Is Corn Syrup Gluten Free? | Build a Stash

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Key Takeaways

  • Corn syrup is a sweetener made from cornstarch.
  • Corn syrup is gluten-free because corn is a gluten-free grain.
  • Karo Corn Syrup is considered gluten-free.
  • Corn syrup should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Corn syrup is found in many foods. While many people know it is a sweetener, some do not know if it is gluten-free.

Yes, corn syrup is gluten-free. Corn syrup is made from corn which is a naturally gluten-free food. However, it is important to check the bottle before buying to ensure there is no risk of cross-contamination at the processing factory.

Corn syrup is a common ingredient in many foods. However, it is not very healthy. As a Nutrition Coach, I know about corn syrup, including whether it is gluten-free. The gluten-free diet has become more popular in recent years due to Celiac disease and people becoming more health conscious. In this article, I look at whether corn syrup is gluten-free and provide info on the different types of corn syrup, their uses, and nutrition information.

Table of contents


What Is Corn Syrup?

Corn syrup is a sweetener commonly added to foods. It is made from cornstarch and treated with enzymes or acids. These break down the starch into smaller sugar molecules, mainly glucose. Then it is filtered and purified to make sweet, thick corn syrup.

Corn syrup is common in many processed foods. Some of these include baked goods, candy, sauces, and beverages. The corn syrup adds sweetness, moisture, and texture to these foods. It is also helpful to extend their shelf life.

Some examples of foods that contain corn syrup include:

  • Soda and other sweetened beverages
  • Candy, such as gummies and caramels
  • Baked goods, such as cookies and cakes
  • Breakfast cereals and granola bars
  • Ice cream and other frozen desserts
  • Sauces, such as barbecue sauce and ketchup
  • Processed meats, such as ham and bacon

The Controversy Behind Corn Syrup

Corn syrup has been the subject of much debate. While gluten-free and widely used in the food industry, some people are concerned about its potential health risks and environmental impact.

The biggest issue with corn syrup is its high sugar content. Too much added sugar, like corn syrup, increases the risk of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Another issue with corn syrup is the environmental impact of corn production. Corn is a heavily subsidized crop in the United States. It has been linked to soil erosion, water pollution, and other environmental problems.

However, corn syrup is still a common ingredient in many processed foods and beverages. Hopefully, the demand for alternative sweeteners will increase as people become increasingly aware of corn syrup's potential health and environmental risks.

Is Corn Syrup Gluten-Free?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Corn is a gluten-free grain, meaning it contains no gluten naturally. Corn syrup is made from cornstarch, which is also gluten-free.

However, some corn syrup manufacturers may use additives that contain gluten. Make sure to check the label for a certified gluten-free logo or contact the manufacturer for more information.

What Are The Different Types Of Corn Syrup?

Corn syrup is made in a few different varieties. Here is a brief look at some of them:

  • Light corn syrup: This is the most widely available type. It is clear and has a mild flavor. Light corn syrup is used in many baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, pies, candies, and frostings.
  • Dark corn syrup: This corn syrup has a deep amber color and a stronger flavor when compared to light corn syrup. Molasses is added to light corn syrup, which gives it a caramelized taste.
  • High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS): This corn syrup has been further processed to increase its sweetness. HFCS converts some of corn syrup's glucose into fructose, a sweeter sugar. HFCS is commonly used in soft drinks, baked goods, and other processed foods.
  • Organic corn syrup: This corn syrup is made from organically grown corn and processed without synthetic chemicals. It is used in many of the same ways as regular corn syrup.

What Brand of Corn Syrup Is Gluten-Free?

One of the most commonly found brands of corn syrup in stores is Karo Corn Syrup. Karo Corn Syrup is gluten-free and can be used as a substitute for sugar in many recipes.

Karo's light corn syrup is often used in baking and can sometimes have vanilla flavoring included. It's dark corn syrup contains molasses.

It is important to note that while Karo Corn Syrup is gluten-free, not all brands of corn syrup may be safe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Therefore, always check the label and look for certified gluten-free products to ensure they are safe for consumption.

Why is Corn Syrup Used in So Many Foods?

Corn syrup is used in many foods because it is a versatile sweetener that adds sweetness, moisture, and texture to a wide range of products. It is also an inexpensive ingredient for food manufacturers to use, helping to keep production costs low.

In addition to its sweetening properties, corn syrup has functional benefits in food production. For example, it can prevent crystallization in candy and other confections, act as a binder in granola bars and cereal clusters, and improve the texture of baked goods.

Another benefit of corn syrup is that it can extend the shelf life of foods. As a result, it can help prevent spoilage and bacterial growth in processed foods and beverages, which is especially important for products that need long-term storage.

Why Corn Syrup is Bad for You

While corn syrup is a widely used sweetener in many processed foods, it is not considered healthy for several reasons.

  • High in calories and sugar: Corn syrup is a highly concentrated source of sugar and calories, which can contribute to weight gain and other health problems when consumed in excess.
  • Toxins: Some types of corn syrup are made from genetically modified (GMO) corn treated with pesticides and other chemicals. These toxins can accumulate in the body and cause damage to cells and organs.
  • May lead to insulin resistance: High intake of corn syrup has been linked to the development of insulin resistance. This is a condition in which the body's cells become less responsive to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Inflammation: The high levels of sugar in corn syrup can also cause inflammation in the body, which has been linked to various health problems, including cancer and autoimmune diseases.

It is important to read food labels carefully and keep a limit on foods high in corn syrup. Instead, focus on a balanced diet that includes whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Corn Syrup Nutrition Information

One tablespoon (22 grams) of corn syrup contains:

  • Calories: 62
  • Carbohydrates: 17 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams