Who doesn’t love popcorn? Most of us can’t even start our movie night without them, be it a home or outside. It is one of the world’s most popular snacks. Super easy to carry and can be prepared at home as well. So, how this super healthy and tasty snack can turn unhealthy? Are we getting any benefits of having them as snacks? Is popcorn a healthy snack? And, How popcorn turns deliciously dangerous?
Nutritional Facts (100 grams):
- Calories: They have 382 calories. They are low in calories and can be a great snacking partner if you want to lose weight.
- Carbs: 77 grams
- Fat:4 gram
- Protein: 12 grams
- Iron: 14% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)
- Calcium: 1% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)
- Sodium: 4mg
- Potassium: 301mg
A good amount of fiber and protein makes it a healthier snack alternative, as they can keep you full for longer.
Is popcorn a healthy snack?
Popcorn can be either good or bad, and this depends on what goes into making it. Ingredients play an important role here, and when they are loaded with sugar or salt, they turn unhealthy.
The nutritional value of the popcorns, justify the claim that they’re super healthy and nutritious. Let’s check out the health benefits and check how this healthy snack can turn into an unhealthy snack.
- The goodness of whole grains: Popcorn is a whole grain and is a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and beneficial fats.
- Fiber: The fiber content in popcorn is good for bowel health. High fiber foods have lower energy density than high fat or low- fiber foods. Fiber can enhance satiety and help you maintain weight.
- Helps in weight loss: Popcorn being high in fiber and low in calories, is a healthy weight-loss snack. As compared to other snack options, 1 cup of popcorns contains only 30 calories. However, moderation is the key, and too much will be bad.
- Lowers the risk of diabetes: Being a whole grain can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Popcorn has a low glycemic index, which means it can help you maintain a blood sugar level.
- Lowers the risk of heart disease: High intake of fiber can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. And popcorn can help you get the required fiber in your diet.
- Lowers the risk of hypertension: Along with the benefits of reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, they can help you lower the risk of hypertension. But, there are terms and conditions applied. Too much salt in packaged popcorns can backfire and increase your risk.
If this low-calorie nutrition bomb has plenty of benefits, what makes them a dietary horror?
You can enjoy them the way you like, as there are plenty of flavors available in the market. Those microwave popcorns are super easy to cook, which makes them a preferable option for many.
How popcorn turns deliciously dangerous?
- Packaging: How can a packaging material turn into something unhealthy if we’re going to have the material packed inside? The microwave bags have perfluorinated compounds, also known as PFCs. They are used to prevent grease and leakage. But, PFCs breakdown in perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is linked to cancer. They make their way to the bloodstream through popcorns and can remain in the body for a long time.
- A buttery problem: The buttery taste you enjoy in your popcorns is because of the diacetyl, which is prevalent in the processed foods containing a buttery flavor. It is associated with respiratory problems and lung disease.
- Transfats: Some varieties of microwavable popcorns have transfats. Transfats are accountable for many health problems like coronary heart disease, inflammation, Type-2 diabetes, etc. So, all that flavor and shelf life is because of these transfats at health costs.
- Dangerously delicious: The popcorns are low in calories, but most of the ready ones are high in calories. They are usually smothered in unhealthy fats, a high amount of salt and sugar, and artificial flavorings.
The study shows that the medium-sized popcorn at a movie theatre contains 1200 calories- even before the buttery toppings.
- Toppings: Most of us ignore them while counting the calories in our food. All of us like to have them in the way we want. That doesn’t make the calorie content in them zero or give you any reason to ignore them. So, adding a lot of chocolate, cinnamon sugar, salt, cheese, etc., can boost popcorn’s calories.
How to have popcorn as a healthy snack?
It is always a better choice to prepare them at your home if you want to enjoy the health benefits they have. It would be best to prepare them with 2-3 tablespoons of oil, half-a-cup popcorn kernels, and salt. You can add your favorite toppings, but avoid putting too much of them.
It is easy to turn something healthy into unhealthy by choosing the ingredients without thinking much about the calories and the other problems they’re going to add. And, this approach will nullify the health benefits of your favorite low-calorie snack. Have them in moderation and enjoy the benefits. 🙂