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How Many Carbs in Cornstarch? Is It Keto Friendly? (TRUTH)

What do latex gloves and custard have in common? Apparently cornstarch.

We know! 

It’s odd that an edible product is also used in industrially making gloves. But what does this have to do with the keto diet?

A keto diet will mean foregoing carbs. We acknowledge how hard this can be, especially in trying to understand what food contains, to see if they fit a keto diet. 

Most prohibited carbs for the keto diet fall under two main categories: starches and sugars. Flour contains a high level of starch.

As an ingredient, flour is one that does not have a place in a keto diet. 

But what about baking?

Your search for the right type of flour may have brought some options to the fold. Among these, cornstarch is a possible find.

But, is corn starch keto friendly?

Let’s explore!

Cornstarch – what is it?

We have heard of corn flakes, corn meal, corn syrup, and many more. The “starch” part of the corn is something entirely different. 

What is starch?

Starchy foods are ones that contain carbohydrates and are found in bread, rice, potatoes, carrot, and even yams. (*)

Cornstarch is a white fine ground powder made from corn kernels. More accurately, the endosperm part of the corn kernels is processed to make cornstarch. (*)

What is cornstarch used for? 

As a corn byproduct cornstarch is used primarily as a thickening agent.

There are many others that prefer cornstarch because it doesn’t have flavor. No matter the reason, there are quite a few ways to use cornstarch. 

Cornstarch uses:

  • Sauces
  • Soups
  • Custards
  • Stews
  • Other liquid dishes

Wheat flour is often replaced with cornstarch due to its translucent color. 

Cornstarch nutritional contents

For all its uses, cornstarch is not particularly rich in nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, fats, and protein are severely lacking. 

One cup of cornstarch has:

  • Carbohydrates 117 grams
  • Protein 0 grams
  • Fat 0 grams
  • Calories 488
  • Fiber 2 grams

How many carbs in 1 tbsp of cornstarch?

1 tbsp 7g7g

With cornstarch’s high carb count, it should be considered with moderation in mind. 

But it doesn’t end here.

Is cornstarch keto-friendly?

To answer the question is corn starch keto friendly or whether it has any place in your diet, you must first figure out how much you intend to use. 

When you want to use cornstarch you should use around half the amount of flour required. This would mean that instead of two cups you would only use one cup of cornstarch. 

Learn more: is corn keto-friendly?

Here’s an interesting fact:

How many carbs is too much for keto?

It’s essential to understand the relationship the keto diet has with carbs. Cornstarch is one ingredient that contains many carbs, even half a cup would bring over 50 grams. 

The typical accepted amount of carbs for a keto diet is anywhere between 20 and 50 grams of net carbs a day, maybe even less. Anything over that would bring you out of ketosis. (*,*)

Since the keto diet requires fewer carbs, cornstarch will come in and affect your diet. Cornstarch doesn’t offer any other nutritional value to make it beneficial. 

Should cornstarch be taken out of keto?

Surprisingly enough there seems to be some merit to cornstarch in the ketogenic diet but not in the standard version. 

Here’s the truth:

There are other types of the keto diet that would allow cornstarch consumption. 

The targeted ketogenic diet

This version of keto is one that works better for people that are more active and thus need more carbs. 

The TKD permits 20 to 50 extra grams of carbs both an hour after and an hour before a workout. This way it provides fuel specifically for the workout. 

The cyclical ketogenic diet 

Another keto diet for active people but one that takes it up a notch. The cyclical keto diet looks very much like the standard version for 5 days of the week. (*)

The last two days are a carb feast. Up to 400 to 600 grams can be consumed so that it refuels the glycogen store. 

When to avoid cornstarch?

Even if cornstarch seems a good choice to include in your meals, it’s not exactly the best for you. 

You should avoid cornstarch if:

  • you plan on losing weight
  • you want to keep your blood sugar in check
  • you follow the standard keto diet
  • you require insulin
  • you simply want fewer carbs in general

There are better options out there for low-carb flour that will come with some added nutritious benefits. 

Let’s go a little deeper:

What additional gluten-free flours to avoid?

Cornstarch is only one example of a starchy ingredient that will not work with the keto diet. There are other starch-based ingredients on the market. 

What to do about them? 

Avoid them entirely.


  1. How do carbs affect the keto diet?

The ketogenic diet proposes foregoing carbs from your food. What this will do at the beginning of the diet is it will adjust your metabolism. 

Carbs are the first element the body will burn for energy. When carbs are lacking, then the body will turn to its second fuel alternative: fats. 

  1. What to use instead of cornstarch?

Luckily alternatives for cornstarch can be found out there, which will be ok for a keto diet. 

Among the most popular:

  • almond flour
  • coconut flour
  • oat fiber
  • chia flour

Any of these flour and many others will work great. See the full list of low carb cornstarch substitutes for keto diet here!

  1. How to thicken sauces if not with cornstarch?

Even with cornstarch being high in carbs and something we recommend avoiding, for sauces it should be ok. 

You won’t use exorbitant amounts to thicken it and you will eat even less. Maybe just keep in mind that you use it and subtract carbs from somewhere else. 

In conclusion

Cornstarch and its place in the keto diet is a little complicated. It’s not the best nutritious ingredient and it has a lot of carbs. 

Funnily enough, cornstarch is great for different versions of the keto diet, that highly active people use, so it’s not completely without merit. 

So is cornstarch keto friendly?

In truth:

There is no categorical yes or no answer. Depending on the situation and type of ketogenic diet it’s both yes and no. 

image of Corn Starch Keto Friendly

Up Next:

  • Is tapioca starch keto-friendly?
  • Is potato starch keto-friendly?
  • Is modified food starch keto-friendly?

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