If you are someone with gluten intolerance, and you love popcorn, the question ‘is popcorn gluten-free’ may have crossed your mind. Movie nights are never complete without a big bucket of popcorn. So, if you want to know whether you can eat all the popcorn you want without any trouble, we got everything you need to know about popcorn and gluten right here.
What is Gluten
Gluten is the part of the flour that gives it its stretchy, elastic quality. If you have ever made pizza dough, you probably noticed the dough getting softer and elastic as you continue to knead it. After kneading a while if you poke the dough, you can see it bounce back. That is the action of gluten for you.
Not all cereal grains contain gluten. You can find gluten in the flour made out of barley, wheat, oats, and rye. It gives foods like pizza and pasta the lovely chewy quality that so many people love. But apart from making our bread better to eat, there are no conclusive positive effects to the body from consuming gluten.
Who Can’t Consume Gluten
While the positive effects of gluten are still quite inconclusive, the negative effects of consuming gluten can be seen in a large number of people. Some of the diseases that get triggered and cause unpleasant reactions in the body are mentioned below.
About 1-2% of the whole world’s population is affected by the celiac disease which causes problems like stomach pain, diarrhea, skin rash, fatigue, etc. to name a few. The condition is aggravated by eating food containing gluten which causes inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine. If left untreated, it may lead to the development of some kinds of cancer.
Although you don’t have celiac disease, you may still feel your stomach getting all gassed up and your body and mind tired from fatigue when you eat gluten if you have NCGS or Nonceliac gluten sensitivity. As for people with wheat allergy, the immune system considers gluten as a foreign or unwanted object and triggers allergic reactions like runny nose, watery eyes, increased heartbeat, and swelling of the tongue, and in rare cases anaphylaxis.
The common denominator in all of these conditions is the consumption of gluten. As long as the patient follows a gluten-free diet, they can live a pretty healthy life. Because of these reasons, the gluten-free diet has been a very popular trend lately.
Is Popcorn Gluten Free
To determine whether popcorn is gluten-free or not, we need to evaluate its ingredients. Popcorn is made out of corn kernels, butter, and salt. Corn is completely gluten-free, and so is butter and salt. Cereals containing gluten namely wheat, barley, and rye are not used in making popcorn. Hence popcorn should be gluten-free and safe to consume for people with gluten-related diseases.
That said, not every packet of popcorn you may find on the shelves of your supermarket is necessarily gluten-free. Some brands may use flavor enhancers like food starch to make the popcorn more palatable, which may contain gluten.
There are also a wide variety of popcorn brands on the market that sells various flavors including jalapeno flavored, sweet cinnamon flavored, caramel-flavored, onion and garlic flavored, etc. Some of the spices included in these popcorn flavors may contain gluten.
How to make sure if the Popcorn you are about to eat is gluten-free
The best way to make sure if the popcorn you are eating is gluten-free or not is to make it yourself from scratch. That way you will be aware of every ingredient that is used to make your popcorn. There are a lot of recipes on the internet that can help you learn how to make popcorn on your own.
If making popcorn from scratch sounds too exhausting and time-consuming for you, there is another simple solution to know if the popcorn you are about to buy is gluten-free. Just check the ingredients section of the label of the popcorn packet you are about to buy. If the listed ingredients are familiar and you know that they do not have the chance to contain gluten, you are free to buy it.
Some popcorn brands also clearly indicate on their packet that their product is gluten-free. Some such brands are Black Jewell popcorn, Act 2 popcorn, Jiffy Pop, Jolly Time, etc. to name a few. Safe to say that you can consume popcorns made by these brands without worrying about getting sick.
Popcorn is the favorite snack of many not only because of its melt in mouth buttery taste but also because it is a healthier alternative to fried snack food like chips. So, when you finish entire buckets of popcorn in the middle of the night because you spent all day fasting, at least you can tell yourself that you are cheating with a healthier option. Any by following the precautions we listed, you will be able to make sure that your diet stays gluten-free even when you are munching on a handful of this delicious snack.