Dr. Mercola: Many people love eating a bowl of crunchy popcorn. It’s been a favorite snack for centuries in America. Anthropologists have actually found popcorn remnants in the American Southwest dating from about 2,500 years ago and in Peru and Mexico as old as 5,000 years.
Sold as “Pearl” corn or “Nonpareil” in the early 1800s, a popcorn “boom” increased its popularity quickly during the Great Depression because it was so inexpensive. It must have caught on, because Americans now eat around 1.2 billion pounds every year!1
If you choose the right variety and cook it properly, popcorn can be relatively nutritious and provides a valuable source of fiber. The ingredients in this healthy snack may even translate to benefits that fight disease.
How Popcorn Is Prepared Makes All the Difference
Air-popped popcorn contains far fewer calories than most other foods. However, the preparation of even the highest-quality organic popcorn can take it from nutritious to just another potentially health-wrecking snack option. Case in point: microwave popcorn.
There are a lot of ways to prepare it, but in some peoples’ minds, the easiest way comes in a microwaveable bag, which presents innumerable hazards.17 This version usually contains not just popcorn but the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), linked to ADHD and hyperactivity in children,18 low birth weight19 and thyroid disease.20
Another dangerous chemical in the pseudo-butter in popcorn is diacetyl, which multiple animal studies show may damage airways and even precipitate lung disease.21
Buttered Popcorn Flavoring Linked to Alzheimer’s
- Diacetyl is an artificial butter flavoring added to microwave popcorn and other snack foods; many microwave popcorn factories have already stopped using the synthetic diacetyl because it’s been linked to lung damage in people who work in the factories
- New research shows diacetyl has several concerning properties for brain health and may trigger Alzheimer’s disease
- Not only can diacetyl pass through the blood-brain barrier, which is intended to help keep toxins out of your brain, but it can also cause brain proteins to misfold into the Alzheimer’s-linked form known as beta amyloid
- Diacetyl also inhibits mechanisms that help to naturally clear the dangerous beta amyloid from your brain
The public is becoming more aware of another common hazard in popcorn (and other foods): Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, aka interesterified oil, trans fat or other monikers. Read your labels and you’ll find it in many foods on grocery shelves, even though a plethora of studies reveal a clear link to heart disease and other problems.22
For more details, see:
Is Popcorn Good For My Blood Type?
A Secretor: NEUTRAL
A Non Secretor: AVOID
B Secretor: AVOID: Contains lectin or other agglutinin.
B Non Secretor: AVOID: Contains lectin or other agglutinin.
AB Secretor: AVOID: Contains lectin or other agglutinin.
AB Non Secretor: AVOID: Contains lectin or other agglutinin.
O Secretor: AVOID: Contains lectin or other agglutinin. Metabolic inhibitor. Contains component which can modify known disease susceptibility.
O Non Secretor: AVOID: Contains lectin or other agglutinin. Metabolic inhibitor. Contains component which can modify known disease susceptibility.
LECTIN CHARACTERIZATION: This food contains a reported lectin.
For more info see: Dr. D’Adamo’s Typebase 4: Popcorn