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Can You Eat Popcorn on the Keto Diet?

Can You Eat Popcorn on the Keto Diet? An Expert Gives Us Her Final Answer

Photographer: Diggy LloydRestrictions: Editorial and internal use only. No advertising or print.Product Credits: Olivia Von Halle pajamas.

You may have heard about the benefits of the keto diet, which include weight loss and a decrease in inflammation. This popular diet, which is high-fat, moderate-protein, and super-low-carb, has exploded in popularity over the last few years. With some carb-heavy foods being explicitly off-limits, such as bread, pasta, rice, and sweets, you may wonder about certain carbs that fall in a nutritional grey area.

Popcorn, for example, is a carb, but it's lower in carbohydrates than, say, a bowl of pasta. Four cups of popped popcorn contain 21 grams of carbs, while one cup of cooked pasta can have around 50 or so. But while 21 grams may not seem like a lot, it could be too much for someone who is keto.

"Although some people may be able to eat more carbs in a day and still be able to stay in ketosis, it's highly unlikely that popcorn would be an option for most individuals following a ketogenic lifestyle," Catherine Metzgar, PhD, RD, and a member of the clinical team at Virta Health, told POPSUGAR.

To get into ketosis, people generally need to eat 50 or fewer grams of carbs a day. For some, that might even need to be lower; each body has a different carb threshold for ketosis. At 21 grams per serving, that's almost half of your day's worth of carbs with just one snack.

But is there a way to prepare popcorn that's keto-friendly? To be frank: no.

"The best option is to forgo popcorn as a snack," Dr. Metzgar said. "If you are looking for a crunchy alternative, try toasting or roasting a lower-carb nut or seed, such as pecans, almonds, or pumpkin seeds, in fat and add salt, or give a crisp cheese snack a try if it fits with your diet."

You could also try this keto spiced "popcorn." Hint: it's made with pork belly, not corn.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Diggy Lloyd
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