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Popcorn has always been a popular snack to munch on at home and in the cinema. It’s best enjoyed when watching movies or shows, storytelling with your friends, or just being by yourself on your phone.
It is also considered healthy because it is rich in antioxidants yet low in calories, but is buttered popcorn keto-friendly? Will buttering your popcorn keep you in ketosis?
Learn all about the nutrients that popcorn offers and if buttered popcorn is keto approved! We’ll also discuss the many other ways you can enjoy your popcorn on keto.
Who doesn’t know what popcorn is? These tasty puffs that form when corn kernels are heated are widely popular snacks at home and in movie theaters. A popcorn kernel is rich in water and has a strong hull. When a kernel is heated, all that water turns to steam, and the created pressure causes the kernel to rupture and expand up to 50 times its original size.
The nutrition of popcorn depends on its flavor and manufacturing, but it’s generally healthy and nutritious as it contains antioxidants and very low calories. However, popcorn is also high in carbs, so there is a need to moderate your consumption.
A single cup of air-popped popcorn (which is about 8 grams in weight) contains 6 g of net carbs, while a typical 5-cup serving air-popped popcorn is loaded with 30 g of net carbs.
Popcorn has other micro-nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc, providing around 6-12% of their daily value. Here is a more detailed list of nutrition facts of 3 cups of air-popped popcorn:
- Calories: 90
- Fat: 1 gram
- Protein: 3 grams
- Carbs: 18 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Magnesium: 9% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Phosphorus: 9% of the RDI
- Manganese: 12% of the RDI
- Zinc: 6% of the RDI
Keep in mind that the number of carbs in a popcorn may also depend on its flavor. Some add flavorings and other spices that can increase the total carb count of the snack.
Popcorn Benefits on the Keto Diet
Popcorn is supposed to be a healthy snack, but the theater tainted the image of popcorn. Theater popcorn can contain up to 960 calories in a bucket. But the biggest problem with it is that it’s made with partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which is high in artery-clogging trans fats.
As for homemade air-popped popcorn, a lot of benefits still exist. Here are some of them:
Popcorn is Low in Calories
To reduce your chances of gaining weight, a low-calorie snack like popcorn is highly recommended. Go for air-popped popcorn instead of movie, flavored, or microwaved popcorn.
It has Antioxidants
Popcorn has more polyphenols than fruits and vegetables. This antioxidant is more concentrated in popcorn because a popped kernel averages only 4% water.
It is High in Fiber
The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. However, most people are eating much less than that.
It is Gluten-Free
All types of corn are gluten-free. Popcorn is a grain that is safe to serve to anyone with a sensitive digestive tract. It’s also low in protein, so it’s not a major allergen, and corn allergies are among the rarest out there.
Keeps You Satiated
The airy and foamy structure of popcorn makes it more satiating than other snacks. This tasty treat also exerts a modest response to blood glucose and hunger hormones.
Is Buttered Popcorn Keto-Friendly?
Popcorn is usually not recommended on the keto diet unless you consume it in moderation. If you can control your intake, then it’s okay. It’s also recommended that you choose air-popped popcorn over other types as this one is lower in carbs.
The same goes for flavored popcorn, such as buttered popcorn. However, buttering your popcorn can actually be keto-friendly since butter is a great fat source. The keto diet is a high-fat diet, so it is a must that you prepare food in a healthy fat like butter, olive oil, or coconut oil.
Popcorn tastes best with butter, and if microwaving it, the butter helps heat the kernels for more spring.
More Ways to Enjoy Popcorn
There are more ways for you to enjoy your popcorn on the keto diet! Check out some of our tips.
It’s okay to add grated parmesan or cheddar cheese to your popcorn. Cheese helps boost the fat content of this snack, which is something you should always look for in keto meals.
The keto flu is a side effect of carb withdrawal, but salt and other electrolyte supplements can curb these symptoms. Feel free to add up to a half teaspoon of salt to your popcorn to help minimize the effects of the keto flu.
How to Make Keto-Friendly Buttered Popcorn
Making a high-fat, low-carb buttered popcorn is a breeze! For this recipe you will need the following:
- 8 cups of air-popped popcorn or Skinny Popcorn
- 1 tsp unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ tsp hot water
- Salt, to taste
Amy’s Healthy Baking does not recommend using butter-flavored margarine since it will re-solidify and clump when added to water.
There are snacks you can indulge in that have much lower carb count than popcorn. Here are some of them!
- Nuts. Keto-friendly nuts are great for movie nights. A 28-gram serving of pecans has only 1.1g of carbs. Macadamias contain 1.5 g carbs for every 28 g serving. While almonds contain 2.9 g of carbs in a 28g portion.
- Cauliflower popcorn. Cauliflower may not be as crunchy as popcorn, but it resembles popcorn in appearance and flavor. Cut, season, and roast cauliflower florets until tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
- Cheese pops. These are like popcorn that is made of cheddar or gouda. Cut the cheese into squares, leave dry for 2 days, and pop in the oven for 3 minutes.
Butter Your Popcorn!
Popcorn is a favorite snack by many because of its airy, salty, and crunchy taste. However, it is only keto-approved when it’s eaten in moderation. There are always alternatives to it for your movie nights or midnight cravings, like nuts or cheese pops.
But if you really want to have popcorn, make sure to know your limits. One way you can enjoy it is by adding butter, to increase your fat intake on a high-fat diet. Remember that an average serving of 3 cups of popcorn provides 15g of net carbs. That amount will get you dangerously close to your daily carb limit while not providing much in vitamins and minerals.
Learn more about popcorn on the keto diet and don’t hesitate to indulge in a cup or two of buttered popcorn!
For more info on keto snacks check out these articles.