Guys, why are people eating cornstarch right out of the box? I mean, what is happening out there? Let’s check out what cornstarch is, what it’s used for, and why people are eating it uncooked. There has to be a reasonable answer. It can’t be for the taste alone because it really doesn’t taste like anything at all.
So, read on, and let’s get to the bottom of the question “can I eat cornstarch?” and whether or not it’s safe to eat by itself.
If you’re looking for some delicious recipes with cornstarch check out these Colombian Buñuelos, Mexican Tortitas de Papa, or Dominican Berenjenas Fritas!
What is cornstarch?
Cornstarch is one of the ingredients that pops up a lot in recipes -from baking to cooking, this thickening agent is often used to achieve a certain consistency. It’s also used as a food additive. Cornstarch comes from the endosperm of corn kernels and, from a nutritional perspective, is a source of carbohydrates.
This ingredient has a fine, white, and powdery appearance, and when mixed with a liquid such as water or milk, it turns into a useful paste that can thicken sauces in almost an instant. It’s a very handy ingredient in the kitchen.
Cornstarch is an excellent thickening source for anyone looking for a gluten-free option. This practical ingredient is used in the manufacturing of some pharmaceuticals and textiles.
As an ingredient, cornstarch has been around and used in North and South America for literally thousands of years by the indigenous people of those countries. Fast forward to the 19th century, a man named George W. Taylor patented a method for producing it.
After that, cornflour or cornstarch then spread out into the world as a thickening agent in baking and cooking.
Mr. Taylor designed a way to separate the starch from the corn kernel. The result was the powdery starch, as you know it. During World War II, there wasn’t much wheat flour available, so corn flour was used instead. So clearly, there have been times when people ate it in abundance.
Since then, this ingredient has gained in popularity and is now being used in many industries and for all sorts of applications. It is one of the most widely used food additives in the world.
Is cornstarch healthy?
Cornstarch has certain health benefits, such as aiding digestion. It is sometimes used to help with constipation. This flour is low in calories and fat. As mentioned, it’s gluten-free, which makes it a popular choice for those with an intolerance to gluten or an allergy.
In the end, cornstarch is a highly processed flour and has very few essential nutrients. It’s important to consume whole foods as much as possible as they are far more beneficial from a health perspective than processed foods.
Is cornstarch safe to eat by itself?
Yes, cornstarch is safe to eat by itself but in moderation and in small quantities. Eating raw cornstarch may have an effect on the throat by causing some irritation and could also cause a blockage if consumed in large quantities. It’s a good idea to consult with a doctor or dietician before choosing to consume raw cornstarch. Any significant dietary changes should always be done in consultation with a doctor.
Eating a large quantity of raw cornstarch can have an impact on your glycemic index, which could potentially spike your blood sugar level. This is one of the health risks associated with eating large amounts of cornstarch. A person with diabetes could be at risk of eating a large amount of cornstarch, as would someone with any condition relating to blood sugar, both high and low.
Cornstarch has minimal amounts of fiber and is light in terms of nutrition, so it really shouldn’t be a top choice to fill you up. Eating too many processed foods with lots of cornflour is likely to mean you are also consuming a whole lot of salt, sugar, and nasty fats.
Why are people eating cornstarch on its own?
Eating uncooked cornstarch is not something that a lot of people do, and it’s certainly not encouraged due to the health problems mentioned above. This is because cornstarch is processed, has very little nutritional value or fiber, and is just a plain carbohydrate. I’m sure you can tell that this is not the healthiest option for your diet if consumed in big portions.
The key reason people might be consuming lots of raw cornstarch is due to Pica, a disorder that people face where they have cravings for non-nutritive ingredients. This issue sometimes affects pregnant women or people who have low levels of iron. If someone is experiencing these symptoms, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor so that they can check for lack of certain minerals in the body.
Top 10 uses of cornstarch
- As a thickening agent: Cornstarch, as mentioned, is a common thickening agent used in cooking and baking. The best way to work with it is to make a paste by adding liquid to it and then whisking it into soups and gravies. It’s also handy when trying to thicken a thin sauce.
- Cleaning products: Natural laundry detergents are sometimes formulated with the inclusion of cornstarch.
- Personal care products: Powdered products in the beauty world are often made with cornstarch as a key ingredient.
- Stabilizer and additive to foods: Processed foods like pre-made soups, sauces, and pasta are made with thickeners and stabilizers, cornstarch is a popular choice for this.
- Medicines: Pills and capsules can contain cornstarch to help keep their shelf-life.
- Baking: A lovely gluten-free alternative to wheat flour and often used in cakes, cookies, pies, and other items.
- Papermaking: Used as a binder in papermaking. Cornstarch is “painted” on to increase the strength of the paper.
- Bioplastics: An alternative to typical plastic.
- Glue and adhesives: Cornstarch is used occasionally in the manufacturing of adhesives and is often a natural alternative to chemical-based recipes.
- Textiles: Delivers the strength to fabrics and textiles when used in their production.
Wrapping it up
It is likely that people eating a large amount of uncooked cornstarch are experiencing cravings that are linked to an underlying issue. In this case, they should consult a doctor who can help them get to the bottom of these cravings.
Generally speaking, cornstarch is an ingredient that is broadly used in cooking, baking, and in food production. It is a wonderful gluten-free thickening agent and is super handy to have in your kitchen cupboard. As with anything, eaten in moderation, it’s a fantastic ingredient to have on hand and is perfectly safe to eat.
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