Popcorn

Popcorn 560_292Popcorn doesn’t have a good reputation in the paleo world.

But could we possibly enjoy eating when made of organic, non-GMO popping corn?

I mean, as an occasional treat, while watching a movie at home?

If you’re anything like us, you surely appreciate watching movies at home while snacking … just a little.

So, let’s take a look at some of the arguments related to its nutritional value.

Popcorn

The hard shell (brown carapace) of the kernel contains antioxidants; polyphenols to be exact . However, its hull apparently also contains insoluble fiber, which is indigestible, and rejected almost completely in the stool. This means that the indigestible shell prevents us from assimilating the precious antioxidants anyway.  Like my daughter would say; “FAIL” !

Also, popcorn contains phytic acid.   Phytic acid inhibits the absorption of certain minerals in the intestine. However, when we actually cook popcorn, the usage of heat reduces its phytic acid content by half.  So this one is a mixed argument.

Let’s face it, the most harmful are….  the food additives present in popcorn microwavable bags.

Fake Butter Flavor

The fake butter flavor that everyone loves so much is chemically reproduced and contains diacetyl.Popcorn 600_900

This is what Wikipedia says about diacetyl : “Workers in several factories that manufacture artificial butter flavoring have been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare and serious disease of the lungs. The cases found have been mainly in young, healthy, nonsmoking males. / …. /  The disease has been called “popcorn worker’s lung” because it was first seen in former workers of a microwave popcorn factory in Missouri.”

A study done by the American Chemical Society states that diacetyl would be an intensifying factor in cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Yuk!

The Washington State Department of Labour and Industries warns workers who are exposed to diacetyl that the health of their lungs could be at risk.   …seriously?

Seal Used

The chemical used to seal the bag, called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), is volatile when the bag is microwave heated and would end up in the popcorn itself.  This product is used to make Teflon and other materials resistant to stains and dirt, such as pizza boxes, for example (ugh!). In addition, this substance, PFOA, persists in the body for an estimated time of about 3 years.  Go figure …

According to the site cancer.org, laboratory studies using PFOA on animals have demonstrated a frank increase in liver tumors, testicular tumors, mammary glands (breast) and pancreas tumors.

And what about humans?

Unfortunately, studies are still incomplete to prove whether the substance would affect humans in the same way.   …..ok, I’ll spare you with my opinion on this one …

What’s The Deal?

Considering all this, it seems obvious that it is best to avoid microwavable popcorn bags.

A popcorn popper using either hot air or coconut oil (or any other healthy oils) and some clarified butter with sea salt remains the most healthy solution.

Some popper models are really not expensive, under $ 25.00 a unit.

Non GMO organic corn kernels can be bought through the web.  Here are a few examples of what you can find.   The first is non GMO organic Lemon Yellow Popcorn, offered with green tea oil and sea salt (great idea for a gift).

                    

 

In terms of corn poppers, a great review of different products made by Regina at Leelalicious.com can be found here

She compares some counter top models and microwave BPA free bowls.

Here are 3 models which I like.  I looked at the space it takes and also, made sure it can go to in dishwasher.

In conclusion, even if popcorn is not paleo, it’s not the worst cheat snack you can have.

I hope you don’t keep yourself from enjoying it occasionally, especially if, like us, you follow a Paleo diet with the 80/20 rule.
The 20% is important to us. It spares us from too much rigidity that would lead us to failure.

Let me know if you enjoyed this article.

Have I convinced you to eliminate microwave popcorn bags from your home theater sessions? 

 

 

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