According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, popcorn is not as popular a snack as other salty and crunching treats, like potato chips.
But can the delicious snack--popcorn--help you lose weight?
Popcorn is a whole grain and whole grains are very helpful in controlling weight. However, whether or not popcorn can help you lose weight depends, again, on two major items:
1. How is the popcorn popped? (air versus oil)
2. What is put on the popcorn after it is popped? (butter, salt, or whatever)
Popcorn popped in an air-pop popper, and not loaded with butter or salt, can be a very healthy snack that is high in fiber.
Popcorn, because it is a whole grain, can help you achieve the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation of half a daily serving of grains from whole grains.
If you ate eight (8) cups of air-popped popcorn, without butter or salt, you would consume 244 calories—the same amount of calories found in 17 plain potato chips. But who can stop at 17 potato chips? So, you see, air-popped popcorn can be a much better choice for snacking than potato chips.
How about another favorite snack—ice cream? One cup of vanilla ice cream will have about 488 calories or twice the calories in our eight cups of hot-air popcorn.
Another popular snack is homemade chocolate chip cookies. Just six of those delicious cookies have twice the calories of the eight cups of popcorn. And those eight cups of popcorn will fill you up better than those six cookies.
Popcorn fills you up--not out.
If you are trying to lose weight, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests keeping snack calories between 100 and 300 calories. That could mean up to 10 cups of air-popped popcorn, but no butter or salt.
Air-popped popcorn, without a lot of butter and salt, eaten between meals can help you feel fuller at meal time. That could mean eating less during meals.
But eating more calories—whether popcorn or some other snack—than you burn will increase weight, regardless of the snack.
Also, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any diet for weight loss.