Popcorn Stabbed Me in the Gut

Fluffy, crunchy popcorn, so light and delicious—who can resist it?

I couldn’t. Until I realized I got a horrible stabbing pain in the right side of my lower abdomen after I ate it. Has that ever happened to you?

How do I know it was the popcorn that was causing my abdominal pain?…

It got pretty obvious after a while. Popcorn is more of a snack than a meal, so I wasn’t eating other foods with it. That means I couldn’t put the blame on something else.

Here’s what used to happen when I was still eating popcorn:

Day One: Eat popcorn. Yum! Twinge of pain in right side of lower abdomen.

Day Two: Popcorn on Day One tasted so good, eat more. Ouch—worse feeling in exact same place in abdomen as on Day One, like someone is poking their finger into my intestine.

Day Three: Give in to a little lower abdominal pain? Ha! Eat more popcorn. OWWWW!! This time it really hurts. Gee, maybe I should stop (duh…)

So I did, and I’ve never had the problem since. (Except for that one other time when I thought it might be okay because I hadn’t eaten popcorn in such a long time. It wasn’t.)

Why would popcorn cause this pain?

I don’t know a scientific answer but I do know that I’m grain-sensitive. I react to all the grains that are in the grass family (cereal grains): wheat, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, teff, bulghur, barley and, of course, corn. So that could be the reason.

Or maybe it’s because corn is a high mould grain and my system reacted to the mould. I really don’t care what the reason is. If staying off corn keeps me from being stabbed in the gut, that’s all that really matters.

BTW, I avoid all corn now—on the cob, corn chips, tortillas, high-fructose corn syrup, cornmeal, corn bread, dextrose, luncheon meats, and anything else that might contain corn.

What foods do you react to? Let me know.

15 thoughts on “Popcorn Stabbed Me in the Gut”

  1. I could not agree more. Popcorn was one food I once thought was a healthy snack, but realized how addicting it was and hard to only eat just a small bowl. I always felt like I had a hangover the next morning after I ate too much of it the next morning. With the help of Karen and her priceless information on food and how it affects everyone differently, I have been able to make my own plan. One of the greatest pieces of advice I received from her and finally came to realize, is that there is no perfect answer for everyone. We all react differently to foods and need to find out what works for us as individuals. Chances are if you feel addicted to certain foods and can’t get enough of it, it probably isn’t something you should be eating. I am forever grateful for the help I have received from Karen regarding this and so much more. My life is changed forever! Thank you!

  2. Hi Sara,

    Thank you for your many kind words! You’re right that there is no perfect answer for everyone. There are people out there who are probably fine with popcorn. I wish I was one of them!

    BTW, eating something every single day is the best way to sensitize to it (i.e. develop an intolerance), so it wasn’t too bright of me to eat popcorn 3 days in a row… 🙁

  3. Hi Amber,Ouch! That’s a scary thought but makes sense. Some fiber is good but those sharp pieces in popcorn are a bit much.

  4. I have been a popcorn addicted for a few years and for the last two or three months I have eaten it almost every night pretty much for dinner ..today is Sunday and since last Monday I have had horrible bloat and sharp pains in my lower right abdomen ..anything I eat now which is completely clean and healthy causes me to bloat and I was just wondering if I can still be flared up from the popcorn and I just need to wait it out?…please help??

  5. Wow, same here. I have been having what I thought was healthy popcorn, many times for dinner. And A LOT of it. I could eat a whole tub by myself. I buy the Amish popcorn and I make it myself with olive oil or coconut oil and Himalayan salt. Well, something is wrong with my gut now and I’m working with my doctor to figure out what. I started wondering if maybe I’m eating too much popcorn. Any help in figuring out if this is it would help. For now, and sadly, I will stop eating popcorn until I feel better.

  6. So do you just wait out the pain? What did you do to get thru the pain. I don’t take medication. It just feels like I’m backed up and the pain is constant in my lower right abdomen.

    1. Hi Wendy,
      There are a couple of self-applied acupressure techniques you could try to help relieve the pain. The first is to use EFT and the second is to use the ‘spine-rub technique’. There are demonstrations of both on our YouTube channel which is located here: https://www.youtube.com/user/NoIBSvideos. These can be used for other types of discomfort as well.

  7. I have had issues with lower intestinal discomfort popping up every few months for decades. I always thought it was leafy greens causing it so I avoided eating them. About a year ago I movie binged and I ate bowls of popcorn several days in a row. By that Sunday afternoon I started to develop some intestinal discomfort. At 3 AM Monday morning I was shivering with chills (101 fever) and the intestinal pain was pretty bad. I laid in bed for most of the morning and it finally subsided around 11 AM (spent a lot of time in the restroom). It took a good week before I felt 100%. It’s been a year now and I haven’t eaten any popcorn and have had zero problems. I may try popcorn again but in moderation.

  8. Hey there! I experience the same thing. When I was 10 I would experience sharp sudden stabbing pain that I would crumble to. This happened everytime I ate dairy. I’m now 26 and it’s happening with dairy, oatmeal, popcorn, seeds, pasta and some fruits ( grapes, apples and pears) I don’t have have crohn’s or IBS, just this horrible stabbing pain. I did the same as you, stopped eating the foods completely thinking my system was clearly overloaded. NOPE! Couldn’t have been more wrong. With in seconds of eating them I am in crippling pain. I do have SIBO but am 100% sure was caused by eating foods for to long that would cause me these pains. My next guess is Diverticulitis! AROUND AND AROUND.

  9. My pain is also in my lower right abdomen between my belly button and hip ( not appendix). Exactly where your illeocecal valve is. If that valve doesn’t work properly it can cause sharp stabbing pains. Allergies, vitamin defincies and bacteria issues can cause this valve to malfunction. So far no one’s been able to help me because my colonoscopys turn out normal. argh…. if it’s my sibo I have to fix it. If it’s diverticulitis I have to fix that with antibiotics, which will make my sibo even worse causing infections that will bring the diverticulitis back….. please any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Guys, i really think you are on to something with this popcorn thing. I was on day 7 of a 10 day detox and some of the kids friends came over on the weekend for a movie. My wife made popcorn fresh which was a bit hard and literally put a pinch of salt in. Next day pain in lower right abdomen and making me feel unwell and pale, somewhat like poisoning. Next say same and then starts to subside. The only food i stepped out on was the popcorn as i was very strict with the diet which is zero sugar and just healthy food like cooked veggies and proteins. i have had this problem loads over the years but this is leading me on to the possibility’s of either sharp food or grains as an issue. Lets see..

  10. I suffer from diverticulitis and this sounds like similar symptoms. It also happens with seeds from strawberries, raspberries, and dried cranberries. Nuts are the worst as they get caught in the small holes of the colon. Maybe talk with your doctor and see if it is diverticulitis.

  11. I thought I was the only one since popcorn is my weakness snack lol. Also it could be the texture of popcorn and like I be thinking it’s ok to eat when I haven’t ate it in a long time but even though I hate to give it up I’m just going to have to stay off popcorn forever 🍿 😞 lol 😂

  12. Yes I think you are on to something regarding popcorn! I did not have IBS symptoms but after I ate a lot of popcorn I have had pain and IBS like symptoms for several weeks. I think it injured my insides…

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