Is Popcorn Good for You?


Quick Answer

According to the George Mateljan Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods, popcorn can be a healthy snack depending on its preparation methods. Rather than microwaving popcorn, air-pop kernels and add extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt afterward to reduce the calories. Organic popcorn is also less likely to contain pesticide residue or be genetically modified.

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Full Answer

Sally Tamarkin for the Huffington Post tackles the issue of popcorn's health, comparing the different varieties available on the market. Air-popped popcorn ranks as the healthiest, with 1 cup topping out at 31 calories with zero grams of saturated fat and only 1 milligram of sodium. The popular microwave popcorn with butter has 43 calories per cup with 1 gram of saturated fat and 66 milligrams of sodium. The unhealthiest variety is store-bought caramel corn, which has 150 calories per cup, 3 grams of saturated fat and 187 milligrams of sodium.

Despite the fairly minimal nutritional difference between air-popped and microwave popcorn, the World's Healthiest Foods does not consider the latter a healthy alternative, citing concerns with the Teflon-coating of the bags that has the potential to become carcinogenic as it is heated up and absorbed into the popcorn and later the bloodstream. However, the FDA has yet to conclude whether the coating exposes people to risk.

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