Snackers of the world – rejoice. Two recent studies are telling us Fooducate’s favorite snacks are healthy! Woo hoo!
Research conducted at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania has found that popcorn has more polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) than fruits and vegetables!
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that people who regularly consumed chocolate were skinier than those who did not.
The chocolate research was conducted by scientists at the University of California in San Diego and included about 1000 people. The BMI of those who ate more chocolate was lower than those who ate less, even though they consumed the same amount of calories. The researchers theorize that catechins (again, a certain type of antioxidant) found in chocolate may have some sort of effect on metabolism at a cellular level, but more research is required. The notion that not all calories are equal is certainly compelling food for thought.
But as always, you need to read the fine print. Most chocolate consumed in the US is milk chocolate, not dark. It has significantly less antioxidants than dark chocolate. And it is very high in calories. If you want to consume a bar of chocolate every day and get skinny, you’re in for a let down.
UPDATE: Dr. Yoni Freedhoff rips the chocolate study to shreds in his review of the research.
As for popcorn: Most popcorn being sold in supermarkets today is prepackaged with butter / oils and artificial ingredients that turn it into a nutrition nightmare. Plain popcorn rocks and is cheap to buy. Here’s a simple microwave recipe, courtesy of registered dietitian Joy Bauer:
Simply pour 3 to 4 tablespoons plain kernels into a brown paper lunch bag, fold over the top of the bag twice to seal it closed, and microwave for about 2 minutes, or until the popping slows to a few seconds between pops. (Cook time will vary from depending upon the microwave, so it may take you a few tries to figure out the perfect pop time for your unit.)
After the corn is popped – most people find it too bland to enjoy. Here is where you need to get creative:
- Lightly sprinkle it with pepper flakes, paprika, or any other hot spice.
- Use a mister to spray it with high quality olive oil and some sea salt
- Or grate some dark chocolate on top (just like parmesan cheese)