When it comes to snacks, popcorn is a popular choice. But is it a good choice for people with diabetes? What effect does popcorn have on blood sugar levels?
Consuming 1 cup of air-pooped popcorn will not increase your blood sugar. When you eat popcorn with added sugars like kettle corn or Oreo cookie toppings then your your blood sugars will increase due to the additional sugar.
This article reviews the research on the effects of popcorn on blood sugar and provides some tips for people with diabetes who want to include popcorn in their diets. Whether you’re a popcorn lover or just enjoy an occasional late-time snack, you’ll get some more clarity about its effects on blood sugar levels.
What Is Blood Sugar?
What is blood sugar? This is a question that many people ask. Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It comes from the food you eat.
Your body changes most of the food into glucose and stores it in your liver. Glucose is a source of energy for your body. Insulin helps your body use glucose to give you energy. When there isn’t enough insulin or when the body can’t use insulin properly, diabetes may develop.
Diabetes is a disease in which there are high levels of blood sugar.
How Does Popcorn’s Nutritional Profile Affect Blood Sugar?
Popcorn has a glycemic index (or called GI) around 55. As long as you consume it in moderation, popcorn doesn’t increase blood sugar.
As far as nutritional content does, one cup of air-popped popcorn will contain around 100 calories, one gram of fat, and less than one gram of sugar. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber, with about 3.5 grams per cup. Remember, these numbers are without any additional butter, salt, or toppings (such as caramel).
Did you know that popcorn is also loaded with key vitamins and added minerals for good overall health? These include potassium, copper, phosphorous, and magnesium. It also contains Vitamin A, B, and E.
Are There Advantages Of Eating Popcorn If You Have Diabetes?
Eating popcorn can reduce the amount of sugar that gets absorbed into the bloodstream, which is excellent for the control of type 2 diabetes. It’s 100 percent unprocessed, which benefits people who have problems with their blood sugar levels as listed below:
- Enhanced blood circulation
- Stabilization of blood sugar
- Weight loss
- Low calorie content
If you’re searching for a quick snack that keeps you full, popcorn is the answer. It’s also an excellent source for getting antioxidants into your body. These antioxidants play a vital role in either managing diabetes or preventing it in the first place.
How Do I Prepare Popcorn If I Need To Control Blood Sugar?
The way you make your popcorn has an essential role in managing diabetes. You can quickly add 30-50 calores per serving that can spike glucose levels if you’re not careful.
The best way to consume popcorn if you’re watching glucose levels is to not add any butter, toppings, or other flavorings. However, you can use an oil spritzer and touch of salt and pepper if you want to add a little taste without raising calorie count significantly.
If you want to explore other healthy flavorings, you can try the following:
- Use garlic powder or onion power that can add flavor without added sodium content
- Consider an alternative to sugar (such as stevia), which can give it a kettle corn style flavoring, along with some cinnamon.
- Cumin and chili powder are a great combo if you enjoy a little spice
Another great idea is using popcorn as the main ingredient in a diabetic-friendly trail mix. A handful of popcorn and nuts is a great way to keep your blood sugar levels stabilized, and you can even use the same flavorings above to pack a flavorful punch.
What Should I Look For On The Nurition Label Of My Popcorn?
If you aren’t making popcorn in an air-popper, you should be cognizant of the nutrition facts, whether it’s a microwavable bag or the ready to eat variety.
More specifically, you’re looking at the total fat(including trans fat), sodium, and sugar content. Fat content should be limited, with less than 3 grams per serving, and there should be zero trans fat.
For sodium, it should ideally contain less than 150 mg. Finally, there should be little to no sugars (less than two grams). Many brands of store-bought popcorn exceed these healthy levels because they excess fat, sugar, and sodium content.
However, if you’re just trying to be careful, you’re best bet is to make popcorn yourself either on the stove or using an air-popper.
How Much Popcorn Can I Eat If I’m Watching My Glucose Level?
Alhough plain, popcorn is a nutritious snack, you still have to consume it in moderation if you need to maintain your blood sugar level. A serving of popcorn is one cup popped, so it’s best not to eat more than two cups in one sitting.
If you eat more than this amount, you risk elevating blood sugar. Use a measuring cup or a small bowl to gauge the amount you’re eating.
For more accountability, it’s a good idea to pre-portion your snacks into baggies for a few days at a time to make sure you don’t overeat. Or you can store servings in air-tight tupperwares.
What’s The Verdict? Is Popcorn Good For Blood Sugar?
If you’ve been wondering if popcorn is good for blood sugar, the answer is yes! Popcorn is a great snack to have on hand when you’re looking for something healthy to eat that will help keep your blood sugar stable.
It’s also a good source of fiber and antioxidants, making it a healthier choice than many other snacks. So go ahead and enjoy a handful of popcorn next time you’re feeling hungry.
Just remember not to add unhealthy toppings or extra butter that can quickly throw a wrench into your dietary needs.