Nearly half of all calories that humans consume come from wheat, rice or corn. Whether its chips, cereal, or another product containing cornmeal, corn syrup, corn oil or cornstarch, you almost assuredly ate something that contained corn today. As more and more products flood the market, we are seeing a variety of corn colors advertised and you start to wonder: What's the difference?
There are approximately 300 local varieties of corn grown in the world. White corn is the most common variety and all other colorations are actually mutations from white corn. Yellow corn is, then, a genetic offshoot of white corn and shares most of its characteristics.
Modern corn has five main types of seeds: popcorn, with a hard protein shell; flour corn, with a soft starch; sweet corn, a sugary kind eaten immature; flint corn, with a hard starch; and dent corn, which has a characteristic "dent" at the top of the kernel. Although white corn is the most prevalent variety in the world, yellow dent #2 corn is the most commonly grown variety in the United States.
Both white and yellow corn have less protein than wheat and lack the essential amino acids tryptophan and lysine. The kernel contains all the B vitamins except niacin. If one could be said to be more nutritious than the other, yellow corn has a slight edge over white corn. Yellow contains carotenoids including beta-carotene. Some varieties of yellow corn may also contain more lutein and vitamin A.
Following the U.S., the world's largest corn producing nations are China, Brazil and Russia. Most yellow corn is used for livestock feed, whereas white corn is almost exclusively used for human consumption. Ethanol is also primarily made from yellow corn. Many nations, such as Mexico and parts of Africa, do not enjoy the taste of yellow corn, considering it to be too sweet.
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