Q:

Is cornstarch bad for you?

A:

Quick Answer

Consuming cornstarch in sufficient quantity is unhealthy and can even be dangerous, according to WebMD. Cornstarch is a finely ground flour and pure starch used for thickening soups, sauces and gravies, and it can also be a handy multipurpose household cleaner, as illustrated by Care2.

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Full Answer

Consuming cornstarch is one compulsion experienced by victims of pica, a disease that manifests itself in eating nonfood items such as dirt and clay, according to WebMD. A 2011 article in Psychology Today identified pica as a rapidly rising eating disorder that may be part mental illness and part nutritional deficiency. The specific compulsion to eat cornstarch is further identified as amylophagia, according to Wikipedia, and victims of this disorder often consume several boxes of cornstarch per day. This consumption not only crowds out room for beneficial nutrition in a victim's diet, but it also causes other disorders as well, including hyperglycemia, malnutrition and anemia.

Victims of this compulsion, as explained by Wikipedia, often relate that they eat cornstarch as a stress reliever because they enjoy the taste, texture or smell of the starch. The disorder appears often in autistic children, pregnant women and certain ethnic groups, and it can even be misdiagnosed as gestational diabetes in children. While experts are still uncertain as to whether pica or amylophagia trigger nutritional deficiencies or result from them, compulsive consumption of cornstarch is a health issue that needs treatment.

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