Popcorn as a Snack Healthy Hit or Dietary Horror Show?
Popcorn, with its ample dietary fiber and typically low calorie count, makes it easy to understand why many people think a giant bucket at the movie theater qualifies as a healthy snack.
But be careful before you start scooping handfuls into your mouth as the opening credits roll; not all popcorn is created equal.
When it’s air-popped and lightly seasoned, popcorn is an efficiently healthy snack. That’s because it is a whole grain, and high-fiber whole grains have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other health problems. Federal dietary guidelines say half of all grains consumed should be whole grains, and popcorn packs more fiber per serving than whole-wheat bread.
“When prepared well, popcorn actually is a pretty good snack,” said Maya Vadiveloo, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition and food sciences at the