Q. Please help me. I am 35 years old and have been addicted to Argo Corn Starch for the past four years. How can I stop eating it? It makes my mouth dry and my limbs cramp. I have mood swings and have gained weight. But just knowing I shouldn’t eat starch is not enough.

A. Please see a doctor and ask to be tested for iron or zinc deficiency. Pica, compulsively eating a substance that is not food, is frequently associated with such a mineral deficiency and often goes away when the deficiency is corrected.

Here is another woman’s experience: “I have been eating Argo Corn Starch on and off for about 15 yrs now. I started in my teens and am now 28 years old. The only time I didn't eat any AT ALL is when I was pregnant.
“At one point in time, I was going through 4 boxes a week but I've cut back a lot. I don't even want to eat a full box now. It makes me very tired, but I crave it. I hate the fact I eat starch but I can't help it.

“I went to the doctor once about this and he prescribed prenatal pills. They were helpful until they were all gone!”

The prenatal supplements she found so helpful may have corrected an iron or zinc deficiency. That’s why we urge you to get tested. Psychological help such as cognitive behavioral counseling might be useful, but only after you have corrected any physiological deficiency.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Geronda

    Hello I have been eating cornstarch most of my life in 2000 I had a lot going on in my life.

    I started eating it more and more. I have it all over my house. I eat a pound box in two days. I would rather eat starch than real food. I need help bad. I’m ready to stop. What do I do?

  2. Kathryn
    Jacksonville, fl

    I use to eat starch as a child because my grandmother ate it. I am now 75 years of age and now have that craving for corn starch. I stopped eating it when I was about 15 years of age. I had a hard attack in July of last year and about a month later that craving started. I asked my doctor and he told me to eat a saltine cracker when I get that craving, but also told me it will make you gain weight. I have now gained 9 lbs since I started. My Dr. is now sending me for blood work to see if there is a deficiency. I really want to stop I also had colon cancer 27 years free, so I certainly do not want starch to kill me.

  3. Danielle N.
    United States

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts very helpful

  4. sm

    I have been eating cornstarch for 17 years I have tried to stop so many times & can’t seem to kick the habit!! The stuff is addictive & I just really need & want to stop!! I use to eat a box a day but it was making me so sick & weak…I’m scared I’m going to be eating this stuff all my life!!! I understand it’s an eating disorder but it’s crazy!! I really need some help ASAP!!!!

  5. rbea

    I have been craving corn starch also. My problem is that I have gained 30 lbs over the summer and had a combination of 4 yeast/ urinary tract infections from May – Sept. After knowing that others have been exposed to this I’m going to try some over the counter pre-natal pills.
    I am grateful that this site is available. Eating the corn starch is driving my partner crazy. It’s like crack… I want it so bad. I try to eat ice but that really doesn’t help… I keep a box a work, in the car, next to my bed and at any family members house that I might visit frequently. I’ve been having it so bad that my 15 year old daughter bought me corn start for mothers day!

  6. jackie

    I know what you are going through. I quit back in February…. I was working out and lost 25lbs. I am now back to eating it. I eat about 3 boxes a week. I will get up in the middle of the night and get me some in a cup or put it in a Rubbermaid container and have it by my side. I have weighed myself and I have gained 5lbs since June. I need to stop or all my hard work will be for nothing. It’s so bad that I sneak and hide it in my drawer in my bedroom. I come to realized that I am now eating it because I am so depressed. I NEED TO STOP!!!!!!

  7. KL

    I just stopped for two weeks and I have this sickly feeling with a headache that never ends. I just looked it up on another site and it says that its like morphine or heroin. I think about it every day. I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without it.

  8. Ronaaz

    OMG I’m a 29 year old woman that loves cornstarch. I’m gaining so much weight because of it. I’m not eating real food like I’m supposed to because I eat it like it’s food. I eat till I get full. I been eating it since 2002. I tried to stop but only for 3 weeks. My stomach stays big and hard as well. Please help me out. I must stop eating corn starch. My family keeps telling me just stop buying it once you don’t see it you will be alright. Really?!! I wish it was that easy. They don’t understand it’s a mind thing as well. My mind is always thinking about it. As I’m writing this my mind wants it so bad but I finished the box this morning. I will try not to go nowheres so that I won’t have a chance to stop by a store. Lol! This is crazy but it’s the truth and I need help asap. Can someone pls tell me what it does to your health? Thank you very much.

  9. nv

    Wow…you all can’t know how much your comments have helped me. I thought I was crazy or going thru early menopause… I have been eating starch off and on for the last 20yrs (my mom first gave it to me) up until the last few months, I’d eat a box or two here or there, now I’m craving a box to 3 a week. I have switched to the Argo Corn Starch and left the laundry starch alone. Does anyone know if the argo corn starch has less negative effects than the laundry starch?

  10. ls

    Hi I am a 33 year old female. I have been eating Corn Starch for many, many years now @ least 16 years. I have tried to stop eating it but it is so hard I have even heard of a friend of mine, the Starch ate a whole in the lining of her stomach. I tried to stop after that but it was not good enough. I know that I am Anemic I believe that may have something to do with it but I know I need to stop, can someone help me STOP….

  11. michele

    I’m from the south and I noticed black women buying corn starch, sometimes ten boxes at a time. I realized most of them were pregnant. I’m white, but my great grandma was half black and irish. I started craving corn starch when I got pregnant, but wouldn’t eat it because I thought it was bad for the baby, instead I craved ice like you wouldn’t believe and collard greens.
    I asked my Dr about both cravings and she said it was a lack of iron. Like some women I couldn’t take prenatals because they made me sick, so I took a multi vitamin and iron. It helped a lot. You are not crazy or weird, but if you still have the cravings after you’re pregnant or have never been pregnant talk to your Dr. You are missing something in your diet.

    • Mikki

      I ate flour at first then switched to corn starch it do your body the same way i had to have a blood transfusion my iron was extremly low very heavy periods that come back to back i felt weak and tired all the time shortness of breath head aches i just had to quit my. Life means more than starch and health problems it gives you fibroids please stop

  12. L

    I remember oh so well when my sister introduced me to Argo starch. It was the Laundry starch (in the red and white box). I didn’t even like it. But as soon as I got pregnant I started to crave it. I ate starch until I had my baby and then I instantly quit. That was 1993. I never craved starch again until 2001 and since then I have stopped a couple of times-only with the help of some expensive iron supplements prescribed by my doctor.
    But I can’t seem to kick the “habit”. I would love to stop eating starch because it worries my family to the point where they try to hide it from me. It is so good that I prefer starch to any food. I hear only Black people saying they eat starch so is it a cultural thing? Is it mainly/only Black women? Are there any White people that eat starch? I go through about two boxes a week but I don’t swallow it. I still feel the effects of it though-numb hands and feet and I’m fatigued all the time. I can’t believe there are so many other people experiencing this “disorder”.

  13. Asia M.

    I am also addicted to eating Argo starch, if it isn’t Argo I wont eat it. My mom started me on it about 4 years ago but I only crave it wen I’m pregnant. I love it. I am 29 weeks pregnant, I eat 1 box in about a week in a half and, I’m not worried because I would be giving birth soon and won’t crave it anymore.

  14. Goldie L.

    I have been eating cornstarch for over 15 years myself thanks to a friend of mine. She introduced me to cornstarch back in 1993. When I first tasted it, I didn’t like the taste. Then I started craving it. It took me weeks to eat one box. Then I started with eating a box every two weeks, then one per week. Then one per day. I have gained over 60 pounds because at the time I didn’t know that starch was 100% pure carbohydrate. All white starches eaten daily such as that will make you gain weight.
    I eat starch and it makes me so tired I pass out for at least 2 hours. I wish I could stop. 15 years later I still eat it. I went to my doctor and she prescribed me Replenish which is an iron supplement. It’s prescription only and it’s $40 with insurance and $80 without insurance. After the first week my cravings went away. I lost my job and insurance and 1 1/2 half months later I started craving cornstarch again.
    I hate that I eat it and I wish my friend never introduced me to cornstarch. I never knew what cornstarch was until my friend told me to taste it. I wish there was permanent help for this weird craving.

  15. llw

    I have been eating cornstarch just like the other women on this site but instead I eat the johnsons baby powder with cornstarch. It started when i was pregnant with my first child. Can you help me kick the habit.? It is embarrassing and I don’t want my kids to pick up the habit.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.