Popcorn is one of the world’s favorite snacks and is synonymous with enjoying your favorite movies. But if you are following a ketogenic diet plan, you may assume that popcorn figures on the “foods-that-are-not-allowed” list. After all, how could a delicious bowl of warm, salted popcorn not interfere with your desired state of ketosis? It most certainly should interfere with your body burning fat, shouldn’t it?
Corn is known to contain carbohydrates which are undesirable except in very minimal amounts when following a ketogenic regime. Carbs are heavily restricted on keto diets, while fats are increased. So, how could popcorn ever be an acceptable snack? Especially if you consider that your total daily carbs should not exceed about 25 grams daily. That’s not a lot of carbohydrates for an entire day of meals and snacks.
The Ketogenic Diet
Created in the 1920s for epileptic children, the ketogenic diet has become popular in recent times as a method for weight loss. When on a keto diet you concentrate on eating protein and fats while limiting carbs to a minimum. Without carbs to burn as energy, our bodies will break down the fats consumed into ketones to use as fuel.
When ketones increase in the blood, the body enters the metabolic state of ketosis so that it is burning fat and not glucose. Generally, people following a ketogenic diet will obtain about 75% of their daily calories from fats.
The Good News About Popcorn and the Ketogenic Diet
One cup of simple fresh popcorn that has been air-popped only contains approximately six grams of carbohydrates and a full gram of fiber. For Keto dieters, this translates into a net carb amount of just five grams. So, if you limit your popcorn intake to a cup and the popcorn isn’t sugar or caramel coated, you will be within your keto diet’s recommended limit. Likewise, stay away from microwave popcorn because it usually has hydrogenated oils and artificial additives.
As a whole-grain snack, plain popcorn is healthy and quite low in carb content. It also contains fiber which is healthy for your digestive tract. Consider that your single cup of air-popped popcorn contains:
- 0 mg. cholesterol
- 4 mg. fat
- 6 mg. sodium
- 1 gr. protein
- 2 gr. fiber
- 1 gr. sugar
- 2 gr carbs
…And that’s all in 31 calories.
Can I Coat My Popcorn with Something on a Keto Diet?
Clearly, toppings with lots of sugar like caramel or chocolate are not going to fit into a ketogenic diet. But, if you buy packet popcorn, or top your cup of popcorn with ingredients such as cinnamon, a tiny portion of hot sauce, nuts, Parmesan cheese, peanut butter, or even dill pickle seasoning – you should stay on track. Can’t live without butter? Drizzle your popcorn with melted nut butter.
Low-Carb Snacks that Keto Dieters Can Consume at Work
When following a ketogenic diet, one of your challenges will be to find a variety of low-carb snacks to ward off hunger pains. If you need to bring along snacks for your break at work, this too can complicate matters. You’ll need a snack that you can toss into a briefcase or purse without a lot of hassle. What’s a keto dieter to do?
Fear not, there are a variety of healthy snacks for you to munch on that can be easily transported to the office. Try these:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- A fistful of seeds or nuts
- Cheese cubes
- Parmesan cheese bites
- String cheese
- Pork rinds
- Jerky sticks
- Grilled chicken strips
- Celery sticks
- Bell pepper strips
- Tuna wrapped in lettuce
- Ham and cheese wrapped in lettuce
- Protein bars (Check the ingredients list)!
- Trail mix
- Baked zucchini chips
- Peanut butter
And if you love a dip, try making a low-carb dip, using full-fat cream cheese, or guacamole.
Is Popcorn Keto?
You bet it is! Popcorn can be included in a keto diet. What you’ll need to calculate is how many carbs you ingest so you can divide your daily allotment as you prefer, even to include a cup of fresh, air-popped popcorn. Popcorn is keto-friendly, and it will help to keep the hunger pangs at bay. As with any diet, it’s crucial that you do not exaggerate.
Low-carbohydrate dietary regimes can be restrictive, so low-carb snacks become essential to your success. Luckily there are numerous low-carb snacks available, and popcorn can be either a savory or sweet low-carb snack if eaten in moderation with the right topping.