Whether you’re at the movies or curled up on your couch watching your favorite rom-com, popcorn is a must! Because it’s made from a natural vegetarian ingredient, corn, we tend to think of it as being healthy. Yet, many health experts warn us about the health risks of bingeing on popcorn. So, is popcorn healthy or not? The simplest answer is that popcorn is as healthy (or unhealthy) as the method used to prepare it.
The Health Risks Of Ready-To-Eat Popcorn
“Most varieties of ready-to-eat ‘butter popcorn’, don’t actually contain any butter at all, but are loaded with trans fats that are linked to obesity, diabetes, and even cancer!”
Most of us have a couple of ready-to-eat packets of popcorn in our kitchens. After all, they are extremely convenient – all you have to do is rip open a ready-to-eat popcorn packet, pour the contents into a covered bowl and pop it in the micro. In a few minutes, the rich smell of buttery popcorn will fill your kitchen and make you salivate. Unfortunately, most of those delicious tastes and smells from a packet of ready-to-eat popcorn come from chemical flavoring additives and aroma enhancers – the FDA has noted that while some of these chemicals may be safe for oral consumption, they could pose a health risk when they are inhaled as aroma, going directly into the individual’s system.
Even though they do not contain butter, ready-to-eat packets of popcorn have a much higher calorie content because they contain a lot of oil. Furthermore, popcorn manufacturers use cheap oils that are high in trans fats – research studies have linked this type of fatty acid to obesity, diabetes, and even cancer.
Make Your Own Healthy Popcorn
“Homemade popcorn is a quick, healthy and satisfying snack because of its fiber content and the presence of nutrients like B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorous”
Some people think that corn is unhealthy because it has a high carb content – but there is a difference between good carbs and bad carbs. Corn contains complex carbs, which are good, while colas, pastries, and white bread are loaded with bad carbs. The carbs in popcorn will bolster your energy levels, while the fiber content will help to keep you satiated. Corn, the main ingredient of popcorn, is also a very good source of several B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorous. This makes popcorn an ideal snack at any time of the day or night.
So, the next time you’re gearing up for a movie marathon at home, don’t pick up a ready-to-eat packet of popcorn; instead, just have homemade popcorn. When you make popcorn at home, you have complete control over all the ingredients you use. You can use a mixture of olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper to make a healthy version of butter popcorn. You can calculate the calories more accurately and even add other ingredients like a dash of lime to create your own unique popcorn flavor!
Just remember that while ready-to-eat popcorn is not a healthy option for anyone, it is especially dangerous for toddlers and young children, as the chemicals in it can impair a child’s physical and mental growth and development. So, the next time you go grocery shopping, you might want to walk past the ready-to-eat aisle and pick up a packet of whole corn instead.
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