Popcorn – Humble, Fun & Healthy

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on June 27, 2019 · 0 comments

Everybody loves popcorn – a seed that does some nifty things when it is heated. A cup of air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories – 3 cups equal 1 serving of whole grains. It is 100% unprocessed and nonGMO.

Popcorn is actually one of the four basic types of corn grown in the US. It is a type of flint corn with a hard exterior shell and soft starch center. When heated the natural moisture inside the kernel turns to steam building up enough pressure to explode.

Microwave popcorn is safe. Diacetyl, a flavoring agent once used in foods like popcorn, was discontinued in 2007. PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and accidental by-product once found in food packaging, was removed by the FDA in 2016. Concerns about PFOA motivated many to use brown paper bags as an alternative to microwave popcorn kernels. While brown bags are safe for their intended non-heat use, they contain more volatile compounds than commercial microwave popcorn bags. Heating can release these compounds from brown bags. This does not happen in microwave popcorn bags that have been through extensive research and development to ensure they are safe.

Whether stove-top, microwave or ready-to-eat, Americans consumer 14 billion quarts of healthy, whole-grain popcorn every year.

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