Is Corn A Whole Grain?

Numerous people have asked whether corn is a whole grain and according to the Whole Grains Council, it is usually classified as a vegetable when it is fresh and classified as a grain when it is dried.

Corn is also classified as a whole grain if the germ, endosperm, and bran are intact. This is also true for whole wheat.

Is Corn A Whole Grain?

If the corn has been milled to remove the germ and bran, then it is classified as a refined grain.

Thus, if you are trying to avoid whole grains, you should study products like cornmeal, taco shells, and corn tortillas carefully when purchasing them and look on the ingredients list for words like “whole grain corn” or “whole corn” in order to ascertain whether it is a grain.

Another means of identifying whole grains is to look for the official whole grain stamp that was crafted by the Whole Grains Council as this can be found on a number of whole grain products. 

A number of products may also include their own identifying symbol if the product consists of whole grains.

However, it is always beneficial to check the ingredients list in order to ensure that the product contains whole grains. This is usually stated at the top of the ingredients list.

Some products may list “limed whole grain corn” or “limed corn” on their ingredient list. Limed corn is classified as corn that has been soaked in limewater in order to prepare it for certain food products.

Limed corn is easier to ground, and the flavor and aroma are vastly enhanced. The food safety of the corn contained in the product is also greatly improved.

Thus, limed corn can be classified as a refined grain or a whole grain so it is crucial that you ascertain which of these your product contains, especially if you are looking for a specific type of corn like limed corn.

Limed corn can be classified as a refined grind or a whole grain, thus, it’s important to select products that are made from whole-grain limed corn if you want to reap the benefits of whole grains.

Popcorn is also classified as a whole grain and is a healthy alternative to other snacks, so long as it is not layered with other ingredients.

The corn kernels that are used to make popcorn are considered to be whole grains as they contain the germ, bran, and endosperm. Thus, whenever you are eating popcorn, you are eating a whole grain as you will be devouring the whole kernel.

In contrast, processed grain products like cornmeal or white flour usually only contain the endosperm of the grain.

Thus, they will lack an abundance of nutrients and fiber that are otherwise provided by the germ and bran of the corn.

Despite the fact that eating a whole kernel is more nutritious overall, eating the endosperm alone does not necessarily disqualify corn from being classified as a grain, it is just not a whole grain when consumed without the bran or germ.

Is Corn Classified As A Vegetable?

Corn can also be classified as a starchy vegetable, despite the fact that it is also classified as a whole grain and refined grain.

This is because the definition of a vegetable is the following: “a usually herbaceous plant grown for an edible part that is usually eaten as part of a meal”.

Thus, corn meets all of the classifications of a vegetable. Thus, U.S. Dietary Guidelines state that corn is a grain and a vegetable.

Corn is far higher in calories and carbohydrates than other vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens. Thus, it is usually considered to be a highly starchy vegetable like squash and potatoes.

As a result of this, corn is far more energizing than other forms of vegetables that are less rich in starch. 

Is Corn Also Classified As A Fruit?

Is Corn Also Classified As A Fruit?

Surprisingly, corn also fits all the definitions of a fruit. This is because a fruit is classified as a “product of plant growth”.

Other definitions define fruits as something that grows from the seed of a plant or flower and corn falls into this category also, similar to cucumbers and tomatoes.

It is also important to note that every corn kernel is considered to be a caryopsis, which is the word used to describe a one-seeded, dry form of fruit.

So, What Is Corn?

Corn can be considered a whole grain, a refined grain, a vegetable and a fruit.

Irrespective of how you choose to categorize corn, it undoubtedly provides an abundance of filling fibers, nutrients, energizing carbohydrates, potassium, and folate.

These aspects make it the perfect food product for an all-around healthy diet.

Corn makes the perfect addition to a salad, and who doesn’t love grilled corn on the cob at a cookout or barbecue? It also makes the perfect addition to rice bowls, especially when adding the right blend of seasoning.


To conclude, this article has outlined the many different classifications that are associated with corn.

Corn can be classified as a whole grain, a refined grain, a vegetable and a fruit. This is because it fits the broad definitions of all of the aforementioned categories.

Corn kernels are considered to be whole grain as they contain the germ, barn, and endosperm or the grain. This means that popcorn is considered to be a whole-grain product.

There are numerous ways that you can introduce corn into your diet in order to absorb the abundance of nutrients and vitamins that are contained within this food.

You can also ensure that you are layering your corn with a blend of seasoning that brings out all the juicy flavor!

Corn is far more energizing than other whole grains due to the abundance of starch that is found within it.

Thus, if you are looking to introduce a low-fat, energizing carbohydrate into your diet, then you should definitely consider adding corn to your meal.

I hope that you have found this article to be insightful. Thank you for reading. 

Jenna Priestly
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1 thought on “Is Corn A Whole Grain?”

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