Grains & Starches

Q:    I know enriched wheat flour is a no-no, but I am getting a little sick of whole white. What other breads are good to eat?


A:    I suggest avoiding products that contain plain or enriched wheat flour because the product has been stripped of its fiber and nutrients, leaving behind just the starch. This type of fast-digesting, high-glycemic carb boosts insulin levels, which is fine after workouts but not at other times when it encourages fat storage and blunts fat-burning. I recommend breads that are low-glycemic and slow digesting such as whole-wheat bread, which has all its original fiber. There are other breads that are low-glycemic and one of the best is Ezekiel 4:9 bread. It doesn’t contain flour, and is a mix of organic sprouted whole grains (wheat, millet, spelt, and barley) and legumes (lentils and soybeans). Because it contains grains and legumes, the bread is a complete protein, which means it has all nine of the essential amino acids your body can’t produce on its own. Its whole grains and legumes are also very slow-digesting, making this bread a smart choice for most meals.

Rye is another low-glycemic bread; its kernels have been found to significantly slow digestion. And if you’re craving white bread, eat sourdough (think pannini). It contains both processed and bleached wheat flour, but the lactic acid produced during its fermentation process makes it a low-glycemic carb.


For many years I have been able to maintain a mostly “corn free” diet. That’s not to say I don’t occasionally butter up a cob of fresh sweet summer corn or pass up a melt-in-your-mouth corn tortilla and while I have heard both good and bad things about corn, its what is lurking in food products that has caused me to refrain from purchasing and consuming foods that are processed with unhealthy, high-fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, and corn oil. As the largest produced crop in the world, corn is found in nearly everything we eat and it is being used as a cheap source of calories and taste. Ketchup, salad dressings, cola, whole-grain breads, yogurt, crackers and even beer contain corn or corn by-products. But wait a minute! Don’t forget that the majority of the nation’s livestock is corn fed too. What does that mean? It means that you are still ingesting corn and its carbons.

So now what? We can’t eat meat? No, just remember that while most of us don’t have the resources to buy free-range, grass-fed meats, we should still be taking into consideration that the average diet already consists of a moderate amount of corn intake.. If you are not buying grass-fed meats, be mindful that you are still ingesting corn and that its carbons will still be recorded into your digestive system and absorbed into your tissues and muscles.

Now that we know that high-fructose corn syrup and corn products have weaseled their way into most of our supermarket foods and are the number one reason for America’s sugar habit, how can we fit corn into a healthy diet without sacrificing its beautiful flavor and texture?

Well, many Botanists and Nutritionists will argue over whether corn is actually good for you or not. Organic corn? Good. Big corn (boxed corn)? Bad. Well, which is it and how do the average folk who are trying to mind their diet decide? We could spend a week dissecting corn kernel for kernel and while I would love to, I don’t want the topic of corn to turn into a debate about ethanol or land conservation (that’s someone else’s blog). There are, however, many websites out there that both protect corn’s identity and also protest it.

Corn often gets a bad reputation due to its high carbohydrate (starch) content or high glycemic load; however, whole corn is packed with delicious, slowly digested complex carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants. Corn is one of the ultimate sources of fiber, therefore, a cup of kernels or any corn rich recipe will account for all of the daily fiber requirements, keeping you full and raising your energy level. Fibers found in corn can also significantly lower total and LDL(“bad”) cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. These fibers can also reduce the risk of colon cancer while providing essential vitamins such as C, B5, B9 (folic acid), and B1, which are important for maintaining optimum health.

Bottom line, raw corn and whole corn grain are a valuable part of our diet, while processed corn and corn products can be harmful. Consuming large quantities of processed corn will result in unwanted pounds and like most foods, too much of anything thing isn’t good. So be mindful. You don’t want to increase the risk of developing digestive upsets, allergies, or other health problems.

When corn is best for you and your diet

Take pleasure and indulge in the colors, flavors, and versatility of corn when it is at its best. Purchase and consume corn in its harvesting season, which is mid to late summer, and try to find local farm fresh corn if possible. Choosing organic corn over conventional corn not only tastes better but reduces your risk of overexposure to potentially harmful pesticides.  By buying whole produce in its original form and staying away from food that comes in a box or package, we can easily take a break from the dominating corn kingdom.

Now, I can hardly wait for next summer’s corn harvest!

Nutritional Values of Fresh and Cooked Corn, Yellow or White
Serving Size: 1 medium (7″) ear

Calories 77
Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat <1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Carbohydrate 19 g
Protein 3 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sodium 13 mg
Vitamin C 5 mg
Folic Acid 41 micrograms
Niacin 2 mg
Potassium 243 mg