Which Popcorn is Healthier?
When it comes to popcorn, it is generally healthier to air-pop it. The pre-packaged microwaveable popcorn tends to be processed with a lot of additives, sugars, dyes, etc. Movie theater popcorn is by far the worse. The average tub of it contains over 1,000 calories along with 60 grams of saturated fat, which is an equivalent to eating a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder for all three meals.
Microwave popcorn, including the low-fat versions, tend to have a heavy amount of compounds such as Diacteyl. It is one of the top causes of popcorn lung in the factory workers. Diactyl is a chemical compound that is produced by yeast during fermentation. This synthetic chemical is often used as an artificial food additive in many food products including microwaveable popcorn.
They also contain a heavy amount of perfluroinated compounds. It has been known to reduce immune functions in children who consume heavy amounts of it. It is also known to trigger cancer in animals that do. As a result, many manufacturers are working to take all of those compounds out.
Natural popcorn, on the other hand, is very low in calories. It is also a good source of an antioxidant called polyphenol, which is known to reduce the risk of cancers and heart disease. Natural popcorn is 100 percent whole grain, which makes it a good source of fiber.
If you don’t own an air popper and are not planning to, it’s easy enough to pop your popcorn in the microwave or on a stove. If you use a microwave, all you need to do is put between three and four tablespoons of kernels in a typical brown paper lunch bag. Seal the bag closed then pop it for about two minutes or until there is only a few seconds between pops. If using a stove, you can do so by following a similar method with popcorn kernels and oil in a large pot with a lid.
One of the Top Causes of Popcorn Lung
Popcorn lung is triggered by inhaling large amounts of diacetyl. The disease makes you feel short of breath and cough due to damage in the small airways. In this case, most of the damage is in the bronchioles, which are the tiny splits of the two main tubes that connect to your lungs. Popcorn lung inflames them, which leads to a scarring that triggers narrowness. It’s that narrowness that makes it hard for oxygen to get through. Other symptoms include unexplained exhaustion, wheezing and persistent irritation in face, mouth, or skin.
Anyone who experiences chest pain or dizziness triggered by shortness of breath, they are advised to call 911 or get to the nearest hospital. Anyone who experiences a worsening in symptoms is also advised to seek medical attention without delay.
When it was found that popcorn factory workers were having significantly more trouble with it than the general population, factories started to take it out. However, it is still used in some facilities in the U.S. however, in most of Europe, the chemical is completely banned.