Nutrition

7 Myths About Popcorn

Get the Facts About Your Favorite Snacks

When it comes to health and well-being, we can all use a little help making good food choices. There is mountain of information out there in today’s sharing/pinning/blogging world, which is great. But there’s also plenty of inaccurate information, and when you hear it from a popular source you assume it’s true. And that’s a problem.

Occasionally we see outdated or out-and-out false information about popcorn in the media, usually by people who are not doctors or scientists or who don’t have the education and training to make these statements. So we want to clarify a few things.

Popcorn companies have long worked together—as an industry, with scientists, food and health experts, and safety and regulatory agencies—to produce safe, quality products for all of us to enjoy. Here are some facts about popcorn you should know.

Myth: Popcorn is GMO.

Fact: There has never been, nor is there currently, any Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) popcorn or popcorn seed for sale in the U.S. Further, the Popcorn Board is not aware of any GMO popcorn or popcorn seed available for sale in international markets.

Myth: Popcorn contains gluten.

Fact: Popcorn does not contain wheat, rye, or barley gluten—the types of gluten most associated with gluten disorders. Many people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or wheat allergies can enjoy this wholesome, healthful snack. Note: Other ingredients in ready-to-eat or microwave popcorn may contain gluten, so consumers should read labels carefully if they are concerned; however, the popcorn kernel itself does not contain wheat, rye or barley gluten.

Myth: Microwave popcorn contains diacetyl.

Fact: The flavoring additive diacetyl has NOT been used in microwave products since 2006.
Diacetyl is a manufactured ingredient that also is found naturally at low concentrations in a wide variety of foods such as dairy, beer, coffee, honey and fruits. In food manufacturing, diacetyl is added to a wide range of foods: butter, cheese, milk, flour mixes, cookies, crackers, candy and confectionery products, chocolate and cocoa products, shortening, food oils, margarines, flavored syrups, potato chips, corn chips, ready-to-mix desserts, prepared frosting and gelatin desert preparations. (Source: Washington State Department of Labor & Industries)

Myth: Popcorn is junk food.

Fact: Popcorn is a whole grain, which makes it a good carb choice. Whole grains contain fiber, providing the roughage needed in a daily diet. Popcorn has no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar-free.

Myth: Popcorn is high in fat and calories.

Fact: Just the opposite: Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories. Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 35 calories per cup.

Myth: Microwave popcorn contains PFOAs.

Fact: PFOAs, or perflourooctanoic acid, are sometimes used in grease-resistant coatings for paper, such as fast food wrappers, candy wrappers and pizza box liners. Bag manufacturers have been addressing the issue of removing PFOAs since 2006, and confirm that the grease resistant coating in the majority of microwave popping bags is not produced with PFOA.

Myth: You can use a brown paper bag to microwave popcorn.

Fact: Although it may seem a quick and easy way to make popcorn, the Popcorn Board never recommends using a paper bag to make microwave popcorn. Plain and/or recycled papers are often made from unknown materials that could catch fire, interfere with microwave cooking technology and lessen the performance and longevity of a microwave oven. Most importantly, some bags contain unknown materials that are most likely not approved as “food grade” papers, and should not come in direct contact with food products when heated.

We recommend microwave popcorn or microwave safe popcorn poppers, as well as the traditional stovetop method or in your favorite electric popper, for making yummy popcorn.

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