Popcorn Indiana prides itself on making “delicious popcorn fresh from the heartland.” But just because something is “delicious” and “fresh,” that doesn’t mean it’s actually good for you. So today, let’s take a look at this brand from a nutritional perspective.
Most Popcorn Indiana flavors are not particularly healthy, as they have high amounts of sodium, added sugar, and processed oil. Popcorn itself is a whole grain that satisfies your appetite due to its fiber content, but other brands like Skinny Pop, or homemade popcorn, may be a healthier choice.
However, a lot of the answer depends on which flavors you choose. Below, let’s take apart several Popcorn Indiana flavors and find out exactly how healthy this brand is.
Is Popcorn Indiana Good for You?
Here are the 11 questions I’ll be answering about Popcorn Indiana nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Ingredients Are in Popcorn Indiana?
- Does Popcorn Indiana Contain Healthy Carbs?
- Is Popcorn Indiana Good for Weight Loss?
- Does Popcorn Indiana Contain Sodium?
- Does Popcorn Indiana Popcorn Contain Healthy Fats?
- Is Popcorn Indiana Popcorn a Whole Food?
- Is Popcorn Indiana Popcorn Gluten Free?
- Is Popcorn Indiana Healthier than Skinny Pop?
- Is Popcorn Indiana Healthier than Chips?
- Are Any Popcorn Indiana Flavors Vegan?
- What Are Healthy Alternatives to Popcorn Indiana?
1. What Ingredients Are in Popcorn Indiana?
Let’s breakdown the ingredients in the most popular Indiana Popcorn flavors:
|Movie Theatre Butter||Popcorn, Vegetable Oil (sunflower, safflower, corn and/or canola), clarified butter, sea salt, and natural butter flavor.|
|Himalayan Pink Salt||Popcorn, Vegetable Oil (sunflower, safflower, corn and/or canola), Himalayan Pink Salt.|
|Black & White Fudge Drizzle||Popcorn, Dark Chocolate Flavored Coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, cocoa powder, whole milk powder, soy lecithin, salt]) White Chocolate Flavored Coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, nonfat dairy milk, milk, soy lecithin, salt), Cane Sugar, Vegetable Oil (sunflower, safflower, corn and/or canola), sea salt.|
|Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn||Popcorn, Cane Sugar, Vegetable Oil (sunflower, safflower, corn and/or canola), Sea Salt.|
|White Cheddar||Popcorn, Sunflower and/or Safflower Oil, Cheese Seasoning (whey, reduced lactose whey, cheddar cheese [milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes], maltodextrin, natural cheese flavors, salt, canola oil, natural blue cheese flavor, citric acid, lactic acid)|
Let’s take a look at some notable ingredients in Popcorn Indiana:
- Dairy: Some flavors contain nonfat dairy, whole milk dairy, butter, and milk powder. Some research suggests that dairy can contribute to health issues including acne and brain fog. Recent research even suggests dairy intake doesn’t reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the main reason we’re told to drink milk from a young age. (Himalayan Salt and Sea Salt flavors are dairy-free, though.)
- Salt: Popcorn and salt are best buddies—but too much sodium can contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, kidney problems, mood disorders, and more.
- Processed Oils: In high amounts, some processed oils can cause inflammation and damage cells. They are also high in calories.
Overall, Popcorn Indiana is made with a whole grain—but some flavors have many other high-calorie ingredients that are not necessarily the best for you.
2. Does Popcorn Indiana Contain Healthy Carbs?
Popcorn contains whole grain carbohydrates. Popcorn Indiana combines it with sugar, making it much less healthy. Overall, Popcorn Indiana is not low carb food or appropriate for a ketogenic diet.
Plain, unflavored popcorn is a healthy carbohydrate for most people when eaten in moderation, but many Popcorn Indiana snacks contain sugar, turning it into an unhealthy source of carbs.
Carbohydrates are used by the body to create energy. Carbs aren’t bad for you, and some of the best types are found in whole grains, including popcorn. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating up to 320g of carbs per day. A serving of popcorn only has 30g — only a dent in the daily allowance.
Popcorn is a whole grain that contains a high amount of fiber. Fiber is important for digestion, controlling cholesterol, and healthy weight. Eating enough fiber may even protect against type 2 diabetes and improve mood.
A serving of Popcorn Indiana popcorn only contains around 3g of fiber, so don’t rely on it to keep you regular. But it is a healthy addition to a whole food diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
So far, Popcorn Indiana popcorn is ticking boxes for healthy carbs. There’s one big catch—we have to consider flavorings.
Popcorn Indiana and other brands slather sugar on many of their products. This ups the unhealthy carb content by five-times or more. Two Popcorn Indiana products are sugar-free—Himalayan Pink Salt and Sea Salt. The others are significantly higher in unhealthy carbs.
3. Is Popcorn Indiana Popcorn Good for Weight Loss?
Popcorn Indiana popcorn isn’t a good choice for weight loss. Some flavors are high in calories and the salt content makes it tempting to overindulge.
Calorie-for-calorie, plain popcorn is a diet-friendly choice. It has low density calories—it’s a food that makes you feel full for longer, so you’re less likely to eat too much.
Flavored popcorn is another story. Most Popcorn Indiana flavors contain ingredients with high-density calories. Vegetable oils, sugar, and dairy are the most common. Yep, you got it—eating too many of these can cause weight gain.
Which Popcorn Indiana flavor should you choose to lose weight? The best Popcorn Indiana options for weight loss would be Himalayan Pink Salt and Sea Salt. Stay away from Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn and Fudge Frizzle.
4. Is Popcorn Indiana High in Sodium?
All varieties of Popcorn Indiana popcorn contain salt, with a moderate amount of sodium overall.
Too much sodium affects every part of the body. Heart disease, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, kidney problems, depression, anxiety, strokes, and memory loss have all been linked to high sodium diets.
Most health authorities recommend we eat a maximum of 2,500mg of sodium each day. A serving of Popcorn Indiana popcorn doesn’t come close to that.
But sodium activates appetite receptors, making us more likely to eat more than a single serving. More popcorn, more salt, more sodium.
Here you can see the sodium content in a 3 cup serving of these Popcorn Indiana flavors:
- Movie Theatre Butter: 220mg
- Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn: 135mg
- Himalayan Pink Salt: 220mg
- Classic White Cheddar: 190mg
- Black & White Fudge Drizzle: 85mg
5. Does Popcorn Indiana Contain Healthy Fats?
The oils in Popcorn Indiana popcorn are processed fats. These oils are high in calories and do not contain nearly as much of the fiber or nutrients of whole-food fat sources like nuts or avocados.
And that’s not all. There’s another potential issue, too: At high temperatures, like those used to pop popcorn, these oils can break down and create compounds called free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage cells in the body, leading to inflammation and increased chance of chronic health problems, including heart disease.
So, while Popcorn Indiana does have mostly unsaturated fat, it’s still not particularly healthy fat.
6. Is Popcorn Indiana Popcorn a Whole Food?
Popcorn Indiana popcorn is not a whole food, as it contains processed ingredients such as vegetable oils, sugar, and maltodextrin.
A processed food has been altered from its natural, whole food state. Popcorn itself is a whole grain, but the snack is processed by adding oils, sugar, and other flavorings.
7. Is Popcorn Indiana Popcorn Gluten Free?
Yes, Popcorn Indiana popcorn is gluten free. The company claims that every flavor is free from gluten, and the products are stamped as “certified gluten free,” as well.
8. Is Popcorn Indiana Healthier Than Skinny Pop?
Popcorn Indiana popcorn is not healthier than Skinny Pop popcorn. Skinny Pop flavors generally contain less fat, sodium, calories, and unhealthy additives.
Of course it can be hard to compare two brands that both have various flavors, but the closest race is between Popcorn Indiana’s “Himalayan Salt” flavor and Skinny Pop’s “Original” flavor. So let’s look at those:
|Nutrition Facts||Popcorn Indiana (Himalayan Salt Popcorn)||Skinny Pop (Original Flavor Popcorn)|
While both appear similar, look at the sodium content. The Popcorn Indiana variety has three times the amount in Skinny Pop.
Another difference: Skinny Pop and Popcorn Indiana flavors have similar amounts of fat—but rather than using a blend of vegetable oils, Skinny Pop snacks use sunflower oil alone. This oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It is also a source of Vitamin E.
Overall, for the healthier popcorn option, go for Skinny Pop. Read my full review of Skinny Pop here.
9. Is Popcorn Indiana Healthier Than Chips?
Popcorn Indiana’s Himalayan Pink Salt popcorn is healthier than most plain potato chips. Generally speaking, popcorn has fewer calories and more fiber than chips. This gives you the “full” feeling for longer.
Now let’s see how this Popcorn Indiana flavor compares to Lay’s potato chips specifically:
|Nutrition Facts||Popcorn Indiana (Himalayan Salt Popcorn)||Lay’s Potato Chips|
The most significant difference is the fat and sodium content. Lay’s have 3.4g more saturated fat than Popcorn Indiana. This type of fat is connected to heart disease and obesity.
Things get more tricky when talking about other flavors. For example, compared to Lay’s plain chips, Popcorn Indiana’s Fudge Drizzle flavor would actually be less healthy.
It’s a close race, but Popcorn Indiana’s Himalayan Pink Salt would likely win as the healthier snack choice, when compared to Lay’s classic chips.
10. Are Any Popcorn Indiana Flavors Vegan?
Popcorn Indiana offers some vegan popcorn flavors:
- Himalayan Pink Salt
- Sea Salt
- Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn.
However, these Popcorn Indiana flavors are not vegan:
- Movie Theatre Butter
- Black & White Fudge Drizzle
- White Cheddar
Check for these common non-vegan ingredients in Popcorn Indiana snacks:
- Clarified butter
- Whole milk powder
- Nonfat dairy milk
- Reduced lactose whey
- Cheese cultures
- Natural blue cheese flavor
Do you want warm popcorn that’s also vegan? Check out our guide to vegan microwave popcorn brands here.
11. What Are Healthy Alternatives to Popcorn Indiana?
The healthiest alternatives to Popcorn Indiana are either to buy Skinny Pop or to pop your own popcorn. As discussed above, Skinny Pop is a good choice of popcorn—most flavors have less sodium, fat, and fewer calories than Popcorn Indiana products.
Meanwhile, Smartfood Popcorn is generally worse. The salted products have even more sodium than Popcorn Indiana.
If you are looking for a brand of flavored popcorn with lots of vegan options, try Lesser Evil. Almost all of their flavors are vegan (except for “Oh My Ghee!”).
The healthiest approach is to pop it yourself. Air-popped popcorn naturally contains less fat than commercial products, and you can control the type and amount of toppings, too.
Nutritional yeast is a healthy cheese powder alternative, and there are vegan butter sprays to manage your serving of fat and calories. And because the popcorn is fresh, it tastes even better!
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