It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
Is popcorn a good snack to eat every day? I use a butter spray on it which has 0 calories. It seems to fill me up so I feel less hungry. Is popcorn also a good source of fiber?
Popcorn can be a good choice for snacking, but popping it in oil will add a lot of calories. If you are going to eat it often as a snack, consider purchasing an air popper.
This inexpensive appliance superheats the popcorn and pops it without oil so there's no extra calories. 1/4 cup of unpopped kernels will make about 8 cups of popped corn. Each cup of air popped popcorn has about 31 calories. A cup of regular microwave popcorn has about twice as many calories -- mostly from fat.
There's a fair amount of fiber in popcorn at about 1 gram per cup. A snack of 4 cups will be very filling, low in calories, and high in fiber.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS