How Many Carbs Are in Popcorn?

How Many Carbs Are in Popcorn?
Do you wonder whether you can still eat popcorn on a low-carb diet? Look no further. In this article, we’ll be exploring the carb content of different types of popcorn to determine whether or not it’ll fit in your ketogenic lifestyle.
  • Should You Be Eating Popcorn on Keto?
  • Carbs in Popcorn
  • Is Microwave Popcorn Keto Friendly?
  • How to Eat Popcorn on the Ketogenic Diet
  • Low-Carb Popcorn Substitutes
Carbs in popcorn: There are 6g carbohydrates in popcorn per serving, and 5g net carbs. Therefore, popcorn can be considered keto friendly (but we also suggest 7 delicious keto-friendly alternatives to popcorn. Scroll down).

Find out if popcorn made our Master Keto Food List with 100+ keto foods mapped out for you. 

Popcorn is a grain similar to other types of corn but it has one distinguishing difference - it is the only type of corn with the ability to expand[1].

Popcorn kernels contain water that turns to steam when exposed to heat. Pressure causes the popcorn to forcefully expand up to 50 times its original size.

The result is a delicious three dimensional treat enjoyed by people everywhere.

Should You Be Eating Popcorn on Keto?

Keto has become one of the most popular diets. With its emphasis on low carbs and high fat, the keto diet helps induce weight loss by using fat as its main energy source instead of carbohydrates.

If you’re like one of the many Americans currently on the ketogenic diet, you may be wondering if popcorn is keto friendly.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of popcorn to find out.

Carbs in Popcorn

The amount of carbs in popcorn varies by type.
Type Calories (per 1 oz)   Fat   Carbohydrates
Air Popped Popcorn 110 1g 22g
Microwavable Popcorn   165 12g 13g
Kettle Corn 195 8g 32g
Movie Theater Popcorn * * *
*Movie theater popcorn can be difficult to accurately measure due to differences in bag sizes, number of servings, and amount of added butter.

Buttered Popcorn

Low carb diets favor high quality fats. Butter is no longer the enemy. It’s full of fat soluble vitamins such as A, K, and K2 which can help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.

But most “buttered” popcorn has no real butter in it at all. If you read the label, most bagged popcorn can’t even call itself “buttered” -- it’s just “butter flavored”.

Even movie theater buttered popcorns are highly processed and the butter, if even real butter (it’s most likely vegetable oil which is terrible for your health) does not have the nutritional profile of grass-fed butter, so you’re better to skip it.

A healthier alternative is to air pop your own corn and add your own butter. Using organic grass fed butter is encouraged as part of the keto diet.

Kettle Corn

The key ingredient that makes kettle corn sweet is sugar. Sugar is essentially just carbs. Eating sugar causes insulin levels to spike which suppresses ketone production. If you are eating a low carb diet, this is bad news. Getting into ketosis requires steady insulin levels.

Avoid kettle corn if you want to stick to keto.

Sugary Popcorn

Many companies today produce varieties of popcorn containing chocolate, caramel and candy.

Sugar contains carbohydrates which convert to glucose. When your body no longer has glucose stores, it may produce ketones through fat breakdown. This is how ketosis occurs.

Since ketosis is the goal of the ketogenic diet, limit sugar intake and skip the sugary popcorn.

Is Microwave Popcorn Keto Friendly?

Microwave popcorn was introduced to the world in the 1980s and we haven’t looked back since.

The good news: some microwaveable popcorn are keto friendly if eaten in small quantities. Just check the label and make sure that you’re sticking within your carb allowance for the day.

If your goal with keto is to live more healthfully, you may want to skip microwave popcorn altogether. Studies have shown microwaveable popcorn bags may produce emissions harmful to your health[2]. Make your own air popped corn to avoid potential health concerns.

Air Popped Popcorn

Air popped popcorn has similar carb content to its microwavable counterpart. The main difference lies in how the popcorn is cooked.

Long before microwaves, people used stove tops to prepare popcorn.

Some advantages of air popped corn include:

  • Fewer preservatives: you know what you’re putting in your food and it’s probably not preservatives.
  • More control: you can add your own grass fed butter instead of consuming pre-buttered popcorn made with questionable ingredients.
  • Increased freshness: the shelf life of microwave popcorn can sometimes be years long. Be wary of any food that has that long a shelf life. By popping your own corn, you can ensure it’s made fresh.
Although it may take a bit of extra time and effort, consider making your popcorn the old-fashioned way. It’s likely to be healthier compared to microwaveable options.

How to Eat Popcorn on the Ketogenic Diet

Eat in Moderation

Practice portion control and bring your own.

Add Your Own Butter

Use organic grass-fed butter and add your own. Most “butter” in store bought popcorn isn’t butter.

Brain-boosting butter alternative: KetoLogic MCT oil.

Avoid Sugary Popcorn

Sugar is pure carbs. Carbs are not keto (and sugar is not healthy).

Air Pop Your Own Popcorn

Potential health concerns arise from chemicals found in microwaveable bags. Opt for your own, air-popped formula.

Low Carb Popcorn Substitutes

Although popcorn can fit into a ketogenic diet, it still contains carbs. If you are being strict on carb intake, here are other snack options to consider.
  • Veggies and dip: these snacks are low carb and packed full of micronutrients for optimal health. Just be sure to choose a low carb dip option.
  • Certain types of nuts: Brazilian nuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts are the lowest carb nut varieties. Stay away from pistachios and cashews as these tend to be more carb heavy.
  • Meats: most types of meat are considered keto friendly. Whether it’s bacon, jerky, or cold cuts the majority of meats will fit into a Keto Diet due to their relatively low carb count. Just watch out for added sauces and marinades as these contain hidden carbs.
  • Cheeses: many cheeses fit into the keto lifestyle including: mozzarella, provolone, and cheddar. Always buy the full-fat versions.
  • Berries: blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are some of the lowest carb fruits if you’re trying to stay keto. Just make sure not to eat too many.
  • KetoLogic Keto Crisps: are made with only milk, cheese, and spices. They are the perfect substitute snack for those times chip cravings kick in.
  • Pork Rinds: are made from pig skin and can be fried to produce a crunchy exterior. Be sure to check out Utz Pork Rinds if you’re searching for a new snack.
Snacking on the keto diet requires a bit more effort as many snack options contain carbs. Avoid chips, crackers, candies, and cookies if you want to follow a strict low carb diet.

If you’re searching for other Keto snack recipes, try checking out the downloadable KetoLogic Recipe Booklet. It’s filled with easy to make keto snacks you can prepare easily.



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