Have you ever wondered: is popcorn gluten free? This article explores gluten in the diet, the gluten-free craze and if you need to pay attention to omitting gluten from your diet.
If you have ever Googled diets and typed in ‘gluten free diet’, then you are part of the vast majority of people interested in this trending diet. There’s a huge push to find things that will appease your gut and lucky for you, popcorn is gut-friendly.
However, it’s hard these days to miss the gluten-free craze that is dominating food advertising and marketing. It’s also hard not to wonder a little more about it. What is gluten? Why are people needing gluten free foods? Where once we had labels calling out low fat or fat free we now see the addition of gluten free.
What is gluten?
Gluten is the now infamous plant protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is essentially the glue that holds the food together to maintain shape. Most breads, pastas and cereals have gluten in them. Other foods, like sauces, gravies and beer also contain gluten.
Why do people need a gluten free diet?
This is a great question. The main reason for the gluten-free trend began over a very serious, gastrointestinal disease called celiac disease. People with celiac disease have an immune reaction to eating gluten that destroys the lining in the gut.
For people with celiac disease, avoiding gluten is medically necessary.
Somehow we’ve now jumped from a disease to an intolerance. As much as 30% of the U.S. population reports having a non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).
What is gluten intolerance (NCGS)?
People claiming to have a gluten intolerance have a non-medical, sensitivity to gluten. These people report feeling bloated, constipated and having other GI issues after eating gluten laced foods. However, there is no way to medically test these individuals for this sensitivity.
How do you know if you have NCGS?
While some people might say the proof is in the (gluten free) pudding, there’s no scientific evidence to back up any of those claims. Science has been unable to connect the link between gluten and the symptoms of sensitivity to it. There’s even some evidence that fructan, not gluten, might be the actual culprit. Another cause might be lectins in the diet.
Can you feel better by eating gluten free?
When someone removes gluten from their diet, they are also likely removing a large amount of carbohydrates. It would stand to reason that by removing gluten, they feel better. However, as stated above, there is still not a direct link between the two.
Additionally, it is possible that some people who feel as though they suffer from NCGS are actually experiencing early symptoms of celiac disease or are allergic to wheat.
Is there harm in going gluten free?
The short answer is yes. Increased metabolic syndrome and deficiencies in things like folate, thiamine and iron have all been reported when people without celiac disease switch to a gluten-free diet.
The second part is that many of the gluten-free replicated foods are less nutritious. Many lack fiber and can make your diet even less healthy. It is possible to reduce the amount of gluten in your diet and maintain a good balance to achieve the desired effects.
Is gluten bad for you?
However, keep in mind that there really is nothing wrong with gluten. “People need to know that gluten is not inherently bad. There’s nothing about it that results in poor health or disease. It’s something that our bodies can metabolize without any problems for the most part,” said Lisa Cimperman, M.S., R.D., L.D., and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The last thing is that if you are buying foods labeled gluten free, you are likely spending a pretty penny. If gluten truly is not the culprit, then you do not need to go broke trying.
What about popcorn and gluten?
Now let’s talk about something fun. Popcorn! Popcorn is naturally gluten-free. What a relief, right? Whether you have celiac disease or you believe you do have a sensitivity to gluten, popcorn can absolutely remain in the picture for you. Popcorn will not wreak havoc on your gut.
Keep in mind that many toppings and other ingredients can be added, but there’s no reason to throw out the popcorn bowl. Explore the variations and creations that make our popcorn such a fun and exciting snack food.
The vast majority of popcorn we make in our store is naturally gluten-free. Exceptions to this are when we add a product or ingredient that does contain gluten. Our popcorn flavors that contain gluten are our Beer Cheddar, Puppy Chow (pretzels) and Cookies N Cream (Oreo cookies). Our seasonal flavors that contain gluten are: Pumpkin Pie (graham cracker crumbs), Pumpkin Cheesecake (graham cracker crumbs), Apple Pie (graham cracker crumbs), Cupid’s Crunch (pretzels), Smores (graham crackers), and Bunny Bait (pretzels).
Is popcorn gluten free? It is! We hope we’ve shed some light on the subject. Popcorn is gluten free and a healthy snack option. And as for gluten in the diet, the main point here is that gluten is not inherently bad for you. For healthy people, following a well-rounded diet with a wide variety of protein, fruits, veggies, fiber, and grains is what we should be shooting for.
Gluten has been marketed in such a way that people truly believe it is best left out of the diet, and that claim has zero proof and could lead to other dietary problems. Keep in mind that many copycat foods that take gluten out of the ingredients still may not be healthy for you. Having celiac disease is a real and serious disease that requires a specific diet. A gluten sensitivity still cannot be medically diagnosed (as of the date of this post).
The greatest news of all though is that regardless of intolerance or disease, you can still enjoy a large bowl of freshly popped popcorn, anytime. So what are you waiting for? Shop for your favorite popcorn now!