Wheat and corn are natural plant foods that offer an abundance of nutritional value. You can find several varieties of both wheat and corn. Wheat typically undergoes an elaborate milling process in which much of the nutritional value is eliminated, while corn can vary in nutritional value based on species and size. For comparison, nutritional data is presented based on the common forms of durum wheat and sweet yellow corn, and serving sizes are based on nutrient content per 100 grams. Many people that are sensitive to wheat have no problems eating corn.
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The energy value of a particular food can be measured by its caloric content. Calories are a measure of heat and provide an indication of how much energy that food provides the body to fuel its metabolic and physical activities. Wheat has a much higher energy density, with 339 calories per 100 grams versus the 86 calories per 100 grams of corn. The majority of the weight in corn exists as water.
Both wheat and corn gain most of their caloric value from their carbohydrate content. Wheat, however, contains about 71 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, while corn contains just less than 19 grams. Most adults require about 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates each day to support their energy needs.
Wheat is a significant source of protein with about 14 grams per 100 grams. Corn, on the other hand, contains 3.27 grams of this macronutrient. Protein plays a central role in growth and tissue repair, and most adults require about 50 to 175 grams of protein each day to meet their nutritional needs.
Wheat contains about 2.5 grams of fat per 100 grams, while corn contains 1.35 grams. Both wheat and corn are substantially higher in healthy unsaturated fats than saturated, and are each free of cholesterol. Most adults need about 44 to 78 grams of fat each day, and the majority of your fat intake should come from unsaturated fats such as those found in wheat and corn. Both wheat and corn contain polyunsaturated fats, which can help reduce blood cholesterol and have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.
Wheat is generally higher in minerals than corn and offers higher amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Corn's most significant mineral contribution, based on recommended adequate intake values set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, is its potassium content. Corn contains just trace amounts of other minerals.
Corn offers a wider array of vitamins than wheat, with moderate-to-high amounts of vitamin C and B-vitamins and small amounts of vitamins A, E and K. Wheat is high in most of the B-vitamin complex but does not contain any other vitamins, according to the USDA database.