If there is a food as patriotic as mom’s apple pie, that food is perhaps corn. Corn is often considered a vegetable, but it is in fact a grain, or a seed-head of grass, and its history in the Americas reaches back millennia. Since then, after learning to cultivate corn from Native Americans, corn has woven itself into the American story from the earliest of colonial times. Fast forward to today; corn is one of the mostly widely grown crops in America, and it has turned into a staple of the American diet. Corn production is so important to the American food supply and economy that it is heavily subsidized by the government, ensuring a cheap, abundant supply.
Even if you do not enjoy ears of whole corn regularly, the likelihood of you eating foods containing corn on any given day is very high, particularly if you enjoy the foods many Americans do on a daily basis. Corn’s versatility as a processed food product is what makes it such an important staple of the American diet; many different ingredients can be extracted from it. Most people are familiar with corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup––the infamous corn sweeteners found in many processed foods. But other ingredients such as corn starch, maltodextrin, even vitamin C are extracted from this humble plant.
When it isn’t we humans eating corn, much of it is being consumed by livestock. The abundance of corn as a cheap feed product is one of the factors that allows for the massive output of cheap meat from American factory farms.
There are a number of problems with corn and the ingredients derived from it. Corn syrup has not earned its reputation for nothing; as a major source of sugar in the American diet, it is certainly complicit in problems such as the obesity epidemic, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. As far as livestock goes, feeding animals an unnatural diet rich in corn proves to be ultimately detrimental to the health of the animal and the subsequent meat it yields. Particularly in cows, who naturally thrive on grass, not corn, fat ratios tilt in favor of inflammatory Omega 6 fats as opposed to healthy Omega 3 fats.
Among these and other problems, research shows that corn is universally tainted with fungal poisons, known as mycotoxins. Corn, as it turns out, is an easy food for fungi and molds to infest. These organisms produce some of the most toxic chemicals that occur naturally on earth, and they can be very harmful to human health. Subsequently, we think that most ingredients made from corn run the risk of that mycotoxin contamination, as well.
Knowing this, on the Phase One and Two Diets, corn is unilaterally disallowed, as are any foods containing ingredients derived from corn.