Is popcorn really a healthy alternative to crisps and other snacks?
Popcorn may be a whole grain, but it is often cooked in oil and covered with sugar, salt and spices. So how healthy is it?
Known for its high fibre content, it has a variety of flavors, such as cotton candy and blue cheese, and is one of the fastest-growing grocery products in the UK. But is popcorn really a healthy alternative to snack foods like potato chips?
Popcorn has its benefits. For starters, it’s a whole grain diet – a diet that protects against cancer and heart disease due to fiber content, antioxidants, and various vitamins and minerals.
“If you use the machine at home, and put it in the air, don’t add anything – or you are buying make popcorn, and it is cooked in very, very small amount of oil – then I think it is a good snacks,” Clare of the British dietetic association Thornton, Wood said.
Popcorn sales exploded to make it Britain’s fastest-growing grocery product.
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But, she warns, many popcorn products are not so innocent, they have been cooked with fat and then poured with sugar, salt and spices. “If you take a bag of crisps and a bag of popcorn, they have a similar calorie count,” says Thornton Wood. When it comes to the nutritional value of popcorn, he says, “there’s a better way to get antioxidants.”
A bag of 32.5 grams of walker’s salted potato chips contained 10.4 grams of fat, 0.46 grams of salt and 171 calories. By comparison, 32.5 grams of Tyrrells sea salt popcorn contains 6.3 grams of fat, 0.38 grams of salt and 159 calories.
But what about “thin” popcorn? Check out metcalfe’s sea salt products, 32.5 grams contain 141 calories, 5.4 grams of fat and 0.29 grams of salt. Less valuable than a bag of chips, but still more than you expected.
For some of the more specific popcorn products, calories can jump: the same weight of sweet popcorn has 174 calories, 10.3 grams of fat and 7.5 grams of sugar.
But, as Thornton wood points out, the popcorn bag is generally smaller than the potato chip, which means a bag of calories is low. She added: “popcorn is a lot. “I think people have to be more careful about component control.”
To avoid a bittersweet snack, Thorton Wood recommends using fat-free machines at home pop corn. “Put the nucleoli in, open them, heat them up, and blow them up with hot air,” she said.
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