Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

Microwave Popcorn Is Actually Bad for You

Photo by Georgia Vagim

Enjoying microwave popcorn on movie nights is often a ritual for most people. It is so easy to put the bag in the microwave and it gets done in minutes so really takes no effort. However, what most people don’t realize is that microwave popcorn is actually bad for you. Although different brands vary is portions and other added flavorings, it is best to avoid.

Here is why you should stay away from microwave popcorn:

  • Has high amount of saturated fat
  • Sodium levels are very high-can contain 900 mg of sodium per bag
  • High in calories-contains about 400-500 calories per bag
  • Bag is lined with chemicals called PFAS, synthetic chemicals inside food packaging to prevent artificial butter flavoring from leaking through, but some of these chemicals also get into the popcorn which you in turn eat.
  • Can cause “popcorn lung”. One of the ingredients found in microwaveable popcorn is diacetyl, a flavoring which has been linked to lung disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, a disorder nicknamed “popcorn lung”

So, what should you do instead? Pop your own popcorn! It is really not too hard to do. Next time you head to get groceries, pick up popcorn kernels. You can get creative with seasonings and avoid the extra chemicals, fat, sodium, and calories.