While most people think that corn is a vegetable, it is actually a grain. Therefore, when it comes to bodybuilding, eating corn has certain considerations, including when you eat it (meal timing), how much (quantity), and the type of training phase you’re in (bulking or cutting).
So, is corn good or bad for bodybuilding? Corn is good for bodybuilding because it is a high-carb food that provides the necessary fuel for training. However, unlike other carb sources (like rice), corn is higher in fiber and protein, which means it can be more filling. This provides benefits for those in a cutting phase to avoid getting hungry during the day.
In this article, I will explore everything related to bodybuilding and corn, including:
- The calories and macro content of corn
- Pros and cons of adding corn if you are a bodybuilder
- Whether it is best to consume corn before or after a workout
- Whether corn helps with muscle growth
- Tips for including corn into your diet if you are a bodybuilder
Corn For Bodybuilding: Overview
Nutritional Content of Corn
You can find the following nutritional content in one cup of fresh cooked corn (165 g).
- Calories: 142
- Carbs: 30.7 g
- Fiber: 3.3 g
- Proteins: 5.6 g
- Fats: 2.2 g
Corn is moderate in calories and is used by both bodybuilders in bulking and cutting phases.
If you’re in a cutting phase, you’ll want to avoid adding any fats to corn, such as butter, to maintain a lower calorie intake.
However, if you are in a bulking phase, corn allows you to add several types of condiments (olive oil, butter, mayonnaise)to increase the calories.
Although corn has a similar caloric content as rice, it won’t provide the same satiating effects. One cup of corn will probably make you feel fuller for longer than one cup of rice. This is due to the higher fiber and protein content compared with rice.
Thus, it provides a great advantage for those in a cutting phase since it prevents you from getting hungry during the day, which is important for those adopting a low-calorie bodybuilding diet.
Corn is a high-carb food. In one cup of corn, you get 30 g of carbs, which is more or less the same as having two slices of bread.
In 1 cup of corn, you get 5.6 g of protein, almost the same as one medium egg.
Unlike other high-carb foods (like rice or yams), corn has a higher protein content. However, it doesn’t have as much as other foods I’ve discussed, like kidney beans or edamame.
Nonetheless, the protein cannot be considered high-quality (like eggs) because it doesn’t have all the essential amino acids. Therefore, it’s still important to pair corn with other sources of protein.
Corn is not a high-fat food, but it is higher than rice. Still, it doesn’t provide a very significant fat content since it only has 2 g of fat per cup of corn.
Besides having all three macronutrients, corn is also very nutrient-rich. Here are the top three nutrients that you can find in corn:
- Thiamin. Like any other vitamin from the B complex, it helps convert the carbs that you eat (pasta, corn, and rice) into usable energy in the body. Additionally, it plays a role in muscle contraction.
- Folate. It is important in the formation of red blood cells. These are the ones responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and other organs.
- Vitamin C. It is a potent antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation in the body. Also, it helps boost your immune system. This means that you are less likely to get sick and miss training days.
- Check out my complete guide on best vegetables for building muscle.
3 Pros Of Eating Corn For Bodybuilding
Here are three pros of eating corn if you are a bodybuilder:
1. Corn Is High In Antioxidants
Corn is very high in antioxidants, especially those called zeaxanthin and lutein. Some of the most compelling evidence for these antioxidants is that they improve eye health. A study found that those that consumed 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin had protection against daily stress in their eyes.
For you to obtain 10 mg of lutein, you would have to consume 300 g of corn (since 30 g of corn has around 1 mg of lutein).
Having a larger antioxidant capacity is not only good for eye health. It can also help reduce inflammation in the body, leading to better muscle recovery.
2. Corn Is Versatile To Meal Prep
One of the benefits of corn is that it is a very versatile food. You can have it in sweet preparations like cornbread, or savory recipes like a Mexican-style chicken bowl.
Additionally, you can cook in several ways. You can make corn by boiling it, putting it in the air-fryer, or using the grill This makes the meal prepping process a lot easier depending on what other foods you plan to make at the same time.
- Related Article: Is Popcorn Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?
3. Corn is Very Filling
Corn is a high-fiber food, providing 12% of the recommended daily intake for fiber. A high-fiber diet brings a lot of benefits. It reduces your cholesterol levels, improves your gut health, and increases your satiety levels (the feeling of fullness).
Increasing your satiety levels means that you are less likely to feel hungry during the day or at least during the next couple of hours. This will prevent you from unnecessary snacking during the day, which could affect your weight loss results.
1 Con of Eating Corn For Bodybuilding
Although there are several benefits, here is one con of adding corn if you are a bodybuilder:
Corn is High In FODMAPs
One of the most significant drawbacks is that it is high in FODMAPS.
FODMAPS stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. For people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), consuming high FODMAP foods can trigger gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, gas, or stomach cramps.
Thus, for those bodybuilders that tend to get constant gastrointestinal issues,it is best to avoid it or consume small portions of corn until you find an acceptable tolerance.
- Related Article: 15 High Calorie Low FODMAP Foods
Can You Eat Corn Before Workouts?
Corn is a great energy source that you can include before your workout.However, the high fiber content can produce stomach problems for some people before working out. Thus, it is essential to know what is an adequate tolerance. So consume a small amount of corn at first (½ cup), and see how you perform.
If you feel that corn is giving you many stomach problems before a workout, you might want to try more easily digested carbs like white rice, fruits, or granola.
Can You Eat Corn After Workouts?
Yes, you can eat corn after a workout. It can help replenish your glycogen stores, thus improving your muscle recovery. However, since it doesn’t have a lot of protein, you might want to combine corn with a protein source like chicken, fish, or meat to help your muscles recover and grow.
Thanks to corn’s high antioxidant content, it is an ideal food to add after training. By providing an antioxidant post-workout, you can help reduce inflammation in your body and promote better muscle recovery.
Is Corn Good For Muscle Growth?
Yes, corn provides you with the necessary calories and carbs for your muscles to grow. A caloric surplus is essential when it comes to muscle growth. So be sure to pair corn with other high-calorie foods, as well as adding a protein source to make a complete meal.
It’s important to recognize that eating corn on its own won’t make or break your muscle growth. But rather, a consistent high-calorie, high-protein diet over several weeks, paired with the right training, will help you build muscle.
Corn can be considered one part of the equation to help you get the calories you need, as well as providing energy for your training.
- Related Article: Is Pasta Good or Bad For Bodybuilding? (Pros & Cons)
Tips For Incorporating Corn Into A Bodybuilding Diet
Watch Out For The Sodium
One of the benefits of corn is that you can get canned corn. However, you need to be careful with its sodium content.
A high sodium diet means more water is absorbed into your body to compensate for the sodium excess. With more water running through your arteries, it means that there is more pressure on your walls. This means that your blood pressure increases.
To avoid getting high blood pressure in the long run, make sure that you consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium (1 teaspoon) per day. Additionally, when looking for canned foods, choose those that have less than 140 mg per serving (100 g).
Ways To Enjoy Corn
As mentioned before, one of the benefits of corn is that you can use it in several different ways. If you don’t know how to add corn besides having it as a side. Here are some of my favorite recipes that use corn in their ingredients.
- Corn salad (for those in cutting avoid adding honey)
- Mexican street corn bowl (make sure to add a protein source like chicken or meat)
- Corn pancakes (avoid adding sugar if you are in a cutting phase)
About The Author
Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist. In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.