You’ll Think Twice About Eating Microwave Popcorn After Watching This!

At our house, we love sitting down in front of the telly to watch a movie while snacking on a big bowl of microwave popcorn (the more butter, the better!). However, a doctor has warned us that eating microwave popcorn may not be as good for us as we thought!

Board-certified physician Dr Rachael M.D., PhD posted a reel on her Instagram page to say that it’s not the popcorn that is the problem, but the actual bag it comes in!

Microwave popcorn poses a serious health risk

Dr Rachael explains that microwave popcorn comes in a bag that has manufactured chemicals in its lining known as PFAs or Perfluoroalkyl acids. The specific one Dr Rachel refers to is PFOA or perfluorooctanoic acid.

According to Dr Rachael, PFOAs are considered carcinogens. A carcinogen is a substance that may increase one’s risk of developing cancer. Carcinogens can be chemical (like this one), physical or viral.

She says PFOAs have also been linked to infertility issues in lab animals when the chemical is heated, which is what we do when we heat a microwave popcorn bag! Eek!

What about the butter in microwave popcorn?

Dr Rachel shares that the butter used in microwave popcorn is NOT ACTUALLY BUTTER! It is a chemical additive called tBHQ or tert-butylhydroquinone with Diacetyl ‘butter flavour’. It is usually listed on the back as artificial flavouring.

Dr Rachel says TBHQ has been linked to:

  • brain inflammation
  • different forms of dementia

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Microwave popcorn is the Devil 

These chemicals may not be in every microwave popcorn brand, so we highly recommend checking the ingredients on the back of the packet.

Alternatively, Dr Rachel recommends that if you want to make popcorn, do it the old-fashioned way! Put a pot on the stove with a little oil and sea salt, and cook the kernels until they pop! If you’d like, mix in a bit of butter at the end.

family movie night eating popcorn
Source: Bigstock

Popcorn is a choking hazard for young kids

Popcorn can be dangerous to young children as it can be easily inhaled accidentally. It then blocks a child’s breathing tubes, so they are unable to take a breath.

Avoid giving popcorn to children under the age of three, as they may not have all their teeth and can’t chew popcorn properly. And definitely don’t let children of any age eat the unpopped kernels. Throw these away before serving.

To make sure children are safe when eating, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne recommends to:

  • ensure young children sit quietly while eating and drinking
  • never force young children to eat, as they may choke

You can find choking first aid and more safety tips for children on The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne website.

Microwave popcorn alternatives

Don’t feel like popcorn anymore? Other fun movie-night snacks we love are:

  • peanut butter on rice cakes
  • chips/crisps
  • popcorn chicken with dipping sauce
  • pretzels
  • a fruit platter
  • veggie sticks and dips
  • hot chips
  • lolly/chocolate mix
  • cookies
  • nachos
  • bliss balls

We have some great recipes on Mum Central you could try as an alternative to microwave popcorn, such as healthy ice cream, mini cottage pies (that are great for lunchboxes too!) and other healthy snacks that will fill-em-up like zucchini slices, mini quiches and DIY muesli bars.

(Oh, and speaking of Aussie snacks, Polly Waffles are returning so get your hands on some!)

What are some of your favourite popcorn alternatives? Let us know!

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Avatar of Kylie Baracz

As a busy writer and mama of two little wildlings, Kylie knows what it's like to juggle All The Things. When she's not politely ushering out small children from her Zoom calls, her favourite place is snuggled on the couch with her family and a (probably lukewarm!) cuppa.

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