Give Corn a Chance

In a recent nutrition meeting with Traci, she referred to corn as a vegetable, and I immediately corrected her with, “Corn isn’t a vegetable; it’s a starch!”

I’ve long demonized corn, and it probably goes back to Weight Watchers days when corn didn’t count as a vegetable.  (And I think that’s still the same in WW, although I’m not sure.)

When Traci replied, “Of course it’s a vegetable,” I began to rethink corn. That’s why I was excited to see this reminder in a recent e-mail from the Nutrition Diva:

Ask the Diva: Is Corn Really Bad For You?

Q. A friend of mine scolds me when I put corn in salads or roast ears in the summer, saying there is no nutritional goodness in corn. “It’s all bad carbs and sugar!” she says. But I love corn. Seriously, it’s my favorite. Looking online, I’ve found reports claiming corn is a great source of fiber and protein and other sources supporting my friend’s claims.  So which is it? Is corn a good source of nutrients, or should I cut it out of my diet?

A. The truth about corn lies somewhere between “all bad carbs and sugar,” and “great source of fiber and protein.” A lot depends on what you’re comparing it to!  It’s true that corn is quite a bit higher in natural sugars and calories than most green vegetables. On the other hand, it is higher in fiber and protein–although I still wouldn’t consider it a “great” source of protein.  Because you love corn so much, I think you should feel free to enjoy it–especially when it’s in season. Freshly-picked corn is one of the great pleasures of summer!  But because it’s so high in carbohydrates, I suggest thinking of it as a “starch” rather than a vegetable. In other words, it’s OK to enjoy corn instead of bread or potatoes; just don’t skimp on the other veggies.

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