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Does Popcorn Cause Constipation?

by
author image A.G. Moody
A.G. Moody is a multiple award-winning journalist who has been writing professionally since 2000. He has covered everything from business to health issues. His work has appeared in the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" and numerous other newspapers and magazines. Moody earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Eastern Washington University.
Does Popcorn Cause Constipation?
A child's hand reaches into a bowl of popcorn. Photo Credit Benjamin O\'Neal/iStock/Getty Images

Somehow over the years, popcorn has been linked to constipation by a number of people. But a good look at the dietary information of popcorn will show that it actually contains a decent amount of fiber and is often recommended as a food for people who are constipated.

Fiber

The importance of fiber in a diet has been well established by nearly all of the leading health organizations. A diet high in fiber helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems, decreases bad cholesterol, may prevent type 2 diabetes and also helps to regulate bowel movements. A high-fiber diet is often recommended for those who have constipation.

Fiber intake is much lower than recommended among Americans. Men under the age of 50 should 38 grams of fiber daily, while women under 50 should get 25 grams daily. For men over 50, the suggested intake is 30 grams, while the intake for women over 50 is 21 grams. But according to the American Heart Association, the average intake by adults in the United States is just 15 grams.

Fiber and Weight Loss

A diet high in fiber can help overweight people to slim down, as fiber tends to make a person feel full for a longer period of time after eating, and promotes regular bowel movements.

Popcorn and Fiber

While vegetables, beans, fruits and bran items are well-known for containing fiber, popcorn contains a decent amount of fiber, as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, three cups of air-popped popcorn contains 3.6 grams of fiber, which is roughly the same amount of fiber found in one cup of cooked brown rice or a cup of cooked oatmeal.

Types

Grocery stores carry several different types of popcorn. A popcorn containing little or no butter is healthier than one with butter, as it will contain fewer calories and less fat.

Start Slowly

If you're increasing the fiber in your diet, it doesn't hurt to start slowly and progressively add fiber over a time period of several weeks. This will give your body a chance to adjust to the higher fiber intake.

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