Corn; A common Food Allergy
Associated delayed reactions & food allergies, have become increasingly common. In my practice, I am seeing more patients enter my clinic with reactions to foods that they commonly eat. I often see diverse reactions among my patients. The one question I seem to hear most often is, “Why am I just now reacting to these foods?” “My parents ate this food and they were fine”. This can often be a source of frustration and it’s no wonder, you are reacting to foods that you have been told for years are good for you.
There are many reasons for food allergies, especially to corn. The first is the misconception that corn is a vegetable. We have all been told to eat our vegetables for years. In fact, I still tell my patients that the majority of their diet should be derived from plants. However, when it comes to corn, we are more accurately talking about a grain. We may think about it as being part of our garden, but the corn you are likely to grow in your garden is much different than what is grown in fields and mass produced.
Different types of corn
There are many varieties of corn. Corn grown and eaten a century ago is of the variety of sweet or flint. Another species of corn also exists, known as dent. Dent corn is more commonly referred to as “field corn”. This is for good reason as it is the most common form of corn you see growing in fields. If you have ever seen pictures of large corn fields throughout the Midwest, this is “field corn”. Why do I take the time to differentiate between the two? Isn’t all corn same? Not at all. And the difference is at least in part, why we are seeing more reactions to corn and now considering it a common food allergen.
Corn produces it’s own pesticide.
Field corn as a species is genetically modified. Corn was originally hybridized to make it sweeter and decades later genetically modified to produce it’s own insecticide. Additionally the genetic makeup of corn has been manipulated to allow production of the BT toxin, a bacterial toxin. This toxin is often found in the soil. Are you starting to get the picture? You are eating a substance that in no way resembles what your forefathers ate. On top of that it is producing its own toxins. From this point, it is a slippery slope right into food allergies, and the more common sensitivities. Corn is no longer a food substance, but rather a science experiment perpetrated on the American public to determine the conclusion. The data is coming out, and it doesn’t look good for us.
The Paleo Diet
In general, I recommend that you take no chances with consuming problematic strains of corn. All corn that is refined, feed to animals at feed lots and used in the production of corn based products is genetically modified. If you wish to avoid the ill effects of this food, you will need to move to a Paleo diet. The Paleo Diet is known to aid the reduction of allergies, not just to corn, but to all common food allergies. If you must absolutely consume corn, make sure it is of the sweet or flint varieties, preferably organic. As it stands, organic foods are not genetically modified. While most of the non-field corn is not genetically modified, the agricultural conglomerate Monsanto, has started working their way into these species as well. Buyers beware and do your due diligence.
Unfortunately allergies are common, and with the manipulation of our food supply, they will continue to become even more prevalent. If you wish to protect yourself and your family’s immune systems, avoiding the common food allergens like corn, wheat or soy should be a strong consideration. While I have highlighted the implications surrounding genetic modification, this is only one aspect of corn, and other grains, that contribute to its high allergenicity. If you are serious about getting rid of your allergies and all the associated side effects, making a dietary, lifestyle change is a must and there is no better place to start than the Paleo Diet.