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The Thirty Day No Junk Food Challenge | Day Four: A Tale of Two Popcorns

Updated on January 04, 2012

On day four I put into action the things I'd learned on Days 1 through 3 and steered clear of processed foods, aside from gluten free bread and cream cheese, because first thing in the morning is no time to be getting fancy with things and that food contains no more than 3 grams of sugar anyway. Lunch was a salad and my daily ration of chocolate, which puts me at 15.4 grams of sugar for the day. Not bad, not bad at all.

A quick aside, before we get to the popcorn revelations. Corn chips, plain corn chips are actually not a bad snack. They contain almost no sugars, but they do contain carbohydrates and fat. That might not work for you if you're trying a low carb diet, but to be honest, a low carb diet sounds like a special kind of hell to me. Not that you shouldn't try it if you want to. Maybe it is the holy grail of diets and I am but a poor heathen with my face in the mud.

I was feeling a bit peckish last night, so I thoguht I'd have some microwave popcorn. For healthy people, that statement is probably akin to saying 'I was feeling a bit restless, so I went for a swim in a volcano', but c'est la vie. There was no sugar in it, so I felt justified in the choice.

Anyway, I was rather surprised by the popcorn because I had two kinds you see one 'Light Butter' and one 'Butter Lovers'. (I should note at this point that although the box pictured has an apostrophe in the right place, my box at home has no such apostrophe. Apparently they don't bother with grammar in the colonial markets.) The Light Butter popcorn contained 86% popcorn, Palm Oil, Salt, Butter, Natural Flavor, added color.

The Butter Lovers, by stark contrast, contained only 71% popcorn and no actual butter. Instead it contained Palm Oil, salt and natural and artificial flavors as well as some color.

So basically, Butter Lovers has no butter in it and 15% less actual popcorn. One can only draw the conclusion that the oils and flavors make up that additional 15%.

Additionally, the Butter Lovers had 2 grams less protein per 100g than the Light Butter, but over twice the fat. The light butter had 11% fat, the Butter Lovers had 26% fat, half of which was harmful saturated fat. The light option had 75% carbohydrate content, the Butter Lovers had just 62%. Basically 'Butter Lovers' has no business at all being called Butter Lovers and should be called 'Artery Cloggers' instead.

The moral of the story here is that not all snacks, even terrible microwavable snacks, are created remotely equal. It's almost certain that consuming the Light Butter option is better for you, though it is absolutely certain that popping my own would have been even better and next time I just might do that.

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    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Wow. This is an eye-opening expose of microwave popcorn. Sometimes it really is junk food. There are devices that will pop 'raw' popcorn in a microwave with little or no oil and no other additives at all. I have been experimenting with them lately.

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