People who snack on popcorn may consume more whole grains and less meat than their peers who don't, new research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows.
Popcorn is a whole-grain food and whole grains have been tied to a number of health benefits, including reduced heart disease and diabetes risk, they add.
To investigate the role of popcorn in the US diet, researchers looked at data from a sample of 15,506 Americans who reported what they had eaten in the past 24 hours.
Six percent of the study participants had eaten popcorn in the past day. On average, popcorn eaters consumed about 12 cups of popcorn per day.
Compared with people who did not eat popcorn, those that did had roughly 250 percent higher intake of whole grains (2.5 versus 0.70 servings per day) and approximately 22 percent higher intake of fiber (18.1 versus 14.9 grams per day), the researchers found.
Popcorn eaters also had higher overall grain consumption and lower meat consumption.
Popcorn eaters also got more magnesium and carbohydrates than non-popcorn eaters. While people who ate popcorn consumed less protein, niacin and folate, they were still getting enough of these nutrients based on Institute of Medicine requirements.
Next time you're hungry for a snack, reach for air-popped popcorn. It's a nutritious alternative to high fat potato chips and refined flour snacks like pretzels and white crackers.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.