Can Corn Cause Gas and Bloating?


Corn typically doesn’t cause much gas by itself, but it’s often eaten alongside other foods that do.

In addition, corn can lead to bloating if you don’t chew it well.

In this short post, I’ll go over why corn usually doesn’t cause gas, and why you might be seeing digestion issues after eating meals that contain corn.

Why Do Vegetables Like Corn Cause Gas?

The vast majority of gas in the gut is produced as a result of bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates.

Fats and proteins play a minimal role at most.

Certain carbohydrates (i.e. fiber) don’t break down well, or at all, in the stomach and small intestine, so they’re passed along to the large intestine where most of your gut bacteria lives.

Different bacteria produce different gasses as they ferment these foods to extract nutrients. This is a healthy process, but too much gas can be a problem.

If you get “blocked up” (i.e. too much stool in your intestines), it can trap gas and cause bloating.

You might have noticed that if you don’t corn well, the entire kernel will end up in your poop, because it can’t be broken down significantly.

Even though it won’t cause gas, undigested corn can add to the size of stools in your intestines and make bloating worse. So step one is to simply chew your corn better if bloating is your main issue.

Fiber Content of Corn

If you eat a ton of fiber, all that fermentation is going to lead to a lot of gas.

However, corn isn’t particularly high in fiber compared to other vegetables.

The nutrition facts below are for 100 grams of corn, which is about 2/3 cup.

Energy (kcal) 86
Protein (g) 3.27
Total Lipid (g) 1.35
Carbohydrate (g) 18.7
Fiber (g) 2
Sugars (g) 6.26

It is possible to eat multiple servings of corn in a single meal, but with only 2 grams of fiber per serving, it’s not likely to cause major gas issues.

For reference, most people should be eating 20 grams of fiber minimum, and some foods have around 10 grams of fiber per 100 gram serving.

Detailed Carbohydrate Breakdown of Corn

Within the broad category of “fiber,” there are specific types of carbohydrates that are more likely to cause digestion problems.

These mostly fall into the label of FODMAPs as well. They basically don’t break down at all, and can also have an osmotic effect (i.e. bring extra water into the gut) which can increase the rate of fermentation and have other side effects.

However, we can see once again that corn is relatively low in FODMAPs.

One study looked specifically for certain FODMAPs in sweet corn and didn’t find any in a significant amount aside from sorbitol.

Moisture 76
Fructose 0.18 g
Glucose 0.79 g
Sorbitol 0.45 g

I’d like to see data for other varieties of corn as well, but unfortunately this type of data is hard to find.

Regardless, while sorbitol intolerance can cause gas and bloating, it typically takes at least 5 grams of sorbitol to cause any issues.

In other words, you’d have to eat a mountain of corn, and most people aren’t even that sensitive to sorbitol.

Can You Be Sure That Corn is Causing Your Gas?

What we’ve seen is that corn alone probably isn’t causing gas.

More likely is that something you often eat it with is causing any gas and bloating issues, possibly more than one thing.

Corn is often eaten alongside other foods that are known for causing gas like beans.

If you really want to test it, eat a normal portion (whatever that is for you) of corn by itself. Then you’ll need to wait about 5 hours (for it to reach the large intestine), and see if you start feeling gassy in the next few hours.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. I've spent over 6 years as a freelance nutrition writer and researcher. During this time, I've tested over 50 vegan protein powders, and over 100 other types of vegan supplements.

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