keto friendly homemade popcorn

Is Homemade Popcorn Keto-Friendly?

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What better way to enjoy a movie night at home than a bowl of homemade popcorn? This popular movie snack is enjoyed by couples, families, friends, and even by yourself when sitting in front of the tv! 

But is homemade popcorn keto-friendly? If you’re on keto and are wondering if it’s alright to consume homemade popcorn, we’ve provided you a detailed guide on the number of carbs in homemade popcorn, and their comparisons with movie theatre popcorns and bags of popped popcorn in stores!

keto friendly homemade popcorn

Carbs in Homemade Popcorn

The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet, so whether popcorn is keto-friendly or not depends on the carb it contains. This all depends on how popcorn is made at home.

Homemade popcorn can be prepared in five ways: air-popped, microwaved, oil-popped, and kettle corn. 

  • A cup of air-popped plain popcorn has about 6 grams of carbs or 2-5 grams of net carbs
  • A cup of microwaved popcorn has about 5-10 grams of carbs or 3-8 grams of net carbs
  • A cup of oil-popped popcorn has about 5-10 grams of carbs or 3-8 grams of net carb
  • A cup of kettle corn has about 10-21 grams of carbs or 8-11 grams of net carbs.

Don’t be confused between carbs and net carbs. Carbs include all the different types of carbs in a food or meal, such as starches, dietary fiber, and sugars. Net carbs only include carbs that the body digests and absorbs into glucose.

To compute net carbs, simply subtract the fiber content and sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrates. 

All but kettle corn is keto-friendly as each cup only contains a few grams of carbs. You can consume air-popped, oil-popped, or microwaved popcorn as long as you can only limit yourself to about a cup. 

Seasoned Homemade Popcorn

Take note that the examples above only refer to a cup of plain homemade popcorn. If you’re planning to add seasoning or sweet additives, here’s how many grams of carbs will be added to your daily intake per half teaspoon:

  • Chocolate marshmallow – 2g
  • Maple brown sugar – 2g
  • Apple cinnamon – 1.5g
  • Berry cherry – 1g
  • Butter – 0g
  • White cheddar – 0g
  • Bacon cheddar – 0g
  • Jalapeno – 0g
  • Cajun – 0g

Half a teaspoon of some seasonings won’t kick you out of ketosis but beware of sweet flavorings like chocolate marshmallow, maple brown sugar, apple cinnamon, berry cherry, and more.

The Best Type of Homemade Popcorn

Now that you know that a cup of homemade popcorn is okay to have on keto, you might be wondering the best way to prepare it. While basing your food choices on their carb count is the first rule on the diet, you should also consider if they’re healthy or harmful for you.

Avoid pre-packaged microwaveable popcorn. Its packaging and flavorings contain PFOAs, the same thing that gives Teflon pans their bad reputation, and diacetyl, which is a chemical that can cause lung issues when inhaled.

It also has bad fats, preservatives, and other packaging chemicals that may pose health risks to you.

Kettle corn is already off the list because it is not keto-friendly and has a high amount of calories. Instead, stick to oil-popped popcorn so you can control the type of oil to use for a good source of fat. Oil-popping your popcorn will also help avoid unnecessary artificial flavors and ingredients. 

For oil-popped popcorn, which has around 3-8 grams of net carbs, be sure to use non-vegetable fats like coconut oil, butter, or ghee.

Air-popped popcorn is also a great idea because it is lower in carbs, about 2-5 grams of net carbs, and not harmful as it lets you control the amount of popcorn to prepare.

Homemade Popcorn vs. Store-Bought Popcorn

Let’s try to compare homemade popcorn with bagged popped popcorns you can find in stores. While a cup of homemade air-popped popcorn with no flavoring has 6 grams of carbs and 2-5 grams of net carbs:

  • A cup of Skinny Pop Original Popcorn has 4 grams of carbs
  • A cup of Trader Joe’s Popcorn (Olive Oil) has 9 grams of carbs
  • A cup of Whole Foods Organic Popcorn has 5.1 grams of carbs
  • A cup of Boom Chicka Pop has 4.8 grams of carbs.

These plain store-bought popcorn varieties are relatively low in carbs, except for Trader Joe’s. Their carb count is similar to homemade popcorn, so it’s up to you on what you’ll choose. 

Consider other factors like price, nutrition, and preservatives! Surely, if we take those aspects into account, a cup of air-popped popcorn still wins!

Homemade Popcorn vs. Movie Popcorn

Movie popcorn, without a doubt, is often not keto-friendly! The nutrients found in your movie theatre popcorn vary depending on the chain you frequent, the size, and the flavor. On average, butter-free popcorn ranges from 300 calories for a small tub to 1,090 for a refillable tub.

While it adds a significant amount to your fat calories, the amount of carbs in it will most likely kick you out of ketosis. While a cup of homemade air-popped popcorn has 6 grams of carbs, and a cup of Skinny Pop has 4 grams of carbs, a cup of flavorless movie theater popcorn has about 8-10 grams of carbs.

You may consume movie popcorn on keto if you can limit yourself to half a cup with that giant tub and a long movie! Can you?

Is Homemade Popcorn Keto-Friendly?

Popcorn may not be the keto-friendliest snack out there, but you can surely munch on a cup or less, provided that it is homemade, not pre-packaged for the microwave, and has no sugary additives! 

A serving will not push you over your daily carb limit nor will it kick you out of ketosis, so go ahead and treat yourself to a cup.

You may also opt for a healthy bag of popped popcorn, like Skinny Pop as it contains fewer amounts of carbs per cup but be sure not to finish the entire bag in one sitting to stay in ketosis!

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