Many people love popcorn, but unfortunately, not all types of popcorn are the same! There are butter-popped, salted, sweetened, and plain variety bags of popcorn that do different things when you eat them. Some taste great, while others may not be so pleasant.
Some brands add sugar or salt to their popped corn which can increase your blood glucose levels if you’re diabetic. This article will talk about the dangers of eating too much popcorn and how to best enjoy this favorite movie snack.
Why Is It Important To Know About The Health Effects Of Popcorn?
To clarify, healthy individuals don’t have an average amount of sugar in their diet. However, for people who are very hungry, it is easy to consume more than they should. Having enough food can help keep your hunger at bay, but there is a limit to how many carbs you can intake per sitting before health issues arise.
For people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, eating too many carbs can be problematic since your body doesn’t process them as well. Due to this, your blood glucose levels can rise more quickly than normal. This could potentially cause symptoms like nausea, lightheadedness, and even frequent trips to the bathroom.
If you are already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, trying to watch your carb intake is important to manage your disease.
History of diabetes mellitus
People have been eating popcorn for thousands of years, and we are only now learning about some of the possible health risks it may pose. Diabetics already know that too much sugar can be harmful to their bodies, so what is new here is whether or not the air you breathe while watching this movie contains enough glucose to make your blood become more insulin resistant.
If you enjoy drinking a glass (or two) of plain old popped corn then do not worry! Simply hold off on each bite until the air in the mouth has dried out slightly and you will probably be fine. For those people who like buttery popcorn, try using lower fat toppings such as coconut oil, olive oil, or even rice bran oil to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in the snack.
Regularly overconsuming carbs can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, just because something is popular does not mean it is a bad food choice.
Diagnosing diabetes mellitus
Recent research suggests that plain old popcorn may increase your blood glucose levels to such a degree that you could be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes! While this is definitely not what most people want, it does bring up an important question: What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
People who develop type 2 diabetes usually begin to show signs around age 40-50. Unfortunately, there is no definitive test for type 2 diabetes. Instead, doctors will do some tests to determine if you have it. These include having a fasting blood sugar check, a two hour blood glucose check after eating, or both.
If these checks reveal that you have high blood sugars, then you’re officially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It is very likely that you already had pre-diabetes at some point before being told so!
So how did popcorn get linked to diabetes diagnosis? A study conducted by Harvard researchers determined that the average person should watch about one cup (170 grams) of air-popped rice and/or corn kernels per day as part of a healthy diet.
The same amount was found to contribute towards a total daily intake of carbohydrates, which can help regulate blood glucose.
Does popcorn raise blood sugar?
Recent studies claim that eating one bag of air-popped, buttery popcorn can cause hyperglyceemics (too high a glucose level in your blood).
This is an extreme example of what too much food can do to contribute to diabetes symptoms. And since most people don’t know how to make healthy choices when it comes to foods, this research is very concerning.
Fortunately, there are ways to enjoy popcorn without causing health problems. You can either choose white or brown rice kernels, use half the amount of melted butter, or bake the poppcorn instead of frying it in oil.
Baked popcorn is almost as delicious as fried poppers! It seems like a healthier option, but you have to remember to watch your calories.
Time and temperature affect blood sugar
Even though salted popcorn contains sodium, it is not necessarily a good option for people with diabetes or glucose levels that need to be controlled.
The amount of salt in a cup (100 grams) of air-popped plain microwave popcorn typically ranges from 250 mg to 500 mg, depending on the brand!
That’s about one teaspoon of salt per movie night!
Many people find the taste of salty food comforting, so they eat more while watching TV, but eating too much salt can have negative effects on your health.
It raises your blood pressure and cholesterol, and may contribute to obesity. People with these conditions are at higher risk of having a stroke, heart attack, or death due to cardiovascular disease.
Studies also show that those who eat a high-saline diet tend to test lower for insulin, which could indicate prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Eat the food on its own
Recent studies suggest that adding butter or sugar onto popcorn may actually increase your blood glucose levels! This is because the air in the poppable ingredient (the corn) absorbs some of the liquid from the kernels, leaving you with more dry popcorn and therefore eating longer to find something to put it on.
Since most people eat the whole thing, you are probably consuming more carbohydrates. These additional carbs can affect how your body processes glucose.
Some theories say that the process for breaking down these sugars takes so long that they trick your body into thinking there’s not enough insulin present, which causes your pancreas to overcompensate by pumping out extra. This results in elevated blood glucose levels!
It seems like a sneaky way to enjoy a movie while still keeping an eye on your diabetes. But do not worry though, we have tips here for you!
Avoid making your own popped popcorn at home unless the recipe does not contain any oils, salt, or sugar. Some brands add those things as toppings or baking agents during production.
Many snacks and foods containing added oil, salt, or sugar are already high in fat, sodium, and/or sugar.
Will I get a diabetic reaction?
While some people may be alarmed to learn that plain old popcorn can contribute to diabetes, most people will not suffer from this disease due to it. According to the Mayo Clinic, one large serving (about two cups) of air-popped popcorn contains about three grams of carbohydrate — just over one tablespoon.
That’s less than half the amount in a regular sized bag of microwave popcorn, which typically has around eight grams of carbohydrates per cup.
Most individuals do not have enough insulin produced to deal with these amounts of starch. This can result in your blood glucose getting too high or even being insufficiently regulated, however.
Diabetics are already aware of how quickly carbs affect their blood sugar levels, so they usually compensate by eating more food or using medications to regulate it.
For someone who is already prediabetic or diabetic, having a small amount of starch as part of an otherwise healthy diet does not pose much risk.
Keep an eye on your blood sugar
If you are hungry, eat food! Having a snack that includes popcorn makes sense because it is a type of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates in foods can be consumed to satisfy your appetite and raise your glucose or blood sugar levels.
Some people may feel tired or lightheaded after eating carbs, especially those that are rapidly absorbed like with white bread or pasta. This can be due to the body’s need to process the carbohydrates more slowly than when they are mixed into foods such as rice or potatoes.
However, some individuals will experience elevated insulin levels soon after eating a carb. Insulin helps regulate blood glucose by moving it from the bloodstream into cells to use for energy. A small amount of insulin is needed to help move glucose out of tissues and into the blood so it can be used elsewhere in the body.
Too much of this “fight or flight” hormone can cause too high of a blood glucose level which can put stress on your body. People who have diabetes already know how important it is to monitor their blood glucose levels and respond correctly to changes.
So, while having popcorn every now and then isn’t a big deal, don’t make it a habit otherwise your health could start to suffer. Also, if you find that your blood sugars are rising even though you aren’t eating any carbs, try limiting the amount of popcorn you consume until you determine what is causing the rise.
What should I do if I have diabetes?
If you are already diagnosed with type 2 or pre-diabetes, then what is the next step to take care of your blood glucose levels? Probably one of the most important things that you can do to manage your condition is to avoid foods and drinks containing sugar.
Sugars in food come from products such as fruits, vegetables, milk, and meat, among others. Some of these sugars are added during processing, while other ones are naturally occurring.
When we eat foods that contain lots of sugar, our bodies process it quickly and either stores it for later use or breaks down into individual molecules called glucose.
After eating, our bodies get rid of the glucose by storing it in tissues like muscles, fat, and liver, or flushing it out via urination.
Too much glucose in the body is not good because it can be stored (in case there isn’t enough insulin available to help move it around) or used for energy. It may also interfere with normal functioning of some of the body’s systems, including digestion, breathing, and thinking.
Consuming too many carbs can put stress on your pancreas and cause it to work more efficiently. This happens because the pancreas has to produce more insulin to bring down the glucose level in your blood. As a result, people who have diabetes often need more insulin to control their glucose levels.