Cornstarch acts as a binder in soups, sauces, and baked goods. However, many people are unsure how many carbohydrates are in cornstarch, whether it is healthy, and whether it is suitable for low-carb diets such as the keto diet.
In addition, many people question whether cornstarch is gluten-free. But don’t worry, here are all the answers.
Is Cornstarch Keto?
Cornstarch is a smooth, white powder used in cooking and baking.
It is mainly used as a thickener in soups, sauces, puddings, and gravy. Some food manufacturers also use cornstarch to thicken cheese and yogurt.
Originally, cornstarch was used to starch laundry, as a cleaning agent, and for other industrial purposes. Many people wonder if cornstarch can be healthy.
Carbs in Cornstarch
Since cornstarch is derived from the starchy part of the corn kernel, there is a legitimate question as to whether it is suitable for low-carb diets like keto.
How Many Carbs Are in Cornstarch?
As the name starch already suggests, cornstarch consists mainly of carbohydrates.
100 grams of corn starch provides the following average nutritional values (*):
- Energy: 381 calories
- Protein: 0.3 grams
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Carbohydrates: 91.3 grams
- Dietary fiber: 0.9 grams
- Net carbs: 90.4 grams
The nutritional information tells us that cornstarch is more of a high- than low-carb food.
Is Cornstarch Keto-Friendly?
Cornstarch is not keto. The nutrition facts are very clear.
Luckily, plenty of low-carb alternatives exist that you can use instead when cooking and baking.
Is Cornstarch Gluten-Free?
Since cornstarch is primarily carbs and contains no proteins, it is gluten-free.
This fact also explains the binding effect of gluten in baking.
Is Cornstarch Bad for Diabetes?
Over 90% carbohydrate content causes blood sugar and insulin levels to go through the roof.
But aren’t these complex carbohydrates like cornstarch healthy?
Complex means that they are multiple sugars instead of single sugars. And this, in turn, is broken down by the liver into simple sugar, glucose.
The crux of this story is that this time commitment keeps blood sugar and insulin levels high longer.
Cornstarch is an industrially refined food. The starch is separated from other components and nutrients of the plant, leaving only the concentrated multiple sugars.
These facts about cornstarch are bad news for people with diabetes who struggle with regulating blood sugar.
In addition, the polysaccharide exerts an antilipolytic effect in the body (Jensen et al. 19892).
In short, cornstarch blocks fat breakdown (lipolysis) and, in turn, promotes the buildup of body fat (Meijssen et al. 20013).
Avoid the Carbs in Cornstarch on Keto
Cornstarch is a highly processed food that is almost entirely carbohydrate. It is fattening, not suitable for diabetics, and on top of that, often comes from genetically modified crops (USDA 20144).
For these reasons, there are healthier and more natural alternatives to cornstarch that you should use instead.
Carbs in Cornstarch: Is Cornstarch Keto FAQ
What is a keto substitution for cornstarch?
Konjak Powder, Almond Meal, and Psyllium Husks are common keto substitutes for cornstarch.
Is cornstarch high in carbs?
Yes, cornstarch consists of more than 90% carbs.
Can I use corn starch in Keto?
Since cornstarch is 90% carbs, you cannot use it on keto.
Which has less carbs flour or cornstarch?
Wheat Flour has fewer carbs than cornstarch.
1Dolan LC, Matulka RA, Burdock GA. Naturally occurring food toxins. Toxins (Basel). 2010 Sep;2(9):2289-332. doi: 10.3390/toxins2092289. Epub 2010 Sep 20. Review. PubMed PMID: 22069686; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3153292.
2Jensen MD, Caruso M, Heiling V, Miles JM. Insulin regulation of lipolysis in nondiabetic and IDDM subjects. Diabetes. 1989 Dec;38(12):1595-601. doi: 10.2337/diab.38.12.1595. PubMed PMID: 2573554.
3Meijssen S, Cabezas MC, Ballieux CG, Derksen RJ, Bilecen S, Erkelens DW. Insulin mediated inhibition of hormone sensitive lipase activity in vivo in relation to endogenous catecholamines in healthy subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Sep;86(9):4193-7. doi: 10.1210/jcem.86.9.7794. PubMed PMID: 11549649.
4USDA. Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, 2014. Retrieved 2021 May 10, from https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/45179/43668_err162.pdf.
Stephan is a writer and a true man of science, holding multiple diplomas and master's degrees in different research areas. His greatest passion is closing the gap between the conventional perception of health and the latest scientific evidence – always following the data.