Corn free products and information at your fingertips

Below is a very comprehensive list of items created with, or possibly created with, corn and I would like to thank Sharon Rosen for listing them! Remember that you can get some of these items (By the same name) which are derived from different substances (Such as citric acid, which is usually derived from sugar beets in England).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ingredients Derived From Corn – What to Avoid

By Sharon Rosen

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When you first learn of having a Corn Allergy, it doesn’t seem like it will be that difficult to manage. You know to avoid corn, corn syrup, and popcorn. It seems pretty simple actually.

As it turns out, there are a few hundred ingredients that fall under the classification is, or can be, derived from corn. This information is not to scare you, but to help you be an informed consumer, and hopefully help you avoid those pesky corn based ingredients.

Let’s review the usual suspects:

  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
  • Baking Powder (corn starch)
  • Brown Sugar – look for use of Caramel color. Domino’s Brown sugar no longer uses Caramel color
  • Calcium Citrate – the calcium salt of citric acid. See Citrate below for details.
  • Caramel – coloring used in soft drinks, derived from corn “or cane sugar.” The “or” in Coca-Cola’s explanation refers to a temporary change to make the ingredients Kosher for Passover. The rest of the year, it is from corn.
  • Cellulose, Vegetable, Powered, etc.
  • Citrate – can refer either to the conjugate base of citric acid, or to the esters of citric acid. An example of the former, a salt is trisodium citrate; an ester is triethyl citrate. Forms of Citrate include: Calcium Citrate, Magnesium Citrate, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Citrate, and more.
  • Citric Acid – the source sugar is corn steep liquor along with hydrolyzed corn starch
  • Corn
  • Corn Meal – items baked sitting on Corn Meal such as Bagels, Breads or Pizza, may not list Corn Meal as an ingredient
  • Corn Starch – in most over the counter medicines that come in a dry pill form. Yes, this includes Benedryl too. Watch for Corn Syrup in the liquid forms.
  • Corn Syrup
  • Decyl Glucoside – used in personal care products such as shampoo. It is produced by the reaction of glucose from corn starch with the fatty alcohol decanol which is derived from coconut.
  • Dextrin, Maltodextrin – thickening agents found in sauces (check those frozen veggies!) salad dressings, and ice cream
  • Dextrose (glucose) – corn sugar, found in cookies, ice cream, and paired with glucose in hospital IVs unless specified not to! Can also be used as a carrier with anesthetic shots such as Lidocaine and Novocaine! Dextrose is also injected into meat, lunch meats and deli cuts. Be weary of “honey baked” items, the sweet flavor may not be from honey.
  • Ethanol – made by fermenting sugars produced from corn starch.
  • Ferrous Gluconate – i.e. as found in canned olives, and comes from corn or potato acid.
  • Flavoring – Artificial or “Natural Flavors” – as defined by the FDA regulations of labeling of spices, flavorings, and colorings.
  • Golden Syrup – Sometimes recommended as an alternate to Corn Syrup, but it may contain Corn Syrup as well.
  • Honey – May contain corn syrup, as HFCS is sometimes fed to bees, resulting in corn in the honey produced.
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
  • Iodized SaltMorton’s FAQ explains why they add Dextrose (corn) to their salt.
  • Lactic Acid – Commercially, lactic acid can be made synthetically from chemicals or organically as a byproduct of corn fermentation.
  • Lauryl Glucoside – is a surfactant used in cosmetics. It is a glycoside produced from glucose and lauryl alcohol.
  • Magnesium Citrate – Magnesium salt of citric acid.
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Malic Acid
  • Malt
  • Malt Flavoring
  • Maltitol – (also known as Maltisorb and Maltisweet) Commercially, maltitol is a disaccharide produced by Corn Products Specialty Ingredients (formerly SPI Polyols), Cargill, Roquette, and Towa, among other companies. Maltitol is made by hydrogenation of maltose obtained from starch.
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Mannitol – A naturally occurring alcohol that is often combined with corn derived sugars. Here is the link on USDA’s website explaining this practice.
  • Methyl Gluceth – an emollient used in cosmetics manufactured from corn sugar and corn starch.
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – The MSGMyth site explains MSG is made from corn.
  • Polydextrose – is synthesized from dextrose, and contains sorbitol and citric acid. It is a food ingredient classified as soluble fiber and is frequently used to increase the non-dietary fiber content of food, replace sugar, reduce calories and reduce fat content.  Note: Dextrose, Sorbitol, and Citric Acid are all on this list of ingredients derived from corn.
  • Polylactic Acid (PLA)Plastic made from corn starch (U.S.) or sugarcane.
  • Polysorbates (i.e. Polysorbate 80) – Polysorbates are oily liquids derived from PEG-ylated sorbitan (a derivative of sorbitol) esterified with fatty acids.
  • Potassium Citrate – See Citrate above for details.
  • Powdered Sugar – contains corn starch
  • Saccharin – in powder form IS Sweet’N Low and therefore contains Dextrose.
  • Sodium Citrate – See Citrate above for details.
  • Sodium Erythorbate – is produced from sugars derived from sources such as beets, sugar cane and corn. It is a food additive used predominantly in meats, poultry, and soft drinks.
  • Sodium Starch Glycolate – is the sodium salt of a carboxymethyl ether of starch. It can be derived from any starch source (rice, corn, potatoes, etc).
  • Sorbitan – is a mixture of chemical compounds derived from the dehydration of sorbitol.
  • Sorbitan Monostearate – an ester of sorbitol and stearic acid. You will see this ingredient used in Yeast (and possibly other places as well).
  • Sorbitol – You will find Sorbitol in Sugar Free items such as candy, chewing gum, cosmetics, mouth wash, and toothpaste
  • Starch – often this is corn starch unless it specifies something else, like potato starch
  • Sucralose – Sucralose by itself may be corn free, though it is likely one best to avoid. Repackaged as the brand Splenda, it will contain dextrose and/or maltodextrin.
  • Sweet’N Low – contains Dextrose, and according to Sweet’N Low, ALL sugar substitutes in powder form contain Dextrose.
  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
  • Vanilla Extract – most brands will have corn syrup, though you can find organic brands that do not, though the alcohol may be corn-derived.
  • Vinegar, Distilled White – can be made from any sugar, but the most common method is to use corn that has been converted from starch into sugar.
  • Vitamins – Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) and Vitamin E (Tocopherols). Use caution with products that are “enriched” with added vitamins. The vitamins may be corn-derived, or corn-derivatives may be used in the binding (if solid) or suspension (if liquid) of the vitamin compound.
  • Xanthan Gum – a food additive that is used as a thickening agent. It is found in sauces, spices, and commonly in Gluten Free foods. Xanthan Gum is most often grown on corn, or corn sugars. If an item includes Xanthan Gum and states it is corn-free, call the manufacturing company and inquire as to the source of Xanthan Gum to be sure.
  • Xylitol – You will find Xylitol in Sugar Free items such as candy, chewing gum, cosmetics, mouth wash, and toothpaste
  • Zein – used in time-release medications, derived from Maize

This list is not all inclusive of ingredients to avoid. Tip offs can be the generic use of ingredients without specifying their nature, for example: “natural” flavor, vegetable (which vegetable?), starch (which starch?), syrup, and so on.

Update 6/16/10: This page now has it’s own “Tiny URL” so you can easily pass it along, or remember how to find it. Here is the shortcut URL: http://go.livecornfree.com/list

Sources: Jenny Connors’ Corn Allergen List, Ephraim Vishniac’s list of Corn-derived ingredients to avoid, and Wikipedia

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