Is Smartfood Popcorn Good For You? What To Consider

Whether you're watching a movie at home or looking for a tasty snack during a long car ride, Smartfood popcorn is sure to satisfy. Smartfood has been on the shelves since 1985 to give you popcorn without needing the microwave, stove, or air popper. According to the American Heart Association, air-popped popcorn at home can be healthy because it has whole grains that reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Popcorn also has polyphenols, which are antioxidants that help with circulation and digestion.

Because Smartfood is packaged and not air-popped popcorn, you have less control over what's added to your popcorn to make it healthy. Dietitians (via Today) say that many packaged snacks have added preservatives to help keep them fresh in the bag. That's why it's a good idea to check the ingredients on the label to see if there are things like artificial colors, MSG, nitrates, nitrites, and other food additives. Smartfood's ingredients are popcorn, vegetable oil, whey, buttermilk, natural flavor, and salt, so this popcorn can be better for you than other packaged foods. Yet depending on your health concerns, Smartfood can be good or not-so-good for you.

Smartfood popcorn is low in calories and sugar

If you're looking for a way to curb your appetite, Smartfood popcorn might be a good snack for you. A 2 ½ cup serving of Smartfood has 160 calories and 2 grams of fiber. The American Heart Association says the low calorie count and low energy density of popcorn make it great for weight loss. In other words, eating 160 calories of potato chips won't make you feel as full as popcorn because they don't have as much volume. However, dietitians tell Today that packaged foods should have a little more fiber — 3 grams per serving or more — to help keep you full.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 10% of your daily calories because too much sugar can increase your blood pressure, inflammation, weight, and risk for diabetes. Smartfood's original cheese popcorn has 2 grams of sugar and no added sugar. Even if you're counting your total sugars for the day, that's less than half a percent of your daily calories for a 2,000-calorie diet.

Smartfood is high in fat and sodium

The reason why air-popped popcorn is relatively healthy is that it doesn't need oil to cook the corn kernels. Once you begin adding butter or oil to the cooking process, you also add a significant amount of fat. Of course, movie theater popcorn's gooey goodness comes from the oil used to pop the kernels and the amount of butter you squirt on top. A 39-gram serving of movie theater popcorn can add 39 grams of fat. Smartfood's 28-gram serving has 10 grams of fat, which accounts for more than half the calories in a serving. However, the Dietary Guidelines suggest limiting saturated fat to 10% of your daily calories, or about 22 grams of saturated fat for a 2,000-calorie diet. Smartfood has just 2 grams of saturated fat.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, too much sodium in your diet is linked to cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. To prevent disease, your daily sodium intake shouldn't be more than 2,300 milligrams. A serving of Smartfood puts you at 240 milligrams, or 10% of this recommendation. In this regard, Smartfood wouldn't meet the sodium criteria set for packaged snacks in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities, which requires all snacks to have less than 200 milligrams per package.