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Is popcorn keto?

bowl of avocados

Is popcorn keto?

Popcorn is a popular snack enjoyed by many people around the world. It is often associated with movie theaters and cozy nights at home. However, for those following a ketogenic diet, the question arises: is popcorn keto-friendly? In this article, we will explore the nutritional content of popcorn, its impact on ketosis, and whether it can be included in a keto diet.

The nutritional content of popcorn

Popcorn is made from dried corn kernels that are heated until they pop. It is a whole grain and contains several essential nutrients. However, the nutritional content of popcorn can vary depending on how it is prepared and seasoned.

Here is the approximate nutritional content of 1 ounce (28 grams) of air-popped popcorn:

  • Calories: 106
  • Carbohydrates: 22 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram

As we can see, popcorn is relatively low in calories and fat. It is also a good source of dietary fiber. However, the carbohydrate content is relatively high, which raises concerns for those following a ketogenic diet.

Popcorn and ketosis

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body primarily uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. To achieve and maintain ketosis, it is necessary to limit carbohydrate intake to a very low level, typically around 20-50 grams per day.

While popcorn does contain carbohydrates, it can still be included in a keto diet if consumed in moderation. The key is to carefully manage portion sizes and choose the right type of popcorn.

Portion control

Since popcorn is relatively high in carbohydrates, it is important to be mindful of portion sizes. Consuming large amounts of popcorn can easily exceed the daily carbohydrate limit and hinder ketosis.

One serving of popcorn is typically considered to be around 1 ounce (28 grams) or about 3 cups of popped popcorn. It is crucial to measure the portion size to avoid overeating and to accurately track carbohydrate intake.

Choosing the right type of popcorn

Not all popcorn is created equal when it comes to its impact on ketosis. The way popcorn is prepared and seasoned can significantly affect its carbohydrate content.

Air-popped popcorn is the best option for those following a keto diet. It is made without any added oils or fats, making it lower in calories and fat compared to other types of popcorn. Additionally, air-popped popcorn retains more of its natural fiber content.

On the other hand, microwave popcorn and pre-packaged popcorn often contain added oils, flavorings, and seasonings that can increase the carbohydrate content. These should be avoided or carefully chosen to ensure they fit within the daily carbohydrate limit.


While popcorn is not inherently keto-friendly due to its carbohydrate content, it can still be enjoyed in moderation as part of a well-managed ketogenic diet. By practicing portion control and choosing the right type of popcorn, individuals can include this popular snack without jeopardizing their state of ketosis. As with any dietary decision, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to ensure that popcorn fits within an individual’s specific nutritional needs and goals.