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 because that centuries, method before movie theatre made that popular. Luckily, you can eat a big volume the air-popped popcorn and consume relatively few calories.

You are watching: Calories in 1/4 cup unpopped popcorn

Because it’s low in calories, many dieters think popcorn is also low in carbohydrates. Yet this is far from the truth. Most of the calorie in popcorn come native carbohydrates. Corn is a whole grain, after ~ all.

Carb-rich foodstuffs aren’t necessarily poor for you. Even on a low-carb diet, you deserve to enjoy a few handfuls the popcorn without going overboard. The crucial is to salary close fist to the serving size and minimize added oil, butter, and salt.


How many carbs per serving?

Carbs (short for carbohydrates) are macronutrients the your body provides to produce energy. Your body requirements carbohydrates to duty properly. Carbohydrates aren’t poor for you, as long as girlfriend consume the appropriate types.

Sugar and also refined carbs, like desserts and also white breads, space carbohydrates too, however they’re packed v calories and also low in nutritional value. The bulk of your carbs must come from fruits, vegetables, and also whole grains. Popcorn is taken into consideration a entirety grain food.

There are about 30 grams of carbohydrate in a serving of popcorn. A offer of popped popcorn is roughly 4 to 5 cups popped, i beg your pardon is the quantity you get from 2 tablespoons of unpopped kernels. A offer of air-popped popcorn contains about 120 come 150 calories.

The exact amount the carbohydrates her body needs will vary relying on your age, activity level, and also overall health.

The mayo Clinic recommends that 45 to 65 percent of your everyday calories come from carbohydrates. It is the equivalent of around 225 to 325 grams of carbs per day because that someone ~ above a 2,000 calorie every day diet.

At 30 carbohydrates per serving, popcorn only offers up between 9 and 13 percent of your day-to-day allotted quantity of carbohydrates. In various other words, having one serving of popcorn won’t also come nearby to placing you end your day-to-day limit.


Fiber is a complex carbohydrate. Complicated carbohydrates are much less processed, and more slowly spend than simple carbohydrates, like sleek sugar. Fiber disclosure bowel regularity and helps to manage cholesterol.

It can help you maintain your weight, and may also prevent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues. The plays an important role in long-term health.

A offer of popcorn contains around 6 grams that fiber. Because that reference, men under 50 years of age should eat 38 grams of fiber per day and women under 50 should have actually 25 grams. If you’re over the period of 50, you need to eat around 30 grams per day if she a man, and also 21 grams if she a woman.


Moderately low-carb diets generally consist of 100 come 150 grams of carbohydrate per day. You deserve to still enjoy a offer of popcorn if on a low-carb diet. The fiber content will aid keep girlfriend full and the volume could prevent girlfriend from offering in to cravings for cake and also cookies.

If girlfriend do pick to eat popcorn as your snack, you may have to minimize various other sources of carbohydrate for that day.

Since popcorn has only a small protein and very couple of vitamins and also minerals, it may not it is in the wisest an option as a continual snack top top a low-carb diet, however can absolutely be appreciated on occasion.


Pouring top top the butter or including too much salt have the right to cancel the end the healthy and balanced benefits that popcorn.

Movie theater popcorn, for example, contains an extremely high quantities of unhealthy saturation or trans fats, and also lots of calories. Limit this format of popcorn come a rare treat or think about sharing a small part with a friend.

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

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

Homemade microwave popcorn

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

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

Homemade stove height popcorn

Another alternative is to cook popcorn kernels on the cooktop top. You will need some kind of high-smoke suggest oil, yet you can control the lot and type of oil you use.

Heat 2 come 3 tablespoons that oil (coconut, peanut, or canola oil work best) in a 3-quart saucepan.Put 1/3 cup popcorn kernels in the saucepan and also cover through a lid.Shake and move the pan gently earlier and forth end the burner.Remove the pan from the heat once the popping slows under to a few seconds in between pops and also dump the popcorn carefully into a large bowl.Add salt come taste (and in moderation). Other healthy and balanced flavoring choices include smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, chili pepper, curry powder, cinnamon, cumin, and also grated cheese.

These recipes make about 8 cups, or 2 servings of popcorn.


Popcorn walk contain carbs, however this no necessarily a bad thing. One-fifth the the carbohydrate in popcorn are in the form of diet fiber, i m sorry is good for your in its entirety health. Popcorn is a an excellent example of a high-volume, low-calorie totality grain. If cook correctly, it makes a healthy snack.

The smartest method to any kind of diet is no eliminating whole food teams like carbohydrates. Instead, make certain you’re eating healthy and balanced carbs like totality grains and also fresh produce. Border the amount 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 going to have actually popcorn, measure out your very own serving and opt because that the every natural, butter-, and also salt-free varieties. Or popular music your own in the microwave or ~ above the range top.