Is It Bad To Eat Popcorn Kernels? Find Out Here

Popcorn is a healthy snack with lots of benefits. Its kernels are whole grains that are rich in fiber, full of antioxidants, and low in calories. Relishing a bowl of hot popcorn can be a blissful experience but is it okay to eat those unpopped kernels?

Unpopped kernels are really hard and eating them can cause your teeth to crack and break. It’s best to refrain from eating them especially if you don’t want to risk spending so much on crowning cracked teeth.

Read along as I discuss why you shouldn’t eat popcorn kernels, the health benefits, and more in this article.

Are popcorns healthy?

Popcorn can be either healthy or unhealthy. It depends heavily on the amount and type of oil ingredients used in making them.

Most of the popcorn made in movie cinemas contains unhealthy oils, food dyes, artificial butter, and so much salt. Research shows that a medium-sized movie theater popcorn can contain as much as 1000 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat.

Microwave popcorn also includes artificial coloring, flavor, oil, and preservatives which makes them unhealthy for consumption.

The safest variety is the stove-top and air-popped popcorn. It’s made with fresh, natural kernels which are whole grain. Whole grains are full of nutrients because their bran and germ are not removed.

A big-sized stove-top or air-popped popcorn contains only about 31 calories and less than 2 milligrams of sodium. The process of making them requires little oil and you can substitute cinnamon or coconut oil for vegetable oil in your recipe as they provide healthy fat for the body.

Moreso, you can decide to eat it directly without seasoning. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add a little salt to taste or even go further to top with dried dill, onion powder, grated lemon, etc.

There’s really no boundary to popcorn recipes as long as the ingredients are beneficial to your health.

SEE: Can You Eat Expired Popcorn

Is eating popcorn kernels bad for your health?

Popcorn kernels itself is an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants, are low in fat, and are sugar-free. So, eating them isn’t risky to your health. It will simply pass through your body and come out as poop.

However, if you have diverticulitis or issues with your GI tract, it’s best to avoid eating popcorn because it takes longer to digest.

Furthermore, unpopped popcorn kernels can crack and break your teeth especially if you eat a lot of them. It’s also impossible to eat popcorn without having some stuck in your teeth and this creates lactic acid in your mouth.

While it’s possible to take out the tiny husk that sticks to your teeth by flossing, there may be stubborn residuals that can cause infection or abscess.

To reduce the risk of popcorn causing some harm to your teeth, make sure to floss healthy until you take out all the husk hanging in your teeth. Also, pick your tooth immediately with a toothpick and rinse with water often.

Be careful when feeding popcorn to kids also. Children below the age of 5 risks choking from popcorn. Since they have milk teeth, they shouldn’t be allowed to eat unpopped kernels to avoid broken or cracked teeth.

What’s most risky is swallowing unpopped kernels as it can cause stomach bezoar which may or may not need surgery to take out, depending on the size of the kernel.

SEE: Does Popcorn Go Bad Eventually

Does popcorn digest easily?

Popcorn kernels are surrounded by a pericarp, a tough outer shell that makes them pop. The pericarp contains germs that are adjacent to the endosperm.

The endosperm contains trapped water as well as soft and hard starch granules which serve as food when the germs sprout. The endosperm is that part of popcorn that is digestible while the pericarp or external skin isn’t digestible.

This is because it contains cellulose which the human body lacks the bacteria to digest. Instead, we excrete the pericarp as poop out of the body.

SEE: How Many Minutes Do You Put Popcorn In The Microwave

Health benefits of eating popcorn kernels

Below are the nutritional benefits of popcorn:

1. Unprocessed food

Popcorn kernels are unprocessed whole grains. They have their bran and germ intact and retain so many nutrients compared to refined grains.

Like oats, rice, wheat, and barley, popcorn kernels contain a high level of fiber, as well as protein, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats which makes it safe for everyone including diabetics.

2. Aid metabolism and reduces constipation

Eating more dietary fiber helps to promote regular bowel movements. It helps to weigh and size up your stool as well as soften it so it’s easy to pass. This way there’s less risk of constipation.

Since fiber absorbs water and stool size and weight, it also helps to solidify loose, watery stools.

3. Controlling blood sugar

Food with high fiber is highly recommended for those with diabetes. Popcorn contains 13 grams of dietary fiber.

Fiber is slow to digest. This way it reduces the absorption of sugar and insulin conversion which helps to regulate the blood sugar level.

4. Protein and vitamin source

Popcorn contains a high amount of protein which aids blood clotting, fluid balance, immune response, and so much more. The protein content in popcorn is over 3 grams in a serving.

Popcorn also has minerals and vitamins like calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin K. This help to improve bone and eye health.

5. Weight loss

Stovetop or air-popped popcorns have less fat, sugar, and calories. Coupled with their high fiber content, they are an excellent food choice for those who want to shed some weight.

Apart from regular physical exercises, people who are seeking to lose weight need to cut the calories they consume daily as part of their dieting.

You can include popcorn in your diet as a whole grain option. However, settle for unsalted or reasonably salted, unsweetened popcorn as salted and seasoned popcorn can cause weight gain.

More importantly, do not eat microwave popcorn or movie theater popcorn if you’re watching your weight because they contain unhealthy oil, fat, sugar, color, and flavor.

SEE: How You Can Put Butter on Popcorn Without Making It Soggy


Is it bad to eat popcorn every day?

Eating popcorn frequently can harm your teeth, especially if you love to crack unpopped kernels.

Why is popcorn in your poop?

It’s not strange to find popcorn kernels in your poop because its pericarp contains cellulose that our body cannot break down.

How long does it take to digest popcorn kernels?

If your bowels function properly, it takes between 24 to 36 hours for popcorn kernels to complete the digestive phase in our system.

SEE: Is Corn A Nut Or Seed?


There are a lot of benefits derived from eating popcorn. It’s a snack that is low on calories and sugar, but rich in fiber. But even at that, it’s not advisable to eat popcorn kernels because they can crack or break your teeth.

Popcorn also sticks to the teeth and failing to clean them out can cause infection and abscess. To avoid any infection, ensure that you floss properly, rinse your mouth with water, and use a toothpick to take out the tiny bit of popcorn stuck in your teeth.

Additionally, don’t be surprised to see pieces of the kernel in your poop. Popcorn’s external body is an insoluble fiber with cellulose that is not digestible for humans.

That said, you should consider reading the articles on if quinoa goes bad.

I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.