Corn-derived food ingredients I don't avoid

There are a few food ingredients which either are or could be made from corn but don't seem to cause any reaction in my case. This might be because they sometimes aren't made from corn, because processing removes whatever it is I'm sensitive to, or because I eat them in such small quantities. I'm listing these here because your experience is likely to differ from mine and this additional list might help you understand your reactions.

alcohol and vinegar
Generic alcohol and distilled white vinegar are made from a variety of grains, including corn, but I've never noticed any reaction to them on my part. Apparently distillation removes enough of the corn proteins or denatures them past recognition. Alcoholic beverages are probably quite a different story, but I don't drink.

ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
Supplemental ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, rarely comes from the sources where you'd find vitamin C naturally. Instead, it's synthesized from corn.

Aspartame is the generic name for Nutrasweet brand sweetener. I've heard that corn is used in the production of aspartame, but I don't have an authoritative source for this claim. Aspartame is made from two amino acids (aspartic acid and phenylalanine) and methanol. Amino acids are a major corn product, according to the Corn Refiners Association list of corn products, but it doesn't say which ones. Methanol can be made from corn but rarely is in practice. I've never experimented to see if I react to foods containing Nutrasweet.

If you use packaged Nutrasweet (as opposed to eating prepared foods containing it), be aware that it's packaged with dextrose. This is also true of saccharin. You should also be aware that aspartame's safety is a controversial topic. See, for example, The Aspartame Controversy, some Articles on Nutrasweet(tm) from Usenet, or the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network.

bleached flour
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's rules, it's possible for bleached flour to contain cornstarch without any obvious mention on the label. The reason is that cornstarch is allowed as a diluent for some bleaching agents. Since the flour is labelled as bleached, you're supposed to understand that it could contain any of many bleaching agents and their inactive ingredients. I've never noticed any reaction from bleached flour, but I don't eat much of it.

citric acid
Citric acid is most commonly used to provide tartness in some candies and drinks. It can be made from corn, although it isn't necessarily. I'm not aware of any reaction to it, although I avoid most of the products containing it because they also contain corn syrup.

lactic acid
Lactic acid is another tartness agent and preservative, often used in the manufacture of cheese. It's derived from lactose ("milk sugar"), which ADM, at least, makes from corn.

Lecithin is an emulsifier which occurs naturally in eggs, corn, and other foods. I'm told that all the lecithin used in commercial food production is derived from soybeans and should be free from corn.

table salt
Ordinary iodized table salt contains dextrose. According to a Consumer Affairs representative at Morton International, dextrose is added to stabilize the iodine compound in the salt. Without it, the iodide decomposes and the iodine evaporates. Sea salt contains iodine naturally, but loses most of it in processing. Iodine is an essential nutrient, so you should think carefully about where your dietary iodine will come from if you stop using iodized salt. I'm not aware of reacting to the dextrose in table salt, but I use very little in cooking and none at the table. I have heard from people who claim to be affected by the dextrose in table salt.

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Last Modified: January 1, 2008