Tip
There are different types of corn depending on kernel texture. Flint corn, dent corn, flour corn, and sweet corn are a few examples.

Infographic: Tips To Deal With Indigestion After Eating Corn

Corn is one of the healthiest foods and is preferred by many for its slightly sweet taste. It is a part of many cuisines and is also known for the array of benefits it offers. However, a few may experience indigestion after eating corn.

The following infographic provides a few tips to deal with indigestion after eating corn. Check it out!

tips to deal with indigestion after eating corn (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Corn is loaded with nutrients that promote overall health. However, one must also note the side effects of corn associated with overconsumption. Corn may aggravate pellagra, bloating, flatulence, and cause stomach upset. It may also cause tooth decay and increase the risk of osteoporosis and weight gain. The excess starch in corn may also cause lethargy. It is also not suitable for people with diabetes. Hence, moderate consumption is advised.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if we eat corn daily?

Eva De Angelis says, “Corn is a whole grain, and as such, it is a nourishing food. Eating corn every day may be beneficial. Yet, keep in mind that portion size is essential. The fiber content of corn keeps you fuller for longer between meals. It also feeds the good bacteria in your gut, which has myriad health benefits, including the prevention of colon cancer and obesity. Corn is rich in inked whole grain consumption to a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes”

Does corn increase blood pressure?

“No. In fact, corn is high in potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Eating potassium-rich foods can help lower your blood pressure. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you pass in your urine. This is a critical balance for managing blood pressure. Similarly, potassium relaxes blood vessel walls, which aids in blood pressure management.” says Eva.

Is corn healthier than rice?

According to Eva, “Rice and corn are both good options for a nutritious diet. Corn, for example, is a better choice for people with diabetes because it has a lower glycemic index. This is because the fiber and fat of corn slow carbohydrate absorption. Rice, on the other hand, is better suited to low-fat diets than corn. Also, corn contains more B-complex vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than rice, which may help to lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”

Is corn good for the lungs?

Yes, consuming corn in moderate amounts is beneficial to the lungs.

Is boiled corn acidic?

Yes, boiled corn is acidic. If mixed with butter, it may further aggravate the symptoms of acidity and cause heartburn.

What is the best time to eat corn?

Corn can be a healthy addition to any meal of the day. However, many prefer it as an evening snack.

Key Takeaways

  • Though tasty and a staple food for many communities, excess consumption of corn could have potential side effects.
  • High doses of starch and fiber in corn could lead to bloating, gas, diarrhea, stomach ache, and indigestion.
  • An indigestible protein in corn could cause allergic reactions, like skin rash, asthma attacks, swelling of the mucous membranes, and vomiting.
  • High levels of carbohydrates in corn increase blood sugar levels which possess the risk of diabetes and weight gain.
  • Corn is deficient in niacin and amino acids that could lead to pellagra.

Hope you liked our post on side effects of corn. Do you like corn? How do you like to eat your corn-roasted, boiled or as a topping? Share with us.

Uncover the surprising side effects of eating corn in this eye-opening video. Learn about the health benefits of corn while gaining awareness of potential side effects associated with its overconsumption.

Personal Experience: Source

i. Symptoms of Corn Intolerance


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Corn-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis
  2. The paleopathology of Pellagra Investigating the impact of prehistoric and historic dietary transitions to maize
  3. Effects of corn processing on the glycaemic and insulinaemic responses in horses
  4. Indigestion
  5. Pellagra
  6. Evaluation of the gastrointestinal tolerability of corn starch fiber a novel dietary fiber in two independent randomized double-blind crossover studies in healthy men and women
  7. Food Starches And Dental Caries
  8. Corn phytochemicals and their health benefits
  9. Allergy as a causative factor of fatigue irritabilityand behavior problems of children
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