You’re walking on a dark, lonely street. From the corner of your eye, you notice the shadow of a tall silhouette that is somewhat familiar. You see a lit cigarette dangling from his mouth. He says, “Good evening. I just made some microwave popcorn. Would you like some?” You turn and answer, “No! The FDA says it’s dangerous. Do you have a cigarette instead?”
There are many choices that can be dangerous or beneficial to your health and well-being. The choices are often yours. Per FDA dietary recommendations, microwave popcorn is facing a death sentence on account of Tans-Fats. The 2013 declaration helped remove Trans-Fats from most packaged foods by 2014. Small amounts still come in as zero.
Perhaps one of the biggest boosts to microwave oven sales was the development of microwave popcorn but, in 2013, the Federal Food and Drug Administration or FDA banned trans-fats which is one of the ingredients found in microwaveable popcorn.
Most vegetable oils, as natural liquids, provide fat in healthier forms as mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats. Using unsaturated fats when fats are necessary, is dietary responsible. Hydrogenated fat is oil converted to a solid, spreadable form. It’s like lard, only sourced from vegetables instead of animals. In many countries, lard is used as a bread spread.
Dairy and beef fat typically contains around 3-6% Trans-Fat (% of total fat) and levels in mutton and lamb can be somewhat higher. TFA levels in vegetable oils and liquid margarines are around 1%. Soft yellow fat spreads typically have between 1% and 17% TFAs, while harder stick margarines have higher levels. The Trans-Fat content of bakery products (rusks, crackers, pies, biscuits, wafers etc.) vary from below 1% up to 30% of total fatty acids. Some breakfast cereal with added fat, French fries, soup powders and some sweet and snack products have been shown to contain high TFA levels (20-40% of total fatty acids).
So Trans-Fats are part of most foods you’re likely to eat. Many State and Cities have set legislation to eliminate the sale of food with trans-fats. Some, though, allow certain amounts of trans-fats, such as 0.5 grams per serving and (if less than that) it does not show on the nutrition panel but must be listed as an ingredient.
Compared to most foods, the amount of hydrogenated oils in microwave popcorn, when eaten responsibly as a few servings, aren’t going to rock the boat for health and obesity issues among those who are generally healthy.
Trans-Fats and all fats add to food calorie content. Fats and carbohydrates contribute to the number of calories in the stuff you choose to eat. With focus on calories and legislation for chain restaurants to post calories in product servings, attention should be given to caloric values and where those calories might come from. You really don’t want too many empty calories of only fats and carbohydrates, as found in many foods. Try to seek out foods that offer nutrition and protein that your body also needs.
A lunch–portion salad may have 1,000 calories or a Chipotle vegetable burrito has about 1200 calories. A 16-ounce bottle of Coca Cola is 200 calories, mostly from carbohydrates. A cup of one of Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha has 470 calories per 16-ounce portion. There are 15 grams of protein derived from milk but you’re also consuming 18 grams of fat (mostly saturated) and about 60 grams of carbohydrates. There are also 50 grams of cholesterol.
A can of tuna fish, 6-ounces packed in water, has 179 calories and 1 gram of fat. It also has 39 grams of protein and about 12% daily requirement of iron. There are 0 carbohydrates. About 40 grams are cholesterol. A 16-ounce bottle of water adds 0 calories.
What would you rather eat for lunch or as a snack?
How many calories you need to consume each day depends on age and level of activity. Size/Weight and general health are also variables.
The problem with controlling fat and consuming foods with Trans-Fats, is that (along with carbohydrates) they add delicious taste to foods. They are addicting and have been essential parts of diets for thousands of years.
The focus on Trans-Fats and popcorn is a provocative topic because popcorn is a very popular snack. The kill factor of an overdose of Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha or a Chipotle Burrito is somewhat greater than a bag (5 servings) of Light Microwave Popcorn, with approximately 2.4 grams of Trans-Fats (rated 0 gram per serving).
Is microwave popcorn bad for you? When you examine all the foods in your diet and what you like, you’d be surprised to discover the hidden dangers in foods.
While air-popped popcorn may be healthier, once you top them with butter or margarine, topped popped popcorn are trans-fat dangerous. Trans-Fats add calories, saturated fat while popcorn adds carbs and little nutritive value. It does taste good, though.
Compared to potato and corn chips, popcorn is a better snack for watching movies and TV. Be more self-conscious about the foods you eat and your calorie qualities. The lesson is not to overindulge and try to walk around the block every couple hours. Then, would you like some cake?
The FDA concern about the quantities of Trans-Fats and calories in food is a very good alert. Yet, when alcohol and illicit recreational drugs were banned, people still found ways to get it. Certain foods with Trans-Fats appeal to many people. They will continue to find their fixes as needed. Often, the deadliest menace to your health is your weakness to make responsible choices.