When we speak of diets, we refer to eating healthy foods for a period of time until we gain the desired physical results. Dieting also means avoiding most of the junk that are sinfully good yet completely bad for our health. When the popcorn diet came along, food junkies must have thanked the people that thought of it. Who knew that popcorn could get you down to size 2?

However, like most diets out there, the popcorn diet also has its pros and cons. Also, there are certain misconceptions that have to be cleared. We must also answer the question that matters most: is the popcorn diet safe and effective? 

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Popcorn: Nutrition Facts

Simply put, plain popcorn is healthier to snack on compared to potato chips or pretzels. Popcorn has less calorie content and is a good source of vitamins and minerals, all the while providing you with bite-sized goodness of guilty pleasure. Here are some nutrition facts about popcorn you should know about:

  • Contains over 40 different nutrients as well as B complex vitamins and Vitamin E

  • Has more iron than eggs, most protein than any cereal grain

  • Has more fiber than potato chips

  • Has no saturated fat, trans fats or cholesterol

However, you should take note that popcorn can only be a healthy, low-cal snack when air-popped. Buttered, salted, or other flavoured popcorn can lessen its nutritional value. 

What is the Popcorn Diet?

The popcorn diet has a couple of variations. The first variation suggests popcorn as a replacement for snacks. Eat a few small, healthy meals each day. Whenever you feel food cravings in between those meals, eat hot-air popcorn. You can eat as much popcorn as you can; it will keep you full because of its high fiber content. Another way is to eat popcorn as a substitute of a full meal. Allow your body to adjust by substituting it for one meal at the beginning, but it is not advisable to replace all three meals with this diet. Our body needs more nutrition than what popcorn can offer. As with other diets, you must avoid other foods that are high in fat and calories. Drink only water instead of carbonated beverages or sugary juices.

Is it Safe and Effective?

Popcorn can easily surpass other foods when we speak of nutritional value. As a snack substitute, it can give you satisfaction. It is much more difficult to maintain as a meal replacement, but that depends on your discipline.

Human factor makes the popcorn diet largely unrecommended. Though the idea of snacking on popcorn all day long may seem appealing at first, it gets boring pretty quickly. We are so used to eating salted, buttered, or cheese-flavored popcorn that sticking to the air-popped popcorn diet may become bland in the long run.

When a person religiously following the popcorn diet becomes sick of its blandness, he or she might crave for some zest. Most succumb to temptation and add butter or salt, rationalizing that popcorn is still popcorn despite the flavor. With this move, the previously healthy snack becomes high in calories and sodium.

Also, corn is a common allergen which may cause certain unwanted body reactions. This happens because too much corn blocks the absorption of Vitamin B. Once this occurs, a person can experience depression, breathing problems, skin rashes, memory loss, anemia, gastrointestinal upsets, and low energy levels. There are also some individuals unable to digest corn. Before trying the popcorn diet, consult the doctor to find out if you are allergic to corn or not.

Health-wise, there is nothing wrong with eating popcorn as a part of a normal diet. However, the actual popcorn diet is not a long-lasting weight loss solution.

The verdict? Popcorn is still best enjoyed as a light, savory snack – not a bland crash diet.