The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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September 10, 2013

Corn on the cob a wholesome choice — even on a diet plan

Q: I was recently diagnosed with diabetes and am now trying to lose weight. One of my favorite summertime foods is corn on the cob. Can I still have corn since it is so high in carbohydrates and calories?

A: If you have diabetes, well-meaning friends or family might have warned you away from corn as a starchy, carbohydrate-rich food you shouldn't eat. But corn offers plenty of nutritional benefits that make it worth the extra effort to include it as part of a balanced diabetic diet. The trick to including corn in your diabetic eating plan is to count it as a source of carbohydrate rather than a low-carb vegetable. Being mindful of what you are serving with the corn is equally as important. An ear of corn averages between 70-80 calories (about the same as an apple), but adding several pats of butter and dashes of salt can quickly turn this golden vegetable into a more indulgent food.

Moderation is key with any food and this holds true with corn. For diabetics, eating too large a portion of corn (or other carbohydrate-containing food) can cause issues with blood sugar control. Corn does bring a lot to the table nutritionally. It is a source of iron, vitamin A, B vitamins and several minerals, and has 3 grams of protein per ear. The combination of the amount of fiber and protein in corn can regulate the absorption of carbohydrate into your bloodstream, minimizing a steep rise in blood sugar. A portion of corn would be 1 ear or ½ cup kernels.

A healthy diabetes diet plan should consist of balanced portions of starches, fruits, non-starchy vegetables, protein, dairy and healthy fats, according to the American Dietetic Association. Corn belongs to the starchy foods category, as it is considered a starchy vegetable. You can make corn a part of a healthy diet tailored to your diabetic needs.

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