Who doesn’t love a bowl of popcorn, especially when watching a movie?
Well, if you experience bloating or gas after eating popcorn, you might regret eating it.
Let me assure you that you are not alone.
Several people experience bloating after eating popcorn.
And, as a Registered Dietitian, I am here to explain why this might be happening so that you can come up with a solution.
The main reason popcorn makes you gassy and bloated is its high insoluble fiber content. Once that fiber reaches your intestines, the gut ferments it and creates gas as a by-product. This can be uncomfortable if you’re not used to eating fiber. The symptoms can be worse if you suffer from IBS or Chron’s disease.
There are several other reasons why you might get gassy and bloated from popcorn.
In this article, I’ll go over all the possible scenarios and how to avoid them.
Why Does Popcorn Make You Gassy and Bloated? (3 Reasons)
1. It Is High in Insoluble Fiber
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber creates a gel-like component that makes things go smoother when you go to the bathroom.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber is the one the body cannot digest and gives your stool some volume.
Since the body cannot digest insoluble fiber, it reaches the intestines almost intact. This allows the gut microbiome to use the fiber as food, creating gas as a by-product.
One cup of popcorn has 1.2 g of fiber, representing almost 5% of the daily recommended value for fiber.
While this doesn’t sound like a lot, let’s face it, nobody eats only one cup of popcorn.
In fact, one small bag of popcorn has roughly 3-5 cups of popcorn.
This means the small bag of popcorn offers 5 g of fiber (20% of the daily recommended value of fiber).
For someone not used to consuming that much fiber, it can increase the risk of digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.
2. The Toppings Cause Digestive Distress
Popcorn on its own is a food low in FODMAPs.
FODMAPs are fermentable carbs that can create digestive problems (like bloating and gas) once they reach the intestines. These foods greatly affect people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
So, while the popcorn is low in FODMAPs, the method you use to make it can cause you to feel bloated and gassy.
Research shows that adding butter or oils can increase the fat content in popcorn, increasing the risk of bloating and gas for people with IBS.
In addition, some additives, such as high fructose corn syrup, onion powder, garlic powder, sweeteners, and other additives (like coloring, preservatives, and flavor enhancements), are high in FODMAPs, which can cause bloating and gas.
For that reason, make sure to check the nutrition label whenever you buy store-bought popcorn.
Avoid butter, cheddar toppings, or the ingredients listed above since they might increase the risk of bloating and gas.
3. You Eat Too Fast
Finally, the reason you might get gassy and bloated might have nothing to do with popcorn but with your eating habits.
When you eat fast, you swallow more air, which can increase the symptoms of being gassy and bloated.
So, before you point the finger at any food, analyze how fast you eat.
Ways To Avoid Gas and Bloating When Eating Popcorn
1. Include Popcorn in Small Quantities
If you are not used to consuming too much fiber and want to avoid getting gassy and bloated from popcorn, the best thing you can do is to eat small portions.
Start with only one or two cups and slowly increase the quantity until you find an acceptable amount that won’t cause any symptoms.
2. Change the Preparation
For those that suffer from being gassy and bloated because of popcorn’s high-fat content, the best thing you can do is to have air-popped popcorn instead of microwaved popcorn.
Microwaved popcorn tends to be high in fat due to the added butter or oils. When you make air-popped popcorn, you control how much fat you add.
Start with small portions of fat (one teaspoon) and check for any reactions. If you want to add more, you can increase the fat one teaspoon at a time until you get the desired amount.
3. Avoid Certain Toppings
As we saw earlier, one of the reasons you might experience bloating and gas can be due to the toppings or seasonings you use.
First, if you buy store-bought popcorn, check the ingredients for any possible ones that might cause you to get gassy and bloated.
The best thing you can do is make homemade popcorn and spice it up with your desired flavors. You can use natural herbs and spices, which are less likely to cause any symptoms.
Also, you can use sugar, cinnamon, or dark chocolate to have a sweet version.
4. Slow Down Your Eating
If you get gassy and bloated due to your eating habits, the best thing you can do is slow down your eating.
I know this might be challenging since most people don’t realize they are eating fast.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you eat popcorn more slowly.
- Time yourself. Start a stopwatch and check how many minutes you take to eat. For the following meal time, place a timer with the amount of time it took you to eat plus one minute. Keep repeating this until it takes 20-30 minutes to eat your meal.
- Eat with your non-dominant hand. This practice makes eating more challenging, allowing you to eat more slowly.
5. Remove Popcorn Altogether
Finally, if you have tried all the options above but are still getting gassy and bloated, it’s best to avoid popcorn altogether.
If you are looking to snack on something that won’t cause your symptoms to flare up, here is a list of low-FODMAP snacks that are a great alternative to popcorn.
- Kale chips
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Nuts (Brazil nuts, pecans, peanuts, and chestnuts)
How To Reduce Gas and Bloating After Eating Popcorn
What happens if you already ate popcorn and are starting to feel that bloating creeping in?
There are some natural remedies that can help reduce any bloating symptoms after you consume popcorn.
Peppermint tea can help reduce IBS symptoms by 40%. So, drinking a hot cup of peppermint tea after eating popcorn can significantly reduce bloating and gas.
Another great food to add that helps reduce the symptoms of bloating and gas is ginger. Research shows that ginger can help speed up the transit in the intestines, allowing for better digestion.
Finally, some yoga poses can help remove some of the bloating. Child’s pose or happy baby pose might help you out!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Popcorn Hard On Your Digestive System?
Yes, popcorn can be hard on the digestive system due to its high fiber content. One small bag of popcorn has roughly 10 to 12 g of fiber, representing 40 to 48% of the daily recommended value. While fiber is good for the body, it can cause gas and bloating for those not used to foods high in fiber.
Does Popcorn Cause Stomach Bloating?
Yes, due to its high fiber content, popcorn might cause bloating. Also, adding butter and fats can make popcorn harder to digest, which can cause bloating.
Other Foods That Can Make You Gassy & Bloated
- Eggs Make Me Gassy & Bloated
- Nuts Make Me Gassy & Bloated
- Coffee Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
- Broccoli Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
- Oatmeal Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
- Garlic Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
- Salad Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
About The Author
Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist. In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.