Popcorn is a keto-friendly snack because there are only 6 g of carbohydrates in 1 cup of popcorn.
The aim of a keto diet is to get your body into ketosis. Ketosis is when your body starts burning fat rather than glucose. Once you’re in ketosis, you need to stay there, which means you should limit the number of carbs you eat.
On a Keto diet, you need to eat foods that are low in carbs, high in fat, and contain a moderate amount of protein. You also need to avoid sugar as it causes blood sugar levels to rise and may push you out of ketosis.
Now that you’ve learned all about keto, it’s time to find out just how keto-friendly popcorn is and how to enjoy it without risking your body coming out of ketosis.
Can You Eat Popcorn on a Keto Diet?
Yes, you can eat popcorn on a keto diet. Although, you should only eat it in moderation.
While popcorn is low in carbs, it does have more carbs than popular keto-friendly snacks, such as:
- Beef jerky
- Nut butters
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Sugar-free yogurt
How Many Carbs are in Popcorn?
Most people on a keto diet calculate their net carbs. Net carbs are the total carbs you consume minus the fiber you take in. So, is popcorn carbs?
Yes, in 1 cup of popcorn, there are 6 g of carbs and 5 g of net carbs.
It’s recommended that keto diet followers only eat snacks that contain 5 g of net carbs or less. This makes popcorn a keto-safe snack.
3 cups of popcorn are often considered as one portion. But, if you’re on a keto diet, you may want to stick to just 1 cup of popcorn as your serving size.
Is Microwave Popcorn Keto-Friendly?
There’s not a direct answer to this question. Most experts recommend avoiding microwave popcorn on a keto diet as it contains unhealthy additives. There’s also likely to be sugar or sweeteners in microwave popcorn which could affect your blood sugar levels.
Microwave popcorn often comes in large bags, so there’s also a risk that you’ll overindulge in it. This could then topple you over your net carbs limit for the day.
If you do want to snack on microwave popcorn, Skinny Pop is your best option. A small bag has 7g net carbs. This is more than is usually advised for a keto-friendly snack, so you should only treat yourself to it occasionally.
Is Movie Theater Popcorn Keto-Friendly?
Sadly, not. Movie theater popcorn is one of the unhealthiest types of popcorn there is. It is known for its high carb and fat content, and also contains lots of additives and sugar.
Take AMC, for example. Their Plain Popcorn (No Butter) Cameo popcorn contains 41 g of carbs. A small House-made Caramel Corn has a whopping 216 g of carbs and definitely isn’t a good choice on a keto diet.
How Much Popcorn Can I Eat on a Keto Diet?
On a keto diet, you should aim to eat less than 50g of carbs per day. Although some people on the keto diet choose to eat fewer carbs than this.
If you stick to the 50g net carbs rule and eat 1 cup full of popcorn, you’ll consume 10% of your net carbs allowance for the day.
That’s not to say that you can’t eat more popcorn than this if you like. You just need to consider your entire food intake for the day and ensure that you don’t exceed your net carbs goal.
Will Popcorn Kick Me Out of Ketosis?
It depends on how much popcorn you eat. You could eat popcorn every day on a keto diet and not come out of ketosis. But you’d need to limit your popcorn consumption to a small amount.
You’re at risk of coming out of ketosis if you eat too much popcorn and eat more net carbs than you should. The best way to stay in ketosis and eat popcorn is to keep a track of the net carbs content of every food you eat daily.
Which Popcorn Has the Least Amount of Carbs?
Unfortunately, you can’t get away with eating caramel or chocolate popcorn on a Keto diet. Both these toppings are high in net carbs and will quickly push you over your net carbs goal for the day.
Your best option is to stick with plain, air-popped popcorn.
Air-popped popcorn is easily made in an air popcorn popper or a silicone microwave popper. Both these cooking methods don’t require any oil or butter to cook the popcorn, so all you need is popcorn kernels. This will keep your net carbs down as low as possible.
The next best option for cooking keto popcorn is to do it on the stove. You’ll need to use oil or butter to do this.
Butter is a safe food on a keto diet as it contains 0.5g net carbs. It’s also high in fat which makes it filling. If you’d prefer to cook your stovetop popcorn in oil, stick with one of the following oils:
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
There are no net carbs in these oils, so they’re a good choice to pop your popcorn in. However, you should steer clear of the oils below as they are processed and are not considered healthy:
- Vegetable oil
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
Which Popcorn Toppings are Keto-Friendly
Although plain air-popped popcorn is the healthiest option on a keto diet, we get that it’s not very exciting. If you want to add some flavor to your popcorn, you can do so, with these tasty, keto-friendly toppings:
- Black Pepper
- Lemon zest
- Lime zest
It’s a relief to know that popcorn can be enjoyed as a treat on a keto diet. If you decide to tuck into popcorn while you’re in ketosis, limit how much you eat, stick with keto-friendly toppings and keep a tally of your net carbs consumption.
Next, check out our article on is popcorn GMO?