The Quick and Dirty Guide to Corn: Why It’s NOT Healthy or Paleo
Everything about whether or not a food is Paleo really comes down to 2 questions…
1. Is it nutritious?
2. Is it potentially toxic?
Unless we’re talking about a specific person’s reaction to a food, those are really the only 2 questions that matter.
Healthiness is a Spectrum
Asking these 2 questions doesn’t mean that any particular food needs to be the most nutritious food that you could eat or that it needs to be 100% non-toxic. It’s really more of a spectrum.
For instance, vegetable and seed oils might be on one end of the spectrum. They have almost zero nutritional value, and they’re highly toxic in a variety of ways (they disrupt gut flora, cause Omega-6 to Omega-3 imbalances, disrupt proper hormone functioning and signaling, etc.).
On the other hand, oysters or pastured beef liver might be on the other end of the spectrum. These foods have tons of nutrients (particularly vitamins and minerals), and there are very few potential toxins to harm your body.
That doesn’t mean you should eat only oysters and pastured beef liver, though. (Nor would you probably want to.)
Corn is Definitely on the Wrong End of the Spectrum
Corn is neither healthy nor Paleo because it falls pretty far to the wrong end of the spectrum.
Corn has very little nutritional value, like most grains. This doesn’t mean that it has zero vitamins or minerals, but per amount that you eat, it has far fewer than most vegetables, seafood, meats, fruits, or nuts. This is simply a matter of figuring out how many vitamins and minerals corn provides.
Visit the USDA National Nutrient Database, for instance.
And conversely, corn is potentially pretty bad for your body, especially if you have existing gut issues.
Like all grains, corn contains prolamins, which are a class of proteins that your body can’t properly break down and which can lead to or exacerbate leaky gut and the growth of bad bacteria in your gut. In addition, almost all corn grown in the US is GMO. (Being GMO is actually less of a concern then known toxins like prolamins, but still.)
In the end, the small amount of nutrition that you get from corn just isn’t worth the potential problems it can cause your body, and that’s why it’s not considered Paleo.