18 Best & Worst Microwave Popcorns Brands
										If you think horror films are scary, just wait until you find out what's in some microwavable popcorns.

18 Best & Worst Microwave Popcorns Brands If you think horror films are scary, just wait until you find out what's in some microwavable popcorns.

Microwave popcorn is the perfect crunchy, salty, and sometimes sweet snack. Who can resist the sound of the kernels popping and the smell wafting from the kitchen as you’re sitting down to watch a movie? By itself, popcorn is a nutritious pick, but depending on what popcorn brands choose to season it with, it’s no wonder why many people ask if microwave popcorn is bad for you. Although popcorn is a whole grain, low-calorie, high-fiber snack, it’s also one of the easiest foods to overeat, and it can quickly become unhealthy if loaded up with fatty oils.

To make sure one of the best low-calorie snacks stays healthy, we asked registered dietitians for the low down on the healthiest microwave popcorn brands to pop and which bags you should drop.

Choosing the healthiest microwave popcorn that you also enjoy boils down to a few key factors. From nutritional standards to other red flags, you’ll definitely want to pay attention to the:

How to choose a healthy microwave popcorn

“Almost always, the entire bag is not one serving. You need to read the nutrition facts label and see how many servings are in one bag to avoid an excess of calories,” says Erika Fox, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist at 310 Nutrition. “Treating yourself and enjoying foods you love (even if they’re not ‘healthy’) is a part of life; however, popcorn is a very mindless snack. When you’re eating it, you’re usually watching television and end up overindulging. In this case, especially if you’re consuming it often, make sure to choose a ‘healthier’ version!”

“Look for popcorn that is made with simple, whole-food ingredients, such as non-GMO corn, sea salt, and healthy oils like coconut or avocado oil,” Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, at Balance One Supplements, tells Eat This, Not That! “Avoid brands that contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.”

“When it comes to [buying the healthiest] microwave popcorn, my recommendation is to find one with minimal ingredients,” adds Fox. “As simple as popcorn can be, many brands often load their products with additives, artificial ingredients, extremely processed oils, a lot of salt, and more.”

11 Healthiest Microwave Popcorns You Can Buy

Gans also points out that “most ingredients that one should be wary of are actually ingredients that are mostly no longer used in microwave popcorn. Specifically, [manufacturers stopped using] a butter flavoring, diacetyl, that had been associated with an increase in lung damage.”

“Check the nutrition label for sodium and saturated fat content,” says Best. “Look for brands that have no more than 150 milligrams of sodium and less than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving.”

7 Worst Microwave Popcorn Brands You Can Buy

“Some brands are adding sugar to their popcorn, especially if they are making a kettle corn variety,” adds Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and author of The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility. “Watch out for too many added sugars, too.”

“[The saturated fat content] is also known as ‘bad’ fat, and can have negative effects on the body,” says Fox.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025, you should limit your saturated intake to less than 10% of your total calories.

“Unfortunately, microwave popcorn is often a big culprit [of saturated fat intake],” Fox continues.

Some popcorn brands contain over 25% of your daily value of saturated fat in a small serving.

“Some microwavable popcorn bags are lined with PFAS, which are chemicals that repel water and grease,” explains Manaker. “While this is a good thing for avoiding soggy popcorn bags during the popping process, high exposure of these chemicals are linked to outcomes like high cholesterol, higher risk of certain cancers, and pregnant people birthing babies with a lower birthweight.”

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