We’ve all heard that popcorn is healthy for you and contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, but since it also contains high amounts of fiber, does this mean it can give you stomach problems, including gas?
The simple answer to that question is yes, it can. Let’s take a closer look at both the good and the bad things that popcorn can do to your stomach.
What Is In Popcorn?
Popcorn is a whole grain that is chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and iron. It is also low in fat and calories, with one cup of air-popped popcorn containing only around 30 calories.
For more information on air poppers check our article.
Popcorn has been known to keep you “regular,” but it’s also possible for it to give you gastric distress. If you’ve ever asked yourself, does popcorn make you fart, the answer is an enthusiastic “yes.” Fortunately, there are some things you can do to let you to eat popcorn without suffering from any tummy problems.
Types of Digestive Problems and What to Do About Them
Popcorn has about one gram of fiber per cup, so it’s easy to see how eating popcorn can add a lot of dietary fiber to your diet, which nearly everyone needs to do.
Dietary fiber can also be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the fiber in popcorn promotes digestive activity, which can help keep you regular. On the other hand, if you have certain ailments, it can make stomach pain and diarrhea worse. Some of these conditions include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colitis, diverticulitis, and Crohn’s disease, among others.
If you have any condition that directly affects your digestive tract, you might want to eat popcorn only in moderate amounts. Another tip to remember is that if you decide to suddenly start eating popcorn because you’re looking for ways to add fiber to your diet, you should start out slowly and build up from there.
Too much fiber in a short period of time, especially when this is not something you’re used to, will only make stomach problems worse.
How Does Popcorn Cause Gas and Bloating?
When you eat popcorn, it’s easy to swallow small amounts of air, and in fact this isn’t that uncommon. More often than not, that air goes into your stomach, which causes you to burp and let the gas out that way.
Sometimes, however, some of that air goes into the intestines, where it causes gas, indigestion, stomach pain, and discomfort. When this happens, the air comes out the other end, causing you to fart. This can happen especially if you eat popcorn too fast.
Other features of popcorn can also cause gassiness and bloating, and these include:
- Dairy products. If you use melted butter or cheese with your popcorn, these can cause gastric distress and gas. Any type of dairy product can have this result, which means if you’re lactose-intolerant, you should avoid these ingredients on your popcorn.
- Salt. Even the salt you use on your popcorn can cause stomach problems, especially if you use large amounts of it. Salt significantly increases your intake of sodium, and high amounts of sodium has been known to cause bloating and other stomach issues.
- Oil and sugar based toppings. People top their popcorn with all sorts of things nowadays, and the mole calorific those ingredients are, the bigger the chance of you suffering with any type of bloating and stomach pain. Even if you don’t have stomach issues, just be aware that these can affect how your stomach copes with popcorn.
If you have no digestive issues but simply want to use popcorn as a way to increase your daily fiber intake, just eat a little every day and build up from there.
If you already have digestive issues or conditions, it’s best to eat just small amounts of popcorn and add other types of fiber to your diet, such as whole-grain bread, brown rice, and oatmeal. Regardless of your situation, if you do suffer from any tummy problems or gas, it’s wise to go ahead and cut down on the amount of fiber you’re consuming every day.
What to Do About Gas and Bloating from Eating Popcorn
For most people, the gassiness caused by eating popcorn won’t be that bad. Eating in moderation and listening to your ‘full’ signals will help a lot in keeping gas to a minimum.
A good over-the-counter antacid will usually take care of the problem. But if the condition continues to get worse, you should definitely see a doctor because there could be something else going on that you don’t know about. If you know you already have one of the conditions mentioned earlier, it might be wise not to eat popcorn every single day, and if you do have severe pain from it, you should see your doctor.
Most tummy problems due to the fiber content in popcorn are not that serious and can be eliminated by making a few simple changes. But keep in mind that popcorn is a very nutritious food overall, so even eating it in small amounts is good for you.