corn and flour on a wooden table - ee220330

Is Corn Starch Paleo? (Is Corn Also Paleo?)

Most people who have spent a good amount of time in the kitchen are familiar with the versatile substance called cornstarch. This powder works fantastically as a thickening agent and can be found in anything from gravy and sauces all the way to casseroles and omelets. But does this useful cooking ingredient (and cleaning alternative) have a place in the paleo diet?

Is corn starch paleo?

Unfortunately, corn starch isn’t paleo. Aside from the undue stress corn products put our digestive tracts through, corn is technically a grain and not a vegetable. This means that corn and any corn derivatives are not paleo-friendly.

That does not mean you do not have alternatives to this useful kitchen tool. And as far as cleaning goes, I’m pretty sure that is still fair game as long as you don’t eat it after. So throw out that old bottle of Argo and get comfortable as we go over alternatives to corn starch and why corn is such a nefarious presence in the vegetable kingdom!

corn and flour on a wooden table - ee220330

Corn Starch Alternatives

So you can’t use corn starch anymore, there are worse things in life and paleo. After giving up the dairy everything else pales in comparison, really. But like all things in your diet, you learn to accept the reality of your situation and adapt to it, not unlike the hunter-gatherers of a previous millennium.

Arrowroot Powder

This quietly effective replacement for corn starch is slowly gaining traction in the paleo community as much as it is for those suffering from celiac disease. This is because arrowroot starch is not only gluten-free but a very effective, paleo-friendly thickening agent, and is thus used quite heavily in circles with specific dietary requirements.

You can get this stuff anywhere from about $3.00 to $5.00 per pound online and it should comfortably substitute for corn starch in almost any recipe you make!

cassava flour on small bowl - ee220330

Cassava Flour

A very misunderstood flour that is often thought of as the same as tapioca flour, cassava is a valuable thickening agent that is very useful and very paleo-friendly.

While high in carbs and probably not an ideal solution for every meal, in moderation, this flour can prove as a useful backup for those who can no longer use the more popular flours and thickeners.

You can find this interesting option for about $5.00 a pound on the internet, depending on the brand and where you look.

Almond Flour

Made from the grounds of once-proud almonds, this flour is one of the healthiest options you can get when you are looking to swap out the cornstarch in your pantry.

High in Vitamin E, this nut-based flour can be used as a thickener as well! Not only that, but if you are the type of person who enjoys the do-it-yourself process of making your own ingredients, almond flour can very easily be made from home!

If you’re looking to get this from your local grocery store or off the internet though, it seems to go for about $6.00 to $7.00 per pound.

fresh corns in a bowl - ee220330

Why Corn Starch Is Not Paleo

This question has more than a few answers and I’ll be covering every reason I can find as to why you can no longer not only use corn starch but any corn-based product.

Like several things we put in our bodies nowadays, there are a lot of things you may not know about corn that causes it to be restricted from the paleo diet. The first piece of information you might not know is that despite me grouping it into the vegetable kingdom earlier, it is not actually a veggie at all.

If at all possible, give yourself a moment to allow a dramatic pause here.

Corn is not a vegetable, it is actually a grain.

Now, unlike a lot of other grains, corn is gluten-free, which may be why there has been so much miscommunication on the topic of this peculiar plant. But because corn is a grain, it doesn’t fit into the archetype of vegetables that our (much) older relatives use to forage from back in the tribal days.

On top of this, corn itself can prove to be quite problematic when it comes to digestion. In fact, humans are unable to process corn and digest it at all, so delicious as it may be, corn can have a lot of negative side effects. Many of these have to do with our stomach and digestive tract overall, including bloating, indigestion, and weight gain to name a few.

So the next time you see corn on a plate and consider it a healthy part of a balanced diet, perhaps reconsider.


You are in the middle of a very transformative moment in your life. Restrictive diets can be stressful emotionally and physically, but they don’t have to be. With a little bit of intellectual ingenuity and alternative food sources, you can easily conquer your caloric quandaries and feel better while doing it!


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