new to the gluten free journey?


Corn and Celiacs Disease


Many gluten free products use corn as an assumed safe grain substitute. Are you buying into this myth? Is corn gluten free?

A Study published in the journal Gut identified that corn gluten caused an inflammatory reaction in patients with celiac disease.

“The observation that corn gluten challenge induced an abnormal NO reaction in some of our patients with CD is intriguing as maize is considered safe and is recommended as the substitute cereal in a gluten free diet.”

Source: Gut. 2005; 54:769-774.

Is Corn Gluten Free?

Is corn gluten free? Corn is a grain. Corn has gluten. Many believe that corn gluten does not induce damage the same way that wheat, barley, and rye do. The fact of the matter is, gluten has not been studied adequately. Most of what we know about celiac disease and gluten have to do with gliadin (the gluten found in wheat only). As a nutritionist with over 10 years of experience guiding those with gluten sensitivity, I have seen corn be a severe problem for the majority of gluten intolerant patients. Many claim that they don’t react to corn and feel fine after eating it. The same can be said of those with silent celiac disease. Remember that a lack of symptoms does not mean that internal damage is not occurring. All of that being said, we should not make assumptions. Common sense and intelligent thought should be used as a basis for our dietary decisions. Gluten aside, consider the following about corn:

  1. It is the second most commonly genetically modified food on the planet (soy is #1)
  2. Genetic modification of foods continues to kill animals in scientific studies.
  3. It is an incomplete protein.
  4. It is difficult for humans to digest (ever see corn in your stool?)
  5. It is high in calories and low in nutrient value
  6. It is a new food to the human genome.
  7. It is being used as a staple food for our cattle, fish, chicken, and cars.
  8. Cows and fish are not designed to eat grain. (Have you ever seen a fish jump out of a lake into a corn field for supper?)
  9. When animals eat corn as a staple they have shorter life spans.
  10. Corn fed beef is linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Grass fed beef is not.
  11. Fructose derived from corn is toxic to the liver and contributes to severe health issues.
  12. Corn syrup has mercury in it.
  13. The list can go on and on and on…

Many consumers bow to the alter of “Gluten Free” packaged foods as if the label is a safety net. “Gluten Free” on the package does not mean that the food is healthy. Do not deny yourself the God given right to be healthy.

The Bottom Line

Remember, corn has gluten. The gluten in corn has not been adequately studied. Many studies to date have shown that corn induces inflammatory damage in those with gluten sensitivity. Almost half of all celiac patients don’t get better on a wheat, rye, and barley free diet. Is there a link between corn and refractory celiac disease? At this point in time we do not know for sure, but 10 years of clinical experience with gluten intolerant patients reacting to corn is enough data for me.

If we really want to live the gluten free way, then it is best to be grain free even if it is corn gluten. While everyone has to do their own research please consider all the facts mentioned above about corn gluten.

To learn more about being gluten free and corn gluten… Please Stay tuned!

Sign up for free weekly updates here…No spam, just help for you going gluten free! If you think you may be gluten intolerant, take the sensitivity test!

53 Responses

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. Pingback: Anonymous
  3. Pingback: Anonymous
  4. Corn has been a very serious problem in our family. According to our pediatrician, corn and dairy rank as the top two for behavioral problems, then gluten. As you mention, there are many, many things wrong with corn, the least of which is its poor nutritional value. What we and society should be teaching our children is to focus on nourishing their bodies and their minds. If you focus on nourishing foods, you wouldn’t eat corn and wheat anyway. My 3 year old has been GF since 5 weeks old when I cut oatmeal out of my diet. She loves foods like quinoa, teff, and amaranth. She is small and in an evaluation a pediatrician suspected her size was related to her “restriction diet”. What garbage that is. Obviously she knew nothing about the nutritional value of alternative foods. Really, focusing on nutrition provides all the answers. I look forward to the day when the rest of society gets it. How many kids with autism will there be before the rest of the world “gets it”?

    1. There is nothing wrong with having autism. We won’t be erased. We have a right to live too, and not be seen as bad or something to avoid at all costs.

      There is zero evidence that corn causes autism, or that wheat causes autism. There is a correlation between celiac and autism to some degree but they probably share some genetics. Autism is considered to be 90% heritable which means it’s genetic.

      Eating corn doesn’t change your genetics. Taking vaccines doesn’t change your genetics.

      At some point you need to accept and learn to live with us because we are not going away, We’re not inferior to you, we’re different but not inferior. You only feel superior because most of the world is neurotypical and it’s built around your needs. You might feel just as disabled in a society tailored for autistic people.

      1. Now that’s one big corn chip on your shoulder. No one has send that you are inferior. Please don’t project your anger and emotions at GFS. They do not help move the conversation forward. Wendy, your statements are inaccurate at best. If autism is 90% genetic, then why is it a relatively new condition? Why has it increased by more than dramatically in the last 20 years (don’t say that it is better tracking, because that has been disproven)?
        Eating corn and vaccines don’t change the genes that you are born with, but they can activate genes that increase inflammation among other things.
        All the best,
        Dr. O

        1. It’s not a new condition. It’s been around for thousands of years. Back in the day, they didn’t have the knowledge we have now, “High Functioning” was not a ‘thing’- only low functioning people were recognized. Fergus was “the village idiot” who didn’t talk but a few words to anyone, however he’s the best damn sheep tender the village has ever had. Through better understanding and screening, more people are being correctly diagnosed and offered services whereas before they were ignored or beaten into conformity.
          And yes, if someone is listing in a negative connotation and “Autism” is on that list, then it is offensive.

        2. autism is not new. maybe newly studied. but not new. similarly, epilepsy is very old but was not understood and in fact very misunderstood. Just because we have learned more about diseases and are much more aware, doesn’t make the disease itself a new disease. I believe Wendy was trying to point out that corn itself doesn’t cause the disease– rather, it aggravates it.

          1. No doubt that these diseases are multifactorial. Generally speaking, diseases are typically caused by various triggers. It is important to note that the triggers responsible for causing a disease can be different from the triggers that exacerbate or perpetuate the continuance of disease. In all cases, it is important to identify and remove them.

      2. Hopefully someday will be more research to find out why some persons are sensitive to some environmental conditions or food. Yes, some persons are vulnerable to many factors, and it affects the brain, skin and digestion. There is no doubt that those food are among the common offenders. Wish there is a way to restore health in persons suffering from food sensitivity.

  5. Pingback: Anonymous
  6. Pingback: Anonymous
  7. Pingback: Anonymous
  8. After going gluten/dairy free, I was consuming a lot of brown rice. I was told recently that even natural organic (not coated) rice has gluten. I can find nothing to verify this.

  9. Pingback: Anonymous
  10. This is totally biased in complete contradiction to truly informed medical knowledge. Columbia University Center says it is safe for celiac patients.

      1. Corn is not a new food. Natives of the southwestern use, among others, have been consuming it for thousands of years. Consuming it simply ground and cooked or as syrup are new. Mexicans eat slot of corn. All of it is processed as Masa, which makes it readily digestible. I do not eat corn products other than Masa flour products. So, yes, corn is an issue for those with CD but Masa and it’s products may, I repeat, may work for some. I believe celiac has more to do with grains and the related use of glyphosates, but don’t wanna get into that except in person.

        1. I believe the author means that grains in general are new foods for humans. Humans haven’t been consuming grains for very long in the span of human history.

    1. I know, I know….. but when you eat corn and your stomach is on fire, irritated, or otherwise disturbed….. and a host of other celiacs can testify likewise, sometimes science has to concede lack of personal experience.

  11. G,
    In June 2009 I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease after 2 hospital stays and a blood transfusion. My doctor was lucky, after multiple biopsies, to finally give me a diagnosis. I was given a list of what not to eat – mainly wheat, barley and rye. I began to feel better almost immediately. However, after 6 months of corn pasta and corn tortillas, I got sick again. Really sick. I could barely get out of bed. I started researching gluten on the internet and found Dr Osborne’s web site. Thankfully his office is only 30 minutes from my home! I made an appointment and have been learning ever since. He helped me to eliminate all corn and corn products, rice, soy, grain-fed beef, and other “gluten free” items from my diet. I loved my previous doctor, but he just wasn’t informed on this stuff. My life was in his hands and I almost lost it. I feel alive again and have Dr Osborne to thank for it.

  12. Take a look at the research done by “DogtorJ”… will see how damaging corn, soy (except non-GMO fermented), dairy, and gluten are. I have Celiac and continue to struggle with symptoms. Seems we Celiacs eat lots of corn and soy and dairy as alternatives to this very restricted diet.

  13. I ate corn on cob had to take pain meds my right hip had brutal pain did anyone have this happen. I’m a celiac mari

  14. Thank you for these comments! So many symptoms and anxieties, plus anguish and pain, have now made coherent sense. Keep ourselves grain free… This fact I discovered and I am now back on track. What a difference!

  15. I have been gluten free for over a year and now thinking I need to move away from corn as well. I know we get too much grains in our diet, including the grains fed to animals on factory farms, and that in itself is a problem, but wonder if we cut down on grains and soak an sprout any grains we do eat, as well as not eat animal foods from grain fed animals if that would help eliminate the problem.

  16. I believe that corn has definitely triggered a decline in my health, after being fairly grain free for months. Unfortunately the Christmas season has seen me eating ‘gluten free’ goodies and now my head is fuzzy, my joints are sore, I am bloated and have numb fingers. But no wheat in my diet. My naturopath did a food sensitivity test at the beginning of the year, and it showed that I was sensitive to corn, rice and wheat. So I would definitely say that corn is to be avoided.

  17. I feel theres not much left to eat,(avoid wheat,corn rice? diary. I have rheumatoid arthritis & indigestion & think gluten may be the prob, But I’m on very low income & no way can afford gluten free products in stores the prices are very depressing as is organic I do get organic milk & few produce when on sale only. also very hard for disabled ppl to cook healthy (all the washing & cutting etc.) Would appreciate some ideas or ways to make or find cheaper gluten free products.

  18. I have organic food boxes delivered for less than u would purchase at the grocery store. I pay $20 per week w/delivery and they reuse the boxes too. I have some choice over the selection but since it’s mostly seasonal and local I am eating a variety of veggies I would not normally choose but hate to waste. I live in Chicago and use the Newleaf Grocery for delivery. Hope this helps.

  19. Thank you so much for posting this very informative article. I have a blog that is gluten and corn free. I have always thought that there was a connection even though doctors have yet to find it. If corn is safe for 50% of celiacs then there MUST be a type of sprue caused by corn gluten intolerance too. I met someone with sprue from soy but that person still eats wheat. As for me and my house, we are going on a low carb gluten free diet this year and plan to greatly reduce all grains. Your website is going to be very crucial to our process. Much appreciation for all that Dr. Osborne does. I find I am linking to his work time and time again.

  20. I am of European stock and live in South Africa. The staple food of most South Africans is corn meal from which pap (porridge)is made. Is celiac’s then a European disease?

  21. Je suis sceoliaque depuis longtemps je mange bcp de mais et je n ai aucun symptome
    peut être que ca diffère d une personne a l autre. Je ne sais pas.

  22. Celiac disease damages other parts of the body. The longer you take damage from eating gluten as a celiac, the more foods you lose the ability to handle. Corn does not have gluten in it. While some will label the protein in corn as ‘corn gluten’ it is not the accurate description of it. The reason about 50% of celiacs can’t handle corn is a correlation, and not directly related to the protein itself. This is also true for milk and some other grains, such as rice. Each person with celiac will have different ‘intolerances’ develop over time. Mine is oats, and if I hadn’t gone gluten free when I did I might have gained more.
    While there is a good point to be made about the different food issues, it is misleading to say “corn has gluten” and works against educating people to make better decisions.

  23. Medical Medium Anthony Williams says corn and gluten (and dairy and eggs) feed a virus which is what the symptoms are about. His material makes sense to me and seems to explain a lot.

    1. Anthony Williams is a specialist in magical thinking and fantasy “cures”. A voodoo priest or witchdoctor could help you more than this charlatan.

  24. Because i am also lactose intolerant i decided a paleo diet might help after seeing a gastrologist and trying fodmap. I was feeling better but not still 100% till i also was recommended from my personal trainer to cut out corn, he pointed out it was also a grain. Inflammation in my joints went down significantly over 6months

  25. I started vomiting somewhat regularly when I was 9. This transformed into migraines with vomiting when I was a teenager. When I was 25 I started following the Blood Type O diet and one of the side effects was no migraines – I feel lucky that I tried it because even if the diet is silly it showed me that diet really does matter. It wasn’t until I was 37 that I realized that corn also caused me problems because I got a full on migraine for the first time in a long time after eating popcorn five days in a row. When I think back now, I was eating popcorn every day when I was 9, and of course I loved wheat and corn cereals when I was a kid. The year I had the worst and most frequent (weekly) migraines, when I was 17, was the year I worked in a bakery! It all makes so much sense now!! The thing is, I can ‘tolerate’ some wheat and corn and not get a migraine, but I still think damage is being done (there’s also still bloating and gas anyway). I have not been tested or diagnosed with celiac but it’s very clear to me that I need to avoid these ‘foods’. Incidentally, I haven’t noticed these problems with rice, but it is still problematic to consume so many carbs because they just turn into sugar to be digested. I’m really a lot better off without any grains at all.

  26. I’ve recently noticed that I have problems with corn, almost a year ago I realized that I’m intolerant to gluten and dairy, I have had symptoms for 10 years, doctors never had a clue whats wrong and some of the symptoms I thought were just normal. Then I increased soy consumption and had bad reactions to that and over time I found out that I had many intolerances, eg. eggs, peas, mushrooms, cinnamon, coconut, pistachio, cashew, some of them I surely had before without knowing, others I think just developed or got worse recently. I’ve had acne and white spots under my skin from food intolerances, most doctors just don’t know anything. If I had been diagnosed, maybe it wouldn’t have gotten this bad. It is not normal to have adult acne, if you can find out what causes it you can cure it. I’m still in the process, once I one food then there is another one that still harms me, so many foods make me sick, it’s just hard finding alternatives and having to make everything from scratch and figuring out your own recipes, next step is eliminating corn.

  27. Everyone gets all excited about GMO as if it is some magic formula. The truth is that when you hybridize a grain as has been done for over 150 years, you are doing GMO, just by a more primitive technique. The corn that native indians grew was 4 feet tall at best, with scrawny ears. Every bit of corn and wheat we have today is GMO period, regardless of how it is classified.

    I was a chronic asthmatic from childhood until the age of 60. Today, after cutting out all corn and wheat, I am 98% asthma free al10 years running. I still long for a real french croissant but the impact to me is simply no longer worth it.

    I wish I knew why corn and wheat trigger me, but I encourage you if you have acid reflux or children with seemingly inexplicable behavior issues, cut out wheat and corn entirely. You cannot dabble by cutting back. It takes a 100% removal.

  28. No one has mentioned that permeable intestine (leaky gut) is real and is seen in every Celiac and autoimmune patient when looked for correctly. The majority of these nutritionally based diseases respond to the removal of certain proteins like gluten, corn protein, oat protein etc because their body is slowly targeting each one for an immune response as the gut is damaged further. This is why foods like meat, most fruit, vegetables, and non-legumes do not introduce their proteins that far in the gut- they’re digested higher or have no protein marker for inflammation. Take any Celiac patient and make them go completely grain free and they respond well; it is not that corn is poisoning them or wheat is toxic or rice is death. It is that through continued abuse to the gut with sugar, alcohol, low fiber carbs, stress, insomnia, medication, and environmental chemicals- the gut has become so damaged it turns on anything that carries a protein it can respond to. This is why so many super sick people seemingly have a million food intolerances that get worse and worse. I could not eat dairy, gluten, alcohol, oats or corn but I’m not a Celiac patient and over time I can eat them again in controlled amounts. Non-Celiacs can recover from insensitivities using grain free diets; this means the food itself is not the issue- it’s their gut. The only thing doctors need write about in the field of nutrition is this kind of physiological rundown instead of trying to capitalize on twisting science into their “new, never-seen, cant-do-without diet” book that is essentially a remix of the same science over and over- a bad gut yields bad health and grains sadly carry both the protein, and the fiberous material to reach the area where immune responses will happen and bad guts can get worse.

  29. I have Celiac disease and if exposed to even the smallest trace of gluten , I get reaction immeditaly (diarhea for days afterwards, legs swelling, joint pain , mental fog and so on) . I also get exact the same reaction if I eat oats, corn and eggs….so I assumed that my body is mistakenly recognizing oats and corn as gluten, but eggs are a mistery to me. So this makes my life very difficult, as even “gluten free” marked products are not gluten free for me, and I have a daughter that also get the same reaction as me. I find that having celiac disease causes much lower quality of life , no travel, no going out, spending all of your free time worring about your next meal……wish there was a cure 🙂

    1. It may be the excess sulfur in the eggs, as well as what the animals ate that’s coming into the egg protein. Look at other foods with high sulfur content, and I’ll bet you’ll find the pattern.

  30. I carry genes for celiac but have never shown any reaction to wheat, however when I tried going gluten free and was eating a ton of corn “gluten free” products I developed a very celiac like reaction with bloody stools, rapid weight loss, and gallbladder attacks. Removing corn from my diet has completely resolved all my of lifelong GI issues but I can eat wheat/barley/rye with no reaction at all. I strongly suspect that my celiac manifests only with a reaction to the gluten like peptide in corn.

    1. I have a theory that our gut is most sensitive in the morning because it is empty of food. So it is most important to avoid all forms of grains in your breakfast which includes corn flakes, polenta, rice, oats, etc.
      Eating rice and corn in small quantities as part of a larger meal may be ok as long as it is not every day for some people 💖

  31. I was diagnosed 10 years ago with celiac disease. Before my diagnosis I ate corn on the cob(8-12 pieces) everyday during growing season. It never bothered me. Now if I eat more than one ear I am in bed for days with very bad pain. Worse than gluten. Makes me very sad, was my favorite. But other things dont bother me, corn chips or in pasta, probably because its not a great amount

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sing up to our newsletter for 10% off your first order!

Receive the latest strain releases, exclusive offers and 10% OFF welcome discount.