Why do people eat plain cornstarch?

Ever seen someone sneaking spoonfuls of a white, powdery substance? Don’t worry, they’re probably not gone rogue and switched to powdered wigs. It might just be good ol’ cornstarch. Yes, you read that right, the thickening agent in your favorite gravy! But why on earth would anyone eat it plain? Buckle up, because we’re diving into the world of cornstarch consumption and the reasons behind it.

Why Cornstarch? Not you’re Typical Snack, Folks!

Cornstarch isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you’re feeling puckish. It’s bland, a bit chalky, and doesn’t exactly scream “nutritious.” So, why choose this over, say, a juicy apple? Well, there are a couple of reasons:

Pica: This might sound strange, but there’s a medical condition called pica that makes people crave non-food items. Cornstarch, with its smooth texture, can be a go-to for some pica sufferers.

Cultural Practices: In some cultures, cornstarch is seen as a traditional remedy for certain ailments. For example, it’s sometimes used to soothe upset stomachs or manage blood sugar levels (although there’s limited scientific evidence to support this).

Athletes: Believe it or not, some athletes use cornstarch as a pre-workout energy booster. The idea is that it provides a quick burst of carbohydrates, but again, research on this is mixed.

Types of Cornstarch Eaters

Now, cornstarch consumption isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of folks who might munch on this powdery stuff:

The Pica Craver: This person might have a strong urge to eat cornstarch, often alongside other non-food items. They might experience a sense of satisfaction or calmness after consuming it.

The Folk Remedy User: This person might have learned about using cornstarch for a specific health concern from their family or community traditions. They might mix it with water or other liquids for easier consumption.

The Experimental Athlete: This person might be looking for a natural way to boost their energy before a workout. They might consume a small amount of cornstarch mixed with water or juice.

Benefits? Hold on, There Might Actually Be Some (But Not Quite!)

Here’s the thing: while cornstarch itself isn’t particularly nutritious, it does offer a small amount of carbohydrates, which your body can convert into energy. However, it lacks essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your body needs for optimal health. So, any “benefits” are more about managing cravings or cultural practices, not about getting a nutritional boost.

The How-To (But Maybe Don’t?)

Look, there’s no real “approved” way to eat cornstarch. If you’re curious, some people mix it with water or juice to make it easier to swallow. However, doctors generally advise against consuming large amounts of plain cornstarch.  Cornstarch chunks, for example, can be a choking hazard, and it can also cause bloating, gas, and digestive discomfort.


While there are reasons why people might eat cornstarch, it’s not a recommended snack by any means. It’s best to stick to healthy, well-rounded meals for your daily energy needs. If you have a craving for non-food items, it’s crucial to consult a doctor to rule out pica or any underlying nutritional deficiencies.


Is it safe to eat cornstarch?

In small amounts, probably not harmful. Large amounts can cause digestive issues. It’s always best to consult a doctor before consuming anything unusual.

Can cornstarch help with weight loss?

Nope! Cornstarch is pure carbohydrates and lacks protein and fiber, which are essential for feeling full.

Is there a healthy alternative to cornstarch cravings?

If you suspect pica, talk to your doctor. They might recommend alternative solutions like crunchy fruits and vegetables to satisfy cravings.

Remember, cornstarch is best left to thickening your gravies and sauces. There’s a whole world of delicious and nutritious foods waiting to be explored!


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