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Popcorn might be the go-to snack to munch on at home and in the cinema. We enjoy munching on it when watching movies or shows, playing indoor games with friends, or anytime you’re chilling!
So, is salted popcorn keto-friendly? Plain popcorn, when eaten in moderation, is keto-approved. However, many people wonder if it’s okay to drizzle salt on this snack to add flavor. We share with you how to prepare popcorn when on a keto diet and why you should salt it!
Is Corn Approved on the Keto Diet?
To recap, the keto diet recommends a dramatic decrease in carb intake and a higher intake of fats as a way to get into ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic process of the body where it produces ketones from the fat breakdown for energy in the absence of carbs.
Aside from weight loss, the keto diet is associated with many health benefits, such as improved insulin sensitivity, increased athletic performance, control of blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, and increased mental focus.
Vegetables are usually a great choice for keto snacks since they are low-carb and low-calorie. Veggies also have the benefit of keeping you full and healthy.
Corn may be considered a vegetable, but popcorn is a whole grain prepped into a fluffy and airy shape. Corn itself is high in carbs, with 41 grams per 1 cup serve. On keto, this will put you at risk of knocking you out of ketosis, depending on your carb limit.
In general, legumes like peas, beans, and lentils, and grains like corn and quinoa are high in carbs and starch, making them not great choices for keto.
Carbs and Net Carbs in Popcorn
If an ear of corn is not keto-friendly, is it the same case with popcorn? To understand, we need to know how many carbs and net carbs there are in popcorn. This all depends on how it’s made, the amount, and the flavorings.
Popcorn has five variations: microwavable, air-popped, oil-popped, kettle corn, and movie theater popcorn.
- A cup of air-popped plain popcorn has about 6 grams of carbs.
- A cup of microwavable popcorn has about 5-10 grams of carbs.
- A cup of oil-popped popcorn also has 5-10 grams of carbs.
- A cup of kettle corn has 10-21 grams of carbs.
- A tub of movie theater popcorn has about 40 grams of carbs.
That said, all but kettle corn and movie popcorn are keto-friendly as long as you consume only a cup. On the other hand, you might also want to consider the net carbs in popcorn by subtracting the fiber from the carbs.
Here’s how much net carbs there are per cup of popcorn:
- Air-popped popcorn: 5 net carbs.
- Microwavable popcorn: 3-8 net carbs.
- Oil-popped popcorn: 3-8 grams.
- Kettle corn: 8-11 net carbs.
- Movie theatre popcorn: 3-6 net carbs (if you can limit yourself to a cup from a huge tub).
Take note that the mentioned carb counts are all for plain popcorn. If you intend to add sweeteners or seasonings to your popcorn, then the amount of carbs may also increase depending on what you add.
Is Salted Popcorn Keto-Friendly?
Yes, you can still eat about a cup of popcorn and still stay in ketosis. In fact, it’s a great way to stay satiated because it’s heavy on the stomach! It also contains fats, fibers, and other nutrients! Here is additional information about popcorn’s nutrition. Take note that this is based on 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
Be careful when consuming popcorn on keto, especially if you’re still new to the diet. That’s because you have a higher chance of craving for such snacks that you may end up overeating. As long as you stay focused on your limits and not overindulge, then it won’t kick you out of ketosis like a cob of corn may!
How to Prepare Popcorn on Keto
One of the best ways to prepare popcorn is with the stovetop method or an air popper so you can control what oils you will use and avoid unnecessary high-carb flavorings. You can use coconut oil or other non-vegetable oils as an additional fat source. Butter is also a great fat source that can make your popcorn taste better!
Avoid using microwavable popcorn as it contains chemicals called perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) which make their way into the popcorn when you heat it. When you eat the popcorn, they get into your bloodstream and can remain in your body for a long time. This can lead to kidney and testicular cancer.
Can You Salt Your Popcorn on Keto?
Another keto-friendly way to enjoy popcorn is to add salt! When you’re on keto, your body begins to process electrolytes differently due to low insulin levels. The sodium that our kidneys excrete also disrupts levels of electrolytes.
That is why keto dieters must replenish with sodium to help prevent electrolyte imbalance that results in the keto flu. Don’t hesitate to salt your popcorn on keto, unless you are prone to hypertension.
Sodium, which is found in salt, helps to regulate water retention and balance water in and around cells. Without the proper amount of sodium, we may experience a host of complications such as restlessness, brain fog, fatigue, muscle cramps, tummy troubles, and more.
Lack of salt on keto may also lead to tummy troubles like constipation and nausea. They also increase the risk of muscle cramps.
The Best Way to Salt Your Popcorn
Now that you know that adding salt can be beneficial on the keto diet, here’s one tip we want to share with you! It can be annoying when salt doesn’t stick to your snack and only reaches the bottom of the container.
To get the salty flavor they’re looking for with just one bite of the popcorn, some people spray water on the popcorn for the salt to stick. But this will only make your tasty treat soggy.
Instead, use salt in a powder form. Does this mean you need to find this rare product in the market? No! Simply blend the salt in a normal kitchen blender so you can sprinkle it on the fluffy popcorn and make it stick.
Enjoy Your Salted Popcorn!
Popcorn has become a favorite snack by many when watching movies and doing other relaxing activities. While corn by itself is not keto-friendly, popcorn can be consumed on keto in moderation, depending on your carb limit.
Salting your popcorn is also a great way to supply yourself with enough electrolytes which you may be lacking on keto. This will help you avoid symptoms of the keto flu, like headaches, constipation, muscle cramps, and nausea. It also makes your popcorn taste great.