Kim is licensed in psychological health and wellness and also addiction counseling. Her education and learning is in company, counseling, and also health and wellness administration.

You are watching: Eating cornstarch out of the box

"Assistance. I'm Addicted to Cornstarch!"

Jean has been eating cornstarch considering that she was 19 and also pregnant via her first boy. She eats a box a day and also is trying to reduced dvery own. She has actually got an excellent deal of weight and also reports a low blood count.

Beth began eating cornstarch as a son bereason she witnessed her mother eating it. She keeps a box in her vehicle and also eats it with a straw. She had actually stopped eating it in college however picked up aget as soon as she lost her task. She has acquired weight, and also has actually developed fibroids and also a heavy menstrual flow.

Jack discovered Karen’s box of Argo cornstarch concealed in the linen clocollection. She shelp she had quit, yet he kbrand-new she had gone earlier. He supplied to make jokes around her powder addiction, however it is not funny anymore. She has major headaches and also is depressed. He offered to throw the boxes ameans or wash them dvery own the sink, but she just bought even more.

For many kind of generations, all the woguys in Linda’s household have eaten corn starch. She is determined to “speak the cycle.” She still has actually cravings, however they are much less intense and also much less frequent now.


What Is Pica?

Craving cornstarch is an indication of iron and zinc deficiency. Tright here are a number of reasons for iron and also zinc deficiencies, so the initially step in recoextremely from cornstarch cravings is a visit to the doctor. Be ready to be totally hocolony around your cornstarch use.

Craving and eating non food items, to include cornstarch, is referred to as pica. Pica is a lot of generally seen through civilization through developmental disorders, autism, mental retardation, children via brain injuries that influence their development, and in children ages 2–3. It is additionally a trouble through some pregnant womales and with human being via epilepsy.

All children put non-food items in their mouth at once or an additional. Children are curious, and putting objects in their mouth is one means children explore and learn around the human being. Pica is identified by persistent (one month or longer) and also compulsive (uncontrollable) cravings to eat non food items. Pica is a disorder that affects 10–30% of kids age 6 and under. Pica can cause iron deficiency anemia and also lead poisoning.

Non-Food Cravings With Pica

With pica, world have odd cravings for non-food items and also will compulsively eat these otherwise inedible items.



Paint chips


baking soda




Laundry starch

coffee grounds

cigarette ashes


Burnt match heads

Cigarette butts


cigarette butts









What Causes Pica?

Specific causes are not known, yet there are some conditions that seem to increase a person’s hazard of emerging Pica. It is believed that pica may be led to by a lack of iron in the diet, but tright here are other contributing components.


Iron and also zinc deficiencies cause certain cravings. The nutritional deficiencies could be caused by some of the problems below, and they have the right to be resulted in or worsened by the Pica itself. A perchild through Pica regularly replaces healthy and balanced food through non food items, and also therefore is not acquiring iron in his or her diet. Sometimes iron supplements will help alleviate cravings, however if iron deficiency anemia progresses this will not be sufficient. Potent iron supplements have the right to be poisonous for youngsters and also must just be offered to children under a doctor’s supervision. (See below for various other causes of iron deficiency anemia.)


People that are dieting may attempt to use non-food items as a means of feeling full and also easing hunger feelings. Tbelow are 30 calories in a tablespoon of cornstarch; over 1000 calories per 16-oz box. Most civilization that crave cornstarch acquire weight.

Cultural Factors

It is thought that in some family members, societies and also religions, eating non-food items is a learned behavior. Neglect, absence of parental supervision, or food deprivation – this is widespread in youngsters living in poverty and also in arising nations via high rates of poverty and famine.

Developmental problems

Mental retardation, autism, developmental disorders, brain injuries and also abnormalities and various other mental health conditions such as OCD and also schizophrenia can lead to pica.


It is believed that pica in pregnancy occurs via women that have actually had pica in their childhood or prior to their pregnancy—or who have a household history of pica.

What Can Be Done?

Your physician deserve to examine for vitamin deficiencies, anemia and also other conditions pertained to pica, and also may repursuit added lab experimentation. In some situations a nutritionist and therapist may be necessary to assist via recoincredibly. If the condition retransforms after treatment, check out your doctor again. Pica is normally a short-term problem that ends once children acquire older or as soon as a pregnancy ends. When developpsychological difficulties or psychological health problems are associated, the difficulty might be recurring.

Adults with pica frequently experience shame, stress, depression, relationship difficulties, body photo problems, various other eating disordered actions, and might have actually a background of abuse or overlook. Life stress and anxiety, intense eactivities and various other mental health and wellness symptoms have the right to trigger a relapse of these actions after a period of remission. Therapy have the right to assist alleviate these symptoms and assist via developing skills to much better control symptoms, feelings or stress and anxiety.

A Word About Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA)

Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) is caused by a lack of iron in the blood. Lack of iron is a significant reason of anemia in childhood. Infants, toddlers and teens are at high hazard for occurring IDA. IDA have the right to be resulted in by:

Not sufficient iron in the dietPoor absorption of iron in the bodyBlood loss from menstruation or in the intestinal tractPeriods of fast growth

Contributing Factors

Poverty contributes to children not having sufficient iron in their diet.Infants and also teenagers also have actually an increased require for iron as a result of their quick expansion.Infants that are taken off of formula and also offered cow’s milk before their first year are in danger of not getting sufficient iron. Cow’s milk additionally decreases absorption of iron and have the right to irritate the intestinal lining – leading to slow-moving bleeding and blood loss.Prematurity and also low birth weight also contributes to IDA due to less time in the uterus to construct up iron stores.Toddlers eras 1-3 are no longer drinking formula and regularly carry out not gain iron from various other foods .If they drink more than 24 ounces of cow’s milk, they may also be irritating their intestinal lining and experiencing blood loss. Iron fortified grain is a good resource of iron for toddlers.Boys and also girls in puberty are at hazard for IDA bereason of quick growth. Risk for girls is better because of menstruation and also diet.

This content is for informational purposes only and also does not substitute for formal and also individualized diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not speak or transform your present course of therapy. If pregnant or nursing, consult via a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate assist if you are suffering a medical emergency.

© 2011 Kim Harris


Kim Harris (author) on February 18, 2015:

Wow. Lovie Love. Thanks for the well articulated insider see and sound advice. Cornstarch cravings affect a lot of people and also the wellness aftermath are serious.

LovieLove on February 16, 2015:

There's a distinctive connect between African Amerideserve to woman and also eating corn starch/dirt/ice...many world in my household (and myself) partake in this addiction, and also I know of others who've checked out their grandmothers or other female family members eating it once they were young. I observed my aunt eating it and she'd never share through me. One day when I was around 10 I acquired curious and also snuck a spoonful and also I hated it. I instantly spat it out. Quick forward 9 yrs later, I bought some to thicken up a beef stew. One day, for some strange reason, when I opened my cupboard and looked at the container, I had actually a brief flashearlier to my aunt, and also trying it for the first time, and also rather of looking back with disdain my mouth actually began watering! Hesitantly, I ordered a spoon and also tried it. The light powderiness...ugh also creating around it renders my mouth water! Its so good! But I never before swpermit it. I only chew so that I have the right to get the taste and also the craving out of the method and also then I spit it out. But this stuff is addicting. Please world just chew and also spit, swallowing will certainly just cause health worries.

Kim Harris (author) on November 16, 2014:

Danesha. Thanks for your comment. Please see a physician as soon as you have the right to.

danesha on November 12, 2014:

Im so young n i desire to sheight corn starch however I can't. Im nopoint yet 14 my mama n my boyfriend hide I create me but I don't treatment.I really need help

Kim Harris (author) on December 07, 2013:

Thanks for reading and also commenting, Anonymous. It does seem to be cultural or regional, and passed on through the generations.

Anonymous on December 01, 2013:

Very addicted. My grandmom ate it when I was young and also would certainly let me eat it through her. I don't have kids so I can't say it was a pregnancy addiction, I think its more social. I have the worst tooth aches and extremely heavy cycle circulation. I just can't break the habit!

Kim Harris (author) on February 22, 2012:

Thanks Verna, for sharing your suffer. I think it's hard for civilization to master that human being really struggle via this. I would certainly talk to a Dr initially to view around your iron levels and see if there are various other clinical difficulties bring about a low level of iron. I would certainly start working on the tension, depression and stress as soon as feasible also. Let me know how it goes.

Verna on February 22, 2012:

I ate cornstarch for a little while once I was ten years old, bereason I observed my mommy eating it as soon as she was pregnant through my brother. When I was pregnant through my daughter, I had the craving again yet stop eating it after I had actually her. With my child I ate so many boxes of cornstarch that my husband also use to hide them from me. My boy is 4 years old and also I still have actually the cravings, I hide the boxes now, wish I have the right to speak however I can't seem to perform it on my own. After reading the article, I Kcurrently I require aid. I don't know around developmentally issues but I'm often anxious, depush and also stress. I blame it on work and school however that knows.

Kim Harris (author) on December 06, 2011:

hi truba75. many thanks for your comment. feel cost-free to come back and also say even more about your suffer. you're not alone. i'm surprised tright here haven't been even more comments from human being struggling with this unexplained, yet even more prevalent that we think, actions.,

truba75 on December 06, 2011:

Hay world i eat corn starch hae not had actually any kind of in a month and it is hard. i am aniema and also it is difficult tio soptimal really really hard.

Kim Harris (author) on October 11, 2011:

Thanks for analysis and commenting JamaGenee. A boy sleep walking is scary in itself, without the toilet paper eating! I'm glad she outgrew the craving.

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on October 11, 2011:

I'd never heard of world craving cornstarch, either, however carry out understand that craving non-food substances suggests a absence of some vitamin in the diet. But a frifinish and also I have NO concept what brought about her daughter to sneak out of bed in the middle of the night to snack on toilet paper, of all points, when she was a kid. (She outgrew the craving.)

Oh, and according to one pediatrician, a teaspoon of dirt now and aget is excellent for kids. Dirt consists of minerals and also other substances that make their bodies immune to some childhood illness. Go figure. ;D

Kim Harris (author) on October 11, 2011:

LOL. I didn't smell that one coming. Thanks ThoughtSandwiches:) I'm glad the title lured you in, and also that you stayed via to the end.

ThoughtSandwiches from Reno, Nevada on October 11, 2011:

Hi Kim...generally speaking...any hub entitled "Corn Starch Cravings" is going to acquire a look from me.

That said...your's is the initially...and also I am glad I establimelted the rule! I had actually no idea this was going on and I prefer to imagine weird stuff going on...kind of what I execute really...

Thanks for the awesome information! Voting Up and also everything!

Kim Harris (author) on September 28, 2011:

Thank you for reading and commenting Stephanie. I love statistics and also pervasiveness rates, and also numbers in general; and then placing them in a humale conmessage.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on September 28, 2011:

I had heard of pica, yet never before knew around the cornstarch addiction prior to. I likewise found your statistics exciting and also surpincreasing. I never knew that pica was so prevalent. Thanks for a well-created and well-researched article!

Kim Harris (author) on September 27, 2011:

Thanks RNMSN. Isn't it interesting all the points you might go a entirety lifetime not knowing...and perhaps wish you had! It's great to "see" you:)

Barbara Bethard from Tucchild, Az on September 27, 2011:

wonderful hub Kim!! being from the south Pica is component of life however I hadn't heard of eating cornstarch! I knew of a family that drove to the following state bereason the mud hills tright here were better than the ones by their very own river. exciting.

Kim Harris (author) on September 22, 2011:

Pica is exceptionally common via civilization through developpsychological disorders. Prevalance prices vary, are unpredictable, and seem to array from 0% - 68%. The handbook of Clinical Child Psychology approximates 4-26% in institutionalized populations. It's challenging to meacertain for a number of factors, however partially because human being are not likely to admit to it because of the shame. Tright here have actually been researches done in various populaces, such as woguys in Saudi Arabia, southeastern US, and also low revenue pregnant women born in Mexico. The study on low earnings pregnant woguys born in Mexico suggests that it is sufficient of a trouble that low earnings pregnant women from Mexico should be educated around the threats to the mother and also fetus. The prices in the two teams stupassed away were 44% in one group and also 31% in an additional. These numbers encompass all creates of Pica - not simply cornstarch.

PS. It's excellent to see you alekhouse. Thanks for protecting against in:)

Nancy Hinchliff from Essex Junction, Vermont on September 22, 2011:

I have actually never before heard of anyone eating cornstarch. Is it that common? Really exciting hub.

Kim Harris (author) on September 22, 2011:

It's amazing once we think around exactly how our body will let us understand it demands something. Of course, it helps if we know exactly how to listen to our body. It would certainly show up to need cornstarch, not iron! Thanks for reading and also commenting MaryCola

MaryCola from Georgia on September 22, 2011:

Interelaxing. Never before heard of this addiction.We learn something brand-new eincredibly day.

Kim Harris (author) on September 21, 2011:

Thanks Zabbella. I recognize. Is tbelow no end to the things we have the right to learn!

Zabbella from NJ-USA on September 21, 2011:

Goodness! you learn somepoint new day-to-day. Very interesting!

Kim Harris (author) on September 20, 2011:

Hi Happyboomernurse:) and thanks. I mainly learn something brand-new as soon as I carry out the research, or at least gain a deeper expertise of the topic. I actually operated through a client who had cornstarch cravings. she observed the dr and also started taking iron supplements. This time I kbrand-new corn starch cravings were thought to be because of iron deficiency, however I learned more around IDA.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 20, 2011:

I constantly learn somepoint when I check out your well researched short articles and also I love the amazing means that you make what can otherwise be simply facts, come to life. Enjoyed the case scenarios.

Voted up, helpful and exciting.

Kim Harris (author) on September 20, 2011:

Thanks dallas93444, for reading, commenting and also flagging up. Pass the popcorn please:) I was mindful of Pica yet hadn't heard of cornstarch cravings till about 5 yrs ago.

Dallas W Thompson from Bakersfield, CA on September 19, 2011:

Think I'll have actually some popcorn! Much less complicated.. I was/am mindful of this "disorder." It is a short-lived point. Then the baby alters everything! Flag up!

Kim Harris (author) on September 19, 2011:

Thanks dahoglund. Dirt eating is many prevalent in the south east US. Some people that flourished up eating dirt relocate north and also are glad to return bereason the dirt tastes much better in the southern. I witnessed a video clip where people were mining for dirt in Africa - reportedly there was dirt that actually did have actually some nutritional worth. I'm not sure how true it was or exactly how widespread.

See more: How Many Protons Are In Platinum, Platinum (Pt)

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on September 19, 2011:

I admit I never heard of this addiction.Some points choose dirt eating I have actually run throughout in fiction. I have actually learned somepoint brand-new. Good hub.