As the smell of freshly made microwave popcorn fills up your kitchen, you can’t wait to dig your fingers into the yummy, buttery stuff. Right?
Whether it is movie night, game night or you simply have the urge to snack on something yummy but less fattening than potato chips, popcorn is the MOST popular snack item across the globe. But did you know that the oversized bag of microwave popcorn you gleefully pick over chips (thinking you’re making a far healthier choice) could actually be a lot more hazardous to your health? Bet you didn’t….
Here are 3 main reasons you should stop eating microwave popcorn right away!
The PFOA Concern
Ever thought why that bag of microwave popcorn fluffs up so beautifully and nothing sticks to the inside? The reason for that is PFOA – a chemical that coats the inside of the bag and is a non-stick layer, much similar to the one used in Teflon pots and pans.
During the cooking process PFOA breaks down into toxic substances, which is why health experts are also advising against using Teflon pans. This chemical is serious bad news; it has been linked to many diseases including cancer and infertility.
The Diacetyl Angle
As if a potential carcinogen wasn’t enough, your favourite bag of microwave popcorn has yet more toxins!
That buttery flavour you so love is owed to the addition to yet another chemical which is a synthetic butter flavour, and this one is called Diacetyl. This toxic chemical has been linked to bronchiolitis obliterans or what has been aptly named ‘popcorn workers lung’ disease.
These workers who inhaled the fumes of diacetyl for exposed periods of time developed chronic bronchiolitis with irreversible lung scarring, with links to lung cancer as well. Inhaling those delicious fumes is exposing you to the same risks.
Questionable Artificial Flavouring
These days you find microwavable popcorn in tons of flavours – cheese, caramel, chocolate, cream and much more. Turn the pack to read the ingredients and these are intelligently clubbed together as ‘artificial flavours added’. But what are these artificial flavours? How safe are they? Most mass produced bags of popcorn use poor quality synthetic flavours that will do your health no good.
Microwave popcorn bags contain a mixed batch of kernels and quite a few of those don’t pop while cooking in the microwave. These unpopped kernels can cause tooth fracture, gum irritation and tooth damage in the long run. What is worse, kids handling a bag of fresh microwave popcorn are at high risk of burns, as the bag holds a lot of high-temperature steam. The worst though – the fats, salt and calories that go with the delicious and easy-to-make microwave popcorn.
While it is promoted as a ‘healthy’ snack, a single bag of microwave popcorn can contain up to 24grams of fat, 600mg of salt and up to 600 calories! Those numbers prove that this snack is far from healthy.
So, what’s The Alternative?
Yes, popcorn can be a yummy healthy snack, but only when cooked from scratch. It’s very simple too.
Use organic kernels and put them in a brown paper bag. Drizzle some olive oil or use real butter if you want. Add a dash of seasoning, give the bag a good shake to mix everything, and lay flat in the microwave. You’ll get the same delicious taste without the dangerous chemicals or the questionable artificial flavourings.
It is even better to air pop kernels in a pan or pot. Simply add a teaspoon of olive oil in a flat bottom pan and let it heat. Add kernels (yellow or white) and cover the pan with a lid that has a hole for steam to escape. Leave the pan on low heat until you hear the kernels pop. Popcorn ready!