Popcorn Good Or Bad For Diet

Some Toppings And Preparation Methods Are A Bad Idea

Is Popcorn Healthy?

Despite all of popcorns healthy qualities, the way it is prepared can greatly impact its nutritional quality.

When air-popped, it is naturally low in calories, but some ready-made types are extremely high in calories.

For example, a report by CSPI found that a medium-sized popcorn at a popular movie theater chain had a whopping 1,200 calories even before factoring in the buttery topping!

Varieties bought from movie theaters or stores are often smothered in unhealthy fats, artificial flavorings and high amounts of sugar and salt.

These ingredients not only add a significant amount of calories, but some of them can also be bad for you in other ways.

Bottom Line:

Commercially prepared popcorn varieties can be extremely high in calories and unhealthy ingredients.

Helps Your Digestive System

Fiber is vital for the health of your digestive system and to keep you regular. Both sweet corn and popcorn provide 10 percent of your recommended daily value with 2.4 grams per serving.

The fiber in sweet corn is notoriously hard to digest, so it’s tops at adding bulk to help food move through your stomach, intestines and out of your body. This can help prevent constipation or diarrhea as well as decrease your risk of developing hemorrhoids or diverticular disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

In addition, fiber can help improve your blood cholesterol levels, reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and even help manage Type 2 diabetes, according to the American Heart Association. Dietary Guidelines recommends that your daily diet include between 22.4 and 33.6 grams of fiber, depending on your gender and age.

Read more: What Does Fiber Do for Your Body?

Is The Popcorn Diet Safe And Healthy

As long as you dont focus on eating popcorn only, but use it as an addition to two other healthy meals that provide you with all essential nutrients, it is totally safe. It is just important to remember that most everything is good in moderation. With the wrong approach, any dietary plan could be unhealthy. This is why you should control your portions, follow a well-balanced meal plan and stick to healthy habits. In this way youll be able to lose weight and support your overall health.

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Avoid Butter Or Use It Sparingly

Buttered popcorn is a fan favorite but unfortunately comes with hidden chemicals and calories.

If you feel like you must have it, use 2 to 3 teaspoons and gradually cut it out altogether. When you purchase buttered or extra buttered popcorn at a movie theater, a chemical is added to the food. If you add extra butter, you are getting at least one and a half times the normal butter serving. But, if you are eating movie theater popcorn and adding butter, the damage is probably already done.

If it is a very infrequent treat and you order a small size, I dont think it makes that much of a difference, Jeffers says.

The Bags Contain A Carcinogen

Is Movie Theater Popcorn Really That Bad for You ...

Youll hear the term carcinogen about almost everything today. Thats because more research has shown that certain toxins and chemicals that were once considered fine to use have proven links to cancer. This is the case with some of the linings used in microwaveable bags of popcorn.

The downside is that long-term studies havent been conducted yet. Its not possible to see how long some of the toxins can remain in the body and just how long the health problems will last. But it is possible that they can remain for decades and only start to cause health problems then a little like asbestos!

The microwaveable bags of popcorn are lined with perfluorooctanoic acid . This chemical helps to keep the popcorn fresh and will aid with the popping process in the radiation of the microwave. Its even a chemical that youll find in Teflon pans and pots.

So, is it really that bad? Well, when heated the chemical can lead to cancer and infertility in lab animals. Sure, these animals have a slightly different system to humans, but there are some similar results in the shorter-term studies on humans.

This wouldnt be the first time that chemicals and toxins have been used to help keep food fresh. Just look at the warnings of BPA in plastic and chemicals in cans. Manufacturers just havent viewed PFOA as problematic yet, so they continue to add it in. Just cutting out the microwaveable bags and opting for air-popped popcorn will instantly offer you some major health benefits.

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What Are The Health Benefits Of Popcorn Is Popcorn A Good Source Of Fiber

Yep! But its nutritional values arent the only health benefits of eating popcorn. Another is that popcorn is actually pretty filling and for people who tend to snack or munch throughout the day, its a good replacement for just about anything other than negative calorie fruits and veggies. Indeed, its hard to beat food that burns more calories than it contains. But wouldnt you rather be eating a bowl of popcorn than crunching on plain celery?

There’s A Risk For Hypertension And Stroke If You Eat Movie Theater Popcorn

If you’re maybe thinking that eating movie theater popcorn still isn’t so bad, we’re here to tell you to stay away. The main reason is sodium. In just one container of movie theater popcorn, you could be looking at up to 2,650 milligrams of sodiumthat’s more than the FDA recommends you should have in an entire day. With that amount of sodium, you could be putting yourself at serious risk of hypertension and stroke, so next time you hit the theater, definitely bring your own snacks.

If you’re looking for some more healthy movie snacks, be sure to check out our list of 50 Healthiest Snacks to Eat for Weight Loss.

Read Also: High Fat Vs Low Fat Diet

Popcorn May Help Relieve Constipation

Since popcorn is all whole grain, its insoluble fiber helps keep your digestive tract in check and prevents constipation. A 3-cup serving contains 3.5 grams of fiber, and a high-fiber diet can help promote intestinal regularity, according to the Food and Drug Administration . Who knew this small snack could make such a huge impact on digestive health?

Research On Popcorn And Diabetes

POPCORN: Can I Eat It on a Low Carb Diet?

Quite frankly, there is no specific research on popcorn for diabetes. Thats not surprising since its not a food thats really going to help with blood sugar and A1c control.

There was one mention of microwave popcorn and its contribution of trans fats, which we know are very unhealthy. In fact, consuming trans fats increases the likelihood of heart disease 2.5- to > 10-fold compared to saturated fats.

And in one study, researchers evaluated whether eating popcorn produced a greater feeling of fullness than eating potato chips. Yes, they did find this was true, but only after eating 6 cups of popcorn you certainly do not want to do that!

We also know that diets higher in carbohydrates can lead to metabolic syndrome high blood sugar, weight gain, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

A study of over 8,000 people found that both males and females who ate a diet higher in carbohydrates had a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This was especially true for those who ate a high carbohydrate diet that was also low in fats.

When you have type 2 diabetes and prediabetes you basically have metabolic syndrome, which involves a disruption in energy metabolism, insulin resistance, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

If we look on the opposite spectrum, of what can help type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome, we discover research that shows a low carbohydrate diet is an effective way to reduce and reverse many of the symptoms.

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Popcorn May Help Fight Cancer

One of the many powers of polyphenols, like those found in popcorn, is their ability to block enzymes that cancers need to grow and, in doing so, regulate the spread of cancerous cells, notes the American Institute for Cancer Research. The traditional way to reap these health benefits is by eating fruits and vegetables, but the high concentration of polyphenols makes eating popcorn a healthy alternative. Since they can also prevent inflammation and plaque buildup, foods rich in polyphenols may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Replace some of these foods cardiologists never eat with air-popped popcorn.

What Happens When You Eat Movie Theater Popcorn Every Day

The quickest way to make a healthy food into an unhealthy food is to smother it in fats and high-salt or high-sugar toppings, like, for instance, caramel, candy coating, butter, and sodium-filled popcorn seasonings. For instance, a serving of caramel popcorn contains almost 11 grams of sugar, compared to just .02 grams in a serving of plain air-popped popcorn . For this reason, the difference between eating unseasoned, air-popped popcorn every day and eating, say, movie theater popcorn every day can mean a huge impact on your health and your waistline.

According to the American Heart Association, air-popped popcorn made at home and only lightly seasoned can actually reduce your risk of heart disease, some cancers, and even diabetes. Movie theater popcorn, on the other hand, can not only set you back up to 1,090 calories but could bombard your system with up to 2,650 milligrams of sodium. That’s more than the entire daily intake of 2,300 milligrams recommended by the FDA. Over time, this much sodium can increase your risk of high blood pressure, strokes, and heart disease, so keep that in mind the next time you’re mindlessly munching in a darkened theater.

Read Also: Diet To Lose 5 Pounds In 1 Week

What About Movie Theater Popcorn Is That Bad For You

As far as popcorn goes, its pretty much the least healthy kind. Cooked in oil and then typically drenched in butter and salt, movie-theater popcorn racks up the calories quick. Theres no reason you cant still enjoy a small popcorn when you hit the theater, but if youre looking to write it off as a healthy snack and not an indulgence, youre out of luck.

Can I Cook My Popcorn In The Microwave Oven

Is Eating Popcorn Bad for You? (All You Need to Know)

It was mentioned that the best option for your diet is air-popped popcorn. Of course, you might prefer to buy it online, but microwaved one is a nice option as well. But note that here we are talking about the homemade one. Store bought microwave popcorn may contain unhealthy coatings, such as butter or oil, as well as salt or sugar. The preparation is quite simple. You need kernels, a lunch bag, and a microwave oven. Take ¼ cup of kernels, place them in the bag, fold it several times and microwave for 1-2 minutes on high heat. Timing depends on your microwave. Listen attentively, the pops should be consistent with short pauses. When the pauses get long, you should remove your popcorn and wait until it cools down. Add your favorite seasoning and enjoy your meal!

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High Content Of Fiber

For instance, popcorn has quite a high content of fiber. A study has shown that dietary fiber can lower your risks of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease . By eating such foods youll also promote weight loss and support your digestive system . Most people eat less fiber than is recommended , and this results in a number of health issues. Fiber deficiency can lead to constipation, excessive weight gain, blood sugar fluctuations, fatigue and nausea . 3.5 ounces of popcorn will provide you with 15 grams of fiber, which is approximately half of your recommended daily intake.

What Is The Popcorn Diet

There are no strict rules for thisdietary plan. You can decide how much popcorn to eat and when. This diet doesnt mean that you should eat popcorn instead of all your meals. Your body has a number of nutritional needs, and popcorn cant meet all of them. You should use this snack only to combine with other healthy and nutritious dishes. So, the premise is that you should replace one of your main meals with popcorn. The other two meals should consist of fruit and veggies, lean protein and other beneficial foods. Make sure that the beverages you choose are low in calories as well. Herbal teas, water, and juices are all nice options.

Some people strictly stick to the popcorn diet in such a way that they just eat popcorn as a snack instead of other foods.

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You Could Improve Your Blood Circulation

When you think of popcorn, you probably don’t think of it as a great source of antioxidants, like many fruits and vegetables are. But it is! Popcorn has one antioxidant called polyphenols, which is directly linked to improving blood circulation. And considering the immense benefits of strengthening blood circulation to all of your vital organs, this is definitely a big deal.

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Can You Eat Popcorn After Workouts

Popcorn is the WORST Snack for Weight Loss [Heres Why]

Popcorn is an excellent carb source to have after training since you need to replenish your energy. If you dont replenish it, you risk using muscle as an energy source. Keep in mind that for optimal recovery, you need a protein source along with popcorn.

One of the benefits of popcorn is its antioxidant properties. Adding it after training helps decrease inflammation which leads to optimal muscle recovery.

Although popcorn is great to have, it might not be the best option for those in a bulking phase. It adds too much bulk to your stomach without adequate caloric intake. This means that you get your stomach full with low-calorie dense food. On the other hand, that is exactly what you are looking for in a cutting phase.

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Can You Eat Popcorn Before Workouts

Although popcorn is high in carbs and they are needed to provide the necessary energy, popcorn is a very high fiber food, meaning that it might not be the best choice to have as a pre-workout snack since it might cause bloating in some people. If you do include it, add it at least 2-3 hours prior to training.

If you do have popcorn before a workout, make sure to add a protein source and some healthy fats to have a steadier energy release.

For a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, 3-6 cups of popcorn as a pre-workout snack. On the other hand, if you are in a bulking phase, you might want to have 6-9 cups of popcorn along with another carb source.

Popcorn Could Be Healthier Than Fruits And Vegetables

Yep, you read that right. According to a 2019 analysis in the journal Antioxidants, popcorn is loaded with polyphenols, compounds found in plants that act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation. Polyphenols are heavily diluted in fruits and vegetables, which are 90 percent water. Yet popcorn is made up of about 4 percent water, so the polyphenols are more highly concentrated, especially in the hulls . One serving of popcorn can contain up to 300 mg of polyphenols, according to a prior study from the University of Scranton, which would account for 13 percent of the average Americans daily intake. Fruit accounts for 255 mg of polyphenols per day, and vegetables bring in about 218 mg per day. That said, popcorn doesnt have many other vitamins and nutrients, so it cant completely replace fruits and veggies in your diet.

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Popcorn Is Diabetic Friendly

Even though fiber is listed on food labels under total carbohydrates, it doesnt have the same effect on blood sugar as refined carbs like white bread. High-fiber foods dont contain as much digestible carbohydrate, so it slows the rate of digestion and causes a more gradual and lower rise in blood sugar, according to 2015 research in the journal Circulation.

How To Eat Popcorn In The Healthiest Way

Popcorn for Diabetes and Prediabetes: A Yes or No Snack ...

While popcorn can be a high fiber, low-calorie snack, your typical bag of microwavable popcorn is not a healthy choice.

Pre-packaged microwave popcorn can be convenient, but these packages often contain added oils, fat, sugar, and salt, says Kim Pierpont, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Instead, buy plain kernels and pop them on the stove. Simply place the kernels in a pan with a few drops of water, cover with a lid, and wait for them to pop. You can also pop popcorn in an air fryer if you have one.

And you’ll find it makes a big difference in calories. Here’s how one cup of different kinds of popcorn stack up:

  • Air-popped popcorn has 30 calories
  • Popcorn popped in oil has 35 calories
  • Lightly buttered popcorn has 80 calories

Note: Keep in mind that a balanced diet allows for consuming up to 35% of your calories from fat. This means that you shouldn’t shy away from adding some healthy fat from extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil if your lifestyle allows for it.

Of course, plain air-popped popcorn isn’t going to be nearly as deliciously indulgent as buttery microwaveable options. You can still flavor your popcorn, though. Pierpoint suggests opting for low-calorie seasonings, like:

  • Garlic powder

Note: The recommended daily intake of fiber is 21 to 25 grams for women and 30 to 38 grams for men.

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