The corn free diet removes not only corn kernels from meals, but also corn derivatives from products such as medications, food additives, and household supplies, which contain or are derived from corn. Most individuals who consume a corn free diet do so because they are allergic to the proteins in corn.
Symptoms of corn allergy are similar to any food allergy. These symptoms include skin rashes, hives, gastrointestinal distress (upset stomach). In the most extreme cases, an allergic person who has just consumed corn may experience breathing difficulty and even anaphylaxis, a life threatening condition where the throat swells and breathing may not be possible after the consumption of corn.
Although corn allergies are less common than soy or peanut allergies, the medical community has gained increasing awareness of this issue in recent years.
Some patients adopt a corn free diet under the instruction of their doctor. Corn is sometimes eliminated from the diet to see if symptoms resolve. If a patient's condition improves while on a corn free diet, the consumption of this food is reduced or eliminated.
Corn and its derivatives are in a large number of processed foods. Any food containing corn syrup, including ketchup, candied fruits, caramel coloring, vanilla extract, and pre-sweetened cereals are avoided.
Individuals experiencing unexplained exhaustion or repeated rashes may suffer from a corn allergy. As the cost of allergen testing decreases, an increasing number of individuals, especially children, are being tested for corn allergies. Many pediatricians now test for a wide range of allergies before considering more rare, and more serious, medical conditions with the same symptoms. Most individuals with corn allergies are put onto a corn free diet in order to eliminate the irritant.
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