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Microwave Popcorn Dangers

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Are you concerned about microwaved popcorn being dangerous? From carcinogens to toxic prepackaged bag, there are lots of uncertain health risk that need to be pointed out.

Let’s clear up some of the misconceptions to be able to enjoy fresh made popcorn in the microwave on a movie or game night. 

Is microwave popcorn dangerous? Yes and no, depending on how you choose to make the popcorn in microwave it can be dangerous and expose potential health risks. 

When using instant microwave popcorn bags, they contain perfluorinated compounds that may be carcinogenic when heated. However, if you are using a thick glass bowl or paper bag to make popcorn in the microwave, it is completely safe to consume. 

Microwave saves time and help you prepare an easy snack. When you have the munchies, all you need is to microwave popcorn, and within minutes your fluffy buds will be ready to relish.

Popcorn is packed with fiber and naturally low in fat. Yet some chemicals present in instant microwave popcorn and the packaging are linked to multiple negative health issues, including adverse lung conditions and cancer. 

So, is microwave popcorn a healthy snack? Is eating microwave popcorn daily wrong? Well, in this article, we answer all the frequently asked questions regarding microwave popcorn and the dangers associated with it. Read through to learn more!

Is microwave popcorn a healthy snack?

Yes, when prepared well, popcorn is a healthy snack. Whole grain popcorn is low in calories, high in fiber and highly nutritious, however microwave popcorn in a bowl without any oil or seasonings. 

According to research, two cups of popcorn contain 2 grams of fiber and only 62 calories. This means that a bit of plain popcorn can go a long way to benefit your weight loss journey. 

Well-microwaved popcorn also contains polyphenols, a plant antioxidant that improves cell health. A serving of popcorn contains almost double the number of polyphenols than those in a serving of fruit. 

So, what makes microwave popcorn unhealthy?

Are microwave popcorn bags toxic?

Yes, some microwave popcorn bags contain perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) chemicals that are linked to cancer. It is known as grease resistant and has the ability to prevent oil from seeping through popcorn bags. 

This also increases the shelf life of the popcorn as well as keep them warm for longer. These chemical linings are also used in sandwich wrappers, pizza boxes and Teflon pans.

The main problem with PFCs is that they’re broken down into perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is cancerous. These chemicals find their way into your popcorn once heated. 

After consuming, they get into your bloodstream and they can remain there for a very long time. Most cancer types associated with PFCs are testicular and kidney cancers, but the list could be longer with more research done on the topic.

Is microwave popcorn toxic?

No, microwave popcorn is only unhealthy if the bags used contain perfluorinated compounds or are made using diacetyl. If these two are avoided, you can prevent microwave popcorn becoming toxic. 

Also, always use healthy oils in the preparation such as coconut, olive oil or clarified butter. Consumption of unhealthy fats is linked to obesity and cardiovascular ailments. 

Does all microwave popcorn have diacetyl?

No, most flavor manufacturers have in the recent years either reduced the diacetyl amounts and in some cases even replaced it with other less-toxic flavoring products due to adverse health implications. 

Diacetyl is a compound derived from wine, cheese, yogurt and butter. It is what gives popcorn a buttery flavor and some pleasing aroma. 

If inhaled in large quantities, diacetyl is known to result in severe and irreversible damage to your lungs. It narrows and scars bronchioles, thereby preventing enough air from entering your bloodstream, leading to wheezing or even shortness of breath. 

Is it bad to eat microwave popcorn every day?

Yes, if you’re consuming lots of microwave popcorn daily, there are change to be exposed to too many chemicals than your body can handle. Sometimes the popcorn may contain lots of salt and oil, which is essentially not good for you, and perfluorinated are definitely not good.

However, consuming homemade microwaved popcorn is healthy alternative compared to commercial ones. Just be sure not to use manufactured popcorn bags, and instead use a paper bag or microwave-safe glass bowl such as Pyrex

In addition avoid using unhealthy oil or diacetyl flavoring. Be sure only to include items that generally contribute to your overall health, or better yet keep it plain. 

Instead of butter, use healthier oil such as olive oil or avocado oil since they are packed with monosaturated fats. A small portion of homemade popcorn is healthy, but be sure to stick to the recommended amounts and keep the seasonings to a minimal.

Disadvantage of Microwave Popcorn

We all look at microwave popcorn as a high fiber, low-calorie snack, but sadly a high consumption can lead to several health conditions. 

Commercial food manufacturers use lots of trans fats to increase popcorn shelf life along with the addict-able taste. Trans fats are linked to coronary heart disease, weight gain and high cholesterol levels. 

Re-evaluate your favorite flavored microwave popcorn, which may be high in trans fats that can lead to these lifestyle problems and adverse health risks.

The perfluorinated compounds present in popcorn bags may also affect the sperm quality in males by altering endocrine activity. These hormone inhibiters are definitely not good for regular consumption.

According to research, men who consumed foods high in perfluorinated compounds were found to have a lower sperm count compared to those who consumed none or less of the chemicals.

Microwave popcorn has also been linked to lung disease and cancer due to diacetyl present in some popcorn bags. 

Additionally, excess butter or fat used to season microwave popcorn can also lead to pulmonary dysfunction and weight gain. So if diet is your main concern, try to eliminate butter and microwave popcorn without oil

How to avoid microwave popcorn dangers

Dangers of Microwave Popcorn: Conclusion

If you are looking for a healthy snack option that’s easy to prepare, plain popcorn is the best choice. 

Some chemicals such as per fluorinated compounds used on the packaging of bags have been linked to lung disease and cancer risk. However, these ingredients can be avoided by making it at home in a bowl or paper bag. 

Microwave popcorn can either be a healthy or unhealthy snack, depending on its preparation method. 

Well prepared microwave popcorn is packed with minerals, fiber and vitamins that the body requires to function correctly. That being said, adding too much sugar, salt or oil can quickly transform it into an unhealthy snack. 

Avoid using already flavored popcorn kernels due to containing diacetyl. 

It’s therefore vital to check the labels on your popcorn before purchasing to be sure it’s healthy. Also, substitute butter with healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil, and keep the salt to a minimum.

If you’re still unsure about microwave popcorn dangers, stick to microwaving plain homemade popcorn in a microwavable bowl with a lid and you will be just fine. It will save you money, time and the stress of checking out all the ingredients in your popcorn package. 

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