When you hear that someone has a food allergy or sensitivity what comes first to your mind? If you are like most people it is gluten, wheat, or perhaps dairy. Yet to many people, corn is equally problematic for two reasons – first, it is less known so not considered, and second, it generally acts more subtly.

This client testimonial pretty much sums it up:

“Nobody knows anything about this corn allergy, so I don’t really tell normal people who aren’t that educated in health and wellness/nutrition. My mom’s husband is a doctor (general practitioner) and he never had any clue as to what was wrong with me. Everyone just said it must be my anxiety which made me more anxious [but] I knew it was something else! 

I have to be so careful and can’t even eat anywhere but home since corn is in everything. I’m just so grateful that I understand what is happening with my body. That was super scary at times.

Thanks again 😊”

I have several clients with corn sensitivities, and it is always a similar story – strange symptoms which no one can figure out, which go away when corn is completely removed from the diet. However, completely removing corn is a major challenge. My client correctly states that “corn is in everything.” Not only food and drinks, but consumer items such as toothpaste and deodorant.

I have a list that I provide for my clients of products that contain corn. Including: corn starch, corn syrup, corn meal, glucose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrins, cyclodextrins, maltodextrin, emulsifiers, lecithin, citric acid, lactic acid, sorbitol, mannitol, xantham gum, modified and unmodified starches, MSG, ethanol, and organic acids used in plastic.

Recently I have learned some more places where corn is hidden thanks to this recent correspondence from a client with a corn sensitivity:

“I just had a full circle/ ah HA moment and wanted to share with you… with the help of your guidance and knowledge (and internet) I came to realize Tito’s vodka, is 100% made of corn. I had 2 drinks this past weekend with Tito’s vodka, and have had some face issues. Nothing major just wasn’t as good as it was.

Maybe a stupid email with just me ranting but wanted to share the fun facts that Tito’s is 100%… awful corn based. Shaking my head.”

This same client also discovered the hard way that some beers also have corn derivatives in them. She had some Blue Moon and her face broke out!

These stories have inspired me to write this article and do additional research into beers and vodkas that contain corn. Not that I am encouraging any one to consume alcohol, but it is a reality, and it is important to know this information. Most of us assume that beer is a wheat product and vodka is made from wheat, rye, or potato.

Vodka will be advertised as “gluten free” which is your first clue it may have corn. Among the most popular brands made from corn include the previously mentioned Tito’s, along with Deep Eddy and Smirnoff. Gluten free vodka may also be made from potatoes.  For a complete list of gluten free vodkas click here: Gluten Free Vodka List.

Now let’s look at beer. You will find “gluten free” beer advertised as well for those with gluten sensitivities, but no mention of “corn free”.  If you watched the Super Bowl this year you noticed that Bud Light was attacking MillerCoors for using corn syrup. Although Bud Light does not use corn syrup they do use Dextrose which is a corn derivative! Nothing like advertising!!

Beer companies are not required to list all the ingredients on the label, so until a few years ago much of this was not publicly known. In response to a food activist creating an online petition and publicizing the ingredient controversy, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors began to publish their ingredients online revealing that some beers contain corn syrup (GMO), high fructose corn syrup, sucrose (sugar), caramel color, artificial flavors, natural flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, and other additives.

Here are some of the corn derivatives found in specific brands:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (Guinness – unable to provide an affidavit for non-GMO proof)
  • Corn syrup (Miller Light, Coors, Corona, Fosters, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Red Stripe)
  • Dextrose (Budweiser, Bud Light, Busch Light, Michelob Ultra)
  • Corn (Red Stripe, Miller Coors Brand, Anheuser-Busch Brands)

For the full article Why Ingredients in Beer Matter – And What Beer Companies Aren’t Telling You click here: Ingredients You’re Not Being Told About in Beer.

To learn more about corn and some of the other ingredients you may not appreciate being in your beer click here: Shocking Ingredients in Beer.  One of these ingredients is a caramel coloring used in Newcastle (a UK brand) that has found to be carcinogenic.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.