As you start to narrow down your low carb snack choices, you're bound to ask the age-old question -- is popcorn Keto?
Well, that depends on how you define your ketogenic diet. Here's everything you need to know about the carb content of popcorn.
Is popcorn allowed on Keto?
It's not uncommon for a Keto dieter to completely remove all grains from their meals, corn included.
In excessive amounts, grains can cause inflammation, slow weight loss and a spike in blood sugar.
For these reasons, Keto does not typically include popcorn.
But that's not to say that it can't fit into a Keto diet.
Some low carbers choose to have grains in small quantities, so long as they fit within their daily carb limits.
This is often referred to as IIFYM or "if it fits your macros."
Progress with this method is sometimes a little slower, but many find it more sustainable in the long run.
In the case of a ketogenic diet, we are aiming for 20 - 50g of carbs per day.
I was honestly shocked when I first saw the carb count of popcorn.
For one cup of air-popped popcorn:
- 30 calories
- 0g fat
- 6g total carbs
- 1g fiber
- 5g net carbs
- 1g protein
How many carbs are in popcorn?
There are 6 grams of total carbs in one cup of air-popped popcorn.
There are 5 grams of net carbs if you subtract the one gram of fiber.
Will popcorn kick me out of ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state that is triggered when the body burns through it's stores of glucose.
By keeping your carbs limited to 20 - 50g per day, you are almost always in a state of ketosis.
Assuming your carbs are otherwise low for the day, one or two servings will not kick you out of ketosis.
When it comes to popcorn, it ultimately comes down to how much you consume.
If you do happen to get kicked out of ketosis, keeping your carbs low will make it a lot easier for your body to bounce back in.
Possible benefits of popcorn
There's no denying that popcorn is a satisfying treat. Adding butter and salt is an easy way to get the movie theater experience at home without the funky ingredients.
Popcorn is also fairly filling thanks to the fiber content. The fiber in popcorn could also improve digestive issues in some people.
For volume eaters, popcorn may give the illusion that you are eating a large serving when you actually aren't.
While there are some possible benefits of popcorn, there can be a few negatives too.
- Palatable - for some, it may be hard to limit the amount of popcorn you consume. This can also lead to high carb intake and cravings for higher carb foods.
- Inflammation - some experience negative side effects when eating grains, including corn. If you feel negatively after consuming or notice digestive issues, consider avoiding corn as much as possible.
- Overeating - you may find it easy to overeat calories when adding your favorite high-calorie toppings to your popcorn like butter or coconut oil.
Healthy popcorn toppings
Top your popcorn with any of your favorite herbs and seasonings. I really like dressing mine up with:
Best preparation methods
If you're going to have popcorn on your Keto lifestyle, try and keep it as healthy as possible.
Avoid using microwave popcorn as they are often loaded with unhealthy fats and questionable ingredients.
How to air pop popcorn
You really only need two major component for popcorn -- an air popper and popcorn kernels.
Some machines will let you add additional fat like butter or oil if desired.
Follow this video for easy instructions on making air popped popcorn.
How to cook popcorn on the stove top
While an air popper does make the process really simple, it's just as easy to make popcorn on the stove top.
- In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil (coconut and avocado work well) over medium heat.
- When oil is hot, slowly add in ¼ cup of popcorn kernels.
- Put a lid on your pot and wait for the kernels to start popping.
- Using pot holders, carefully shake the pot to prevent the kernels from burning.
- When kernels stop popping, remove from heat and pop open the lid.
- Add salt or your favorite seasonings and toss.
Fitting popcorn into your snack rotation
Now that you have a basic rundown of popcorn on Keto, you're probably wondering how you can incorporate it into your lifestyle.
If I'm going to enjoy some popcorn, I like to have it alongside some other healthy snacks like crunchy cheese snacks, pork rinds or nuts.
This way, I have more options and don't focus solely on the popcorn.
It's also fun to combine the flavors and create something totally new and unique -- I like to think of it as my movie snack trail mix!
More Keto snack options
Looking for low carb snack foods that are a little more Keto-friendly?
What's your favorite movie night snack on a Keto diet?