Can a Diabetic Eat Popcorn? A Guide to Consuming Popcorn With Diabetes

  • Author: Sue Dorrens
  • Published: September 2, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Popcorn can be a healthy snack for diabetics as long as it is eaten in moderation and is free from un-friendly diabetic flavorings, such as butter.

This is great news for the 37.3 million Americans who currently have diabetes and want to enjoy a satisfying and filling snack.

Let’s find out more about the type of popcorn diabetics can eat, special considerations they need to make, and whether popcorn is healthy for diabetics.

Can You Eat Popcorn If You Have Diabetes?

Yes, you can eat popcorn if you have diabetes.

Diabetics should eat a diet high in fiber because it helps to keep blood sugar at safe levels. Popcorn is a high-fiber snack that contains 3.6 g of fiber per 3 cups. Fiber is also filling so it stops you from reaching for more calorific and unhealthy snacks that are likely to make you put on weight.

But, just because popcorn is suitable for diabetics, it doesn’t mean you can eat any old popcorn. Popcorn loaded with flavorings and toppings can cause your blood sugar to spike as they are unhealthy.

For questions about any food type you can check the nutritional breakdown to get a better perspective on how your body may react to a particular food type.

What Kind of Popcorn is Good for Diabetics?

The best kind of popcorn for diabetics is air-popped popcorn. Ideally, you should stick to homemade popcorn as you can be sure that it has got as few ingredients in it as possible and that it’s diabetic-friendly.

Microwavable popcorn should be avoided as it’s almost impossible to find one that’s completely plain. Microwavable varieties use preservatives to keep the popcorn fresh.

Plus, salt is usually added to this type of popcorn. People with diabetes shouldn’t eat too much salt because it can cause further health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease.

How Much Popcorn Can a Diabetic Eat?

It’s generally safe for a diabetic to eat 2 cups of air-popped popcorn every day. This amount of popcorn will keep your blood sugar stable while allowing you to indulge in a yummy snack.

Will Popcorn Raise Blood Sugar?

No, eating popcorn will not raise blood sugar if you eat it in moderation and without unhealthy toppings. Popcorn has a Glycemic Index (GI) of 55, which makes it a medium GI food. But its Glycemic Load (GL) is just 6, which is very low.

Are There Any Popcorn Flavorings That Diabetics Can Eat?

Yes, there are plenty of popcorn flavorings that diabetics can eat. While they may not be the most popular popcorn flavorings like salt, butter, and caramel, they are just as delicious.

Suitable popcorn flavorings for diabetics include:

  • Butter-flavored spray
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Sweeteners
  • Cinnamon
  • Chili powder
  • Lemon or lime zest
  • Paprika
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
testing glucose levels after eating popcorn

Can Eating Popcorn Benefit Diabetics?

Yes, as popcorn is a nutritional snack, it can benefit the health of diabetics. These benefits include:

  • Being an unprocessed food
  • Low in calories
  • Low in fat
  • High in fiber
  • Good for blood pressure

Can Diabetics Eat Popcorn Before Bed?

If you’re like us and often get the munchies at bedtime, then you’ll be pleased to know that popcorn can be a suitable bedtime snack for diabetics.

Air-popped popcorn is the only type of popcorn that diabetics should eat before bed. Any other type will send your blood sugar soaring.

The high fiber content of popcorn makes it a safe bedtime snack as it balances out your blood sugar levels.

What Snacks Can Diabetics Eat At Night?

Night-time snacking is a common phenomenon. While many people will grab ready-made popcorn, chocolate, or chips to satisfy their hunger cravings, these aren’t suitable for diabetics.

As already mentioned, diabetics can eat air-popped popcorn at night, but there are also other healthy nighttime snacks they can have, including:

  • A handful of nuts
  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Carrot batons
  • Cucumber batons
  • Cottage cheese with whole grain crackers
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Hard-boiled egg

Can Diabetics Eat Popcorn From a Movie Theater?

There’s nothing more tempting than the smell of freshly-cooked popcorn at the movies. Unfortunately, diabetics shouldn’t eat popcorn from a movie theater.

Movie theater popcorn is loaded with unhealthy ingredients, including salt, butter, and hydrogenated oils (that it’s cooked in).

Unfortunately, you can’t take your own popcorn into a movie theater, either. AMC, for example, specifically states that “outside food and drinks are not allowed.”

This leaves you with little snack choices at the theater. It’s, therefore, best to have a movie night in the comfort of your own home with some homemade air-popped popcorn.

Is Popcorn Okay for Prediabetics?

Yes, popcorn is okay for prediabetics to eat.

A prediabetic is someone who has a high chance of developing diabetes. Your blood sugars will be higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. 1 in 3 Americans are currently classed as being pre-diabetic, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

The good thing is that when you’re prediabetic, you can prevent yourself from getting full-blown diabetes through lifestyle changes.

TIP – Popcorn is a good snack to treat yourself to when you’re prediabetic because it is a whole grain and is rich in fiber. Just make sure you stay away from buttery, salted, or sugared popcorn. Stick to the flavorings featured on the list above and you’ll be fine.

There are a lot of foods that diabetics have to miss out on, but popcorn isn’t one of them. Yes, you do need to modify the toppings you have on your popcorn, but with a little creativity, you can enjoy tasty popcorn time and time again.

Curious to know who shouldn’t eat popcorn?

Sources

https://parade.com/420509/maureensangiorgio/snacks-for-diabetics/
https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-you-eat-more-night-how-curb-your-hunger-ncna871131
https://kylonpowell.com/can-diabetics-eat-movie-popcorn-with-butter/
https://www.powerinthegroup.com/prediabetes-and-popcorn/
https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/role-of-fiber.html

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