I am writing this article in a time when we are forced to spend more and more time at home, most of us just slouching on the couch and watching more movies and TV series than ever.
And what goes well with watching a movie? Well, popcorn, of course! But if you have a fatty liver, should you have it? We’ll talk about this in today’s article where we’ll learn if it’s safe to eat popcorn if you have fatty liver.
You probably anticipated this next part: giving the answer is not very simple, as there are many things to consider and many elements that come into play, influencing how healthy the popcorn that we eat is.
But after reading today’s article, you will know everything about the tasty snack, and be able to decide if you could have it or not (if you have fatty liver)… and how much of it should you have.
With these in mind, let’s see what are the pros and cons of eating popcorn and especially the things you have to take into consideration when deciding if you should snack on it (or not).
Potential benefits of Popcorn for fatty liver
We’ll start with the good news first! Popcorn is a whole grain with tons of nutrients that our body needs.
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits that you get from eating 100 grams of popcorn, including 30% of the daily recommended dose of Magnesium, 16% Iron, as well as nice amounts of Vitamin B6, Potassium and Fiber.
Fiber is extremely important for all people and most of us are getting low amounts of it, leading to constipation and other problems, while Iron is extremely important especially for those who have a diet that excludes meat.
There are tons of carbs here as well (we’ll go more in depth about this in the Cons section below).
Apart from the clear benefits coming from the high nutritional value of popcorn, we have an article published on Lybrate where their experts list even more benefits of having popcorn.
One of the most surprising for most might be the fact that it actually controls blood sugar levels (because of the high fiber content, meaning that the carbs are released slower), but can also reduce cholesterol, is rich in antioxidants and improves digestive health.
Of course, this is just part of the whole and it’s not all perfect when it comes to eating popcorn, especially if you have a fatty liver. We’ll talk about these next.
Cons of popcorn for fatty liver
The first thing that we should have in mind when thinking about popcorn is that it has a lot of carbs, which turn into sugar, and we need to eat as little sugar as possible when working to reverse a fatty liver.
This is by far the biggest concern, no matter which type of popcorn you’re planning to use. But it can get much worse if you’re not making the correct choices!
And the biggest problem here is the popcorn most of us eat: that coming in bags with various flavors and toppings, that we prepare in the microwave.
According to Dr. Axe, there are many dangerous chemicals used in manufacturing the bags of microwave popcorn, chemicals that end up in our bodies, doing us harm and especially harming the liver.
But it’s not these chemicals alone that do all those bad things! All the flavors and fats that those popcorn bags are full of turn it into a caloric bomb: high in fats, salt and even added sugars, making a somewhat safe snack extremely dangerous, especially for those who already suffer from NAFLD.
In the end, it’s safe to say that all popcorn that we don’t prepare at home ourselves using a minimum number of ingredients (ideally just corn kernels, maybe a bit of butter and salt or pepper) can be considered unhealthy.
There might be some products out there that are just as safe, but they are not common, so make sure to read the label and the ingredients if you’re planning to buy a bag for your microwave.
Can you eat popcorn if you have a fatty liver?
So… can you have this as a snack if you have NAFLD? As you probably understood from reading the Pros and Cons above, it’s best to stay away from most popcorn for sure.
Those microwave bags or movie theater popcorn or anything that;s made of more than just the corn kernels should be considered completeley out of question because of all the chemicals, additives and extra fats (and sometimes extra sugars).
But if you do want to snack on some popcorn, you can definitely do so if you buy plain corn kernels (ideally organic) and prepare them at home, popping them in the microwave or in a pan and only adding a bit of salt, garlic powder or pepper on top.
This way, you get all the benefits, without added nasties. But even so, don’t make it a habit of snacking on popcorn because 100 grams still have a lot of calories and a ton of sugar – two things we have to stay away from when trying to reverse our fatty liver.
In my case, for example, I kept away from popcorn for the first 6 months into my diet, which was enough for my body to start reversing the fatty liver and get better (of course, because of the diet I was following and not just because I didn’t eat popcorn).
Afterwards, I allowed myself to have some popcorn every now and then, but probably just a few handfuls every month or so.
I did reverse my fatty liver, so having a bit of it – as long as you eat the plan popcorn – shouldn’t influence the results of your quest to reverse your fatty liver.
You might be able to do well even if you consume it a bit more often than I did (I wouldn’t recommend more than once per week, keeping a close eye on your calories and carbs!) as long as you eat a balanced, healthy diet for NAFLD and exercise and, of course, only eat a small amount (25 grams before popping should be enough!)