Here at Caveman Foods, it’s no secret that we love eating healthy, tasty foods that boost our mood and fuel a healthy, longevity-focused lifestyle. Part of that is eating plenty of vegetables for their rich vitamin, fiber, and mineral content. But if you’re Paleo, you might be wondering why corn isn’t allowed as part of the Paleo Diet; after all, corn is a vegetable...or is it? Keep reading to find out.
We see corn in a lot of different places these days. It’s seen in veggie blends, it’s used to make popcorn, it can be used as a sweetener, it can be used to feed animals - it can even be used as race car fuel. But out of all these things, corn is not a vegetable; in fact, it’s a grain! It’s for this key reason that corn is not included in the Paleo Diet, however there are plenty of other reasons to avoid corn overall.
First of all, corn is heavily genetically modified, which is directly in opposition with the Paleo mentality of eating like our ancestors. While corn is high in fiber, it’s very starchy and is high in carbohydrates as well, which can lead to blood sugar spikes and decreased weight loss. What’s more is that corn can increase inflammation within the body because of the presence of phytic acid and prolamines, the former of which can delay and impair mineral absorption while the latter is insoluble in the intestines and can foster microbiome imbalances in the gut.
Can corn be healthy, regardless of the bad? The answer is… well, sort of. As mentioned before, the biggest issue with corn is it’s overall starchiness and carb content, which isn’t an issue if you have an already-balanced, healthy diet. A side of corn on the cob with some lean meat and veggies is a very healthy choice compared to a burger and fries. Popcorn can make a great choice for a healthy snack too - provided you stay away from microwave popcorn, which is loaded to the gills with garbage like saturated fats and PFCs (perfluorinated compounds) - substances that, when microwaved, break down into PFOAs (perfluorooctanoic acids), which can take a very long time to leave the body and cause nasty side effects like kidney or testicular cancer. So if you’re hankering for popcorn, forget the microwave and learn to do it the old-fashioned way - learning to make popcorn can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy and is much safer than eating the store-bought stuff!
In short, as long as you’re making efforts to avoid corn’s more sinister cousins like high-fructose corn syrup or maltodextrin, corn can be a perfectly healthy part of a balanced diet when eaten in moderation as long as it’s minimally processed. Just keep in mind that while corn itself is not considered to be Paleo, what matters most is getting back to better, and having a balanced diet that keeps you healthy and moving consistently towards your goals.