May 16, 2008

Popcorn Eaters Get More Whole Grains, Eat Less Meat

People who eat popcorn may be getting more than twice as much daily intake of whole grains and fiber than those who don't eat popcorn, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Researchers found that popcorn eaters have almost a 250 percent higher daily intake of whole grains and a 22 percent higher daily intake of fiber than non-popcorn eaters.

Popcorn has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced heart disease and diabetes risk, Dr. Ann C. Grandjean of The Center for Human Nutrition in Omaha, Nebraska, and her colleagues said.

Data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was used to determine average popcorn consumption among Americans. Popcorn eaters were defined as people who ate any amount of popcorn within the past 24 hours before taking the survey.

Total grain consumption among popcorn eaters was noted at 20.8 percent, while their meat consumption was much lower at 14.9 percent.

Popcorn eaters also got more magnesium and carbohydrates than non-popcorn eaters.

There was no relationship between eating popcorn and heart disease risk factors such as obesity and high cholesterol, the researchers found.

"Popcorn may offer a healthful alternative to energy-dense, low-nutrient-dense snacks, and may have the potential to improve nutrient status in Americans of all ages and help them meet dietary guideline recommendations to consume three whole-grain servings per day," researchers concluded.

Research was funded by ConAgra Foods, Inc.


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