Is popcorn bad for you? If it’s the kind that comes in the microwavable bag, then it is definitely not good for you. Find out 5 reasons why you should avoid microwave popcorn for your health.
Most people enjoy a nice bowl of popcorn when sitting down for a movie, but if you really know what’s in microwave or movie theater popcorn, you might think twice about eating it. Don’t worry though, there are healthier ways to enjoy popcorn!
5 Reasons Why Microwave Popcorn is Bad for You:
Contrary to popular belief, the actual popcorn is not a GMO. It is a different strain of corn that has not been genetically modified. However, the ingredients included in the microwavable bag of popcorn is often GMO-derived. Most brands of microwave popcorn contain corn oil, soy oil, or soy lecithin, all common GMO ingredients.
2. Toxic Artificial Butter Flavoring (Diacetyl)
Most popcorn brands use artificial butter flavoring in their microwave popcorn. This chemical is called diacetyl and has caused respiratory and lung problems and may even cause damage to the brain (source).
3. Popcorn Lung (bronchiolitis obliterans)
The lung problems associated with the artificial butter flavoring (diacetyl) has afflicted enough people to even garner it’s own disease name– it’s called “popcorn lung” or bronchiolitis obliterans.
Unfortunately, this disease is irreversible and can cause lung inflammation, scarring and even restricted airflow resulting in breathing trouble. In extreme cases it can become life-threatening.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 8 factory workers in Missouri, who worked in popcorn factories developed “popcorn lung” (Source). Reports of popcorn lung from additional factories were revealed later.
But, factory workers are not the only ones at risk for bronchiolitis obliterans. When a bag of microwave popcorn is heated, this causes the chemical diacetyl to vaporize, thus allowing consumers to breath in the chemical.
In 2012, Wayne Watson won a lawsuit against 3 microwave popcorn companies for damages caused by bronchiolitis obliterans contracted from consuming microwave popcorn.
4. Perfluorooctanoic Acid in The Bag
One of the worst things about microwave popcorn is the chemicals in the bag that it comes in.
Perfluorooctanoic Acid is a known carcinogen and has been shown to cause developmental and other adverse effects in lab rats (source).
Many brands of microwave popcorn use preservatives that are toxic and can cause health problems.
For example, some brands contain proply gallate, a preservative that has caused tumors in lab rats. Because of the adverse effects of proply gallate, it is being phased out of food products in many other countries, unfortunately though, the US has yet to come around on this one (source 1, source 2).
So what should you do it you still want to enjoy some popcorn?
Make your own!
Fortunately, the issue with microwave popcorn is not the actual popcorn! The issue is mostly with the added chemicals and preservatives in the microwave bag.
It’s easy to make your own stovetop popcorn with all-natural ingredients! You can use a stainless steel popcorn popper like this one or even just a regular pot with a lid. Then put in 1-2 tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil and organic popcorn according to the package directions.
Once it’s done popping, drizzle it with real grassfed butter or ghee (have I mentioned that butter is good for you?) and sprinkle it with sea salt for savory or coconut sugar and cinnamon for sweet! Then you have healthier homemade popcorn to enjoy!
This article was originally posted in December of 2013, but has been republished in February of 2019 to include updated sources and images.
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