You could have a corn allergy and not know that you have it.
People can be allergic to almost all foods, even to corn. Corn allergies can be difficult to diagnose because corn is not one of the "top eight" foods that allergists typically test for when performing allergy tests.
Corn may cause as much trouble for someone allergic to it as the more common food allergies. Each person with this type of food allergy has a unique response that could be minor or more serious when he or she eats foods that contain corn or corn products.
Symptoms of corn allergy
A person may suffer with corn allergy symptoms for years and not know that they have this allergy. Common allergic reactions are migraines or severe headaches, nasal congestion, sinus infections, sleep problems, joint pain and itchy eyes.
Some people suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms that include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea. Skin rashes and hives are also possible if you are allergic to corn, and it can also cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that affects the entire body and requires emergency medical care.
Thousands of foods contain corn derivatives
If having a corn allergy were as easy as not eating corn on the cob at a festival or picnic, it would not be such a big problem for those who suffer from this allergy. The problem is that products derived from corn, such as cornstarch, corn syrup, malt or malt syrup, baking soda, vanilla extract, sorbitol and others are used in thousands of processed foods. You may use some of these corn products in your cooking at home if you do not realize that they contain corn products.
Foods to avoid if you have a corn allergy
Once you know that you have a corn allergy, you will need to read every food label. You will also need to know the common names of ingredients that indicate that corn is in a food product. Some of the easier foods to find hidden in foods have the name "corn" in them, including corn flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, corn syrup, corn sugar, corn alcohol and corn chips.
Your allergist or nutritionist can help you eliminate foods that contain other corn products from your diet. Almost all foods are sweetened with corn syrup, or they contain cornstarch, including processed soups, spaghetti sauces and processed meats. Vinegar and regular table salt may contain a corn product as well.
Packaged breakfast cereals are often sweetened with corn syrup even if they are made from another grain such as whole wheat. This is also true of "adult" cereals that are not pre-sweetened. You will need to carefully read all cereal labels, and it may be best to avoid all processed cereals.
Sometimes maltodextrin, dextrin, and dextrates have corn in them. These sweeteners are used in many processed foods. Canned or frozen foods often contain food starch, modified food starch or other starches that may be labeled as vegetable starch or gum. Chicken, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and peanut butter may contain traces of corn as well.
Other foods may contain small amounts of corn, but the amount is so minimal that it is not listed on food ingredients list. These ingredients may still cause allergic reactions in those who are sensitive to corn products. Some of these are caramel and caramel color, confectioners sugar, corn oil and corn oil margarine, maltose, MSG, sorbitol, alcohol and many more.
Nonfood products to avoid
There are also multiple products that someone with a corn allergy should avoid in addition to foods that contain corn products. Contact lens solution, shampoo and body powders often contain corn products. Even envelopes and stamps should not be licked, but should be applied by using water instead to avoid allergic reactions.