Hidden Corn Based Ingredients | Gluten-Free Society

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Gluten Free Society recognizes that corn gluten is a harmful component for the gluten sensitive.  Studies show that people with gluten sensitivity can have reactions to corn gluten as well (see links below)

Selected Studies on the detrimental effects of corn gluten:

Study 1Corn gluten causes antibody response in celiacs

Study 2 – Corn antibodies found in celiac patients

Study 3Gluten free bread causes problems

Study 4Corn causes gastrointestinal (gut) inflammation

Study 5 – Corn oil causes villous atrophy

Study 6 – Corn mold causes illness

Study 7 – Corn gluten acts like wheat gluten

In addition, evidence shows that corn and corn based products are largely produced from genetically modified varieties (GMO) and can contribute to intestinal permeability, vitamin and  mineral deficiencies, and a host of other health issues.
To Better help those trying to adhere to a TRUE gluten free diet, we have comprised a list of foods and products that contain corn.
**Although this is a comprehensive list, it should be noted that it is not representative of all hidden sources of corn.  Corn and corn by products are used ubiquitously in thousands of foods and commercial applications.

Ingredients that definitely contain corn:

Corn alcohol
Corn chips
Corn gluten
Corn extract
Corn flakes
Corn flour
Corn fritters
Corn oil – corn oil margarine
Corn meal
Corn puffs cereal
Corn starch
Corn sweetener
Corn sugar  (dextrose, Dyno, Cerelose, Puretose, Sweetose, glucose are all possibilities)
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
Corn meal
Corn flour
Corn tortillas
High fructose corn syrup
Hydrolyzed corn
Hydrolyzed corn protein
Modified corn starch
Tamales (coating)
Taco shells
Vegetable oil
Zea mays

Ingredients that may contain corn. Not all of these terms are definitively derived from corn, but they can be.  Use with caution:

Acetic acid
Alpha tocopherol
Artificial flavorings
Artificial sweeteners
Ascorbic acid
Aspartame (Artificial sweetener)
Baking powder
Barley malt
Bleached flour
Blended sugar
Brown sugar (typically the caramel color)
Calcium citrate
Calcium fumarate
Calcium gluconate
Calcium lactate
Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)
Calcium stearate
Calcium stearoyl lactylate
Caramel and caramel color
Carbonmethylcellulose sodium
Cellulose microcrystalline
Cellulose, methyl
Cellulose, powdered
Cetearyl glucoside
Choline chloride
Citric acid
Citrus cloud emulsion (CCS)
Coco glycerides (cocoglycerides)
Confectioners sugar
Crosscarmellose sodium
Crystalline dextrose
Crystalline fructose
DATUM (a dough conditioner)
Decyl glucoside
Decyl polyglucose
Dextrose (also found in IV solutions)
Dextrose anything (such as monohydrate or anhydrous)
d-Gluconic acid
Distilled white vinegar
Drying agent
Erythorbic acid
Ethocel 20
Ethyl acetate
Ethyl alcohol
Ethyl lactate
Ethyl maltol
Food starch
Fruit juice concentrate
Fumaric acid
Germ/germ meal
Gluconic acid
Glucono delta-lactone
Glucose syrup (also found in IV solutions)
Gluten feed/meal
Golden syrup
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose pthalate (HPMCP)
Invert syrup or sugar
Iodized salt
Lactic acid
Lauryl glucoside
Linoleic acid
Magnesium fumarate
Malic acid
Malonic acid
Malt syrup from corn
Malt, malt extract
Methyl gluceth
Methyl glucose
Methyl glucoside
Microcrystaline cellulose
Modified cellulose gum
Modified food starch
Molasses (corn syrup may be present; know your product)
Mono and di glycerides
Monosodium glutamate
Natural flavorings
Polylactic acid (PLA)
Polysorbates (e.g. Polysorbate 80)
Polyvinyl acetate
Potassium citrate
Potassium fumarate
Potassium gluconate
Powdered sugar
Pregelatinized starch
Propionic acid
Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol monostearate
Salt (iodized salt)
Semolina (unless from wheat)
Sodium carboxymethylcellulose
Sodium citrate
Sodium erythorbate
Sodium fumarate
Sodium lactate
Sodium starch glycolate
Sodium stearoyl fumarate
Sorbic acid
Sorbitan monooleate
Sorbitan tri-oleate
Sorghum (syrup and/or grain may be mixed with corn)
Splenda (Artificial sweetener)
Stearic acid
Sucralose (Artificial sweetener)
Tocopherol (vitamin E)
Triethyl citrate
Unmodified starch
Vanilla, natural flavoring
Vanilla, pure or extract
Vinegar, distilled white
Vinyl acetate
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vitamin supplements
Xanthan gum

Paper containers and plastic wrappers may contain an inner lining that is coated with corn.  The following are examples:




Milk or ice cream cartons

Use caution with the following foods, which may include sources of corn from various products, such as cornstarch, corn syrup and corn/vegetable oils:

Commercial soups

Peanut butter

Various meats (cold cuts, ham, hotdogs, sausages)

Breaded or fried foods



Chop suey

Chow mein

Cheese spreads

Fish sticks

Mixed vegetables (frozen, canned)


Pork and beans

Creamed vegetables

Breads dusted with corn meal

Graham crackers

Baking mixes

Pancakes (certain mixes)

Pancake syrups

English muffins

Gravy (thickened with corn starch, for instance)

Salad dressings

Canned or frozen fruits sweetened with corn syrup

Dates and other fruit confections

Ice creams, sherbets

Chocolate milk, milk shakes, soy milks, eggnog

American wines, whiskey, gin, beer, ale

Carbonated beverages such as Coca-Cola, 7-Up, etc


Instant coffees

Powdered sugar

Jams and jellies



Chewing gums


White distilled vinegar

Monosodium glutamate

Baking powder

Cake yeast

Bleached flour

Gelatin capsules

Non Edible Items That May Contain Corn Ingredients:

Adhesives (envelopes, stickers, stamps)


Medications (both over the counter and prescription)

Laundry starch

For a comprehensive list of non-food based items that contain corn visit The National Corn Growers Association Website here…

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Gluten Free Warrior Commentary


17 responses on “Hidden Corn Based Ingredients

  1. Lorraine Packer says:

    Thank you for this detailed list! This goes even further than I realized. I have tow severe gluten reactions recently, and they were because of nutritional supplements that I took. It’s getting more and more difficult to find things that are safe for me to eat. I pretty much need to stick to fresh produce, grass fed meats, pastured poultry and eggs, raw nuts and a few other things. Everything has to be made from scratch for me. I can’t even trust the gluten free community and items labeled gluten free out there. I live in a very different world from most people and I have to be extrememly careful at all times.

    Lorraine Packer

  2. desleuth says:

    My husband is extra sensitive to all gluten.
    he acts like he has been drugged and his memory is dulled. He is fine as long as he is gluten free and dairy free. I am amazed at where corn is part of our unknown consumption. Glucose IV, I wondered why my husband was in a drugged, confused state during two hospital stays, even though I gave orders to eliminate gluten foods.

  3. donatella says:

    I am exactly like you Lorraine. I don’t know what it takes from you… but, FOR ME.. Finding the right food, cooking it and digesting it (meaning having to rest after eating my meals), all this takes me 2 to 3 hours a day whereas 80% of the people around me only need 1 hour a day for their three meals! I look strange. nobody understands what it takes as sacrifice. not much time for socializing.. i was thinking that I need a support group otherwise I will start to think like everybody else that I am a weirdo who will never get her life back!! improvments required, fast! Cheers!

  4. Kimberly Petersen says:

    Lorraine and Donatella,

    I am like you. I had already found through elimination that I reacted to corn as well as wheat and dairy. Never thought the chronic diahrrea (sp?) was caused by hidden sources. I too have gotten down to no social life as it all revolves around food seemingly which is such a land mine for me. I’m just recovering from esophageal surgery and the whole food thing and resultant sensitive system is getting in the way. I admit I haven’t been good. I need quick, large calories – Ensure is the best way but loaded with corn. What to do? Got to have it right now so I am. I’m so happy to know of people who understand.

  5. farmwife67 says:

    Xylitol, good point to watch your product, you can buy xylitol that is from birch trees, but as Dr. O says you MUST know your product. I frequently call companies to ask many questions!

  6. newfmomx3 says:

    I am severely allergic to corn and have recently discovered that the USDA requires our slaughterhouses to spray either lactic or citric acid on the carcasses of ALL cattle. Lactic and Citric acid are both corn derived. It’s used to inhibit diseases that the cattle may or may not have. This includes your private grass fed farmers who use slaughterhouses. There is an alternative acid that can be used that is not corn based but it’s not as cheap as good ole corn.

  7. sehoy123 says:

    You also have to know the source of grass fed beef. We have a local farm that grass feeds but finishes with grain. I wonder if the “solution” listed on many meat packages is corn as well.

  8. Pamela Runyon says:

    I am truly tired of having to watch everything I eat that has gluten in it, and now they are telling us that we have to avoid corn products. This is crazy whats next? If you watch what is on this list there is nothing left! I have been Gluten free for six yrs and the only time I am sick is if I eat something with gluten (wheat,rye or barley) not corn. So I guess I’m lucky, but if you listen to everything you are not suppose to eat there will be nothing left.

  9. Lee Collins says:

    I have a 3 year old who has struggled for the past two years with eczema, that covers large parts of his body and has recently started on his face. We have seen drs, allergists etc until someone suggested his skin was more a coeliac rash. As we’ve been on a strict elimination diet for all of this year [yes, only rice products, freshly cooked meat, vegies and salads… it’s HARD WORK for this family of 5]… we didn’t get a positive blood test because he’s not eating gluten, but he has returned positive on 2 of the 3 genetic markers for coeliacs. He DEFINITELY reacts to corn products – and it is evvverywhere! Makes shopping and cooking tricky. The more and more I read about coeliacs, more things seem to be falling into place. His iron was a little down, but absorption ok at moment. He also has what I would consider a thrush-like redness on penis tip and around bottom that I have been humming about for a while, but feel like a harpy mother when I keep getting things “checked”. We have to decide whether or not to put him back on wheat [for a minimum of 3 months experts think to get positive bloods] and also whether we can during that time get endoscopy/colonoscopy to confirm any other food intolerance related issues, but can’t bring ourselves to make the choice to go back to horrific eczema, when we know we can just not eat dairy, soy [cause most contains wheat], eggs, corn, sesame, gluten/wheat and survive in a happy household. This food science stuff and what it entails is really tough. It’d also be like saying to a baby [which he still is :( ] is here’s a lolly pop [all the foods he’s not eaten for 9 months – and might I add has never looked better]… to test him, then take that lolly pop away and start all over. What to do… The bottom/penis redness niggles at me like there’s something we’re missing still.

    • faye carter says:

      Check him out for Candida. Also known as yeast

    • gail says:

      I had major food reactions and finally took a test called the MRT test for food intolerances. The well site is called Leapnow.com
      It showed that I had major food issues one of which was corn this year. It does change every year and once I started to follow their program i was less sickly. This year, after five years of doing the test and following the program I only have a few food intolerances. I am getting well. Ask to speak to Anton and let him know you got this info from Gluten gail. It will really help your son and you will know what to eliminate.

  10. Barb Chuba says:

    No formal diagnosis as of yet, but in the works. Blood-work shows dangerously low levels of B12 and Dr. feels I have an “absorption” problem when it comes to B12, so an injection is required for me once a month. He’s also prescribed a “once a day” folic acid pill to accomodate the B12 injections. I never have energy for anything, my kids are suffering because I’m always “too tired”. I’m extremely gassy and constantly have foul-smelling flatulence, I was diagnosed with IBS in 2009 but my research is making me feel like it’s more like “leaky gut”. My hands, feet and ankles swell on a daily basis and my movements are sluggish. I suspect either Celiac Disease or Gluten-Sensitivity and am researching gluten-free lifestyle changes, recipes and products. It’s very overwhelming and this list makes me think there’s nothing left to eat or use. Our so-called “produce” is so genetically modified that I don’t think any fruits and vegetables are completely safe and healthy anymore, never mind any other kind of food. Apparently even washing the produce first doesn’t mean you’ve fully gotten-rid of all the pesticides that were sprayed on it. So, now what? We’ve developed “allergies” to these “healthy” foods because of pesticides and genetic modification and in order to alleviate the allergic reactions we are supposed to avoid certains foods and products. What’s left? Starvation?

  11. Dawn says:

    I have not eaten gluten in almost 8 years and had enormous improvement with severe neurological symptoms. In the meantime, I have developed numerous food sensitivities. I have found that going off of all rice, then corn, all dairy has helped tremendously. I still have food sensitivities to eggs, strawberries, blueberries, olive oil, salmon and many more foods that I love, but am sticking with the (other) best foods possible to try to heal my acid damaged intestinal tract from my throat to the duodenum discovered about 6 months ago with an endosopic procedure. Giving up each of the above did help dramatically. Yes, it was not easy at first, but is well worth the effort to feel as if I am not dying from a stroke or MS like symptoms as suggested by numerous doctors. I have also had a great improvement in asthma that popped up about 15 years ago at age 32. It does get easier and I have learned to be creative and take food with me wherever I go. Hang in ther, it is worth the effort and you won’t crave foods that make you sick.

  12. Maria Lick says:

    Lee, I feel for you and your son, The problem was that you guys did it backwards and are now getting tested for celiac instead of getting tested first through blood work while not going on a gluten free diet. If the test comes back negative for celiac then you should get a genetic testing done which you can do from your home and if it comes back positive than he should live as though he has celiac disease since blood work sometimes is not as accurate. People should really be tested every 2years or so. After 6 months of being gluten free(without eliminating corn etc) than you can see if he still gets a reaction or symptom, if he does, then start first eliminating corn and wait at least 6months and go from there. Keep a journal of his symptoms(time of day and what symptoms etc.) Good luck.

  13. Mike says:

    OK PEOPLE,lets just stop and take a breath. I am a celiac, not any of these things I hear “gluten sensitive” or anything else like that. I am very in tune with my body and eat a good diet. I was extememly sick in 2009 and was so underweight . I recovered and learned to eat again, I then started taking all these suppliments, got sick again and yes I can hear you thinking I didn’t check. But I did I was getting them from a local health food store and my pharmacy. ended up throwing them all away and began eating a sensible gluten free diet, practicing yoga playing hgockey and running and guess what people. I’m healthy and feel good. I eat rice pasta, quinoa and corn as well as potatoes. Is there health concerns always, however as my specialist has always said she’s only a call away.
    Again I could never imagined feeling this good and it’s from throwing all the suppliments away

  14. […] Take a few minutes to educate yourself on the names of corn derivatives hidden in food so you can avoid them. Here’s one source. […]

  15. Linja says:

    Corn is so hard to avoid! I discovered that a DAO supplement contains corn but there is no clue on the label! It is marketed for allergies and I am allergic to corn.

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