Pediatric Nutrition

Corn-Free Diet

Confectioners' Sugar Substitute

You don't have to go without cake icing just because of an allergy to the cornstarch in confectioners' sugar (a small amount - 2% - of cornstarch is added to powdered sugar to keep it from clumping). You can make your own confectioner's sugar by placing 1 cup of regular sugar in a blender or food processor and grinding until it is a fine powder. Add 1 teaspoon of arrowroot powder or other starch and use as needed. It should yield about 1 1/2-1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar (as you powder the sugar in the blender, it increases in volume).

If your child has a sensitivity to corn, you will find it to be a real challenge to avoid. Corn is one of the more versatile substances, being used for everything from food to animal feed, from glue to pharmaceutical applications.

Read food labels for some of the most common corn by-product names, including:

  • Corn flour, cornmeal. corn gluten, cornflakes, etc.
  • Cornstarch, also listed on labels as starch or vegetable starch
  • Corn oil
  • Corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup
  • Dextrins
  • Maltodextrins
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose or crystalline fructose
  • Hydrol, treacle
  • Ethanol
  • Free fatty acids
  • Maize
  • Zein
  • Sorbitol

Tips for Avoiding Corn Products

  • Health food stores often stock corn-free foods, including ketchup, mayonnaise, corn-free baking powder, cereals, etc.
  • Around Passover, corn-free products that are not typically available at other times of the year, are available at kosher stores. Products may include confectioners' sugar made with potato starch, and a special run of name brand soft drinks sweetened with sugar instead of corn syrup. Stock up!
  • Try some of the following alternatives:
    • Rice syrup instead of corn syrup
    • Potato starch, arrowroot powder, tapioca, and other flours as thickeners instead of cornstarch
    • Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and other non-corn derived vinegars instead of distilled vinegar
  • When purchasing medications or getting a prescription, check with your child's doctor and the pharmacist to make sure the medications are corn-free.
  • Read every label, ask questions and double check with your child's physician.

Corn Usage and Products

Corn may be used in any of the following products. Be sure to read all labels, and check with the manufacturer when in doubt.

Cornstarch (Food, Drug and Cosmetic Uses)

Antibiotics Confectionery Mustard, prepared
Aspirin Cosmetics Pie filling
Baby foods Desserts (puddings, custards,etc.) Precooked frozen meals
Bakery products (bread, rolls, cakes, pies, crackers, and cookies Drugs and pharmaceuticals Salad dressings
Baking powder Flours, prepared (including prepared mixes - pancake, waffle, cake, candy, etc.) Soaps and cleaners
Beverages, brewed (beer, ale, etc.) Food and drug coatings Soups
Chewing gum Gravies and sauces Sugar, powdered
Chocolate Meat products Vegetables, canned

Corn Syrup (Food and Drug Uses)

Baby foods Desserts Peanut butter
Bakery products (bread, rolls, cakes, pies, crackers, and cookies Eggs, frozen or dried Pickles and pickle products
Beverages, brewed (beer, ale, etc.) Extracts and flavors Rice and coffee polish
Beverages, carbonated Frostings and icings Salad dressings
Breakfast foods Fruit butters Sauces (seasoning, specialty, etc.)
Catsup, chili sauce, tomato sauce Fruit drinks and juices Seafood, frozen
Cereals, prepared Fruits, canned, candied, fillings, frozen, etc. Soups, dehydrated
Cheese spreads and foods Ice cream, water ices and sherbets Syrups (table, chocolate, cocoa, fruit, medicinal, soda fountain, cordials, etc.)
Chewing gum Jams, jellies, marmalades and preserves Toppings
Chocolate products Licorice Vinegar
Coffee whiteners Malted products  
Condensed milk, sweetened Marshmallows and related products  
Confectionery Meat products (sausage, hot dogs, etc.)  
Cordials and liqueurs Mixes, prepared (cakes, infant foods, pie fillings, pudding powders, ice cream, etc.)  

High Fructose Corn Syrup (Food Uses)

Bakery products Fruit, canned Wine
Condiments Fruit juice, canned Yeast
Confectionery products Jams, jellies, and preserves  
Desserts, frozen Soft drinks  

Maltodextrins (Food Uses)

Bakery mixes Gum confections Marshmallows
Beverage powders Icings and glazes Nougats
Condiments Instant teas Non-stick sprays
Dehydrated foods Instant breakfast foods Sauce and gravy mixes
Dry soup mixes Low-calorie sweeteners Snack foods

Dextrose (Food and Drug Uses)

Antibiotics Dietetic preparations Medicinal preparations and intravenous (injections, pills, tablets, drugs, etc.)
Baby foods Distillation products Peanut butter
Bakery products (biscuits, bread, crackers, filings, icings, pretzels, cookies, crackers, wafers, etc.) Doughnuts (cakes, yeast) Peas, canned
Berries, canned and frozen Drugs (fermentation process) Pectin, fruit
Beverages, carbonated Eggs, frozen or dried Pickles and pickle products
Breakfast foods Fish, pickled Prepared mixes
Caramel color Flavoring extracts Powders (ice cream, prepared dessert, pudding, summer drinks, powders, etc.)
Cheese foods and spreads Food acids (citric, etc.) Sauces (catsup, tomato, etc.)
Chewing gum Food coloring Seasoning mixes, dry
Chocolate products Fruit juices Sorbitol (in candies, toothpaste, etc.)
Citric acid Fruits and vegetables, canned Soups, dehydrated
Citrus juices Fruits (candied, glace, frozen) Spices and mustard preparations
Condensed milk Gelatin desserts Syrups (table, fountain, medicinal, etc.)
Confectionery Ice cream, water ices and sherbets Vinegar
Cordials, liqueurs, and brandy Infant and invalid formulas Wine
Cream, frozen Jams, jellies, marmalades and preserves Xanthan Gums
Dairy products Lactic acid Yeast
Desserts Meat products (bacon,bologna, hams, sausage, hot dogs, mincemeat)  

Corn Oil, Refined (Food and Drug Uses)

Carriers for vitamins and other medicinal preparations in capsule form Mayonnaise Sauces, seasonings
Cooking oil Potato chips Shortening
Margarine Salad dressings Soups

Additional Resources

For more information or corn-free products: