Medically the evaluation by Katherine Marengo LDN, R.D., Nutrition — written by Jacquelyn Cafasso — to update on December 7, 2018

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Popcorn has been delighted in as a snack for centuries, means before movie theater made it popular. Luckily, you have the right to eat a huge volume the air-popped popcorn and also consume relatively couple of calories.

You are watching: Calories in air popped popcorn 1/2 cup unpopped

Because it’s low in calories, many dieters believe popcorn is additionally low in carbohydrates. Yet this is far from the truth. Many of the calorie in popcorn come indigenous carbohydrates. Corn is a entirety grain, ~ all.

Carb-rich foods aren’t necessarily bad for you. Even on a low-carb diet, you deserve to enjoy a couple of handfuls of popcorn there is no going overboard. The crucial is to salary close attention to the offer size and also minimize added oil, butter, and also salt.


How countless carbs per serving?

Carbs (short because that carbohydrates) are macronutrients that your body uses to develop energy. Her body needs carbohydrates to role properly. Carbohydrate aren’t bad for you, as long as you consume the best types.

Sugar and refined carbs, prefer desserts and white breads, room carbohydrates too, but they’re packed v calories and low in nutritional value. The bulk of her carbs have to come from fruits, vegetables, and also whole grains. Popcorn is taken into consideration a totality grain food.

There are about 30 grams of carbohydrates in a serving of popcorn. A serving of popped popcorn is roughly 4 to 5 cup popped, which is the lot you get from 2 tablespoons of unpopped kernels. A offer of air-popped popcorn contains around 120 to 150 calories.

The specific amount the carbohydrates your body needs will vary depending on your age, activity level, and also overall health.

The mei Clinic recommends that 45 to 65 percent of your everyday calories come from carbohydrates. It is the indistinguishable of around 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrate per day for someone on a 2,000 calorie every day diet.

At 30 carbohydrates every serving, popcorn only offers up between 9 and also 13 percent that your everyday allotted lot of carbohydrates. In other words, having actually one serving of popcorn won’t also come close to placing you over your everyday limit.


Fiber is a complex carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrates are less processed, and more slowly digested than basic carbohydrates, like polished sugar. Fiber promotes bowel regularity and also helps to control cholesterol.

It can aid you keep your weight, and also may also prevent type 2 diabetes and also cardiovascular issues. That plays an important role in permanent health.

A serving of popcorn contains about 6 grams of fiber. Because that reference, guys under 50 year of period should eat 38 grams that fiber every day and also women under 50 should have 25 grams. If you’re end the period of 50, you have to eat about 30 grams per day if you a man, and 21 grams if you’re a woman.


Moderately low-carb diets usually consist that 100 to 150 grams of carbohydrate per day. You deserve to still reap a offer of popcorn if on a low-carb diet. The fiber contents will assist keep you full and the volume can prevent friend from giving in to cravings for cake and cookies.

If girlfriend do select to eat popcorn together your snack, girlfriend may need to minimize various other sources of carbohydrates for the day.

Since popcorn has actually only a small protein and also very few vitamins and minerals, it may not it is in the wisest an option as a regular snack on a low-carb diet, however can definitely be enjoyed on occasion.


Pouring ~ above the butter or adding too lot salt have the right to cancel the end the healthy and balanced benefits that popcorn.

Movie theater popcorn, because that example, contains very high amounts of unhealthy saturation or trans fats, and also lots that calories. Limit this style of popcorn come a rare treat or consider sharing a small portion with a friend.

To enjoy the health benefits that popcorn, shot popping your very own kernels at home. If you popular music it in the microwave, you don’t need to use any type of oil or butter to do it pop.

You can’t lower the variety of carbs in popcorn by cooking it in ~ home, yet you’ll have better control over the quantity of fat, sodium, and also calories.

Homemade microwave popcorn

You’ll require a microwave-safe bowl with a vented food covering to do homemade microwave popcorn:

Put 1/3 cup that popcorn kernels in the bowl, and cover v the vented cover.Microwave because that a couple of minutes, or till there room a pair seconds between hearing pops.Use oven gloves or hot pads to eliminate the key from the microwave, since it will be really hot.

Homemade stove top popcorn

Another option is to cook popcorn kernels ~ above the cooktop top. Friend will need some kind of high-smoke allude oil, however you can regulate the amount and form of oil girlfriend use.

Heat 2 come 3 tablespoons the oil (coconut, peanut, or canola oil job-related best) in a 3-quart saucepan.Put 1/3 cup popcorn kernels in the saucepan and cover through a lid.Shake and move the pan gently ago and forth end the burner.Remove the pan from the heat once the popping slows under to a couple of seconds between pops and dump the popcorn closely into a vast bowl.Add salt come taste (and in moderation). Other healthy flavoring alternatives include acting paprika, nutritional yeast, chili pepper, curry powder, cinnamon, cumin, and grated cheese.

These recipes make around 8 cups, or 2 servings the popcorn.


Popcorn go contain carbs, yet this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One-fifth the the carbohydrate in popcorn are in the kind of diet fiber, i beg your pardon is great for your as whole health. Popcorn is a great example that a high-volume, low-calorie totality grain. If cooking correctly, it makes a healthy and balanced snack.

The smartest strategy to any kind of diet is not eliminating entirety food teams like carbohydrates. Instead, make sure you’re eating healthy and balanced carbs like whole grains and fresh produce. Limit the quantity of carbohydrates you eat indigenous sugar and processed grains.

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There’s no such point as a “low-carb” version of popcorn. So, if you’re walking to have popcorn, measure out your very own serving and opt because that the every natural, butter-, and also salt-free varieties. Or pop your very own in the microwave or ~ above the cooktop top.