Popcorn: The Good The Bad And The Ugly!

by Alexander Morentin on September 13, 2008

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A large percentage of my clients and readers are women with young children who are looking for ways to keep their families healthy… full of energy and free of sickness and disease.

Many families enjoy watching movies or playing games while enjoying a delicious bowl of popcorn.

Here’s the problem. Most of these same families use prepackaged popcorn.

Prepackaged popcorn found on the shelves of supermarkets and convenience stores are very bad for you. Look at the ingredients list and you will find a wide array of chemical additives and preservatives.

Believe me when I tell you that you do not want to feed this unhealthy snack to your family, especially if it is microwave popcorn. Microwaves themselves are especially detrimental to your health.

I will not go into an exhaustive break down of each ingredient in packaged popcorn. However, I will discuss one of its most harmful chemical additives and offer a solution. A healthier popcorn alternative.



Diacetyl, a chemical component of artificial butter, is known to make factory workers who come in contact with it very sick. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Diacetyl is known to cause irritations in the skin, eyes, and lungs. Factory workers who breathe in its vapors have contracted serious lung problems. The problem is so common that it has been nick-named popcorn workers lung. The CDC advises workers who come in contact with this dangerous substance to use tightly sealed containers, wear skin and eye protection, and use respiratory protection.

However, Diacetyl has been deemed safe for human consumption. It is no wonder that so many children and adults in America have lung problems, which are usually diagnosed as asthma. The amount of inhalers prescribed to children in America is devastating.

Diacetyl is used for its buttery aroma and taste in popcorn, bakery products, candy, and frozen foods. Stay away from this poisonous chemical at all costs.


It is possible to make popcorn that is relatively healthy. Follow these guidelines for a healthier snack:

  • Use Organic Popping Corn (Remember, corn is the most genetically modified substance on the planet).
  • Pop The Corn Yourself.
  • Use A Hot Air Popper (no oil).
  • Season With A Dash Of Himalayan Salt.

Following the above guidelines is an easy to follow, healthy alternative to the dangerous pre-packaged popcorn available on supermarket shelves.

Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear what you have to say. :)

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

heidi September 17, 2008 at 7:17 pm

I have heard of so many bad ingredients but had yet to hear of this one. Is anything safe anymore? Fortunately I don’t have a microwave so we have not popped popcorn but I do need to get an air popper. Thanks for the tip.

Debora January 2, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I just found out that popcorn eaten this way is really bad! More people should now about this as many of us think we r doing a better thing by giving our family popcorn! thanks for the info

Abby September 23, 2010 at 5:28 am

The diacetyl in popcorn bags is really only harmful if you insist on huffing the steam as it excapes form the bag. Let your popcorn cool before opening the bag, and you’ll eliminate the danger to your lungs.

Also, your “guidelines” are a bit extreme…

Nearly all available vegetables have been “domesticated” – their genetics have been altered to make them more easily cultivated and eaten. Don’t just jump on the “No GMOs!” bandwagon without doing your own research first. And while yes, ideally we’d all be eating organically-grown foods (which I’ll define as “without added toxins”), there are very few (and poorly enforced) regulations around labeling something “organic”. Buyer beware!

A little olive oil or real melted butter on your popcorn can improve the flavour and may actually be good for you (improve your good:bad cholesterol ratio, and provide several antioxidants).

“Himalayan salt”? Really? Any potential benefit of using this salt over plain ol’ sodium chloride would be washed out by eating a generally balanced diet. Oh, and it doesn’t typically contain iodine.

Educate yourselves, folks!

Alexander Morentin November 24, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Thank you for your comment.
However, you should do proper research before making such comments.

Diacetyl is harmful even in small amounts.

GMOs have been proven to be extremely harmful to us and the environment. Check the Institute for Responsible Technology.
And, domesticated or hybridized plants are not the same as GMOs. This is a mistake that many misinformed and uninformed people, such as yourself make.

Yes, Himalayan salt is better than plain old sodium chloride. They are worlds apart.

Yes, I agree, first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and real raw butter from grass fed animals can be good for you.

You should take your own advice and educate yourself.

Feel free to contact me if you would like any assistance.

Peace and veggies. :-)

Alexander Morentin

Tara Marsh December 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

Thank you, Alexander, for the truth on what’s really healthy for us. So many Americans are ignorant to what’s really healthy and they don’t really dig deep to educate themselves – they only look at the surface and rely on the FDA and their doctors to tell them what’s healthy.

There’s no doubt that GMO’s are extremely harmful. Although, Abby had a good point in bringing up the fact that there are poor regulations for “organic”, but does that mean we just eat the toxic food that’s not labeled “organic” since we don’t know for sure anyways? Absolutely not! You have to check reputable health stores and companies that sell organic, and choose them. It’s about having faith, too. Like we have faith in that solid line in the middle of the road will keep that car heading south from driving over to the lane of cars heading north, or driving over a bridge – believing that bridge will hold us up.

People, we cannot keep putting junk in our bodies and expect to be healthy, and then go to our doctors for medicine when we get sick (which causes a lot of other problems), or we pray asking God to heal us when we’ve been reckless in our eating habits and continue to do so. Researching and eating healthy foods with the faith that our bodies will stay healthy is action along with our faith, and I believe God will bless that. The action is eating the healthy foods and foods labeled “organic” and believing that God will bless that even if there is question about whether that food is really organic.

“…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead….” “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” James 2:17-18

Also, Himalayan and Celtic pink salts, and also Redmond’s Real Salt have many health benefits as opposed to table salt which has chemicals. Do your research!!!

Rose May 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Two things struck me.
Coconut oil is so good for you. Yet our FDA banned it and everyone says it is bad. Use it to pop and as a topping for your popcorn and you have done a great service to your body. As for popcorn, I use organic and hope that it is not genetically altered in a Frankenstein way, but all food is altered. So I get over the fear and accept the food as a healthy snack.

Rose May 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Opps forget to mention salt. The only salt I trust is dried from sea water by the Maine Salt Company and tastes better than any salt I have ever had. And I do not fall for the lies and hype about Himilayan.

Alexander Morentin May 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Thanks for your comments Rose.
Your popcorn sounds delicious.
Seems like you’ve got a great attitude towards making healthier food choices whenever you can.
Keep up the great work! :-)

Clinton Cooper February 3, 2013 at 8:18 pm

These posts along with others and public awareness have surely bettered this ‘pop’ular product… “Manufacturers have taken that concern to heart: The country’s largest makers of microwave popcorn—ConAgra, General Mills, American Pop Corn Company, and Pop Weaver— no longer use diacetyl in their products, which include Act II, Orville Redenbacher, Pop Secret, Pop Weaver, and Jolly Time.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/Is-Microwave-Popcorn-Bad-for-You#ixzz2JtthgeZV

Just Another Idiot June 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm

You people should learn to not believe everything you read on the internet. This is classic scaremongering. Why is it that people will believe so strongly that all scientific proof presented is somehow invalid or manufactured when the ‘proof’ against it follows little or no structured method?

More harm has been done by people scaring others out of eating safe substances than good from repeating unproven and often absolutely incorrect information. The most extreme case of this is found in aspertame, the most well tested food additive ever, with very little negative side effects. I won’t provide links, do the research, find proof of all the bad stuff caused by aspertame. Not even one article has ever found a clear connection between it and alzheimers, asthma, cancer or whatever, but people still believe what Joan down the street decided to dress up on the internet as fact, anyway, I hope one person out there will learn to think and investigate claims made like this…

Alexander Morentin June 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm

You have an interesting view on this subject. Your views on Aspartame are rather interesting too.
Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I’m sticking by and living by mine. :-)

james June 15, 2014 at 7:00 am

Tara don’t just rely on what one person says and trust it. Do your own research. Scientific/Medical journals are a good source. People who put comments out there about a product should site their sources if they want to win the argument. Any intelligent person would. Do your research and come up with the right answer.

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