Is it OK to eat cornstarch raw?

Eating raw cornstarch is generally considered safe, but there are some things to keep in mind. Here is a quick overview of the safety and risks of consuming raw cornstarch.

Is it safe to eat raw cornstarch?

Yes, raw cornstarch is safe to eat in small amounts. Cornstarch is made from corn, which is a common food ingredient. The raw cornstarch itself contains no harmful ingredients.

Many people consume small amounts of raw cornstarch with no issues. For example, using a little cornstarch when making homemade playdough is considered safe for kids.

Are there any risks or side effects?

Eating raw cornstarch is unlikely to cause side effects in most people when consumed in small amounts. However, there are a few potential risks and downsides to be aware of:

  • Choking hazard – Dry cornstarch can be a choking risk, especially for children.
  • Tooth decay – Like other sugars and starches, raw cornstarch may increase the risk of tooth decay if consumed frequently.
  • Constipation – Raw cornstarch absorbs water. Consuming very large amounts may potentially cause constipation.
  • Sensitivity – Some people may be sensitive to corn-based products.

As long as you keep your intake moderate, raw cornstarch is not considered dangerous. But it’s best to avoid over-consuming it.

Why do some people eat raw cornstarch?

There are a few reasons why someone may consume raw cornstarch, even though it’s not a typical food:

  • Health condition – Some health conditions, like pica or certain genetic disorders, may cause cravings for non-food items like cornstarch.
  • Texture – The fine, powdery texture of raw cornstarch can be appealing for sensory reasons.
  • Cooking aid – Some baking recipes call for adding a little raw cornstarch.
  • Weight loss aid – Raw cornstarch may be used in small amounts to create a feeling of fullness.

In many cases, raw cornstarch is eaten for its unique properties, not for its nutritional value.

Is eating raw cornstarch nutritious?

No, raw cornstarch does not provide much in the way of nutrition. Here is the nutritional profile per 100 grams of raw cornstarch:

  • Calories: 388
  • Protein: 0.4g
  • Fat: 0.12g
  • Carbs: 94.9g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Sugar: 0.14g

As you can see, raw cornstarch is almost entirely carbohydrates, providing 388 calories per 100 grams. It does not contain significant amounts of protein, healthy fats, vitamins or minerals.

While raw cornstarch won’t hurt you, it is considered an empty calorie food. It should not be relied on as a key part of your diet.

Is eating cornstarch dangerous if consumed excessively?

Yes, eating raw cornstarch in very large quantities can potentially cause health problems. Some of the risks of over-consuming raw cornstarch include:

  • Malnutrition – Can displace nutritious foods from the diet.
  • Constipation – Too much starch intake can harden stools.
  • Intestinal blockage – If enough dry starch accumulates, it could plug the intestines.
  • Mineral deficiencies – Interferes with absorption of minerals like zinc and iron.
  • Toxicity – Raw cornstarch may contain traces of chemicals or pesticides.

For these reasons, excessive consumption of raw cornstarch, such as multiple cups per day, is not recommended and could be hazardous.

How much raw cornstarch is excessive?

There are no official guidelines for how much raw cornstarch is safe to eat per day. As a very general rule of thumb:

  • 1-2 tablespoons per day – Likely safe for most people.
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) or more per day – Potentially excessive without medical need.
  • 1 cup (100 grams) or more per day – Considered potentially dangerous.

Again, these are just rough estimates since tolerance depends on the individual. Consuming raw cornstarch occasionally in small amounts is unlikely to cause harm. But regular large doses could be problematic.

When is it unsafe to eat raw cornstarch?

Consuming raw cornstarch is more likely to be unsafe if:

  • You have a cornstarch or corn allergy.
  • You have swallowing difficulties or mouth/throat issues.
  • You have intestinal blockages or bowel conditions.
  • You are pregnant – excessive starch intake may affect nutrient absorption.
  • You have diabetes – raw starch impacts blood sugar levels.

Additionally, raw cornstarch carries more risks for the very young due to choking hazards. Supervise young children closely and avoid feeding large amounts.

If in doubt, talk to your doctor before adding large amounts of raw cornstarch to your diet.

What about raw cornstarch challenges and viral videos?

You may have seen viral food challenges involving consuming spoonfuls of dry cornstarch. While these videos may look shocking, the occasional spoonful of cornstarch is unlikely to cause major health issues for most people.

However, these videos can influence viewers to try excessively large amounts. Attempting to eat multiple spoons, cups, or even a bowl of raw cornstarch could be dangerous depending on the quantity.

So while a bite here and there won’t hurt, don’t attempt the extreme cornstarch challenges you may see online.

Should kids eat raw cornstarch?

Raw cornstarch is generally considered safe for kids to consume in small amounts, such as a teaspoon stirred into a recipe. However, children should not eat spoonfuls of dry cornstarch from the package.

Potential dangers of kids eating raw cornstarch include:

  • Choking hazard
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Aspiration into lungs
  • Allergic reaction
  • Intestinal blockage

Due to the risks, supervise your child closely if allowing them to handle and play with dry cornstarch. Avoid giving large amounts for them to eat on their own.

Can babies eat raw cornstarch?

No, raw cornstarch should not be fed to babies under 1 year old. An infant’s digestive system is still immature. Raw cornstarch could lead to constipation or an intestinal blockage.

If your recipe calls for cornstarch, you can still use it, just make sure the food is fully cooked and smooth. Do not add dry spoonfuls to bottles.

Wait until your baby is older before introducing raw cornstarch. Follow your pediatrician’s guidance on when to add new foods.

Is modified cornstarch safer to eat raw?

Modified versions of cornstarch, like maltodextrin, are made by processing cornstarch to alter its properties. Some modified starches are designed to be soluble fibers that can dissolve in the digestive tract.

So, modified cornstarch may carry fewer risks related to constipation and intestinal blockage. But choking hazards would still be present if consuming dry spoonfuls.

Overall, it’s still best to limit intake of raw modified cornstarch. But in small amounts, it may be less likely to clump and cause obstruction than regular cornstarch.

Can you substitute raw cornstarch for other ingredients?

Raw cornstarch should not be substituted for ingredients like flour or sugar in recipes unless specifically called for. Substituting cornstarch could change the texture, consistency, nutrition, and more.

Here are some examples of substitutions to avoid:

  • Instead of flour in baked goods
  • Instead of sugar in drinks
  • Instead of milk in creamy soups
  • Instead of eggs for binding

Raw cornstarch may be used in small amounts to thicken sauces and gravies. But do not use it to replace key ingredients without adjusting your recipe.

Should you drink raw cornstarch in water?

No, do not drink raw cornstarch stirred into water. Raw cornstarch is difficult to digest and does not dissolve entirely in water.

Drinking raw cornstarch in water could potentially lead to:

  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Disrupted mineral absorption
  • Incomplete cornstarch consumption

Instead of drinking raw cornstarch in water, stay hydrated by drinking regular water throughout the day or consider oral rehydration solutions.

Does cooking cornstarch make it safer to consume?

Yes, cooking cornstarch makes it much safer to eat in larger quantities. When cornstarch is heated, the granules swell and eventually gelatinize into a smooth, thickened consistency.

Cooked cornstarch is easier to digest and less likely to pose the following raw cornstarch risks:

  • Choking hazard
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Constipation
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Reduced nutrient absorption

So while small tastes of raw cornstarch are OK, it’s best to rely on fully cooked cornstarch sauces and puddings for larger servings.

What are signs of cornstarch overconsumption?

Watch for these possible signs that you may be overdoing it with raw cornstarch consumption:

  • Bloating or stomach cramps
  • Constipation
  • Hard stools
  • Excess gas or belching
  • Weakness
  • Mineral deficiency symptoms
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea

Seek medical help if you experience severe abdominal pain, vomiting, or bowel obstruction symptoms like inability to pass stool.

What are strategies for eating cornstarch safely?

Here are some tips for enjoying cornstarch safely if you choose to eat it raw:

  • Avoid dry spoonfuls – Mix a small amount into yogurt or applesauce.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid constipation issues.
  • Do not give raw cornstarch from the package to young children.
  • Check for allergies and sensitivities first.
  • Read labels to ensure food-grade cornstarch.
  • Consume minimal amounts and only occasionally.
  • Never attempt viral cornstarch challenges involving extreme consumption.

Being mindful of serving size and smart preparation methods can help you reduce risks if choosing to eat raw cornstarch.


Raw cornstarch is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA. But it provides minimal nutrition and may pose health risks if consumed excessively, especially on a frequent basis.

Small, occasional tastes of raw cornstarch are unlikely to cause issues for most people. But relies on it as a regular part of your diet. To consume larger amounts, cook cornstarch thoroughly to improve digestibility.

If you experience concerning symptoms, discontinue use and see your doctor to rule out complications. For most individuals, moderate intake of raw cornstarch is not a health concern.

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