I grew up in the midwest, and every summer I helped out at the farm run by my aunt and uncle. Early every morning we would head out to the fields in the pre-dawn grayness and begin picking ears of corn to be sold at the roadside stand later in the day. To be honest, my breakfast on those mornings was often an ear of corn, freshly picked from the stalk, eaten raw. It was absolutely delicious.
The corn they grew was the sweetest sweet corn I’ve ever tasted in my life. It was also the freshest. Corn sugar has gotten a bad rap in that so many people associate corn with corn syrup. Like many other fruits and vegetables, corn has naturally occurring sugars in it, and when I can eat something with a natural sweetness, I find that to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, corn is not unhealthy. It is full of nutrients and an ear of corn easily counts as a serving of veggies. Our understanding of food has become so convoluted that we now believe that anything that is high in carbs has to be unhealthy. And that just isn’t so. We have to read through the latest trend and latest hype about food and realize that naturally grown foods like corn are a healthy addition to our diet.
Some people don’t eat corn because they claim that they can’t digest it. While it’s true, you may see some corn residue when you go to the bathroom, but that’s because one of the best characteristics about corn is that it is high in insoluble fiber. This kind of fiber is what feeds the “good” bacteria in our gut, and the very kind of fiber we need to add to our diet. Many Americans have been eating a diet of such highly processed foods that their bodies don’t recognize natural insoluble fiber unless it comes in a plastic container.
What about the problem with GMO’s? Here’s the best news, sweet corn is not genetically modified. It is the field corn that is processed into corn oil, high-fructose corn syrup, etc. Field corn is harvested after sweet corn and is the source of the controversy. The sweet corn you buy today is as good as the sweet corn my aunt and uncle grew. If still worried about your corn being genetically modified, buy it locally from an organic farmer.
Corn has a rightful place in the American diet. It’s time we stopped shunning it.