Are you a popcorn lover on the keto diet and wondering “Is popcorn keto”? It is the perfect snack when watching a movie, after all. So, let’s find out!
When we are on the keto diet, the first thing we complain about is that we have almost no snacks that we and our non-keto dieter friends can enjoy together. The desserts, shakes, and biscuits, as well as most other snacks, are all non-keto. This, unfortunately, requires more preparation and time. However, keto dieters all around the world ask themselves this same question from time to time… How about popcorn? Is popcorn keto-friendly?
Popcorn contains different vitamins, minerals, fibers, and carbohydrates. However, if we pop the corn kernels with high amounts of oil, maybe it can be good for a low-carb, high-fat diet like the ketogenic diet?
In the standard ketogenic diet type, a dieter needs to consume about 70 percent of fat, 25 percent of protein, and 5 percent of carbohydrates. Trying to calculate these percentages even when preparing smaller meals and snacks becomes increasingly complicated, though.
So, in this article, we are going to dive deep into the question whether popcorn is keto, or not.
What are popcorn’s nutrition facts?
The native people in South America have been eating popcorn for more than six thousand years, according to research. As time changed, it has become one of the most popular snacks in the world. At any time, people are eating popcorns in the movie theaters, at home, while drinking beers and in different situations.
We usually heat popcorn up in a microwave or an air popper, or simply on the stove. Most people think that this snack is as unhealthy as it gets… is it, though?
One cup of air-popped popcorn has about 30 calories, which is perfect for keto. However, the trick comes from the fat, carb, and protein counts. 1 cup of popcorn has about 0.3 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, and 6 grams of carbs while having a little bit more than a gram of fiber.
If you think of it merely the fat and carb numbers, you might get the impression that popcorn is not good for keto. Yet, one thing that can turn this around is that it is rich in fibers. Fibers are the nutrients that will make you feel full while giving you quite a low number of calories.
Popcorn is also rich in manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium. Especially magnesium is good for keto as magnesium BHBs are very important while in ketosis. Let me explain the importance of BHBs a bit.
As we enter into the ketosis, our bodies start to produce some ketones more and more. BHB or Beta-hydroxybutyrate is the type of ketones that our bodies need in times of hunger. Magnesium BHBs, quintessentially, are important sources of energy for brain functions. Thanks to magnesium, our mental strength gets in better shape. As a consequence, our brains can focus on work or other daily activities better than normal.
BHBs are normally in production while we are asleep. That is why we do not wake up hungry as a horse. So, getting some magnesium BHBs during the day could be a good way to suppress our cravings and limit what we are going to eat.
BHBs are also good for boosting your metabolism. It combats oxidative stress and inflammation. So, if you eat some popcorn during the day, it can help you enhance the basal metabolism.
The keto and popcorn
The ketogenic diet has been around for a long time. We can trace its origins back to the 1920s as it was used for epilepsy patients. However, the real popularity has come to existence as it has proven its value in weight loss. As more and more studies are conducted, people have seen that not only is it good for losing weight but also a healthy diet.
The ketogenic diet, in short, aims you to get into ketosis which is the fat-burning process. If you want to achieve the metabolic state of ketosis, you need to eat less than 50 grams (1.7 oz) of carbohydrates per day. In order to speed up this process, you can do it as low as possible. Even less than 20 grams will be just fine for your body.
Can you eat popcorn on a keto diet?
As we just said in the previous section, you have a maximum limit of daily carbohydrate intake in the keto diet. So, it means that a cup of popcorn (0.28 oz or 8 grams) will not get you to exceed the daily limit of carbohydrates. However, you need to take detailed notes of your macronutrients so that you can balance them.
This is simply because any calculation mistake can get you out of the ketosis and getting back to ketosis needs more time and it slows down. To avoid snapping out of ketosis, you need to avoid eating anything high-carbon the same day you eat popcorn.
If you compare popcorn with other high carbohydrate food such as bread or snacks, popcorn is a much better choice. The simple reason is that popcorn is a whole grain product and it is rich in fiber. If something has a lot of fiber, its net carb is much lower than the other snacks.
Net carb means total carbohydrates minus dietary fiber and artificial sweeteners. So, if you think those 50 grams of carbohydrates as the net carb, it means it is even better.
From what people have experienced, we can say that eating a cup of popcorn will make you feel more satiated than eating the same amount of potato or rice. So, the BHB reinforcement from popcorn is definitely worth trying, right?
What to avoid
You know how popcorn is. Once you start, it is hard to stop yourself. So, the first thing we need to avoid is the big portions of popcorn. On a normal day, you have not eaten a lot of carbohydrates, you can eat 2 or 3 cups of popcorns which would give you 12 to 18 grams of carbohydrates. However, if you have eaten something with a higher carb count, you can eat one cup if not zero.
After some time in the keto diet, we see a lot of people getting complacent about their weight loss process and eat popcorns. However, this mindset is the archenemy of getting fit and staying fit. Even after you reach your target try to avoid the bigger portions.
The second thing you need to avoid is ready-made popcorns and sunflower oil popcorns. Ready-made popcorns have more carbohydrates than you can tolerate as they add more ingredients. When you are making your own popcorn at home, you can use coconut oil or olive oil to pop your corn kernels.
Coconut oil is rich in MCT fats which is much easier to digest than regular fats. If you want to balance your macros somehow, you can add butter after taking the popcorns out of the stove.
Do these make popcorn keto?
In light of these facts, we can say that popcorn is not keto. However, it does not mean you should not eat popcorn under any circumstances when you are on the keto. As we said, it will not harm your ketogenic diet if you eat it tenably.
If you are testing yourself with ketosis test strips every day or every week, you will notice that eating popcorn is not the worst ketosis spoiler. It might slow down if you eat it every day; yet, there is no single proof that eating reasonable amounts of popcorn is harmful to your diet.
Lastly, if you want some snacks that are completely keto-friendly, you can check out some salty or sweet keto snacks. Thanks to these snacks, you will not have any anxiousness if you are still in ketosis.
Popcorns are great to have snacks. Even though I have not met someone whose number one preference is eating popcorn, our brains desire something especially if it is banned. If you are on a keto diet and in need of a regular snack like popcorns, you can eat it.
Does it make it keto? Not exactly. However, it would not mean you should stop yourself from eating it from time to time.