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Cornstarch is useful cooking ingredient, and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used as a thickener, for soups or gravy, and can be used in many other recipes like macaroni and cheese, or mashed potato. But can you eat cornstarch on its own? To find out the answer to this question, and many alike, keep reading!
Table of Contents
- What is Cornstarch Exactly?
- Should You Eat Cornstarch Raw?
- What Does Cornstarch Taste Like?
- Is it Okay to Eat Cornstarch?
- Raw Cornstarch vs Cooked Cornstarch
- What Happens if You Eat Cornstarch?
- Cornstarch Alternatives
- Some Uses For Cornstarch
- Side Effects of Eating Cornstarch
- Other Uses for Cornstarch
- So is it Safe to Eat Cornstarch?
What is Cornstarch Exactly?
Cornflour or cornstarch is a highly refined form of carbohydrate. This white powdery substance is extracted from the endosperm of corn. Essentially, cornstarch is normally used as a thickening ingredient in sauces, gravies, marinades, soups and all sorts of desserts. Cornstarch is only made from corn; unlike other flours, it contains carbohydrates and no protein, making it gluten-free. Cornstarch is a multifunctional ingredient it can be used in plastics, baby powder, batteries and cosmetics.
Should You Eat Cornstarch Raw?
Even though it is possible to eat cornstarch raw, it isn’t recommended to do so. Eating cornstarch can be dangerous, because your body cannot break it down. This is because your body specialises in absorbing starch through your small intestine, where enzymes break it down into glucose or sugar molecules so that they can be used as energy. Raw starch cannot seep into your body, rather it can be digested by gut bacteria in your large intestine. The safest way to consume cornstarch, is through cooking it first, as cooked starches are safer to eat; breaking it down into glucose which will eventually allow your body to absorb and use it for energy.
What Does Cornstarch Taste Like?
Cornstarch is a white tasteless powder, that is often used to thicken soups and sauces. It provides texture rather than flavour to all sorts of dishes.
Is it Okay to Eat Cornstarch?
It is safe to eat cornstarch in small amounts, though cornstarch should never be consumed raw. Most recipes that acquire cornstarch, will often use 1 to 2 tablespoons of the tasteless powder, either heated in the stove or oven.
To thicken soup, sauce or stew, mix a small amount of cornstarch with cold water to create a slurry. Then combine this into your recipe, and watch the magic happen.
Raw Cornstarch vs Cooked Cornstarch
There are some advantages and disadvantages in eating raw cornstarch than cooked cornstarch. Raw cornstarch is difficult to digest, compared to its cooked form. Although raw cornstarch may result in gas or bloating, it doesn’t contribute to an increase in blood sugar levels as opposed to its cooked form. Consequently, raw cornstarch might be better than cooked cornstarch.
However, cooking cornstarch ensures that you kill any harmful bacteria that may have latched onto the corn during harvesting. Because it lacks fibre, proteins and nutrients there is very little positivity to say for cornstarch. Though it is gluten-free and is a quick source of calories, making it a possible addition to many diets.
What Happens if You Eat Cornstarch?
Cornstarch, is a highly processed food that lacks fibre, minerals, and vitamins, therefore carrying low nutritional value. It is so difficult to digest that when consumed in large amounts, it can cause bloat in your stomach, which can also increase the level of blood glucose in your body. It is an excessively processed product, which can make it harmful to your heart.
There are many splendid alternatives to use in your recipes to replace cornstarch. Here are some of the best substitutes to use in place of cornstarch, they can also be used together to provide delicious results:
- Whole-Wheat Flour
- Nut Flour
- Arrowroot Powder
This is a much healthier alternative to cornstarch, as it contains more nutrients. It’s also less processed, minimising your bodies efforts in breaking it down.
High in calories and fat, but low in carbs, nut flour is another great substitute to cornflour, as it contains more fats than starches.
This is a great substitute for all types of flours, because of its neutral taste and thickening abilities. It is also rich in minerals, which whole-wheat and nut flour don’t have.
Some Uses For Cornstarch
There are many different ways to use cornstarch in your cooking and baking. You can use cornstarch to thicken soups and sauces, and coat meats, cheese or mashed potatoes before frying them. You can also make gravy out of cornstarch by mixing it with water and then adding the gravy mixture into a hot pan, with the meat juices. Cornstarch is often used in baking, giving the meals some shape, body, and moisture by binding the ingredients together.
Side Effects of Eating Cornstarch
Like every type of food when eaten out of moderation, cornstarch comes with its own list of inauspicious effects as well. Exceeding the limit of anything will almost always leave room for harmful side effects on your health. These can include:
- Heart Health
- Increase Blood Sugar
- No Essential Ingredients
Cornstarch is made entirely from corn’s endosperm. Meaning that other nutritional benefits of the grain have been removed, and it is considered processed food, therefore a refined carbohydrate which can cause heart disease. As well as other health problems including, increased insulin levels, type 2 diabetes, lower the levels of good cholesterol, lead to high blood pressure and obesity.
Increase Blood Sugar
Cornstarch contains a high glycaemic index and carbohydrates, and is considerably low in fibre. Therefore slowing down the absorption of sugar in the blood stream. This makes cornstarch a rapid digestive item that can increase your blood sugar levels, which is why it should be avoided by type 2 diabetes patients.
No Essential Ingredients
You’re probably aware by now, that cornstarch only contains carbohydrates and calories. Other nutrients like fibre, protein, and minerals are absent from its powdered depth. It has macronutrients like sodium and manganese, but you’d need to consume a high quantity to get their benefits.
Other Uses for Cornstarch
Cornstarch can be used for specific skin conditions. For instance if you suffer from diabetes diabetes-related foot infections, using cornstarch or talcum powder can help prevent these infections. This is because cornstarch helps to keep the moist areas of the body dry. Applying cornstarch to the skin can also prevent or relieve many skin irritations.
So is it Safe to Eat Cornstarch?
Unless you plan to use cornstarch in a variety of recipes as a thickening component, used as batter, or added in desserts then cornstarch is completely useless, in terms of providing nutritional benefits to your body. It shouldn’t be consumed raw at all, and should strictly be used in recipes, as its colourless, tasteless properties are deemed useful in those aspects.
Is it OK to Eat Raw Cornstarch?
You should refrain from eating raw cornstarch as it can cause anaemia, iron deficiency and many other bodily issues, such as gas and bloating. Raw cornstarch, may also contain harmful bacteria which can cause food-borne illnesses, it is only safe to consume when cooked in recipes.
What Does Eating Cornstarch do to You?
Cornstarch added to meals is completely harmless, though consuming in large quantities can lead to an upset stomach and bloating, as well as spiking your blood sugar levels.
Why do I Crave Cornstarch?
If you habitually crave cornstarch you may have a disorder called pica. Pica is a craving for substances that aren’t culturally defined as food, such as dirt, chalk, paper, charcoal, or raw starches.