Friday, February 22, 2013

Defining Corn-Lite, and Corn-Free, and all that wordy jazz.


The term corn-lite was coined (as far as I could research) back on 12/10/2007, not long after the invention of  corntamination (earliest record 4/27/2007 as corn-tamination, the hyphen was dropped shortly after that). And though I don't really recall inventing them it seems that I did or at least I have the first recorded use of them that I could find. I do like to invent words, especially if there is no single word for what I need. I'm ultra-efficient (lazy) like that. 

However, there seems to be lots of argument of what is actually corn-lite exactly and what does it mean? 

Here's a definition of corn-lite that I posted back in 2009: "Corn-lite would be avoiding the major corn ingredients like corn syrup, corn starch, corn meal, etc.. and trying to avoid as much citric acid and ascorbic acid as possible.  Basically eating lots of fresh veggies, meats, and homebaked goods."

At it's most basic, "Corn-Lite" means that's it's not corn-free, but also doesn't obviously contain corn.  A person can be described as corn-lite, if they primarily eat a diet that is almost, but not quite corn-free.

And this is where the confusion starts.  To truly define corn-lite, you also have to define corn-free.  Both terms are completely subjective and yet reliant on each other, and if you talk to most medical professionals, our use of corn-lite IS corn-free just to make the waters on this topic even more muddy.

Defining Corn-Free:


To us and our recommended support groups (Delphi & Facebook) and for our Corn-Free Foods List, our definition of what is corn-free is vastly different than you'll ever get from almost all medical professionals. 

To us, corn-free means that the item is not made from, contains nothing made from, is not contaminated by corn or it's derivatives (no corntamination) in it's processing or packaging, and otherwise has no relationship with corn from it's conception to it's end product.

The only exception to that definition is in regards to animal meats & products. We consider animal meats, eggs, milk, and the like to be corn-free as long as they are processed and packaged cleanly without the use of any corn-derived products.  Some people in our corn-free community do react to animal products if the animal has been fed corn; it is a rare occurrence and only among the most sensitive, so we have adopted this exception.

A truly corn-free lifestyle only contains foods and products that are as close to this definition as humanly possible.

(The use of corn in products and processing is not required to be labeled at this time, and will likely not be required to be labeled any time soon. There is also no lab testing for the presence of corn that is even close to accurate enough for those allergic to corn. The use of corn-free on labels, as far as we can tell, is completely voluntary and unregulated, and thus unreliable.)

Defining Corn-Lite:


The term corn-lite was developed with the intent to put a category on foods that aren't quite full of corn, but aren't quite safe enough for most corn allergic persons either. It is also used to describe people in the corn-free lifestyle who are able to eat slightly corny foods without noticeable ill effects. The main point of the term was to help define things for the safety of all persons within the corn-free lifestyle, much like the difference between vegetarian and vegan for example.

Corn-Lite products are any products that do not have obvious corn in the ingredients, but the product does contain trace amounts of corn. 

Since there are quite a few corn derivatives that are not "obvious corn" to the uneducated and at this point of time "trace amounts of corn" is highly subjective, we could parse this term to death and create words like "Corn-Lite-Lite" or "Extremely Corn-Lite" and so on.

If you utilize my 2009 definition of corn-lite, you'll notice that derivatives such as citric acid and ascorbic acid (two very commonly used ingredients derived from corn) are also included in things to avoid for corn-lite. So products that use either of these ingredients should not be considered corn-lite, nor are products that use synonyms for obvious corn products without using the name "corn" in title.(Of course this is true as long as these questionable ingredients are derived from corn, and most of them are, even if the company says they're not - companies sadly don't always know or the person you ask may not be correctly informed.)

Synonyms for "Obvious Corn" derivatives: starch, modified starch, glucose syrup, fructose syrup, baking powder, grits, maize, zea mays, zein. 

Corn-lite should also not include: iodized salt, dextrose, fructose, glucose. 

Persons described as "corn-lite" are people who can eat, and/or knowingly choose to eat minor corn derivatives without noticeable health issues or without any issue at all, but must avoid the major sources of corn or obvious corn.  Based on the definition of "corn-lite foods", technically a person who can eat products with unknown sourced citric acid in the ingredients listing without a problem should not be using the term corn-lite to describe themselves; however, in an effort to not invent any more words (such as Lite-corn-lite) anyone who is not eating at the corn-free level and yet must avoid foods with obvious sources of corn will be considered to be corn-lite.

In removing corn from your diet, corn-lite is generally the last stage of removal before you achieve corn-free. Those who are simply intolerant to corn may tolerate a corn-lite diet and may tolerate several corn-derivatives for years if not their entire lifetime. Most people with an actual allergy to corn do require a diet that is corn-free as defined above. Many ill-informed corn allergic persons may eat a corn-lite diet and still function in society; however these persons usually also suffer from "mysterious" symptoms and health concerns that are often relieved temporarily or kept in check by steroids, anti-inflammatory medications, or antihistamines. These persons usually find these "illnesses" or symptoms cured while on a corn-free diet.

(Just some tidbits on the use of corntamination: A web search shows that corntamination was used once in 1867 and was likely a typo. And there's a use of corntamination in 2000 as a term to mean that corn itself was contaminated. The use and definition we use was first recorded in April of 2007 on Delphi Forums. The term corn-lite as we use it is rarely used outside of the forums.)

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3 comments:

Isabela Carvalho Santos said...

Now, I'm curious. I'm not eating corn intentionally, and I'm avoiding corn contaminated as citric acid (etc) as well. But, for example many times I stop eating in the first bite something called corn free. Or the restaurant says "it's sea salt" but it isn't. and I'll know hours later because my reaction... so am I corn-lite because it? I couldn't stay clean for longer..

Anonymous said...

I guess I would be considered corn lite by this. I can handle some corn syrup like in ketsup with very lite symptoms. That is if I don't eat it often. Cornstarch and corn protein will send me to the emergency room.
One time after surgery I woke up and seen the IV bag with large letters Dextrose. I told the nurses and they removed it. The Dr came in during the removal and said that not all dextrose is derived from corn.(?) But she didn't know if that one was. I was on a liquid diet for 4 days and the cafeteria kept sending me juice with corn. They kept it up even after a call from my husband until the third day when he must of really Told them off. Next time I go in we will have to talk to them personally first. My husband will have to talk to them if it is an emergency. They just don't get it and it is scary.

Angela said...

I have a recent allergy to corn. When I was tested a few years ago I was told I had a slight allergy to corn. It has since became a pretty severe allergy. When we first realized it had grown worse, I started our corn lite. I felt better but a few weeks or so after eating "safe" foods I began to have more severe allergies. That's when I found the lists of ingredients that are corn or corn based. I was shocked! It's in everything. It is so bad that I can't eat things out of cans, drink bottled water and eat things that are processed in a factory that processes corn even if the food is "corn" free. It has been hard. I appreciate the information about antibiotics. I can't get rid of a sinus infection that I have had almost two months. I have had an allergic reaction to EVERY antibiotic they have given me. Some worse than others but still noticeable. They have me stop right away. My allergy is also air borne. i also have a condition called gastroparesis so I don't always digest my food. I am overcoming an episode and so my body is overreacting to the smallest things. This limits what I can eat as well. It's so frustrating and people in general do not understand it! At least I eat food that is healthier now!