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  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    Corn Gluten - Is it Safe for a People with Celiac Disease Who are on a Gluten-Free Diet?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    The term gluten in reference to the cohesive, elastic protein mass remaining after starch is washed from a dough goes back to Beccari in 1745. Strictly speaking, gluten is found only in wheat because it is difficult to wash a cohesive protein mass even from rye, the closest relative to wheat, let alone from barley or oats or anything else. Unfortunately, a misuse of the term by the corn industry has become common in recent years. It has become fairly common to call corn storage proteins corn gluten. Personally, I think there is no justification for such usage. Corn may contain prolamins, as does wheat, but not gluten.

    When it comes to celiac disease, a similar corruption of the term has become very common. There are certain related proteins in wheat, rye, and barley that give rise to particular peptides during digestion that are capable of triggering the responses typical of celiac disease. Only in the case of wheat can these be strictly considered to be derived from the gluten proteins. But for lack of a suitable term, patients and their physicians began speaking of gluten-free or gluten-containing foods. People ask me, How much gluten is there in quinoa? I have to translate this into, Are there any harmful peptide sequences in the proteins of quinoa? There is nothing in quinoa that is like gluten prepared from a wheat flour dough, which has an unusual, perhaps unique, viscoelastic character.

    In any case, as far as we know, corn does not seem to cause harm to celiac patients. Corn has not been studied in the extensive way that wheat has in relation to celiac disease, but for 40+ years patients and their physicians have seemed to agree that corn is OK. The sequences in the corn zein (prolamin) fraction are suspicious, but they do differ in an apparently crucial way from the protein sequences of the wheat gliadin (prolamin) fraction. There have been no modern biopsy-based studies of the effects of purified corn proteins on the celiac intestine as there have been for wheat, but the mass of evidence still seems to point in the direction of corn being safe for celiac patients.


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    Great article. I do not have celiac, but am a restaurant operator looking for clarification on the corn for our gluten sensitive guests. I also follow a no grain diet in general for my health. Corn is insidious in so many foods and once all grains are removed you will see and feel a closer connection to your body and foods in general. Good luck to you all in your quest for good health.

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    Anyone else have problems with corn? I am aware that it is not gluten, but after my celiac disease diagnosis I slowly became more sensitive to other foods. Rice first. (ouch) Then corn. Soy. Tomato. Besides the yeast, dairy, eggs, acidic foods...

    I'm really intolerant to corn - it makes me really ill. I'm struggling to find food I can eat as I plan to go gluten free very soon. It seems that the only alternative to wheat is corn - I despair!!

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    Anyone else have problems with corn? I am aware that it is not gluten, but after my celiac disease diagnosis I slowly became more sensitive to other foods. Rice first. (ouch) Then corn. Soy. Tomato. Besides the yeast, dairy, eggs, acidic foods...

    I just stumbled upon this post. There are reasons to issues with other non gluten foods. Dairy, eggs and meats all have a protein that over shoot the autoimmune system, soy is horrible for the thyroid and also taxes the autoimmune system, yeast grow in the gut and can in TCM be known to cause all kinds of other problems. Candida (yeast) can take 6 months through dietary changes to get under control. Tomatoes, potatoes and shades in general can be issues for people with food sensitivities. Also keep in mind that citrus, bananas and lechtins in legumes are problems for many with over all autoimmune issues. Once removing allergen and problematic foods it is easier to detect where other allergies to foods are. I don't usually eat corn because of cross contamination issues. I have all these issues above and celiac is the least of my concerns. Sometimes it does feel like diet is a bit cardboard - having a sense of humor is important when dealing with huge dietary changes. Add in the importance of changing to reverse osmosis water and you have an MS diet.

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    I was recently diagnosed with celiac and am pre-diabetic. It helps to have a good doc finally after so many not listening. I have to add so it may help some of you out there. My doctor does integrative and functional medicine. So he is helping with that and got me on Bioidentical hormones. So here is the news I got this week: he works with neuroscience which has testing I have heard some of you mention before in other postings here called IGg. They tested my blood serum through Pharmasan lab their sister company and low and behold out of 154 foods and 22 spices. I have serious problems with sensitivity in my gut. I have been poisoning myself for years. I think with all that it revealed I most definitely dealing with candida. So the best advice I can give anyone is that is you have pain whether right away or in the morning you have a problem with certain foods and better get it out of your system. The person who said you are hungry, right now I am only able to eating beef and chicken. I use coconut oil since I am sensitive to olives so no more olive oil until I can kill whatever candida is there plus nothing containing sugar or fermentation products. It is difficult and I do have to take probiotics--anything to help with elimination. I actually scored low for gluten but moderate for barley, wheat and millet and quinoa. So all grain for me is out. I have to determine what foods will help me heal and what aggravates. So I hope this helps some of you in your wellness journey. We must listen to our bodies.

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    I'm new to all this. I have experienced stomach issues for years and am just beginning to realize I need to make changes to my diet so I can begin to feel better

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    I'm really intolerant to corn - it makes me really ill. I'm struggling to find food I can eat as I plan to go gluten free very soon. It seems that the only alternative to wheat is corn - I despair!!

    There are many prepared foods that are gluten free, yet they contain corn starch (watch baking powder) or corn syrup. Be careful! I'm learning to read labels VERY carefully, and I'm starting to prepare all my food from scratch again and things are much better. Take care and best wishes!

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    I've just figured out, myself, in the last week, that I have celiac disease. My doctor insists it's IBS. Well, I've been reading and following strictly, a Gluten Free Diet. It's only been a week, and I am starting to feel a significant change in my body.Earlier today, after reading an article that Corn was 'okay' to eat, I cooked corn on the cob for dinner. Almost instantly, I started feeling my legs getting heavy, my hands and legs going numb, and felt just as I did prior to figuring out that it was Gluten affecting me. The corn (for me) does not agree with whatever My body is trying to fight against. I have been very ill for 3 yrs, and saw several doctors. All misdiagnosed and wanted to pump drugs into me. I am glad I followed my own instincts and hope I am going to feel better with each day.

    There have been several case reports of people with IBS being very sensitive to "grain" this is not celiac, it is a sensitivity that affects people in a very negative way. Options for "flour" are chick peas, nuts, other legumes etc. Diet profoundly affects many people, but celiac is a very specific disease not just "gluten sensitivity."

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    I'm really intolerant to corn - it makes me really ill. I'm struggling to find food I can eat as I plan to go gluten free very soon. It seems that the only alternative to wheat is corn - I despair!!

    I feel ya, Glynis. Corn seems to be in everything. Even if I go to a restaurant that has allergy protocols, I still get corned.

     

    Have you searched for Grain free alternatives? These cookbook authors also have blogs: Elena Amsterdam has an almond flour cookbook, Spunky Coconut (I think she is Christian). I also find some ideas on Grain Free Mom (don't know her name) and Cooking Traditional Foods (the mom and a few kids have been diagnosed as Celiacs)

     

    I went gluten free and about 2-3 months later got really sick. The corn was just too much. It's a fairly common occurrence to go gluten-free, feel better for a few months, than consider grain free for better healing.

     

    I recently got Pascalite clay and take it before eating out. It helps minimize (not eliminate) any discomfort from being corned.

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    Sylvia, you obviously are not and do not have a loved one who is stricken with celiac disease. Otherwise you'd not makes such an insensitive comment. What an idiot! Do yourself a favor, read some book on the disease, try to cultivate some degree of compassion for others. Otherwise you're just an empty vessel and waste of life.

    Juggernaut, I am celiac and I think that Sylvia's comment is hilarious. Especially before diagnosis I felt like that a few times. At one point I didn't want to eat anything cause I was sick all the time!! If only they made food from cardboard!!! But after diagnosis I have slowly started to love food again and appreciate a lot more fruit and veggies.

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    Once your small intestine is inflamed for whatever reason, it cannot properly release the enzymes necessary to digest some foods. Dr. Mercola's site has articles stating that even potato, tomato and rice has a component similar to gluten.

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  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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