The delicious summer treat that we sometimes forget is even a vegetable. I’m here to tell you why sweet corn is good for weight loss from a Dietitian’s perspective.
Remember just like everything else, moderation is always crucial for achieving your desired weight loss results.
We’ll go over the benefits of why sweet corn is good for you, how to strategically incorporate it into your diet, and when you should be eating it.
No reason to feel guilty eating this delicious culinary gold!
9 Reasons Sweet Corn is Good for Weight Loss
Sweet corn is a nutrient-dense food that has characteristics that can actually help promote weight loss.
1. Low in Calories
Sweet corn is relatively low in calories, containing only about 72 calories in ½ cup serving.
Of course that number could greatly increase depending on how much butter or toppings you add to it.
Corn itself however, is not a high calorie food. In fact, even though it is mostly a carbohydrate it’s the good kind – but we’ll get to that later.
2. High in Fiber
Sweet corn is also high in insoluble fiber, providing indigestible bulk that is not only good for gut health but also weight loss.
Fiber takes longer to digest, meaning it will stay in your stomach for longer. This is favorable for weight loss because it can manipulate your hormones making you, quite literally, feel fuller longer.
3. Contains Complex Carbohydrates
Ok, so what’s so special about complex carbohydrates? To put it simply, they contain more; more fiber, more vitamins, more nutrients.
Compare this to simple carbohydrates that contain little to no nutrients besides the actual sugar compound like white table sugar, syrup, candy, soda, etc.
Corn is not stripped of its nutrients when eaten in its whole form, making it a beneficial complex carbohydrate.
4. Rich in Nutrients
While sweet corn is notorious for its sugar content, that doesn’t mean that’s all that it provides. Sweet corn is actually packed with nutrients as well.
In just one cup of corn, there are 5 gm of protein, 3.5 gm of fiber, 38 mg of magnesium, 115 mg of phosphorus, and 325 mg of potassium.
Magnesium supports muscle and nerve function. Phosphorus allows for tissue growth and repair as well as for the genetic production of DNA and RNA. Potassium maintains fluid inside the cells, regulates blood pressure and helps muscles contract.
All of these nutrients are important for overall optimal health. And remember that to lose weight and be healthy are one in the same.
So including nutrient-rich foods, such as sweet corn, is vital not just for your overall health but can be used on your weight loss journey too.
5. Low in Fat
Sweet corn is naturally low in fat. Fat is the one macronutrient that provides more calories than the rest, which is why high fat foods are limited when trying to lose weight.
One half cup of sweet corn provides less than 2 grams of fat. Of course, what do we know that pairs best with corn? Butter, aka, a fat.
So just like anything else, use butter spareling. Better yet, choose a plant based butter to ensure that the additional calories you are getting are from healthy fats.
I’ll even go over some of my tips and tricks on toppings to add to corn besides butter a little later in this article.
Corn is quite literally one of the most versatile ingredients in the culinary world. Besides just on the cob, corn is what high fructose corn syrup is made from – a compound listed in almost too many ingredient lists.
But for our purposes, let’s talk about corn in its most whole form – the kernel. While on the cob is the traditional summer way of eating it. When taken off the cob, sweet corn can be added to just about any dish you can think of that could use a refreshing pop of sweetness.
Toss it in soups, salads, stir fry, baked goods, casseroles, seriously I bet whatever you are making could be served with a sweet corn twist.
7. Promotes Healthy Digestion
Corn contains something called resistant starch – simply meaning a type of starch that resists digestion in the small intestine causing it to ferment in the large intestine. This is a good thing.
Fermented products such as yogurt, kombucha, red wine are good for gut health because they help increase the uptake of minerals, act as prebiotics, and can even reduce symptoms of diarrhea.
8. Blood Sugar Regulation
You can’t really talk about starch without mentioning diabetes. That resistant starch in corn is also very beneficial for type 2 diabetes.
The resistant starch will cause a slower and lower rise in blood sugar levels compared to other carbohydrate starches. This will allow for increased insulin sensitivity, meaning insulin can do its job better at regulating blood sugar levels.
This isn’t just beneficial for diabetes, but for the general population as well in the prevention of developing type 2 diabetes.
9. Available Year-Round
Luckily, to reap the benefits of sweet corn you don’t have to eat it right off the cob. Sweet corn is available year-round as you can buy it fresh, frozen, or canned.
All are great options, and can help change things up a bit so things don’t get too mundane. Corn on the cob is a great summer treat and tradition. But using canned sweet corn works just as well.
How to Eat Sweet Corn for Weight Loss
Alright, now we know that sweet corn can actually be incorporated into your diet even when you are trying to lose weight…but how exactly? Let’s go over some typical (and atypical) ways of enjoying this complex carbohydrate.
Eat sweet corn fresh on the cob, frozen, or canned. While a tiny bit of nutritional value is lost in the freezing and canning process – it does not totally negate all of the benefits.
Frozen sweet corn is the next best option if you can’t have it fresh. Frozen corn also makes it easy to sprinkle some into recipes whenever you want it.
Canned sweet corn will have a higher sodium content due to the canning process and also cause some of the nutrients to leach out into the canning liquid as well.
However, this doesn’t make canned corn bad. Simply drain and rinse the corn to reduce the amount of sodium you’ll ingest.
Don’t forget that popcorn is still in fact corn, and yes even counts as a whole grain. Best of all, you can eat a lot of it.
One serving of popcorn is 3 cups. Of course, you’ll want to avoid smothering it in butter and salt.
When serving corn as a side dish, spruce it up a bit and impress your guests. Instead of using butter, drizzle olive oil with parmesan cheese or lemon juice to get a burst of sweet and savory in every bite.
Looking for a refreshing corn salad recipe? Registered Dietitian Julie from The Healthy Epicurean has a Summer Succotash with Grilled Corn recipe that will be your new staple side dish at BBQs!
When to Eat Sweet Corn for Weight Loss
Is too much of a good thing bad? Short answer – yes. Isn’t it always though?
While you can eat sweet corn everyday while on your diet, just be sure you are not eating it in addition to your normal carbohydrate intake.
If corn is typically in your daily intake, then so be it. My advice is just not to overdo it.
Sweet corn does not cause weight loss in of itself, it’s just simply a good carbohydrate to include if you so wish.
The best time to eat sweet corn for weight loss is as your starch for dinner at night. The high fiber content will keep you full well into the evening, preventing any high-calorie snacking later on.
Sweet corn is good for weight loss because it’s a nutrient-dense complex carbohydrate that is low in calories.
Just remember to always stick to my mantra here at Culinary Dietetics; eat food in their most whole form and in moderation.
While sweet corn does not make belly fat melt away, you can strategically incorporate it into your weight loss diet plan because of the benefits listed below.
9 Reasons Sweet Corn is Good for Weight Loss
- Low in Calories
- High in Fiber
- Contains Complex Carbohydrates
- Rich in Nutrients
- Low in Fat
- Promotes Healthy Digestion
- Blood Sugar Regulation
- Available Year-Round
We also covered how to eat sweet corn for weight loss, it can be incorporated into your meals whether it’s fresh, frozen, or canned.
Experiment with different flavor combinations or add a sprinkle of corn to whatever dish you think could use a burst of sweetness.
Remember that the best time to eat sweet corn for weight loss is with your dinner meal, the high fiber content will keep you feeling full well into the evening.