Is Popcorn Good for Constipation?

Popcorn is often lauded as one of the best foods to eat to relieve constipation. Despite the misconception that it might be hard on digestion, it’s actually beneficial due to its high fiber content. Constipation, defined as having less than three bowel movements per week, is a common issue, affecting four million Americans with chronic bouts. Popcorn gets a bad rap occasionally for being a cause of digestive issues, but in reality, it can be a good food choice for those looking to avoid or alleviate symptoms of constipation.

Its fiber helps to bulk up stool and stimulate regular pooping, making it an effective, natural remedy. So, next time you’re considering dietary choices to help with constipation, remember that popcorn might just be the tasty solution you’re looking for.

Why Popcorn is Good for Constipation

Popcorn is hailed as a beneficial snack for those experiencing constipation due to its rich content of insoluble fiber. This type of fiber aids in relieving constipation by enhancing the movement of material through the digestive tract. Consuming 3 cups of air-popped popcorn provides a significant amount of fiber, contributing towards the recommended daily intake for both women and men. Research indicates that most Americans fall short of their daily fiber needs, making popcorn an excellent addition to the diet to help increase fiber consumption. The natural insoluble fiber in popcorn helps to bulk up stool and stimulate bowel movements, making it a natural, effective remedy for constipation.

Does Popcorn Make You Poop or Constipated?

The relationship between popcorn and its effects on digestion hinges on how it’s prepared. Air-popped popcorn is a boon for those struggling with constipation, thanks to its high fiber content that aids in regulating bowel movements. However, indulging in buttered popcorn laden with butter and salt can tilt the balance towards constipation. Studies have shown that the fat in buttered versions slows down digestion, while added salt can dehydrate the body, drawing water away from the intestines and making stools harder to pass.

On the flip side, consuming too much popcorn, especially with an excess of fiber, might lead to diarrhea for some, particularly if there’s an underlying health problem or the body processes the fiber too quickly. In essence, moderation and preparation are key to ensuring popcorn supports rather than hinders your digestive health.

Is Popcorn Hard on Your Digestive System?

Generally, popcorn is not hard on the digestive system for most people. Its high content of insoluble fiber is beneficial for regular bowel movements. However, individuals with certain conditions like Crohn’s disease, Colitis, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or Irritable bowel disease (IBD) might find popcorn challenging to digest due to its thick skin.

These conditions can make digesting whole grains more difficult, potentially leading to digestive problems such as Passing Gas, Bloating, and Stomach cramps. For those with IBS or IBD, the insoluble fiber in popcorn might exacerbate symptoms, suggesting a need to avoid consuming it. While popcorn can be a healthy snack for many, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your diet accordingly to avoid discomfort.

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Does Popcorn Cause Constipation?

Contrary to common misconceptions, popcorn itself does not cause constipation when included as part of a balanced diet. Rich in dietary fiber, popcorn can actually aid in promoting regular bowel movements and prevent constipation, provided it is consumed in moderation. It is the excess consumption, especially when popcorn is prepared with added fats or salts, that may lead to digestive issues. As a healthy addition to one’s diet, air-popped popcorn supports the effort to maintain healthy digestion. Therefore, when enjoyed responsibly, popcorn can be both a delicious and beneficial snack for those looking to enhance their dietary fiber intake without compromising their digestive health.

How to Deal with Constipation Caused by Popcorn?

If constipation arises from eating too much popcorn, modifying your diet can offer relief. First, it’s advisable to stop consuming popcorn temporarily to allow your digestive system to adjust. Incorporate foods high in fiber like Whole wheat pasta, Whole wheat bread, Brown rice, Legumes, raspberries, peas, broccoli, carrots, and apples to help move things along. However, ensure you drink plenty of water to replace the liquids lost and aid in the digestion of these fiber-rich foods.

For some, eating small amounts of low-fiber foods, such as toast and crackers, might be beneficial in easing symptoms. Additionally, taking diarrhea-relief medications or probiotics can support restoring digestive balance. While popcorn is a healthy snack with many benefits, managing the type and amount you consume is key to preventing constipation and maintaining healthy digestion.

Related Article: Is Popcorn a Healthy Snack? -Everything You Need to Know

Will Eating Too Much Popcorn Cause Stomach Problems?

Yes, eating too much popcorn can lead to stomach problems, especially if you’re not accustomed to a high-fiber diet. While popcorn is a healthy snack in moderation, consuming it in large amounts may result in stomach hurting due to its high-fiber content. The Popcorn Board suggests that 3 cups of popcorn equate to one serving, yet theater serving sizes far exceed this, with a small ranging from 8 to 11 cups, a medium from 12 to 15 cups, and a large from 16 to 20 cups.

Furthermore, theater popcorn often contains significant amounts of oil and butter, making it a high-fat as well as a high-fiber snack, which can intensify stomach complaints. To mitigate these risks, consider sharing your popcorn with a friend and sticking to small portions to enjoy its benefits without discomfort.

Foods to limit

To complement the fiber-rich benefits of popcorn in managing constipation, it’s crucial to heed the advice of the NIDDK and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) on limiting certain foods. High fat foods, processed meats, dairy products, and eggs can exacerbate constipation symptoms by slowing down the digestive process. Likewise, potato chips, fast food, processed food, and prepared foods, including microwaveable dinners and frozen snacks, are known culprits in hindering bowel movements.

Moderation in these food categories, alongside a balanced intake of fiber, water, and exercise, can significantly improve constipation outcomes, promoting a healthier digestive system.

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When to contact a doctor

While constipation can often be managed with higher fiber intake and frequent exercise, the NIA advises seeking a doctor or healthcare professional if symptoms suggest a severe illness, such as colorectal cancer or other forms of cancer. Indicators warranting immediate medical attention include changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, bleeding from the rectum, trapped gas accompanied by severe abdominal pain, vomiting, fever, unintentional weight loss, and lower back pain. These symptoms may signal underlying health issues beyond simple constipation, underscoring the importance of prompt and professional medical evaluation.


Popcorn, when prepared as an air-popped snack without added fats or excessive salt, stands out as a beneficial choice for those aiming to manage or prevent constipation. Its high insoluble fiber content aids in promoting regular bowel movements, making it an effective and natural remedy. However, moderation in consumption is key to avoiding potential digestive discomfort. By incorporating popcorn into a balanced diet, alongside other fiber-rich foods and adequate hydration, individuals can enjoy the health benefits it offers while supporting overall digestive wellness. Therefore, popcorn not only serves as a tasty snack but also contributes positively to maintaining a healthy digestive system.

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