Doctor's Note

My previous video on the topic is Is Artificial Butter Flavor Harmful?What about food dyes? Are Artificial Colors Bad for You? The next video I have coming out is Artificial Food Colors and ADHD.What else can we do to protect our lungs? Meat safety is another example of regulatory breakdown. See, for example, Drug Residues in Meat, Deadly But Not Illegal and Past the Age of Miracles.Anyone have any good recipes for making air-popped popcorn delicious? I spritz with some apple cider vinegar and sprinkle on chlorella and nutritional yeast.For more context, check out my associated blog post: Avoid Butter-Flavored Microwave Popcorn.If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.
  • Tobias Brown

    Nutritional yeast and a bit of tamari or soy sauce offers a great way to flavor pop-corn, which by the way pops just as well in a pot without oil as with oil. Just try it but don’t forget to shake the pot so the corn doesn’t burn.

    • Skylady

      After reading the book by Dr. Russell Blaylock called EXCITOTOXINS, we no longer use nutritional yeast or soy sauce. They contain free glutamic acid, which acts on the brain the same way MSG does–destroys neurons slowly and cumulatively over a lifetime. Very informative book. I wonder if tamari sauce has the same problems? I would think so. It is SO difficult to avoid dangerous food these days.

      • vicki

        Glutamic acid is an amino acid present in practically all proteins (plant-based whole-food sources included). Free glutamate is the ion of a salt of this acid – which changes form readily both in living cells and out of them depending on local chemical conditions. Soy sauce and tamari (and other “umami” foods = glutamate-containing) have been produced and enjoyed for many generations in Asian cultures with no evidence of adverse effects. And in fact, the glutamate consumed with these products makes a very small contribution to the amount present in the human body. There is no credible scientific evidence for harmful effects of any of the food additives containing glutamate as a food enhancer or component (including Aspartame and pure MSG powder). Unfortunately the web is dominated by pseudoscience and hysteria on the topic of glutamate but here’s something sensible, if you’re interested: http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/msg-myth-versus-science/

        • Skylady

          Yes, many plants have glutamic acid–but the way I understand it, it is part of an amino acid chain that is slowly broken down by our digestive system. Manufactured food with MSG has already broken it down, and it is therefore absorbed in large quantities too rapidly. Soy sauce made in this country is in no way similar to the time-honored way it was made in Asia for centuries. “Hydrolyzed protein” in my veggie burgers? How many know the ingredients are boiled in acid for hours and then bathed in lye to neutralize the pH? We will continue to avoid manufactured “food” such as this and use organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains and dried beans, raw nuts and seeds. I do not trust the corporate profit motive, but I do trust myself. You are right that the web has opinions on both sides, but we recognize those whose interests lie with the manufacturers of this “food”–all in the name of profits. I will buy unprocessed organic non-GMO real food the way it came out of the ground and make our own food from scratch. I am the shopper, menu-planner and cook for the family I love. The extra time I spend not opening a jar or can of ingredients of questionable quality is an expression of my caring for them. If I have judged wrongly, better that my error is on the side of safety.

          • http://www.SexyInYour60s.com/ Joan Bunney

            You are right on Skylady. My Paleo food program told me to rid my Kitchen/pantry of all chemicals including soya. I now use Raw Coconut Aminos a soy-free seasoning sauce. Coconut Secret brand/Whole Foods. 100% organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, Non GMO. I also make my own mayonnaise, Ghee, all sauces and read every label of everything that I purchase. Like Skylady I cook everything because I know exactly what is going into my body. I insist on nutrient-dense, clean food.
            Born in 1945 I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. I take no pharma, allow no invasive procedures, chemicals, toxic food in or on my body.

            People are addicted to the processed, altered food chain. The food companies hire scientists, pay them exorbitant amount of money to addict you to the food.
            More people are pre-diabetic than diabetic. This health epidemic is just beginning.
            Until people educate themselves about food, their body, the correlation to dis-ease and dying, demand changes, the horror of it all will continue.

          • Real World Vegan

            this is the first ive heard of coconut aminos. what does it taste like? can i find it at whole foods or do i need to go online?

          • http://www.SexyInYour60s.com/ Joan Bunney

            I got mine at Whole Foods, in the soya section. I also like to prepare Asian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese dishes that call for Fish Sauce. Commercial Fish Sauce like commercial soya is filled with chemicals, made from GMO’s. Now I use Red Boat Fish Sauce, made in Vietnam. It’s excellent and Paleo approved. Whole Food carries that too. ;->

          • http://www.SexyInYour60s.com/ Joan Bunney

            It tastes like soya only better.

  • standifer

    I thought they stopped using d-acetyl in popcorn a few years ago. Am I mistaken?

    • Iggy Dalrymple

      It hasn’t been in microwave popcorn since 2007.

  • Dan Lundeen

    The seeds are trying to kill us!
    –The Jaminets, Perfect Health Diet

    • albert

      What Does That Mean?????

      • Dan Lundeen

        Inside joke, the paleos are always saying don’t eat grains or seeds or legumes of any kind because they are constantly evolving to keep us from eating them.

        • Real World Vegan

          precisely. the fruits of plants evolved to draw an animal to eat them and the undigested seeds are scattered via fecal matter. the hulls of the seeds are indigestible for a reason. the natural toxins are there for a reason. plants evolved this mechanism to spread their offspring. eating the fruits and leaves makes sense, eating the seeds doesnt.

          • Dan Lundeen

            I am not a botanist but: Not universally true, in fact perhaps the exception not rule. Flax, chia, savi, peanuts, tree nuts, cashews, sunflowers, beans, peas, garbanzos, coconuts, sesame, squash, grasses/grains, buckwheat, etc. all have that phyto-woo in them of course. Other plants have poisonous fruits and/or leaves. There’s no reason to evolution it is a totally random product of the environment there is no intelligent design guiding it. Edible seeds can still be a viable propagation mechanism if they are not all eaten or digested.

          • Real World Vegan

            bottom line, plants, just like all other living beings, evolved mechanisms to keep their offspring alive. it has nothing to do with intelligent design, it is survival of the fittest. when a plant poisons the critter that eats its offspring, the critter stops eating it. and tho i agree that the mechanism allows for some of the seeds to end up broken down, it depends on most staying intact and even on the fermentation process in an animals gut. of all the plant foods we can possibly eat there is nothing more potentially toxic than the plants seeds.

          • Dan Lundeen

            But this hypothesis does not support the exception fallacy, i.e., the paleoism that all seeds should be universally avoided or its ‘logical’ corollary that animals are safe to eat.

          • Real World Vegan

            spell it out dude.

          • Dan Lundeen

            No worries, man.

          • Real World Vegan

            cool. think youll be doing that soon?

          • Dan Lundeen

            Couple of days ago, son. You’re welcome.

          • Real World Vegan

            is this a game you play mr lundeen? i asked you to spell out your meaning here-

            ‘But this hypothesis does not support the exception fallacy, i.e., the paleoism that all seeds should be universally avoided or its ‘logical’ corollary that animals are safe to eat.’

            if that was just a bit of trollish snark im actually ok with that, but if you were making a point, i dont understand it and was asking you to clarify.

          • Paleo Huntress

            A clever remark is wasted on someone who doesn’t understand it. If you’ll take the time to snark, why not also take the time to explain?

        • http://www.SexyInYour60s.com/ Joan Bunney

          I’ve not had any wheat , seeds, grains, rice, legumes,white potatoes in my body for three months. The wheat of today is far different than the wheat of my era (born in the 40s). Since beginning Paleo three months ago I’ve lost 19 pounds, 12.5 inches, but most importantly I’ve never felt better, had more energy, been healthier. Paleo is no joke.

          • Real World Vegan

            true that, paleo is no joke. it makes perfect sense that you feel better even if the snark brigade tries to discredit your experience.

          • http://www.SexyInYour60s.com/ Joan Bunney

            No one can discredit my experience via clean food, good health, happy body, clear mind. I’ve lived too long, know too much, applied the information, to pay attention to the naysayers.

  • Wegan

    Is it safe to go to the movies?

    • http://www.SexyInYour60s.com/ Joan Bunney

      I ditched my microwave over a decade ago, and no, it’s not safe to eat movie theater food. The popcorn is full of GMO corn, the “butter” infused in chemicals, isn’t butter, the rest is sugar in every form imaginable. Buyer/consumer beware. Your body hates this stuff.

  • Southlander

    My bride and I ditched the microwave popcorn well over a year ago. We now pop our own in a lunch bag punctured once with a table fork: 1/4 cup popcorn, secure the top tightly by double folding. Into the microwave for the 3 ounce setting. Must pay careful attention. When the popping slows to 1 or 2 pops per second – STOP. Burnt popcorn is awful. Season with melted butter; garlic or nutritional yeast. Experiment. Don and I CAN! :-))

    • HereHere

      The instruction manual for my microwave says that paper bags should not be used in it. I stick to my hot air popper.

    • http://www.SexyInYour60s.com/ Joan Bunney

      Or use organic popcorn, do it the old fashioned way in a heavy stainless steel pot/lid on the stove top. Use organic coconut oil instead of chemically enhanced vegetable oil to cook the popcorn. Melt more coconut oil mixed with ghee if you want a more buttery flavor and season with pink Himalayan salt. Delicious AND healthy.

  • Darryl

    Phosgene is rather easy to synthesize, and is consistent with the symptoms observed in recent chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

    Thank you Dr. G for highlighting this parallel. I don’t presently have any microwave popcorn in the cupboard, but I presume diacetyl is also the butter flavor in vegan margarines. Today’s project is investigating adverse effects from diacetyl from non-popcorn sources.

  • Brie

    I guess this includes organic microwavable popcorn?

  • Chrissy

    You can also pop plain popcorn in the microwave using a plain brown lunch-sized bag – just fold the bag closed and it works great, and uses so much less packaging than store-bought microwave popcorn. (I haven’t found it necessary to poke a hole in the bag with a fork.)
    I like adding some nutritional yeast or cinnamon into the bag before popping – it sticks better than if you sprinkle it on the popped popcorn after cooking.
    On a related note, does anyone know why some plain popcorn calories vary so much in calories? I’ve seen some listed as 120 calories per 1/4 cup, and some up to 180 calories per 1/4 cup.
    And this question is especially for Dr. Greger – how crucial is it to buy organic, non-GMO popcorn? I eat a lot of popcorn and generally buy regular rather than organic, simply because the calories for the organic brand are a lot higher than for the non-organic variety I like (see above).

    • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

      I recommend that you avoid consuming non-GMO foods especially corn and soy. Their are basically two types of GMO foods… those which are rendered “round up” ready and those whose cells produce Bt toxin. Bt toxin kills insects by punching holes in their intestines. The limited studies available on these products is not good. You should go to the Institute for Responsible Technologies website for a guide on avoiding GMO food. After hearing Jeffery Smith speak, watching the movie,Genetic Roulette and reading Jeffery Smith’s book I have added non-GMO to my whole plant based Rx for my patients.

      • Thea

        Dr. Forrester: Thanks for this nice concise summary. I appreciated it.

        You may be interested in knowing that there is a new documentary out called: GMO OMG. I’ve heard good things about it, but I haven’t seen it myself. So, I’m just sharing about the possibility of more good info to add to what we already know.

        Also, I’m pretty sure you meant to write:
        “I recommend that you avoid consuming GMO foods…”
        or
        “I recommend that you consume non-GMO foods…”

        Just in case anyone gets confused.

        • Veganrunner

          Glad you caught that Thea.

          Avoid GMO. Buy organic when possible.

          • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

            Thea thanks for catching the mistake. Corrected the post.

      • Chrissy

        Thanks for the info – but from my Web research, it sounds like popcorn is not GM. Various sites even cite Jeffrey Smith on this. Do you know otherwise?

        • Real World Vegan

          absolutely true. there is no gm popping corn variety as of yet. interestingly, there is no gm wheat being grown in the US either. its definitely hybridized but it isnt gm. wheat doesnt need to be gm to be harmful.

          • Chrissy

            Thanks RWV. I was kind of freaking out bc I eat so much popcorn. It’s far & away my grain of choice.

          • HereHere

            There’s a big lawsuit going on in the US of GM wheat that has been growing in the Pacific Northwest for ten years: Source:
            http://rt.com/usa/monsanto-lawsuits-gmo-wheat-603/

            Red Fife is a heritage variety of wheat, so one could use that for your own baking, or a certified organic wheat.

          • Real World Vegan

            interesting story, herehere, thanks for sharing.

            i dont worry about gmo grains because i dont eat grains. considering we know that gluten causes gut inflammation when its eaten [even in peeps who arent intolerant or allergic], traditional wheat is plenty bad enuf. soil fertility is so poor now, we really dont need anything preventing us from absorbing the already diminished nutrients in our food. if you wanna avoid gm wheat, just avoid wheat. youll feel better all around.

            i appreciate the link, its another compelling reason to avoid wheat, and something ill be sharing in the other communities i post in. thanks again.

      • http://www.SexyInYour60s.com/ Joan Bunney

        Per my amazing Paleo guidelines I absolutely agree with you Dr. Forrester.There are NO chemicals, GMO’s, processed foods/beverages in my kitchen, pantry, refrigerator anymore. I make pretty much everything from scratch, including mayonnaise, ghee, sauces, condiments. I now use Raw Coconut Aminos a soy-free seasoning sauce. Coconut Secret
        brand/Whole Foods. 100% organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, Non GMO.

  • Courtney

    Are there brands of microwave popcorn that have real butter or at least no poisonous gases?

  • Thea

    Thanks to those people who shared the microwave popcorn ideas. It’s a huge win for anyone who hasn’t heard of that idea before.

    What I worry about is the work environment. In some offices, people pop that artificial stuff all day long. The fumes (“ah, I love that popcorn smell” say people) permeate the office. Just like with the air fresheners that people spray every day in the toilets. It creates a sickly environment for everyone, and I know of no way to minimize the risks and still keep one’s job. So frustrating.

  • Dan Lundeen

    According to Wikipedia:

    “In 2007, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association recommended reducing diacetyl in butter flavorings.[20] Manufacturers of butter flavored popcorn including Pop Weaver, Trail’s End, and ConAgra Foods (maker of Orville Redenbacher’s and Act II) began removing diacetyl as an ingredient from their products.[21][22]

    “In 2012, Wayne Watson a regular microwavable popcorn consumer for years, was awarded $7.27 million in damages from a federal jury in Denver, which decided his lung disease was caused by the chemicals in microwave popcorn and that the popcorn’s manufacturer, Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation, and the grocery store that sold it should have warned him of its dangers.[23][24][25]”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diacetyl
    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronchiolitis_obliterans

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    Does that mean I have to get rid of my RedNeck Fire Detector?

    It’s a stovetop Jiffy Pop pan hanging above our doorway. ;)

    • Dan Lundeen

      Have to be in the south to precise this! Haw haw!

  • Uma Purighalla, MD

    Your messages are life saving. We stopped the ready microwave popcorn years ago after noticing a weird residue on the hard palate and how aweful the popcorn tasted the next day.

  • Tami Dill Djernes

    What about Flavocol butter-flavored salt? It lists “artificial flavoring” in the ingredients, but does not specifically list diacetyl? How do I find out what’s in the “artificial flavoring”?

    • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

      Artificial flavorings are considered proprietary. The various businesses in the “artificial flavorings” industry develop these to meet specific needs of food processing businesses. There is no way to find out what are in them so it is best to avoid them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/willboywonder Will Saunders

    I’m a naturalist. I enjoy it plain. Sometimes I sprinkle rice vinegar and shake black pepper on it. Cayenne pepper is good too.

  • olhg 1

    The more firm admonition is “Don’t Eat it.”

  • Dan Lundeen

    WARNING – PALEOZOMBIE ALERT – Vast swaths of the comment
    board below (or above if you are viewing oldest first) appear to have been
    overrun! Dr. Greger literally wrote the book
    on paleo, or I should say the unscientific basis for it, see http://www.atkinsexposed.org and http://www.amazon.com/Carbophobia-Scary-Truth-Americas-Low-Carb/dp/1590560868,
    so he’s not going to address any of the foolish comments made on each and every
    one of the 1500+ videos by those attempting, and failing miserably with obvious
    logical errors of both formal and informal nature, replete with ad hominems, to impugn
    his fine work and that of his full-time research staff, for which I and nearly
    all of this site’s visitors here are rather appreciative (!!!) and fully support
    with generous financial and other contributions to spread the word.

    He’s already killed the low carb conversation many times
    over, yet the paleowoo, e.g., the ridiculous claims that cholesterol and
    saturated fats are good for you and grains, seeds and legumes are universally
    bad, keeps showing up like a B movie. And he’s posted 1500+ videos on this site and
    provided them in a searchable database, so if one of the paleosnarks mentions
    some hairball idea that Dr. Greger has already debunked on multiple occasions,
    it’s fair game to refer the poster to other places in this site where the topic
    might be more appropriately discussed. The
    videos (other than the hour-long annual presentations) will include a tab where
    you can see the transcript if you find Dr. Greger’s entertaining productions
    personally offensive, and a tab with links to the scientific articles.

    Sometimes, the paleoposters may have or may at least
    appear to have some common ground with the nutritionfacts.org defenders on
    things like food additives, GMOs, organic veggies, milk, refined oils/carbs and
    maybe even the outsized nature of the gut microbiota that makes even identical
    twins with their own enterotypes much different people that respond quite
    differently to the same nutritional inputs.
    After all there can be no disagreement that we are NOT ‘evolved to’ take
    supplements, eat chemical-laced foodstuffs or stay indoors most of the time.

    Perhaps it is also the case that such common ground is a reason
    for celebration and joint action.
    Nevertheless, sometimes civilly and other times not so much, the
    low-carbers, fresh from the argument clinic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y,
    will express disagreement on things, usually taking issue with any mention of cholesterol,
    saturated fats or another one of the plethora of known meat baddies (for one, see
    http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-inflammatory-meat-molecule-neu5gc/
    and http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12931&page=105),
    and they are absolutely horrified by any mention of one of the many well-established benefits of
    whole grains and legumes for the vast majority of the population, see e.g., http://nutritionfacts.org/video/beans-and-the-second-meal-effect/
    and http://nutritionfacts.org/video/whole-grains-may-work-as-well-as-drugs/. Other times, when overwhelmed with facts and
    logic, the low-carber(s), with the cowardice of anonymity and/or multiple web aliases,
    will launch into ad hominems – vicious personal attacks on Dr. Greger, his
    staff or more commonly one of the valiant defenders of this site (including
    not-so-veiled threats that hopefully are reported to the appropriate
    authorities).

    That is not to say that there are not some good comments
    and worthwhile discussion below/above – there are! – or that you should be
    fearful of posting a question or wading into discourse; however, the casual
    visitor should be alert to the presence of avowed vegan-haters posting impolite
    comments, lies and disinformation.

    Meanwhile, the tide is rising for folks adopting a whole-food,
    plant-based, healthy, ethically uplifting, and environmentally aware lifestyle,
    even as the unfortunate consumers of animal products and processed foods suffer
    ever worsening health and sadly, a premature diminishment of their ranks.

    • Real World Vegan

      you got some mad c&ping skills there too dude. doesnt your firm give you a secretary for that stuff?

      paleo and low carb are not the same. just like the plant based SAD of the typical american and the plant based whole food diet are not the same. what is the point of continuing to go on about it? i think you are trying to look clever but it just makes you look like you cant learn anything new.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2JbTtJ3Aeo

  • Pandabonium

    I think it’s high time that the government consider a cruise missile strike on microwave popcorn factories. After all, they are using chemical weapons against Americans and unlike some countries I could name, actually killing some of them! Call the White House, Congress, and Senate. Let’s move on ConAgra. Even their “ordinary” popcorn is genetically modified.

    Ah the freedom of choice in American capitalism – do I want poison gas and/or genetic modification with that?

    • Iggy Dalrymple

      Why do you want to bomb them? Can’t you just not eat it?

      • Pandabonium

        My tongue was firmly in my cheek when I posted that Iggy. Just satire. Sorry if it didn’t make you laugh.

  • Em Crone

    That Majorly Sucks.

  • Marie

    Our local movie theaters are pungant with the smell of (artifical) buttered popcorn: the public is exposed, to say nothing of the staff. Is there a way to measure the levels? Or, if we can smell it, is it already too much? The lobby is full of kids on any Saturday afternoon.

    • Toxins

      Disturbing indeed.

  • Nate Porter

    Just FYI, and something interesting you put me on the trail of, this nectarine season as I was eating lots of them, I noticed that the residual smell left on my hands after eating them smells just like butter. I was thinking how this would be a good vegan substitute for that flavor. After watching your video, I wondered if it was diacetyl that caused this, and sure enough, when I looked for diacetyl in nectarines, it’s one of the only fruit listed with it naturally occuring. Interesting little epiphany :-)

    • Toxins

      Very interesting indeed

    • Thea

      Nate: That truly is fascinating. Thanks for taking the time to share it. I plan on doing a serious sniff effort the next time I come across a nectarine.

  • traxmom

    Apart from this specific microwavable popcorn issue, I have yet to read any convincing evidence that microwaving foods makes them unhealthy for us. I’ve read plenty of articles that talk about how terrible microwave ovens are, but I remain unconvinced. Is there real evidence of negative effects of microwaving? I sure wish you’d take that up as a topic, Dr. Greger! :)

  • Iggy Dalrymple

    It’s not been in microwave popcorn since 2007 but it is naturally in butter, buttermilk, beer, and other alcoholic drinks.