Is popcorn keto-friendly?
Popcorn isn't just delicious, it also has health benefits. After all, popcorn kernels contain fiber, protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, selenium, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and molybdenum. However, some types of corn are actually high in carbs. What does this mean for popcorn lovers who want to follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet?
What is popcorn and is it healthy?
Popcorn is a type of maize known as Zea mays everta. It is grown primarily in America, although there are smaller amounts grown in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, China, India and Australia. In fact, almost half of the world's supply of popcorn is produced in the United States.
This particular variety of corn produces large, sweet, edible seeds that are usually sold whole and unprocessed. When the corn is ready to harvest, farmers cut off the tops and the stalks. They then dry the ears of corn in the sun and wind for about three days. At this stage, the corn is still green and moist. Once the corn is completely dry, workers pick the kernels off the cob.
Once the corn is picked, it goes through several steps. First, workers use a machine to separate the outer layer of the corn kernels from the rest of the seed. Then, workers hand-sort the kernels. Finally, workers pack the corn into bags. The next step is to heat the corn up. As the corn cooks, the starch inside turns into sugar. During this process, moisture evaporates and the pressure increases. Eventually, the corn pops, releasing steam and expanding into popcorn.
What is a keto diet?
The ketogenic diet or keto diet is a low-carb diet that helps with weight loss. It consists of eating lots of fats instead of carbohydrates. When doing the ketogenic diet, your food consumption includes eating 5 to 10 % of carbohydrates, 10 to 30 % of protein, and 70 to 85 % of fats.
This type of diet can help people who have diabetes or want to lose weight. There are many different types of ketogenic diets. Some people stay in a state of ketosis all day long. Others follow a cyclical pattern where they eat normally one day, then fast another day.
What are the foods you can eat on a keto diet?Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel)
Nuts and seeds
Beans (black, kidney, pinto, lima)
High-fat meats (like steak)
Fruit is okay in limited quantity
What food should you avoid on a keto diet?Anything with sugar in it
Potato chips and crackers
Breads, pastas, cereals, etc.
Is popcorn keto?
Yes, popcorn can be part of a keto lifestyle, but it's important to pay attention to portion sizes and choose healthy options for your meal plan.
Popcorn nutrition facts
Though most think of corn as just a vegetable, popcorn is actually classified as a whole grain. Popcorn kernels are harvested while the corn plant is still immature, meaning there is no stem or stalk attached to it. Whole grains are defined by having three components: bran, germ, and endosperm. Corn contains all three, making it a whole grain.
The term "whole grain" refers to foods that retain the entire kernel, including the outer layers of the grain. These include wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, teff, sorghum, and wild rice. In contrast, refined grains like white flour lose their nutrients during processing. They are stripped of their bran and germ, resulting in less nutritional value.
Whole grains are typically richer in protein, fiber, and micronutrients such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin E, folate, selenium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and choline. They are also often lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than refined grains.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate about half of their daily calories as whole grains had a 20% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed fewer than 10% of their total calories as whole grains. In addition to being nutritionally beneficial, eating whole grains reduces the risk of certain types of cancers.
Nutritional benefits of popcornPopcorn is high in fiber and potassium.
It has no added sugar or salt.
It's an excellent source of vitamin B6, which helps with nerve function and energy metabolism.
It's rich in protein, so it will help keep you feeling fuller than other snacks.
Popcorn has an amazing amount of antioxidants.
It contains about half the sodium found in most packaged foods.
It's an excellent source of protein, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Popcorn is high in potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, and choline.
It's gluten free.
Does popcorn fit into a keto diet?
Popcorn is often thought of as being off-limits on the ketogenic diet. This is because most store-bought varieties are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. However, homemade popcorn is usually quite low in carbs and even some brands of pre-made popcorn are actually lower in carbs than many fruits.
If you opt for air-popped popcorn or popcorn which is popped with a healthy fat source (ghee, coconut oil, etc.) and eat a reasonable serving of popcorn, this snack food is keto-friendly. The important thing is to stay away from movie theater popcorn, kettle corn or microwave popcorn because they contain unhealthy additives as well as a high-carb content.
What kind of popcorn is the most keto-friendly?
The ketogenic diet is high in healthy fats, low in carbs, and moderate in protein. While there isn’t much research about how popcorn fits into the keto lifestyle, experts say it’s probably safe to enjoy it occasionally. However, some people choose to eliminate certain foods completely while following a keto diet, including things like processed snacks and sugary drinks.
As far as popping goes, air-popped corn tends to contain fewer carbs than microwave or oven-popcorn and it contains more sodium, zinc, magnesium, iron, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, fiber, and folate than those options.
You might also want to consider topping your popcorn with spices such as cinnamon, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, ginger, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. These spices add flavor without increasing the overall amount of carbs.
The best keto-friendly snacks and popcorn substitutes
To help you stay on track when eating on a keto or low carb plan, here are some healthy snack options:Celery sticks, broccoli, radishes, bell peppers, or mushrooms with avocado or full fat cream cheeses
Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs
Kale chips or roasted brussels sprouts
A small piece of meat
String cheese or cheese cubes
Ham and cheddar wrapped in romaine
Grilled chicken or shrimp kebabs
Meatball recipes that don't use breadcrumbs or other grain products
Bacon or pork rinds
Meat sticks such as jerky or beef strips
Tips to eat popcorn on a ketogenic diet
When eating popcorn on a keto diet, we recommend staying away from sugar or carb-containing additives. This means you should avoid microwave popcorn, cinema popcorn or any sugary popcorn. It's best to make the popcorn yourself so that you can control the toppings. If you decide to get store-bought popcorn, make sure to red the popcorn label to check the ingredients.
Shop for popcorn
Bad Monkey Popcorn was founded by two brothers from Montreal, Canada. As children, their mom would call them her little bad monkeys but now they are good monkeys that make tasty popcorn. Bad Monkey Popcorn is actually one of the largest manufacturers of popcorn in North America and it is distributed in over 7000 points of sale such as Dollar General USA, Dollarama, Winners, DollarTree, Metro, Superstore and many more !