Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks in America. Unfortunately, it has a bad reputation in the health community as being a junk food but is this opinion deserved? Find out more about popcorn nutrition and how it can be a healthy everyday go-to snack.

See, Vegan Popcorn, Can Dogs Eat Popcorn, and Is Corn Healthy?

Popcorn Nutrition

100 grams of air-popped popcorn provide

  • Calories: 387
  • Protein: 12.9 grams
  • Fat: 4.5 grams
  • Fiber: 14.5 grams
  • Iron: 3.2 mg, or 18 percent of the daily requirement 
  • Magnesium: 144 mg, or 36 percent of the daily requirement
  • Phosphorus: 358 mg, or 36 percent of the daily requirement
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.1 mg, or 7 percent of the daily requirement
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 2.3 mg, or 12 percent of the daily requirement
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 0.2 mg, or 8 percent of the RDI.
  • Potassium: 329 mg, or 9 percent of the daily requirement
  • Zinc: 3.1 mg, or 21 percent of the daily requirement
  • Copper: 0.3 mg, or 13 percent of the daily requirement
  • Manganese: 1.1 mg, or 56 percent of the daily requirement

Popcorns are also high in polyphenol antioxidants that help protect the body against damage from free radicals, which are harmful molecules that can cause cell damage. Polyphenols may also help reduce inflammation and improve the health of blood vessels.

Polyphenol antioxidants have also been shown to fight various cancers, including prostate and breast cancer.

male making popcorn

Health Benefits Of Popcorns

1. Very High In Fiber

Popcorn is a whole grain; thus, it contains more fiber than other refined grains. Fiber helps keep the digestive system regular, preventing constipation and other digestive issues. One hundred grams of popcorn offers about 58 percent of your daily recommended intake, making popcorn an excellent snack for promoting regularity and keeping you feeling full longer.

Dietary fiber has also been shown to prevent various chronic conditions, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. Another research also found that a high fiber intake can protect against heart disease. 

2. Promotes Weight Loss

Eating popcorn can promote weight loss in a few different ways. The first way is by providing extra fiber to the diet, which helps fill the stomach up, so you feel fuller after eating and are less likely to overeat.

Another way that eating popcorn can promote weight loss is through its low-calorie content. One cup of air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories, which is much lower than most snack foods. This means that you can eat a lot of popcorn without consuming many calories, which can help you lose weight over time.

Finally, eating popcorn can help boost your metabolism. Metabolism is the process by which your body burns calories, and a higher metabolism means you’ll burn more calories throughout the day. Popcorn contains polyphenols, which are compounds that have been shown to increase metabolism. So not only will eating popcorn help you lose weight, but it will also help you boost your metabolism and burn more calories overall.

3. Promotes Healthy Bones

Osteoporosis is a health condition that affects bones, making them weak and fragile. This can lead to an increased risk of fractures. Osteoporosis is most common in older adults, but it can occur at any age. 

A healthy diet is important for maintaining strong bones. Popcorn is a good source of several nutrients that are important for bone health, including phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.

Phosphorus: Phosphorus is found in many foods but is especially abundant in popcorn. This mineral is essential for bone health, as it helps to keep bones strong and dense.

Magnesium: Magnesium is another mineral that is important for bone health. It helps the body to absorb calcium, which is necessary for strong bones. Popcorn is a good source of magnesium, so eating it can help to promote healthy bones.

Zinc: Zinc is another nutrient that plays an important role in bone health. It helps the body to use calcium properly and also aids in the formation of new bone tissue. Like magnesium, zinc can be found in popcorn. Eating popcorn can help to ensure that your body has enough of this important mineral for healthy bones.

4. Contains Protein

Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a role in many biological processes, including cell growth and repair, muscle development, and hormone production. 

Popcorn is a whole grain that contains a significant amount of protein, with a cup containing about 5 grams.

5. It Contains Iron

Iron is an important mineral that our bodies need in order to function properly. It plays a role in carrying oxygen in the blood and helps to form new red blood cells. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, weakness, and other problems.

Popcorn is a good source of iron, and including it in your diet can help to boost your iron intake. Just one cup of popcorn provides 3 mg of iron, which is 17% of the recommended daily value. Adding popcorn to your diet is a simple way to increase your iron intake and help keep your body healthy.

6. Popcorns Are Non-GMO

Popcorns are not only a delicious snack, but they’re also non-GMO. That means that they haven’t been genetically modified in any way, so you can feel good about eating them.

Popcorn in container

Dangers Of Movie Theatre Popcorn

1. Artificial Butter

Theatre movie popcorn is often coated in artificial butter, which can make it dangerous to consume. Artificial butter is typically made from a blend of oils, emulsifiers, and flavoring agents. While this may make the popcorn taste better, it can also be harmful to your health.

When you eat popcorn that has been coated in artificial butter, you are consuming a lot of unhealthy fats and chemicals. This can lead to weight gain, heart disease, and other health problems. Additionally, the flavoring agents in artificial butter can be addictive and cause you to crave more popcorn.

If you are looking for a healthier alternative to theatre movie popcorn, try air-popped or stove-top-popped corn. These options are not coated in any type of butter or oil, so they are much healthier for you. You can also add your own healthy toppings to air-popped or stove-top-popped corn to make it more enjoyable.

2. High In Calories

Movie theater popcorn can be very high in calories and fat, making it a dangerous choice for those trying to lose weight or maintain their health.

A small bag of popcorn at a movie theater can easily have over 1,000 calories, and a large bag can have over 2,000 calories. That’s more than half of the recommended daily intake for an adult. 

This is due to the fact that most movie theaters use butter or other oils to make their popcorn. While these oils may make the popcorn taste better, they also add a lot of extra calories. 

In addition, many people tend to eat more popcorn than they would other snacks because it is easy to keep eating it without realizing how much they are consuming.

3. High In Salt

Eating too much salt can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Consuming too much salt can also cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. While many people are aware of the dangers of consuming too much salt, they may not realize that eating too much salt in theatre movie popcorn can also be dangerous.

Theatre movie popcorn is often coated in a salty seasoning that can add a significant amount of sodium to your diet. One ounce of popcorn can contain over 200 mg of sodium, which is more than the recommended daily limit for adults. Eating multiple servings of popcorn at the movies can easily put you over your daily limit for sodium intake, putting you at risk for the health problems mentioned above.

If you’re popping your own popcorn at home, be sure to use a low-sodium seasoning. By making smart choices about the popcorn you eat, you can help reduce your risk of developing health problems related to excessive salt intake.

4. High In Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is one of the main ingredients in theatre movie popcorn. It is also one of the most dangerous and unhealthy fats. Saturated fat raises your LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol) and increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.

What Makes Pre-Packaged –Microwave Popcorn Unhealthy

Pre-packaged microwave popcorn is loaded with unhealthy ingredients that can wreak havoc on your health. Here’s a look at some of the most dangerous:


When it comes to microwave popcorn, many people are unaware of the health risks associated with diacetyl. Diacetyl is a synthetic butter flavoring that has been linked to serious respiratory illnesses, such as bronchiolitis obliterans. This condition is also known as “popcorn lung” and can be fatal.

Although the FDA has not yet issued a regulation on diacetyl in microwave popcorn, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified it as a possible human carcinogen.

PFCs In The Package Bag

When it comes to microwave popcorn, there is more than meets the eye. Many people are unaware of the harmful chemicals that are present in the packaging of this popular snack food. One of these chemicals is perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).

They are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been used in various industries for over 50 years. PFCs are found in many common household products, including non-stick cookware, Stainmaster carpets, and Teflon.

PFCs have become increasingly recognized as a health concern because they can accumulate in the human body and remain there for long periods of time. They have been linked to a variety of health effects, including cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, immunotoxicity, and liver damage.

One particular type of PFC that has received a lot of attention lately is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA is used in the manufacturing of fluoropolymers, which are found in many items we use every day, such as fast food wrappers, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, and non-stick cookware.

PFOA has been classified as a “likely human carcinogen” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In animal studies, exposure to PFOA has been linked to liver damage, developmental toxicity, immune system effects, thyroid hormone disruption, and increased cholesterol levels.

Excess Sodium And Unhealthy Fats

Like movie theater popcorn, pre-packaged microwave popcorns contain excess sodium that can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems. They also contain unhealthy fats that can increase your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.


TBHQ, or tertiary butylhydroquinone, is a synthetic preservative that has been linked to cancer and other health problems. It is often added to processed foods like microwave popcorn in order to extend their shelf life. 

While the FDA has determined that small amounts of TBHQ are safe for human consumption, it’s still unclear what effect long-term exposure to this chemical may have on our health. And since microwave popcorn is often eaten in large quantities, it’s possible that we could be putting ourselves at risk by snacking on these products regularly.

So, even though it may be convenient to pop a bag of microwave popcorn in the microwave, it is important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with consuming TBHQ.

How To Make Healthy Popcorn At Home

If you are wondering how to make healthy popcorn at home, air-popped popcorn is an excellent alternative to traditional popcorn, which is often loaded with unhealthy fats and chemicals. You can make healthy, air-popped popcorn at home without adding oil. All you need is an electric air popper, and you’re good to go.

You can also make stove-top popcorn with a little olive oil or avocado oil, and a pinch of sea salt.

To make your homemade popcorn more enjoyable, include any natural flavorings of choice, such as paprika, dried parsley, nutritional yeast, or garlic powder.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that popcorn is a popular snack, but is it healthy? The answer, like with most things, is that it depends. If you’re eating popcorn doused in butter and salt, the answer is probably no. 

However, if you’re eating air-popped popcorn that’s lightly seasoned, then the answer is more likely to be yes. 

Popcorn can certainly be part of a healthy diet, but it’s important to pay attention to the nutritional value of the popcorn you’re eating and make sure it fits into your overall dietary goals.

Other Related Articles

  1. Quince Fruit: Nutrition And Health Benefits
  2. Green Bean Nutrition Facts
  3. Pumpkin Nutrition
  4. Papaya Benefits
  5. Mango Nutrition

air popcorn

If you enjoyed this post about Popcorn Nutrition: is it a Healthy Snack? and would love to see more, join me on YoutubeInstagramFacebook & Twitter!

Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.

Fortunately, because of the ads on our website, readers and subscribers of Healthier Steps are sponsoring many underprivileged families.