Can A Diabetic Eat Popcorn?


Diet is very important for efficient management of diabetes. It helps in lowering the chances of complications linked to it such as stroke, nerve damage, and heart disease. Popcorn is seen as a little snacking pleasure of life. Though diabetics should avoid the buttery, and highly salted versions of popcorns, they are still safe incorporation into the diabetes meal plan. In this article, let us look at the impact of popcorn on the health of diabetics, and its right serving suggestions.

Can A Diabetic Eat Popcorn?

Nutrition content in popcorn

Popcorn serves as a whole grain carbohydrate source. Unprocessed and air-popped popcorn provides 3 grams of fiber and 80 to 100 calories per serving. An air-popped, and unsalted popcorn provides very less calories, zero cholesterol, and negligible fat.

Popcorn meet the requirements of a whole-grain food. A single serving of popcorn provides seventy percentage of the total recommended dietary consumption of whole grain. It has more than a gram fiber, a gram of protein and 6 grams of carbohydrates.

This excellent fiber rich snack provides several minerals, and vitamins in it such as:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B-6
  • vitamin E
  • folate
  • pantothenic acid
  • niacin
  • thiamine
  • riboflavin

It also has iron, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and potassium in it. The hull of popcorn has a lot of nutritional content in it. It has beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein, that helps in maintaining vision that is a very important concern in diabetes patients. Being rich in polyphenols with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, popcorns make it a super food against treating heart ailments and cancer.

Popcorn and its Glycemic index

The value of glycemic index ranges between 1 to 100. It is the speed at which sugar enters into the bloodstream once a person consumes carbohydrates. The value of GI is proportional to the level of blood sugar in the body.

Diet that have low glycemic foods is shown to provide remarkable health benefits, that includes better lipid and glucose levels for Type 2 or Type 1diabetes. These foods assist weight control due to its slow rate of absorption for controlling appetite and providing fullness for a longer time.

The digestive system quickly metabolizes foods with high levels of glycemic index. This, in turn, results in fast absorption of sugar in the blood. These foods cause significant increase in levels of blood sugar in the blood. When you eat foods that have low glycemic index then it absorbs such foods at a slow pace.

Diabetic people should always check the glycemic index when selecting the right type of foods to eat. Popcorn is a fiber rich food that has low glycemic index as compared to other snack foods.  The glycemic index in an air-popped popcorn is 55, that makes it a low-GI food. When consumed in moderate amounts, it is seen as a healthy inclusion into the diabetic meal plan.  The low levels of glycemic index do not lead to sudden increase in blood sugar.

What is the right serving size of popcorns?

Popcorn comes with varying serving sizes. Sticking to it will ensure blood sugar levels remains within permissible limits in a diabetic. As popcorns have low calorie and GI index, it doesn’t mean that you can eat it as much as you want. Restricting your consumption to advised portion size is important to control blood sugar levels.

Five cups of fat free “air-popped” popcorn gives 100 to150 calories and 25 grams of carbs. It is important to check with your doctor to recommend the ideal serving size of popcorn. Based on the severity of the ailment, he would suggest you the right way to include it in your meal.

Recommended instructions to eat popcorns when you are diabetic

Due to low in calories and free from hydrogenated oils, air popped popcorns are considered to be a better option than salty, caramel, candy covered varieties, cheese and butter popcorns.  They provide you the most nutrition with minimum fat and extra calories. The toppings you choose should be selected on the basis of the carb and sugar content present in it.

A person should select to cook the popcorn in a way that suits his personal preference and needs in the best possible way. People who have less time to prepare popcorns, can prepare it in a microwave too.


Popcorn is considered to be a healthful snack for diabetics when it is prepared in the right way. The high-fiber, and low-calorie content of an air-popped popcorn is a beneficial inclusion in the diabetic diet. People should consider its calorie value and carb content when including this healthful snack your diet. Selection of proper type of popcorn, healthy cooking style, and sticking to recommended serving size helps in efficient management of blood sugar levels in a person.