Dr. Lee, the Healthy Professor

Polyphenols in Popcorn Study

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On March 25th 2012 the warm fuzzy media world bubbled with headlines like: "Popcorn: The snack with even higher antioxidants levels than fruits", "Antioxidants In Popcorn: Study Finds Polyphenols In Corn's Kernels", "Popcorn Packed With Polyphenols, More Than Fruit And Veggies "Popcorn is good for you, say scientists".


Study: More Antioxidants in Popcorn Than in Some Fruits and Vegetables


On March 25th 2012 the warm fuzzy media world bubbled with headlines like: "Popcorn: The snack with even higher antioxidants levels than fruits", "Antioxidants In Popcorn: Study Finds Polyphenols In Corn's Kernels", "Popcorn Packed With Polyphenols, More Than Fruit And Veggies", "Popcorn is good for you, say scientists".

All this attention came from the presentation of a paper by Dr. Joe Vinson (a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton) at the American Chemical Society meeting on Sunday in San Diego.

Naturally this is a very popular item among popcorn lovers and the industry.

As one who subscribes to the practice of "critically reviewing the literature" (the first step in conducting research) I naturally have to insert some words of caution before you go gobbing down great big bowls of the fluffy confection.

This was a study orally presented at an annual meeting. It is not a peer review published article.
  1. The reported polyphenol levels ranged from 242-363 milligrams per one-ounce serving. ( for frame of reference 1 oz = 3 cups = 110 Calories.)
  2. This was "air popped" popcorn.
  3. Most of the polyphenols -- about 90% -- were in the hull
  4. The popcorn snack was touted as a high fibre but once again, like the polyphenols, most of the fibre is in the hulls and according to USDA database 1 cup of air-popped popcorn = only 1.2 gm fibre. But 1 slice of sprouted wheat bread is also 110 Calories but has 5 gm of fibre.
  5. Dr. Vinson even cautioned that without conducting experiments using human subjects, it’s impossible to know how much of the antioxidant we absorb on its way out.
  6. Popcorn has a high glycmic index of 65 which means it will raise blood sugar quickly contributing to insulin disasters.
  7. Dr. Barry Sears (a big advocate of polyphenols for their antioxidant capabilities and contributions to anti-inflammatory reactions) response to my request for a reaction to the study was; "Polyphenols are colored, is popcorn naturally colored? Plus, popcorn’s high glycemic index would be enough to negate any potential polyphenol benefit. Besides, who would consume popcorn without lots of butter and salt?" I concur.
I believe it’s much healthier to consume lots of colorful non starchy vegetables and selected fruits, particularly berries and red grapes, plus, supplement with a high quality polyphenol product that contains a wide spectrum of polyphenols.

Further Information


Resveratrol Explained

A proprietary phytonutrient blend

Vivix Antioxidant solution


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