Is Popcorn Healthy For People With Diabetes? How To Eat It Safely

While people may think that popcorn is an unhealthy snack, the reality is that its high fiber content makes it a great option. 

However, while popcorn is often considered a healthy snack, it can still provide substantial carbs if you are not careful. 

For someone with diabetes, this may be a problem. So, can people with diabetes eat popcorn? 

In this article, we’ll talk about whether popcorn is healthy for diabetics, its glycemic index, and safe ways to eat popcorn without affecting your blood sugar levels. 

Is Popcorn OK For People With Diabetes?

While it is OK for people with diabetes to have popcorn, it all comes down to how much you are having and what you are pairing it with. 

Popcorn has a glycemic index (GI) of 55 (medium on the GI scale)

The glycemic index is the measurement of how much a certain food affects blood sugar levels. 

The higher the number on the scale, the higher the impact. Thus, people with diabetes want to focus on low to medium-glycemic index foods. 

While popcorn is a good snack for people with diabetes, it depends on how much you are having. 

Three cups of popcorn contain 18.6 grams of carbohydrates

So, if you are counting carbs, you must determine how much you can have without affecting your blood sugar levels. 

Also, you need to consider how much sodium it has. Air-popped popcorn is generally lower in sodium, which can be a preferable option for those with diabetes.

However, store-bought or movie theater popcorn can have 600-700 milligrams of sodium per bag. 

While sodium does not impact blood sugar levels, it can increase the risk of heart disease since it increases blood pressure. 

Get Your FREE Diabetes Diet Plan

  • 15 foods to naturally lower blood sugar levels
  • 3 day sample meal plan
  • Designed exclusively by our nutritionist

By clicking “Download Now”, I agree to Ben's Natural Health Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

3 Benefits of Popcorn For Diabetics

In addition to being a popular snack, popcorn offers other potential health advantages.

Here are some of the possible health benefits of eating popcorn for people with diabetes. 

Reduces Inflammation

Since popcorn contains polyphenols (antioxidants), research shows they can help reduce oxidative stress, thus reducing inflammation. 

Improved Bowel Function

Thanks to its high fiber content, popcorn can help improve digestion, reduce the risk of constipation, and improve gut health. 

Aids in Weight Management

Popcorn is a low-calorie and high-fiber snack, ideal for those who want to lose or maintain weight. 

Since fiber takes longer to digest, studies show it can help increase fullness levels, reducing cravings and hunger. 

Nutritional Value Of Popcorn

It’s important to understand the nutritional content of popcorn. Remember that the nutritional value may vary depending on if things are added to the popcorn, such as butter, oils, or salt. 

One cup of popcorn has the following nutritional information. 

  • Calories: 31
  • Carbs: 6.2 grams
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Protein: 1.0 grams
  • Fats: 0.4 grams 

In addition, popcorn provides essential vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, vitamin B1, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. 

How To Include Popcorn In Your Diet If You Have Diabetes

There are some things you need to consider when having popcorn if you have diabetes. Here are some tips to keep in mind to prevent popcorn from affecting your blood sugar levels: 

  • To add flavor to popcorn, try adding grated low-fat cheese, nutritional yeast, olive oil, or spices (chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and cinnamon). 
  • Avoid store-bought or movie popcorn since it tends to be higher in fat and sodium. 
  • Pair popcorn with a healthy fat or protein to have more stable blood sugar levels. For example, you can have popcorn with some string cheese (protein) or popcorn with avocado oil (fats). 
  • Avoid pairing popcorn with simple carbs, such as candy, chocolate, or powdered sugar. 

type 2 diabetes supplement

Precautions Eating Popcorn With Diabetes

While popcorn is safe to eat, its high fiber content may increase the risk of digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, and stomach cramps, especially if you are not used to having high-fiber foods. 

So, if you have digestive issues after eating popcorn, reduce the portion size. If you still have issues, speak with a health professional to determine if there needs to be other changes to your diet. 


Popcorn is a great snack option for people with diabetes. It is low in calories, and while it provides carbs, it is high in fiber, meaning it can result in more stable blood sugar levels. 

In addition, popcorn can help reduce inflammation, improve gut health, and aid in weight management

However, you need to be careful about what toppings you decide to add since they can add calories and carbs, which can affect your blood sugar levels. 

Limit the addition of sugars, chocolate, butter (in large quantities), and salt.

If you need help determining how many carbs you can have without affecting your blood sugar levels, speak with a health professional to get personalized guidance.

Explore More

is apple good for diabetes

Are Apples Good For Diabetes? Benefits, Risks, Blood Sugar.


  1. Coco MG Jr, Vinson JA. Analysis of Popcorn (Zea mays L. var. everta) for Antioxidant Capacity and Total Phenolic Content. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Jan 14;8(1):22. doi: 10.3390/antiox8010022. PMID: 30646597; PMCID: PMC6356482.
  2. Nguyen V, Cooper L, Lowndes J, Melanson K, Angelopoulos TJ, Rippe JM, Reimers K. Popcorn is more satiating than potato chips in normal-weight adults. Nutr J. 2012 Sep 14;11:71. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-71. PMID: 22978828; PMCID: PMC3502142.

Top Products

Total Health


Glucose Control