So, is popcorn keto? That depends on how you define the word. Technically, popcorn is keto-friendly but only in extreme moderation. On the other hand, a typical portion of kern for most normal human beings isn’t keto-friendly because it contains so many carbs and calories from the added sugar. However, if you define “keto-friendly” as something that can be enjoyed occasionally without breaking your ketogenic diet, then yes. The only caveat to this is that the popcorn must not have any added sugar in it. This means no microwaveable popcorn that comes out of a bag. No movie popcorn. Basically, you would have to limit your popcorn to ONLY popcorn and not the good stuff that makes it such a delicious snack option.
Popcorn Nutritional Info
There are many different types of popcorn available on store shelves, so it’s important to know that all brands aren’t created equal when it comes to their nutritional value. A 1 cup serving of air-popped plain popcorn has about 12 grams of carbohydrates in it (with anywhere from 6-8 grams coming directly from sugar). The calories and protein content vary between brands too, so always check this information before deciding on something to eat.
While that’s technically not a ton of carbs, it is enough to knock most people out of ketosis if they were already in it.
The sugar comes from the natural starches that exist within corn kernels. Most commercial brands add additional sweeteners, which increases this number significantly. Also, there is added salt as well as additives to make the product taste better and last longer on store shelves. Some brands even have artificial flavorings or coloring agents included so that everyone will want to buy them instead of some other brand on the shelf! This can quickly turn one “healthy” snack into something that is far from healthy at all.
Our recommendation is that you stay away from the commercial brands and try making your own homemade version instead! It’s quick and easy to make in a microwave or on the stove top using coconut oil as a popping agent. When you make it yourself, there aren’t any additives or chemicals added into it, so it’s just pure popcorn!
Keto Popcorn Recipe
Here is a quick and easy recipe for Keto Popcorn.
-1/2 cup of high-quality coconut oil, melted
-3 tablespoons of simple syrup (add water if necessary)
-Microwave or stovetop pot
Directions: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. In a microwaveable bowl, measure out the coconut oil and pour it into the center of the baking sheet. Place a lid on top of the baking sheet that has been cut to make sure it doesn’t pop out during cooking. Cook on high for 1 minute 30 seconds or until the desired amount of popping is achieved. Remove the lid and carefully separate the popped kernels from the unpopped ones. Transfer them back to a bowl and mix thoroughly with the simple syrup. Serve as you would regular popcorn!
If you’re looking for a low-carb snack to enjoy on the keto diet, it’s technically possible to make your own popcorn at home and make it keto-friendly. That means no microwave popcorn with all the added junk that makes it so tasty. You will have to keep it plain and keep it to a minimum if you want to indulge. So while it is technically still keto-friendly, you have to ask yourself if plain popcorn is something you want or is there something else you could enjoy that might be a tastier option.
Check to see whether your favorite foods are keto-friendly on our Is It Keto page