Is Popcorn Keto? Calories, Carbs, And Nutritional Facts
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Is Popcorn Keto-Friendly? Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits

Written By: Lakshmi Jaisimha
18 June 2022

Getting rid of sweets, processed foods, and carb-rich snacks is a part of following the keto diet. After all, a low-carb, high-fat diet has demands, which can be tiring for many of us.

But is popcorn one of those snacks you need to give up on? Or can you enjoy a small pack of cinema popcorn next time you go for a movie?

Popcorn is keto-friendly and you can enjoy a cup of these plump and salty snacks every now and then. But there’s a caveat. And it’s not something you can ignore while relishing the crunchiness of popcorn.

What’s this caveat? Is popcorn keto friendly? And what can you do to enjoy it without hampering your diet? Read on to know!

Keto Diet Overview

Any food or drink that you can consume when following a keto diet plan is called keto-friendly.

The only criterion is that this food shouldn’t break your body out of ketosis.

Ketosis, in short, is when your body starts using ketones (fat product) instead of glucose (carb product) that it usually uses.

There are tons of keto diet benefits that you can cherish if your body is in ketosis. For instance, you get to lose weight, improve your heart health, and also, boost your immunity.

However, it takes time to get into ketosis, so you don’t want to make the mistake of consuming non-keto food for a minute-long pleasure of taste and wait again for days to get your body back into ketosis.

So, which foods are allowed? Which foods don’t stop ketosis? 

The net carbs allowed on keto is 20 g. So, foods with less than 20g carbs and ideally a high proportion of fat are good to go. 

For some people, 50 g is the above limit of carb consumption. However, it may need a lot of trying and testing to know if you are one of these people. So, it’s best to stick to 20g when you’re new to the diet.

Is Popcorn Keto? 

Yes, popcorn is keto-friendly. It has only about 6 grams of carbs with little sugar and calories. As a bonus, it also has several electrolytes to ensure you don’t suffer from keto insomnia or diarrhea.

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But Here’s The Caveat!

Regular air-popped popcorn is something you can eat when on keto.

But sweet and mass-produced popcorn, like kettle corn, movie theater popcorn, caramelized popcorn, cheese popcorn, and anything that’s processed contains more carbs than you can take along with other meals of the day. (3, 4)

Do you know that a small pack of microwave popcorn usually is about 11 cups? So, they easily contain over 100 grams of carbohydrates. (5)

Not only that, but these kinds of popcorn are also low in nutrition, high on calories, may have chemical additives, and also unhealthy fat at times. 

So, whether you are following a keto diet or not, these types of popcorn cannot be consumed freely if your health is a priority.

Also Read: Post Workout Nutrition: A Complete Guide

Popcorn Nutrition Facts

You may not know this! 

Each popcorn kernel contains a tiny droplet of water surrounded by a hard exterior called a hull. The water inside the popcorn gets transformed into steam as it is heated, creating pressure inside the kernel. 

When the hull can no longer hold the pressure, an explosion happens, with the sound of POP! And in this way, the popcorn kernel explodes into a plump yet crunchy new piece.

This is how the airy popcorns come into existence. And anyone who has tasted them knows the value of this process. Essentially, salty and fluffy popcorns and their crunchiness is a crowd-pleaser. No wonder it’s so popular. 

But is it healthy? 

Yes, it is!

Let’s look at the macros and micronutrients that make popcorn delicious and healthful.

One Cup (8g) Of Air-Popped Popcorn Contains: 

Carbohydrates6.22 g
Sugars0.07 g
Fiber1.16 g
Protein1.03 g
Total fat0.363 g
Calcium0.56 mg
Iron0.255 mg
Magnesium11.5 mg
Phosphorus28.6 mg
Potassium26.3 mg
Sodium0.64 mg

Apart from these, popcorn also has some amounts of zinc, manganese, niacin, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

All these nutrients are considered highly among nutrition experts. Especially the presence of Keto electrolytes sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium makes popcorn one of the electrolyte-rich foods. 

Such foods can help you prevent electrolyte imbalance and the related keto flu symptoms that are common when following a keto diet plan.

Since it’s also low in calories, even obese people and diabetics can enjoy it in moderation.

Health Benefits of Popcorn

  • Prevents Weight Gain: Popcorn can fill your belly fast with fewer calories. It will help you avoid overeating and thus help you lose weight.
  • Prevents constipation: Popcorn is rich in insoluble fiber that helps improve your bowel movements. This not only prevents the discomfort of constipation but also prevents the resulting gut problems and hemorrhoids.
  • Fights Diseases: Popcorn has extensive amounts of polyphenols. These antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, which can otherwise cause damage to healthy cells and become a factor in diseases like cancer or heart disease. (2)
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    Make Sure Your Popcorn Is Keto-Friendly – Make It At Home!

    The best keto-friendly foods are homemade. 

    After all, the best way to know what macro and micro-nutrients you consume – is by knowing exactly what goes in your food. And knowing the correct facts can be difficult if you have a nutrition label on the back of a product.

    You can make your own truly keto-friendly popcorn at home by cooking them in a healthy oil of your choice. One cup of this popcorn will hardly contain 10 grams of carbs, so you can be sure about keeping yourself in ketosis for longer.

    Just to be safe, season it with only salt and pepper. Don’t forget it’s just a snack to be consumed in small amounts, not a keto lunch.

    Summing Up

    Popcorn is Keto-friendly because it has less than 20 grams in a cup. However, you should avoid processed popcorn and only opt for homemade popcorn if you don’t want to go on a water fast for the rest of the day

    That’s because there’s hardly any food with 0-gram carbs that can be fulfilling and nourishing, as well. So, eat popcorn in moderation.

    Remember, it is a healthy grain, having a modest amount of carbs. And it’s tasty and nutritious when made using natural and primary ingredients. But when consumed in excess, popcorn may knock you off ketosis.

    Craving for more snacks to enjoy on keto? Try peanut butter and pickles. They are keto-friendly too but within a limit!

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