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Is Popcorn A Healthy Snack?

Ganesh.Dutta's picture

We have heard time and time again that obesity is an epidemic both in the developed world, and more recently in what was once considered the underdeveloped world. Health officials agree there are two major factors contributing to obesity - too many calories consumed and too few calories burned off by exercise.

If you do insist on sitting down in front of the television instead of getting out and cross country skiing, how can you avoid unwanted calories when your stomach starts growling. How about popcorn? It’s all air. There can’t be too many calories in popcorn.


popcorn or popping corn is a type of maize which explodes from the kernel and puffs up when it is heated in oil or by dry heat. Special varieties of corn are grown to give improved popping yield. Some wild types will pop, but the cultivated strain is Zea mays subsp. mays, which is a special kind of flint corn. Popcorn was first formally developed by Native Americans thousands of years ago.


Health risks/benefits of eating popcorn

Popcorn is naturally high in fiber, low in calories, contains no sodium, and is sugar and fat free.

 

To get the health benefits from popcorn, one must choose a low-fat or zero-fat method of preparation, such as air popping or using a minimal amount of oil for kettle-cooking, and it should be served plain, i.e., without extra ingredients such as butter, salt or sugar.

 

Healthy varieties of pre-made popcorn are commercially available and can typically be found in grocery stores and food shops. The product's nutritional facts should be checked carefully, as different brands may contain different amounts of sodium and fat.

 

Popcorn is included on the list of foods that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not serving to children under four, because of the risk of choking.

 

 

Table 1:
Popcorn fact sheet
Component Air popped Carmel Microwaved, low fat
Calories(Kcal) 387 431 429
Fat(g/100g) 4.5 12.8 9.5
Carbohydrate(g/100g) 77.9 79.1 73.4
Protein(g/100g) 12.9 3.8 12.6
Sugar(g/100g) 0.7 53.2 0.5
Source: United States Department of Agriculture food nutrient composition tables)1
 

 

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1 Comment

shakti's picture
I love popcorn. Corn is high in protein. Get the no butter, microwave variety and you are good. Of course I share the bag with my kids. Never buy the popped corn at the movie theater, it is loaded with fat and sodium.