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The Perpetual Popcorn Debate: Healthy or Not?

By Brandi Goodman 

Popcorn has long been a staple of movie theaters across the country. The buttery snack is a favorite in many households as well. The perpetual debate on popcorn is still outstanding though, with many touting the snack as a healthy option and others staying to stay clear. What's the real answer?

Popcorn Is Unhealthy, Right?

Popcorn does have some unhealthy qualities. Choosing popcorn loaded with butter? That's got lots of calories and fat. Adding sugar to your bag? That is of course increasing the sugar content and calories as well. It also isn't wise to eat the entire bag by yourself. Popcorn in general isn't necessarily unhealthy, but many people make decisions with their snacks that decrease the nutritional factor. Lots of the boxes you find on store shelves intended to be popped in your microwave come loaded with ingredients you don't need.

So, How Is Popcorn Healthy?

There are healthy popcorn versions. For starters, you can get plain kernels in a jar. This allows you to pop the corn yourself on the stove or using a microwave-safe dish. There are no added ingredients, such as butter, altering the health factor of your snack. You can choose to add some flavor by seasoning it with options you have in your spice drawer. Skip the salt, but use pepper or garlic for a unique taste. You should also be choosing to air pop your kernels and avoid cooking them in oil.

Several companies have created healthy popcorn versions as well. Boom Chicka Pop and Skinny Pop, for example, are two ready-to-eat options. Pour a cup and you'll get a low-calorie snack that's lightly seasoned for taste. There are even poppable bags for the microwave that come lightly salted and buttered that won't add as many calories to your day as the "theater butter" versions. Make the healthier choices and you'll be getting a solid snack you can enjoy without the guilt.

Popcorn isn't the No. 1 healthiest snack in the world. It isn't the worst either. The perpetual popcorn debate essentially lives on because the answer truly depends on which kind you're buying and what's being added to the mix. Basic popcorn with no salt or butter added is a healthy, low-calorie option that anyone can enjoy. Start buying the boxes at the store with lots of added sodium and calories and you're choosing an option that isn't as great for your well-being.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Gilbert, Ariz.

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