Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Jul 28, 2003

About Us
Contact Us
Metro Plus Kochi Published on Mondays & Thursdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

Popping up calories


POPCORN AND movies seem to be made for each other, and popcorn is a modern metaphor for all that is shallow, meaningless and fluffy in modern art. . Popcorn is really an accident of nature that was waiting to happen once man harnessed fire. A few varieties of maize, especially the rice and pearl varieties, have kernels with a very hard exterior and a moisture-laden interior. Toasting the maize to twice the boiling point of water causes the moisture to build up into steam powerful enough to burst its way through the tough hull, turning the grain inside out with a popping sound — hence the name "popcorn". The fluffy, burst grain can be nearly 45 times as big as the original seed.

Nutrition wise, the popcorn is plain maize through and through. The fluff and air do not change the fact that 100 gm of rice or pearl maize will still hold 340 calories when turned into popcorn. This is the calorie equivalent of nearly five medium-sized eggs! Maize is deficient in the amino acids tryptophan and lysine, which are essential for the body.

The body cannot manufacture these from other amino acids, and they must be present in the food we eat, so it is a bad idea for dieters to substitute a large bowl of popcorn for a regular balanced meal. A crash diet of popcorn and little else can lead to pellagra, a disease caused by a deficiency of niacin. The dieter's fondness for popcorn is easy to understand but hard to condone. Calming hunger pangs by eating a few handfuls of popcorn between meals may aid weight loss in the short term, but it is also indicative of a bad, unsustainable dieting plan.

An occasional packet at the movies is okay, but a popcorn habit at home is probably neither healthy nor wise.

RAJIV. M

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2003, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu