Is corn low FODMAP? The answer depends on the type of corn and how it has been processed. Corn and many corn products can fit into a low FODMAP diet.
Does the mention of corn conjure up images of late summer days? Boiled corn, grilled corn, or even corn over the hot coals of a fire?
The vegetable we know as sweetcorn is just one of many types of corn. There are many other types used in commercial food products that have different FODMAP content than corn on the cob. And there is even a difference between fresh sweetcorn and canned.
So, read on to learn which types of corn or corn products you may include on a low FODMAP diet – and check out the note on insoluble fiber because FODMAPs aren’t the only food trigger for IBS.
Please note that this article was written using FODMAP data from Monash University. Suitable portion sizes are subject to change as more data becomes available. Check out this article from Monash on why portion sizes change.
Not sure if you even need a low FODMAP diet? Read The FODMAP Elimination Diet: What to Consider Before You Start.
FODMAP Content of Corn
Fresh sweetcorn, or corn on the cob, contains the FODMAP sorbitol. So yes, unfortunately, sweetcorn is a high-FODMAP food. But the good news is, there is a low FODMAP serve that can fit into your diet, even in elimination – that portion is ½ a cob, 38 grams, or roughly 1/3 cup of corn.
Although frozen corn has not officially been tested for FODMAPs, we can assume that it would be similar to fresh sweetcorn. Frozen corn comes from the same plant as sweetcorn, is picked fresh, and is frozen without any other processing. So, a portion of about 38 grams or roughly 1/3 cup is allowed during the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet.
There is good news here! Canned corn is low FODMAP in a serving of one cup (75 grams). That’s a generous portion of corn! Very large portions do contain fructans.
But wait… Isn’t canned corn from the same plant as fresh sweetcorn and frozen corn? Yes, it is. But since FODMAPs are water soluble and canned corn is packed in water, the FODMAPs leach out of the corn and into the liquid.
So be sure to discard the liquid – and ideally, rinse your corn to assure the lowest FODMAP content.
If canned corn is low FODMAP, you might think that canned creamed corn would be too! But that’s not quite the case. Canned creamed corn is different from regular canned corn because it is not just sitting in salt water that you drain off.
With canned creamed corn, some of the kernels are pureed to give it that creamy texture. This also creates a more concentrated product, which in turn makes it higher in FODMAPs.
But you can still get away with a small portion. So, if creamed corn is on the menu for your next meal, you can still have a taste. A low FODMAP serve is about ¼ cup (60 grams).
Homemade creamed corn will likely be even higher in FODMAPs. Most recipes for creamed corn contain milk or cream (lactose), wheat flour (fructans and GOS), and sometimes onions (fructans and GOS). In most cases, you are better off avoiding homemade creamed corn – at least during elimination.
Baby corn? We are talking about those cute little mini cobs of corns that are often found in stir-fry. Canned baby corn is considered low FODMAP. Even in a one-cup portion (75 grams), only a trace amount of FODMAPs were detected. So, enjoy!
How Include Corn on a Low FODMAP Diet
Yes, you can just eat half a cob of sweetcorn, a third of a cup of frozen corn, or a cup of canned corn or baby corn. But, there are so many ways to get creative and use corn to enhance the flavor and texture of other dishes.
Here are some suggestions:
👉Top your favorite salad with up to 1/3 cup of grilled corn kernels.
👉Sprinkle corn kernels on top of your burrito bowls.
👉Skip the beans and add canned corn instead to your chicken tortilla soup.
👉Or try this easy-peasy low-FODMAP chicken soup with vegetables.
👉Low FODMAP Corn fritters, anyone?
👉Add canned corn to casseroles.
👉Use canned baby corn in stir fry or soup.
A Note on Insoluble Fiber
Although there are portions of corn that are considered low FODMAP, some people struggle with corn anyway. This may be due to its tough exterior, or hull. The hull of the corn kernel is mostly insoluble fiber. If you’ve ever looked in the toilet after a meal involving corn, you know what I’m talking about!
Even at a low FODMAP portion, some people with IBS and other gut conditions may find that foods high in insoluble fiber cause some discomfort.
If you are embarking on a low FODMAP diet and are not sure if insoluble fiber is troublesome for you, talk it over with your dietitian. Whether he or she recommends leaving high sources of insoluble fiber in your diet may depend on your current diet and the severity of your symptoms.
FODMAP Content of Corn Products
As noted above. Not all corn is created equal. Although sweetcorn is higher FODMAP, many corn-based products are not. This is because they use a different kind of corn.
The types of corn in many processed food products are lower in sugars (FODMAPs) and higher in starch. This is why many corn-based products are acceptable on a low FODMAP diet.
Here is a rundown of the FODMAP content of popular corn products.
Cornbread can be low or high FODMAP depending on how it is made. Cornmeal itself is low FODMAP. Look for cornbread made with gluten-free flour and make with lactose-free milk. Always check the label of mixes or premade products.
Bob’s Red Mill has a cornbread mix that fits the bill.
Plain or salted corn chips or tortilla chips are low FODMAP. Be sure to check the label for other added ingredients. And if you are dipping those chips, be mindful of what you are topping them with. Here’s a great companion *wink, wink* – try my Low FODMAP salsa recipe!
Like corn chips, corn tortillas are considered low FODMAP. As a side note, flour tortillas are low FODMAP in a serving of 1 tortilla (35 grams). There may be other gluten-free tortillas that are also low FODMAP but be sure to check the ingredient label.
Cornflakes contain moderate amounts of fructans. A ½ cup portion is considered low FODMAP. A 1-cup portion is moderate.
If you have a bowel of cornflakes for breakfast with lactose-free milk and without any other significant source of FODMAPs most people will do fine with a one-cup portion.
This is true even in the elimination phase (because even though we call it an elimination diet, it is more accurately a low-FODMAP, not no-FODMAP diet). So go ahead and have your cornflakes, and add some blueberries too!
Plain popcorn is low FODMAP in a generous portion of 7 cups, popped! And yes, you can add a little butter and salt. Check the label with any popcorn seasoning or pre-popped products.
And be mindful of the insoluble fiber in popcorn. Some people with tummy troubles do not do well with popcorn. When it doubt, talk it over with your dietitian.
Cornmeal or Polenta
Cornmeal is low FODMAP in a portion of one cup. As is polenta, a coarsely ground version of cornmeal.
Cooked polenta is low FODMAP if cooked with water, low FODMAP broth, or lactose-free milk.
Corn starch and corn flour are low FODMAP.
Corn syrup gets a little tricky. Regular old corn syrup is thought to be low FODMAP because it contains more glucose than fructose.
Fructose only becomes a problem when there is more fructose in a product than glucose. I know, confusing, right? But bear with me…
High fructose corn syrup (sometimes called glucose-fructose syrup) is more likely to be a problem. But there are different types of high fructose corn syrup out there with various ratios of glucose to fructose. Some are 42% fructose (low FODMAP) and others are 55% fructose (high FODMAP).
But since most products using high fructose corn syrup don’t list the fructose content, you are better off avoiding products containing high fructose corn syrup.
Corn can be included in a low FODMAP diet, but close attention must be paid to the type of corn and whether it is processed. And of course pay attention to appropriate portion sizes.
The best way to stay on top of approved portion sizes (because again, they may change with further testing), is to download the Monash University Low FODMAP app.
And remember that some people are also sensitive to insoluble fiber. But rather than going crazy and cutting out every potential trigger for IBS, work with a dietitian who can help you stay on the most liberal (and highest quality) diet while working through your triggers.
Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.