Why Popcorn is an Absolutely Awesome Snack

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If you are someone you know is still eating popcorn, listen up!

…Give them more popcorn!

Today is National Popcorn Day. It’s a great opportunity to give a shout to our favorite movie snack food and to put to rest some misconceptions about microwave popcorn.  

Benefits of Eating Popcorn

Do you need more whole grains? Most likely, you do! Popcorn is chocked full of whole grains and, in turn, lots of fiber. The brand new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines carry forward the 2010 recommendation that half of all grain intake should come from whole grains. The whole grains contain nutrients and minerals like dietary fiber, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), iron, magnesium, and selenium. This set can aid in digestion and is important for a healthy nervous system. It can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Looking to increase flavor while minimizing calories? Top with garlic powder, cinnamon, curry powder, or your other favorite spices.

A lot of people use the microwave to prepare popcorn. Is it safe to eat food from the microwave?

It might help to explain how a microwave works. The waves produced by the oven are a type of electromagnetic radiation. The waves cause the water molecules in food to vibrate, heat up, and cook the food. The waves are produced by a magnetron, reflected by the microwave’s metal interior. Manufacturers must ensure the levels of radiation emitted by microwaves meet FDA guidelines for safety. What are the risks? Most microwave injuries occur from burns or exploding liquids and overheated foods. To keep yourself safe, make sure you use microwave safe containers, use caution when heating up water alone, and make sure your microwave is working properly.

What about some of the ingredients found in microwave popcorn?  

Diacetyl is a compound that produces the buttery odor and flavor in foods. It occurs naturally as a byproduct of fermentation and is found in several dairy products. It is also a component ofthe  butter flavoring used in some microwave popcorns and other products. Concerns about breathing in diacetyl vapors comes from levels of exposure at food production sites, not from consuming or smelling the foods flavored with diacetyl at home.  In April 2007, the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) launched a program to address hazards and control measures associated with factories where butter-flavored microwave popcorn is produced. The industry has also been working to reduce workplace exposure to diacetyl. We’re happy to report that there is no evidence of health risks to the general public from preparing or consuming butter-flavored popcorn, or any other product containing diacetyl.

Altogether, popcorn is a great snack option for those looking to reap the benefits of whole grains. Happy National Popcorn Day!