I didn’t need a doctor to tell me I have a strong sensitivity to corn. It’s like clock work: I eat corn and the next day my face is inflated like I got into a boxing ring with a hyena in heat. The underneath my eyes may not be black and blue, but the poof that’s there hurts so badly it might as well be. Before I stopped eating gluten, I was very well acquainted with the morning poof face. Best friends, if you will. It was my daily look, the swelling might go down a bit by night, might not, and it was certainly never anywhere near normal at a given time. Since eliminating gluten, the poofage of my mug has gone down so much that I forgot how bloated it felt and appeared before. This changes when I eat corn, like I said: it’s clockwork, a thing even my friends notice!
So, my curiosity lead to searching for what might be the trigger specifically in the grain. Researching corn’s been a funny thing.
First of all, corn is naturally a tropical plant, not destined to survive moderate climates. The United States produces over 40% of the world’s supply of corn.1 We don’t have the most tropical of climates. Also, 2/3 of it is used as animal feed. Yaaaaay, Mac D’s!
Secondly, in this research, I have read many times over these two words: corn gluten. Wait, I thought corn was gluten-free?
Before you freak out and throw away pretty much every packaged gluten-free goodie you’ve bought, because like 90% of them are made with corn, anyways, it’s not the same gluten. Corn gluten is not wheat gluten, but it sure isn’t something that is a natural one to digest in the form we digest it in now.
This brings up the question for me between the two funny points: am I reacting to the corn because it’s inherent natural structure, am I reacting to it because it’s modified, or is it because it’s been modified that the new structure is inherently changed and now I’m reacting?
You’ve gotta imagine that the corn we eat is not the purest– considering we can produce so much of it without the natural climate, it’s, yeah, it’s been changed.
What happens when it’s changed? It develops a gluten. Yes, again, a different one from that of wheat, but a gluten nonetheless.
Here’s an interesting factoid:
“Most gastroenterologists use the biopsy to diagnose celiac disease. Typically a repeat biopsy is taken to monitor how well a patient is healing while on a gluten free diet. This and many other research studies have shown that even when adhering to a traditional gluten free diet, patients don’t heal. As in the case above, only 8% of the patients had normal follow up biopsies after 16 months on a gluten free diet.
The big question is why? The intestines are one of the fastest healing tissues in the body. Cell turnover is typically only about 7 days. That means that about once a week, the gut lining is replaced by new cells. That’s 52 new linings per year.
This study shows persistent white blood cell infiltration into the gut lining for the majority of patients following the classical gluten free diet (wheat, barley, and rye free) for over a year. So what is it that is causing this persistent inflammation?”2
These patients didn’t cut out corn from their diets. In fact, they probably consumed more corn than they would have with the gluten-free subsitutions. Right… so what’s with this corn gluten? When corn is processed the corn gluten is produced as a natural byproduct. This byproduct in powdered form is something even used as a natural weed suppressant in gardens. It inhibits the growth of plants. And my digestive and immune system as well, evidently.
I guess what I’m saying is, if you have a wheat allergy, or Celiac Disease, or can eat without wheat gluten and still have your tortilla chips and feel fine, kudos to you. But after research and personal experience, corn does have a similar effect for me than gluten does, even worse sometimes. If you’re still having troubles even with a gluten-free diet, try taking out the corn. And read those ingredients labels closely… it’s everywhere in the States! (40% world production ain’t only heading out on airplanes, ya’know!)
Sources: 1 GMO Compass, http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/database/plants/52.maize.html, 2 http://www.glutenfreesociety.org/gluten-free-society-blog/traditional-gluten-free-diets-fail/