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Cornstarch has many uses in the kitchen. It can be used as a thickener, to thicken sauces and soups, or to make gravy. Cornstarch is found in most kitchens because it is inexpensive and easy to find.
Cornstarch also comes packaged with other ingredients needed for recipes such as mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. But what about eating raw corn starch? Can you eat raw cornstarch? Can you eat corn starch raw without any health risks?
This article will discuss the benefits of eating cornstarch, its possible negative side effects, and everything in between.
Let’s get started!
Should you eat cornstarch raw?
Even though you can, we do not recommend that you eat cornstarch raw. Eating uncooked starch can be dangerous because your body cannot break it down.
This is because your body specially absorbs starch through your small intestine, where enzymes break it down into glucose or sugar molecules so that they can be used as energy.
The raw starch cannot be absorbed by your body but digested by gut bacteria in your large intestine.
In rare cases, raw starch can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and cramping. But this is only temporary discomfort that usually passes within a few hours of ingestion.
When eating cornstarch, the safest thing to do is to cook it first before consuming it because cooked starches are safe to eat.
And cooking your cornstarch will also break it down into glucose, making it easier for your body to absorb and use as energy.
There are so many different ways to use cornstarch in cooking and baking. Here are a few examples of how you can add them to your meal plan.
You can also use cornstarch to thicken sauces and soups or coating meats, cheese, or mashed potatoes before frying them in your favorite cooking oil.
You can also make gravy out of cornstarch by mixing it with water and then adding the mixture into a hot pan with your meat juices.
Asides from cooking, there are many different ways to use cornstarch. It’s an inexpensive ingredient that is easy to find in most grocery stores.
What does cornstarch taste like?
Cornstarch is a tasteless powder that you can add to many different types of recipes. It is used for its thickening ability, not for taste, because it has nothing to contribute in that regard.
Cornstarch health benefits
Cornstarch has no flavor or odor, which makes it an excellent thickening agent when cooking.
Also, commercial cornstarch contains 488 calories per cup, with little to no protein, vitamins, fat, or fiber. Cornstarch’s health benefits are minimal due to its lack of nutrients.
Cornstarch can help you improve your calorie intake if you’re underweight and want to develop weight quickly. The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which your body needs as fuel.
Cornstarch fills your body with energy faster than whole-grain carbs since it lacks fiber, fat, and protein to slow down the process.
Cornstarch is also gluten-free. As a result, those with celiac disease or another sort of gluten intolerance can use it as a wheat flour substitute. That being said, oat flour is gluten-free too, and healthier. However, cornstarch has less fiber, protein, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium per cup than oat flour.
Cornstarch health risks
This is because your body cannot break down, absorb, or use raw starch.
If you have kidney disease, consuming large amounts of starch can cause your body to retain water. This is because the kidneys are not able to filter the extra fluids in your body.
Also, if you have diabetes or insulin resistance, eating starch can cause an increase in blood sugar levels because your body cannot absorb the glucose quickly enough.
If you have any of these conditions, you should limit your intake of cornstarch.
In addition, if you’re allergic to corn or any other food that contains it, then eating starch can cause a reaction such as hives, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the tongue or throat.
Best cornstarch alternatives
There are many alternative ingredients that you can use to replace cornstarch in your favorite recipes.
Whole-wheat flour, nut flours, and arrowroot powder are the three best substitutes. They can also be used together to produce better results than cornstarch.
Whole-wheat flour is a healthier alternative to cornstarch because it contains more nutrients. It’s also less processed, so your body has to work less to break it down.
Nut flours are high in calories and fat content but low in carbs because they contain mostly fats instead of starches as cornstarch does.
Arrowroot powder is a great substitute for both kinds of flour mentioned above due to its neutral taste and thickening abilities. It is also rich in minerals, which whole-wheat flour and nut flours are lacking.
In addition, arrowroot powder is not as common as cornstarch, so it is slightly more difficult to find in most grocery stores.
In some cases, you can also use no-calorie sweetener or regular sugar in place of cornstarch, but it will result in a slightly different taste.
In baking recipes that call for cornstarch, you can use oat flour instead. It has a similar consistency and cooking time as the original recipe. Oat flour is a good source of fiber and protein. However, it lacks the starch that cornstarch provides.
Cornstarch is not a healthy ingredient to eat raw because it lacks nutrients and contains calories from carbs. Also, it can cause digestive issues and may increase blood sugar levels. Hence, you want to avoid eating cornstarch, especially raw.
Cornstarch substitutes are healthier alternatives, though not as common.