It’s the snack that wafts such a wonderful smell throughout the house or office. As soon as you get a whiff, all you know is that you want some!
We’re talking popcorn here.
It tastes great, smells great, and it’s no wonder so many of us snack on it so often! And the nifty little bags that can be popped right in the microwave make it such a simple snack. Actually, just us Americans eat over 17 billion quarts of it each year!
But is it really good for you? It all depends on what type you eat. Microwave popcorn? Absolutely not. And it doesn’t matter which type you eat either. It can be the ‘movie theatre’ type, the regular ‘ol butter, the low fat, or even the kettle corn versions. None of it is healthy in any way, shape or form. And I’m not just talking about the fat in it either.
Let’s take a look at what’s in microwave popcorn:
- Bad vegetable oils. While I truly believe fat isn’t bad for you, the fat that is in microwavable popcorn is. It’s normally a blend of different vegetable oils, all of which contribute to poor health.
- Salt. The sodium content is usually through the roof! Not only does this affect your health but it can desensitize your taste buds and really give you a taste for all things salty.
- GMO’s. Corn is one of the most genetically modified organisms out there. What this means is that large corporations (like Monsanto) are coming up with newer versions of corn by altering their DNA. Unfortunately, there are no long term tests that show this type of food is even safe to consume.
- Fluorotelomer. It’s a coating used on the inside of the bags to make them grease resistant. And this coating is actually seeping into the popcorn. This chemical actually stays in your bloodstream for a long time. What damage does it do? I don’t think anyone really knows.
- PFOA. Also known as perfluorooctanoic acid, has also been found in the coating as well by an independent scientific review board. It seems that it’s actually an acid that can be extracted from the fluorotelomer when exposed to heat (umm, microwave?). This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in animals and is considered “likely to be carcinogenic” to humans as well.
- Diacetyl. This is a chemical component in that fake butter flavoring. They found that it was causing lung diseases in the factory workers. Lucky for us, companies have started to phase it out, even though the FDA has not yet banned the substance. Of course, they don’t want to lose their business, but the question is….what are they replacing it with? Real butter? Or some other chemical to enhance the butter flavor?
So are you going to contract cancer just because you eat one (or a few) bags of microwave popcorn? No. And our bodies are built to rid themselves of toxins. But long term, it must have some effect on our bodies. And if we overload our system with too many toxins, it can’t correctly do its job. Which is when we see health concerns.
The best bet if you’re jonesing for some popcorn is to make your own! I love our homemade popcorn and once you get used to the normal taste of butter, you won’t miss the fake stuff!
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil or butter
- 1/4 -1/2 cup popcorn kernels organic is best
- 2-3 Tbsp butter melted, for topping
- salt to taste
- Heat coconut oil or butter in pan with a kernel or two. When the kernel pops, add in the rest of the popcorn.
- When it really gets going, make sure to shake the pan around a bit and release a bit of the steam. This helps it to remain crunchy and also keeps it from burning. And then just like with the microwave stuff, once you can count a few seconds between pops, take off the heat source so as not to burn.
- Pour into a large bowl and then melt a couple more tablespoons of butter in the hot pan. Pour over popped corn, stir, and add salt/seasonings to taste.