Jan 22, 2024 • 10 min read

Is Corn Good for Weight Loss?

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If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be wondering if corn is good for weight loss. 

Research shows that eating corn may help people lose weight because it is low in calories and high in fiber. While some may demonize corn because of its carbohydrate content, high-fiber foods like corn help to slow digestion and allow you to feel full quicker and stay full for longer. 

However, not all corn is created equal. To get the most weight loss benefits from consuming corn, try to avoid processed forms and instead choose whole food sources.

Choose corn on the cob or whole kernel frozen or canned corn that is drained and rinsed. Limit processed forms of corn like corn syrup and corn oil.

This guide goes over why corn is a good option for weight loss, which types of corn to choose from, how to prepare it, and more.

What the research says: Can corn help with weight loss?

While corn is often classified as a grain or a vegetable, corn is actually a fruit but can be considered any one of these. Regardless of its classification, research shows that consuming more fruits and vegetables can aid in weight loss.

Because fruits and veggies like corn are low in calories and high in fiber compared to other foods, they can aid in satiety while decreasing overall caloric intake leading to weight loss. 

Corn is particularly high in insoluble fiber. While the spotlight often lands on soluble fiber for weight loss, insoluble fiber also provides benefits to those looking to drop some pounds. Both types of fiber aid in satiety and decrease subsequent hunger levels.

In addition to fiber, corn is quite nutritious. A medium-sized ear of sweet corn contains only 77 calories and is a good source of vitamin B1, folate, and vitamin C. But be aware that corn is a starchy vegetable and may spike blood sugar levels in some individuals.

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How eating corn can help with weight loss

While no single food can cause you to lose weight on its own, incorporating more foods like corn into your diet is associated with an improvement in body weight. Below are some of the reasons corn, and similar foods, may be a good addition to your weight loss diet. 

1) High in fiber 

Corn is a rich source of fiber, containing close to five grams in a one-cup serving. It’s recommended that women consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day and men at least 38 grams. However, most people don’t even come close to these recommendations with the average intake being half what it should be.

Fiber has been connected to satiety as well as weight loss. Fiber slows the rate our stomach empties which increases satisfaction during meals and helps with appetite regulation. If we feel more satisfied with our meals, we are less likely to overeat or snack unnecessarily. 

2) Low in calories

Corn contains only 77 calories per one medium-size ear making it a low-calorie food. While not all foods consumed during weight loss need to be low-calorie, choosing more options like corn can help you enjoy eating larger amounts without excessive calorie intake.

This can help aid in weight loss by decreasing your overall caloric intake to create a calorie deficit while still keeping you feeling satisfied during meals. 

3) Nutrient rich

Corn is a rich source of many nutrients including vitamin B1, folate, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Corn also contains antioxidants, compounds found in plants that protect our cells against damaging free radicals. 

Corn contains a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are types of carotenoids that may provide additional health benefits, particularly for our eyes. Consuming foods rich in these antioxidants may help to prevent cataracts and other eye conditions.

4) Aids in digestion

The fiber content in corn can improve digestion when consumed regularly with other high-fiber foods. Corn is a rich source of insoluble fiber which promotes bowel regularity. It helps to pull water into the stool to make it softer and easier to pass.

Consuming a high-fiber diet that includes foods such as corn can help improve bowel function in those who frequently suffer from constipation or irregular bowel movements. This can also reduce the chances of suffering from digestive disorders associated with constipation.

5) Boosts gut health

The dietary fiber present in corn can also help to boost gut health. Corn contains prebiotic fibers that provide nourishment to the healthy bacteria in your gut so they can thrive.

A thriving gut microbiome that includes a diverse range of healthy bacteria is associated with a myriad of health benefits, including potentially aiding in weight loss

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Tips for preparing corn if you’re trying to lose weight

Corn has been incorporated in many different forms into processed food items. If you are eating corn as a part of a weight-loss diet, it’s important to choose the right form to get the most benefit. 

Below are some helpful guidelines for choosing the right corn and how to prepare it for optimal weight loss benefits:

  • Choose fresh or frozen over canned. Fresh or frozen varieties of corn are best for weight loss. Limit canned corn due to the high sodium content. If you only have access to canned corn, choose low-sodium whole-kernel corn and drain and rinse before using. 
  • Look for non-GMO. Corn is one of the most common foods to contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which may have harmful health effects on humans as well as negative environmental impacts. Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified label on your packaged corn.
  • Try air-popped popcorn. Look for air-popped varieties of popcorn. This eliminates a slew of potential additives and fats which helps to keep the calorie content low and maximize nutrition.
  • Minimize the toppings. If you are enjoying corn as a side to your meal, try to be mindful of the toppings or add-ons. For example, limit large amounts of butter, honey, or mayonnaise and instead, add fresh herbs and seasonings.
  • Grill or boil. Consider how you are preparing your corn. Try grilling, boiling, or steaming your corn to keep the calorie content low. Try to avoid cooking in fats which add extra calories.
  • Avoid processed forms of corn. Corn is commonly used in many processed snack foods such as cereals, crackers, and baked goods. Processed corn contains little to no nutritional value and is often found in foods that are linked with obesity.
  • Avoid high fructose corn syrup. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a byproduct of corn found in many processed food items that have been linked with obesity and other health complications. Choose whole food forms of corn or look for packaged items that don’t contain HFCS in their ingredients list.

How much corn should I eat per day to lose weight?

Despite its nutritional value, it’s still important to practice portion control even with foods like corn. While it is low in calories, it can still be consumed in excess leading to weight gain. 

Limit your corn intake to one medium-sized ear or one cup of kernels per day. Corn contains mostly carbohydrates and very little fat or protein. It should be enjoyed along with a diet that emphasizes other nutritious, high-fiber foods.

Finding a dietitian to work with is a great way to learn how much food to eat for weight loss and how to meet your nutrient needs even in a calorie deficit. Your dietitian can help you incorporate healthy foods like corn into your meals and snacks.

Nutritional value of corn

As mentioned earlier, corn is nutrient-rich. Aside from being a good source of protein, corn also contains a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. Below are some of the notable nutritional values of corn.

One cup of sweet corn kernels contains:

  • 132 calories
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 29 grams of carbohydrates
  • 4 grams of fiber (26% DV)
  • 57 mg of magnesium (14% DV)
  • 416 mg of potassium (12% DV)
  • 10 mg vitamin C (13% DV)
  • 0.308 mg of Thiamine (Vitamin B1) (25% DV)
  • 70 mcg Folate (17% DV)

Additionally, corn is a rich source of the plant compounds carotenoids and flavonoids. Consuming foods rich in these nutrients is associated with a reduced risk of developing various chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Other benefits of corn

While it may be difficult to see the benefits of corn simply based on its nutrition information, below is a breakdown of additional benefits corn may provide when eaten regularly along with a nutrient-rich diet. 

  • Promotes eye health. The carotenoids in corn—lutein and zeaxanthin—act as antioxidants that can help to protect the health of your eyes. These compounds make up the main pigment found in the retina which helps to protect the macula of the eye from damage, improve vision, and protect against harmful compounds.
  • May reduce the risk of certain diseases. The same carotenoids mentioned above that are essential for eye health have also been found to help reduce the risk of various eye diseases including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
  • Gluten-free option for those with sensitivities. Corn is a great gluten-free alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity or intolerance. However, products made from corn are not always gluten-free, so it’s important to continue to be diligent with label reading.
  • Versatile ingredient. Corn is a versatile ingredient that can be added to a variety of dishes including soups, stews, casseroles, chilis, salads, and more. It’s also a popular ingredient in a variety of food products due to its many culinary applications. 
  • Topical benefits. Corn may also provide cosmetic benefits when applied directly to the skin due to its antioxidant properties. Some suggest corn may help soothe skin irritations, rashes, and various skin conditions such as acne however, studies on this are limited.
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How to incorporate corn into your diet

If you’ve kept away from corn or haven’t experimented with recipes that include corn, you may be wondering what’s the best way to add it to your diet. Below are some ideas for easy ways to add corn to your meals:

  • Add corn to soups or stews
  • Incorporate corn into chilis
  • Roast corn and toss it into a salad 
  • Steam corn or dress it up for a side
  • Barbeque corn on the cob with your meats 
  • Bake corn to make homemade corn nuts for a snack

Why you should consider working with a dietitian to lose weight

It can be difficult to sift through all the diet and nutrition information that is out there. Getting personal and professional advice from a nutritionist or dietitian is almost always worth it as it can help bring clarity to your nutrition needs and the best weight loss strategy for you. 

Dietitians and nutritionists help people lose weight in the following ways:

  • Craft a healthy meal plan that fits your personal needs & preferences. weight loss dietitian will get to know your specific nutrition needs and personal preferences to build a plan that fits your lifestyle. Having a flexible, personalized meal plan will make your journey much more enjoyable and help you keep the weight off for good. They can also teach you how to meal prep for weight loss to help you stay on track.
  • Help you learn to read food labels & make smart choices. Knowledge about food labels can make you a smarter and more grocery shopper. 
  • Provide guidance for dining out. Your dietitian can teach you how to navigate a restaurant menu and find a balance between healthy options and treating yourself. 
  • Go over mindful eating strategies. Mindful eating will help you be aware of your hunger and fullness, eliminate distractions, and enjoy the healthy foods that you choose. 
  • Make sure you lose weight at a healthy rate for long-term weight loss. Your dietitian will guide you in a healthy eating pattern that promotes gradual, long-term weight loss. 
  • Help you understand how to fuel your body properly for workouts. Learn what to eat before and after workouts to feel your best, build lean body mass, and support your weight loss routine. 
  • Provide accountability & motivation. A nutrition professional can provide you with the positive support you need to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
  • Help you break through plateaus & make adjustments as needed. A nutrition expert can assess where you are and what the best next step is to break your plateau. 
  • Help with health issues. Your dietitian will guide you in choosing the best foods and portions to manage your condition and prevent symptoms.  

When you request an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians here at Zaya Care, we’ll check your insurance so you know exactly how much you’ll have to pay, if anything at all.

It’s worth noting that 90% of Zaya Care patients pay $0 for nutrition care with a registered dietitian as we are in-network with many major carriers.

Corn for weight loss FAQs

Can you eat corn when losing weight?
You can enjoy corn during weight loss as long as you stick with an appropriate portion of no more than one medium-sized ear or one cup of kernels per day. Corn has a lot of great characteristics that may aid in weight loss including that it’s low in calories and high in fiber.

Is corn a good or a bad fat?
Corn is considered a carbohydrate source. It contains very little to no fat or protein. 

Is corn better than rice for weight loss?
Corn contains fewer calories per serving than rice. Both are considered carbs, and both contain good sources of fiber (particularly brown rice). Neither is better for weight loss but rather both can be included in appropriate portions. 

Is corn a bad carb?
While corn is considered a starch, it is not a “bad” carb. It can result in an insulin spike in some; however, corn contains a good source of fiber which helps to promote blood sugar management and should not be feared. 

Is corn bad for your gut?
Corn provides many benefits for gut health including bowel regularity and prebiotics for your healthy gut bacteria. If you have certain conditions, such as diverticulosis, you may wish to steer clear of corn, however, it is considered good for digestion for most healthy adults.

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Meghan is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist from San Jose, California. She received her undergraduate degree from San Diego State University in 2015. Following an unexpected cross-country trip that landed her in Florida, she completed her didactic training through AdventHealth Orlando. Meghan has extensive experience in multiple aspects of dietetics including critical care, motivational interviewing, writing, and research. She is passionate about health and wellness and has dedicated her free time to breaking down complicated nutrition topics and disseminating them to the public through the arena of writing.