Is Hominy Paleo? (We Have the Answer!)

Is Hominy Paleo

Hominy, a staple of Mexican cooking, are corn kernels which have been chemically processed so it is able to be used more in cooking. Corn kernels are soaked in a solution made from alkali. This removes the hull and the germ from off of the corn kernel, and makes it grow to twice its normal size. Basically, hominy looks like giant kernels of corn. It is usually used in casseroles, soups and stews. 

Hominy is not Paleo. The paleo diet steers clear of dairy, grains and legumes. Hominy is a type of corn, and it is considered a grain. Paleo nutrition seeks to return to the dietary ways of our ancestors, living off what the land and sea provided. The best paleo alternatives to hominy include butternut squash, acorn squash, and cashews.

In this article, we’ll talk about the nutritional content of hominy, and if it can be helpful or harmful to your body and digestion. We’ll also offer some alternatives to hominy, so you will still have a tasty paleo-friendly ingredient to add to your soups and stews.  Let’s dig in!

Hominy Nutritional Information

We looked at two different brands of hominy for their nutritional values. 

Juanita’s Foods Mexican-Style Hominy


  • Hominy
  • Water
  • Salt

Nutrition Information (serving size – ½ cup; 130 grams):

  • Calories per serving: 94
  • Total fat: 1 gram
    • Saturated fat: 0 mg
    • Trans fat: 0 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 274 grams
  • Total carbohydrates: 19 grams
    • Dietary fiber: 3 grams
    • Sugars: 2 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams

Bush’s Best White Hominy


  • White corn
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sodium Bisulfite (added to promote color retention)

Nutrition Information (serving size – ½ cup; 130 grams):

  • Calories per serving: 80
  • Total fat: 0.5 grams
    • Saturated fat: 0 mg
    • Trans fat: 0 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 610 grams
  • Total carbohydrates: 16 grams
    • Dietary fiber: 2 grams
    • Sugars: 0 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams

In both of these brands, the sodium content is very high, considering the recommended daily allowance of sodium is just 2,300 milligrams. In the Bush’s Best brand of white hominy, just one ½ cup serving is equal to over 25% of the daily recommended sodium intake! 

Is Hominy Healthy?

Proponents of hominy claim that it is a better tasting food than plain corn. They say that the puffy grain is low in fat, and so better for your waistline. They also spout the praises of the process used to make the hominy, remember that chemical processing we talked about earlier? They state that the process, called nixtamalization, helps to release more of the nutrients of the corn, like niacin, or vitamin B3. This process also helps the hominy be easier to digest than corn. 

But what happens in this nixtamalization process? And what do those who choose a paleo diet think of it? 

Basically, without getting too science-y, around 1500 BC, those living in Mesoamerica discovered that they could soak corn in water, mix it with calcium hydroxide (lime) or the ashes they gathered from burning trees, and it made for a tastier food. 

Over the years, this process was found to make the niacin from the corn easier for the human body to absorb. It also increased the protein content of the corn. Another benefit is that it decreased the amount of contaminants that grew on the crops, that when ingested by humans, damaged their health. Those opting for a paleo lifestyle agree that this process has its benefits.

But, corn is a food that has proteins, like zein, which can be irritating and inflammatory to the human digestive system and create food intolerances. Even in the form of hominy, it is a challenge for the human digestive system to break it down. Because the outer shell of corn is made out of cellulose, digestion is difficult because our bodies do not have an enzyme that will specifically break down this cellulose. Also, with the sodium content at such a high level, it is hard to consider hominy a healthy food. 

Why Choose a Paleo Diet?

Those who would choose a paleo diet are looking for a lifestyle which helps them to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. They also believe that the original hunter-gatherer method of eating is how our bodies were intended to function — eating those items that did not need to be processed in order to be consumed. 

Many people who have started on a paleo diet have found benefits such as: 

  • Ability to control appetite
  • Ability to control blood pressure
  • Triglycerides are lowered
  • More blood glucose tolerance

The paleo diet has all the markings of a healthy diet — vegetables, fruits and nuts. The paleo diet stays away from dairy products, so sources of protein and calcium can be limited. But, by avoiding dairy products, you can also help to prevent many food allergies and extra weight gain which can commonly be found with significant intake of dairy foods. Without including whole grains and legumes, which are good sources of fiber, many say the paleo diet cannot be considered healthy. However, advocates for choosing paleo nutrition, and the reason to stay away from grains, say otherwise. 

No Grains Allowed

Paleo enthusiasts say that eating a diet which includes whole grains and legumes can increase the inflammation in the gut. This inflammation can lead to chronic diseases and possibly early death. Most of the grains paleo eaters will avoid are wheat, barley, rye, rice and oats. They consider corn and hominy to be somewhere in the middle. It’s not the worst on the list, but it’s still in the spectrum of not being good for your digestive system. 

What Can You Substitute for Hominy?

Generally speaking, corn and hominy are ingredients that are just not able to be substituted well in recipes. It’s not like you can make a tofu-on-the-cob version of the stalky starch. But, in soups and stews, you can add other ingredients to make it just as tasty. Next time you want to make a paleo version of a Mexican-based stew or soup which calls for hominy or corn, try these ingredients instead: 

  • Butternut squash
  • Acorn squash
  • Cashews
  • White sweet potato

In Conclusion

Hominy does not hold a very high nutritional value, which is an important factor in how a person using paleo nutrition eats. The paleo diet stays away from grains because of their likelihood to cause inflammation and irritation in the digestive system. These issues can lead to chronic diseases, like cancer and diabetes. 

There are a lot of different ingredients you can use to substitute for hominy, which can give you the texture you want in a soup or stew, such as cashews. Using mashed squash or sweet potato in a casserole will help to thicken it up for a heartier meal. 

If you are trying to follow a paleo way of life, then hominy is not going to be a good ingredient for you to cook with, or eat as a dish by itself. Since the paleo diet does not include grains, legumes or beans, you’ll need to stay away from corn and hominy, as they will not be a good fit for you. 

Related Questions

Is Hominy gluten free?

Hominy, in its natural source, and derived from kernels of corn, is gluten free. You’ll want to be sure, though, that if you buy hominy in another form, such as a sauce or added in with any other ingredients, that you double check to be sure all the other ingredients are also gluten free.  

Is Hominy good for kidneys?

People with kidney disease, like my grandmother, have to give up a lot of good foods which can do more damage to their kidneys. Luckily, hominy is on the list of acceptable foods for a renal diet. As hominy is a higher carb food, people with kidney disease and diabetes will want to limit their intake so as not to aggravate their blood glucose levels. 

Is Hominy keto?

Hominy cannot be considered a keto food because of its carb count. Even such a small serving, like the ½ cup recommended on the nutritional label of the brands we looked at in this article, can cause a person to move out of ketosis, when your body doesn’t have enough carbs to burn for energy, so it uses up your fat instead. Those following a keto diet try to remain in ketosis to lose weight, so hominy is not a friendly food for them.

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Choosing Nutrition Team

Here at Choosing Nutrition, our goal is to help people with making smarter food choices. Whether you're wondering about vegan, keto, paleo, or other diets, we'll help you determine which options fit your nutritional lifestyle. Our staff is composed of registered dieticians, nutritionists, and health-conscious individuals.

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