Is Corn Flour Good For Diabetes? Glycemic Index of Corn

Reviewed By Dietitian Dt. SEEMA GOEL (Senior Dietitian, 25 Years of Experience) February 29, 2024

Corn flour, a versatile ingredient derived from corn kernels, is gaining popularity for its nutritional benefits, especially among individuals managing diabetes. Unlike refined wheat flour, corn flour boasts a lower glycemic index, which means it doesn’t cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels after consumption. Packed with essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals, corn flour supports overall health while offering a distinct flavour and texture to a variety of dishes. Its versatility in the kitchen makes it a preferred choice for health-conscious individuals seeking flavorful and diabetes-friendly culinary options.

Nutritional Value of Corn Flour

According to the USDA, here is the nutritional breakdown of 100 grams of Corn Flour:

Nutritional Value of Corn Flour
Nutrients (in 100g of Flour) Amount
Water 10.9 g
Calories 361 kcal
Protein 6.93 g
Fat 3.86 g
Ash 1.45 g
Carbohydrates 76.8 g
Fiber 7.3 g
Iron 2.38 g
Magnesium 93 mg
Sodium 5 mg
Zinc 1.73 mg
Vitamin B6 0.37 mg

Read More: 16 Best Fruits Juice For Diabetes.

Is Corn Good For Diabetics?

Corn, a staple crop and dietary staple in many cultures worldwide, is a versatile grain commonly grown in various regions due to its adaptability to different climates and soil conditions. It’s typically cultivated as a cereal grain, primarily for its edible seeds known as kernels. With its widespread cultivation and diverse culinary uses, corn is one of the most consumed grains globally, featuring prominently in cuisines ranging from traditional dishes to modern snacks and beverages.

But is corn a good food for diabetics? Corn can be a part of a balanced diet for individuals with diabetes when consumed in moderation. Despite containing carbohydrates, which can impact blood sugar levels, corn also offers essential nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Its relatively low glycemic index compared to some other high-carbohydrate foods means it has a slower effect on blood glucose levels, potentially helping to prevent rapid spikes.

Read More: Best Vegetable with Low Glycemic Index for Diabetics.

Glycemic Index of Corn

The GI of boiled corn is 52, and the GI index of sweet corn is  55, which falls in a similar range. This suggests that both varieties have a moderate impact on blood glucose levels compared to high-GI foods. On the other hand, corn flour has a higher GI of about 70, suggesting that it may lead to a more rapid increase in blood glucose levels.

Read More: Are Peas Good for Diabetes?

Corn And Diabetes: Benefits of Corn

Corn And Diabetes: Benefits of Corn

Corn is a nutritious grain known for its fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which support various aspects of health, including eye and digestive health. However, processed corn products like tortilla chips provide fewer health benefits due to their refined nature. Here are some of the health benefits of corn:

Improves Blood Sugar Levels:

Is corn healthy for diabetics? Yes, it is. Corn contains dietary fiber, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. According to the National Institutes of Health, corn extract can improve hyperglycemia. This gradual release of sugar helps prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels, making corn a suitable option for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to manage their blood sugar levels effectively.

Rich in Nutrients:

Corn is rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B, and E, which play key roles in supporting various bodily functions. For example, vitamin A is important for vision health, while B vitamins are involved in metabolism and energy production. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage.

High in Antioxidants:

Talking of corn and diabetes, it’s important to enlist that its high in antioxidants. Corn contains antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin, and phenolic compounds. These antioxidants (as per Lipids in Health and Disease)help protect cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals, which can damage cells and contribute to chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Lutein and zeaxanthin are particularly beneficial for eye health, helping to protect against age-related macular degeneration.

Supports Digestive Health:

Corn for diabetics is considered good as it promotes digestion. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the fiber content in corn promotes digestive health by adding bulk to stools and supporting regular bowel movements. Additionally, corn contains resistant starch, which acts as a prebiotic, feeding beneficial gut bacteria and promoting a healthy gut microbiome. This can help improve digestion and overall digestive wellness.

Weight Management:

Corn is relatively low in calories and high in dietary fiber. Fiber helps promote satiety, making you feel full for longer periods and reducing overall calorie intake. By controlling portion sizes and preventing overeating, corn can support weight management efforts effectively

Energy Boost:

Corn provides complex carbohydrates, which are the body’s primary source of energy. These carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is used by the body for fuel. The sustained release of energy from corn helps maintain energy levels throughout the day, supporting overall vitality and well-being.

Read More: 7 Day Indian Diet Plan for Diabetic Patients

Is Sweet Corn Good For Diabetes?

Sweet corn, with its moderate glycemic index, can be included in a diabetic diet when consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced meal plan. While it contains carbohydrates that can impact blood sugar levels, its glycemic index of about 55 suggests a slower effect on blood glucose compared to high-GI foods. Pairing sweet corn with protein and healthy fats can further help stabilize blood sugar levels. However, people with diabetes should monitor portion sizes and overall carbohydrate intake to manage blood glucose effectively.

Read More: Best Indian Diet Plan Chart for Weight Loss

How To Use Corn Flour For Diabetes?

Using corn flour in moderation can be a part of a diabetic-friendly diet. Corn flour is good for diabetes as it can be used in different ways. Here are some simple and clear methods to incorporate corn flour:

  • Corn Flour Porridge: Cook corn flour with water or milk, adding a touch of sweetener like stevia or a small amount of fruit for flavour. This warm and comforting porridge makes a nutritious breakfast option.
  • Corn Flour Tortillas: Make homemade tortillas using corn flour instead of wheat flour. Fill them with lean protein, veggies, and healthy fats for a balanced and diabetes-friendly meal.
  • Corn Flour Baking: Corn flour is good for diabetes since it can be easily used for baking. Use corn flour in baking recipes to make bread, muffins, or pancakes. Substitute a portion of wheat flour with corn flour for added texture and flavour.
  • Corn Flour Coating: Use corn flour as a coating for baked or grilled fish or chicken instead of breadcrumbs. This adds a crispy texture without the extra carbohydrates.
  • Corn Flour Thickener: Use corn flour as a thickening agent in soups, stews, and sauces instead of traditional flour or cornstarch. It adds thickness without significantly increasing the carbohydrate content.

Remember to monitor portion sizes and pair corn flour dishes with protein and fiber-rich foods to help manage blood sugar levels effectively.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Does sweet corn increase blood sugar?

Sweet corn contains carbohydrates that can increase blood sugar levels if consumed in large quantities. However, when eaten in moderation and as part of a balanced meal, its impact on blood sugar may be manageable for most individuals.

Can diabetes patients eat sweet corn?

Diabetes patients can eat sweet corn in moderation as part of a balanced diet. However, portion control is essential, and it’s advisable to pair sweet corn with protein and fiber-rich foods to help manage blood sugar levels effectively.

Is sweet corn good for type 2 diabetes?

Sweet corn can be included in a type 2 diabetes diet when consumed in moderation. Its moderate glycemic index suggests a slower effect on blood glucose levels compared to high-GI foods, making it a suitable option when paired with other low-GI foods.

Can diabetes patients eat corn?

Diabetes patients can eat corn in moderation as part of a balanced diet. It contains carbohydrates that can impact blood sugar levels, but when consumed in appropriate portion sizes and paired with protein and fiber-rich foods, it can be included in a diabetic-friendly meal plan.

Is boiled corn good for diabetes?

Boiled corn can be a good option for diabetes when consumed in moderation. Boiling corn helps preserve its nutrients and may have a lower impact on blood sugar levels compared to processed corn products. Pairing boiled corn with protein and fiber-rich foods can further support blood sugar management.

Is frozen corn good for diabetics?

Frozen corn can be included in a diabetic diet when chosen without added sugars or unhealthy fats. It retains its nutritional value and can be a convenient option for adding to soups, salads, or main dishes. As with other forms of corn, portion control and balanced meal planning are key for diabetes management.

Can corn increase blood sugar?

Corn contains carbohydrates that can increase blood sugar levels when consumed. However, its impact on blood glucose varies depending on factors such as portion size, cooking method, and overall meal composition. Pairing corn with protein and fiber-rich foods can help mitigate its effect on blood sugar levels.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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