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Nutrition » Diets » Popcorn Diet: Can This Movie Snack Actually Help You Slim Down?

Popcorn Diet: Can This Movie Snack Actually Help You Slim Down?

Popcorn Diet

Popcorn Diet

Today, people have an enormous number of methods which can help them to reach their aims connected to health and weight. In our modern times there is an abundance of workout plans and eating patterns which are designed to help one gain, lose or maintain weight. You have probably heard of the keto diet, the paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet – they are extremely popular among the weight-watchers. But have you heard about the popcorn diet? Read on to find out all the detailed information, tips and recommendations!

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What is the popcorn diet?

There are no strict rules for this dietary plan. You can decide how much popcorn to eat and when. This diet doesn’t mean that you should eat popcorn instead of all your meals. Your body has a number of nutritional needs, and popcorn can’t meet all of them. You should use this snack only to combine with other healthy and nutritious dishes. So, the premise is that you should replace one of your main meals with popcorn. The other two meals should consist of fruit and veggies, lean protein and other beneficial foods. Make sure that the beverages you choose are low in calories as well. Herbal teas, water, and juices (unsweetened, of course) are all nice options.

Some people strictly stick to the popcorn diet in such a way that they just eat popcorn as a snack instead of other foods.

How it works

Popcorn is a snack that is relatively low in calories – 33 calories per cup of air-popped popcorn. When you replace your one major meal with a serving of this snack, you significantly cut your daily energy intake. If your other meal consists of healthy foods, this calorie restriction alone should help you to shed unwanted pounds.

where does popcorn fit in the plant based diet
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Pros and Cons of the popcorn diet

As for pros, the popcorn diet is a nice way to trim off excessive inches. As was mentioned above, by replacing one meal with this snack you significantly cut your energy intake. Popcorn is also quite filling – this property is useful to keep you feeling full longer, thus preventing hunger and overeating. Its high amounts of essential nutrients will also prevent vitamin deficiency and help to make your diet well-balanced.

Despite the benefits, there are some cons as well. For example, for some dieters it might be challenging to control the portions of popcorn. Some people also think that they can have the same huge portions as they have at the movie theaters, but this is just a common misconception. Another minus is that some supporters of the diet think that they can eat whatever they want for the other two meals. As a result, they can’t lose weight and later just give up. As was mentioned earlier, it is critical to opt for healthy and nutritious foods. Lean meats, poultry, seafood, dairy, fresh fruits and veggies – all these foods will help you to stay healthy and energized.

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is popcorn good for diet
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Popcorn benefits and advantages

As a rule, people eat popcorn without even realizing its benefits and nutritional value. Air-popped and slightly seasoned popcorn can be a nice snack loaded with a high amount of nutrients, which promotes proper functioning of your body.

  • High content of fiber

For instance, popcorn has quite a high content of fiber. A study has shown that dietary fiber can lower your risks of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease (2). By eating such foods you’ll also promote weight loss and support your digestive system (3, 4, 7). Most people eat less fiber than is recommended (25 gr per day for women and 38 – for men), and this results in a number of health issues. Fiber deficiency can lead  to constipation, excessive weight gain, blood sugar fluctuations, fatigue and nausea (1). 3.5 ounces of popcorn (100 gr) will provide you with 15 grams of fiber, which is approximately half of your recommended daily intake.

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  • Vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and beneficial fats

As popcorn is also a whole grain, it offers a number of benefits for your body as well. Whole grains are usually packed with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, beneficial fats and more (11). Every well-balanced diet includes whole grains for your overall health and successful weight loss. According to the studies, consumption of whole grains reduces inflammation and lowers one’s risk of heart disease (5, 12).

  • Popcorn is a rich source of polyphenol

Polyphenols are a sort of antioxidants that help to protect your body cells from the damage caused by free radicals. They also contribute to better digestion and blood circulation (8). Popcorn contains B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and more (9). This movie snack also provides your body with protein (6). There are 4 grams of protein in one typical serving of popcorn (approximately 3.5 cups).

So, as you can see, this delicious snack has a quite impressive number of benefits for you. It is just important to choose the proper kinds of popcorn.

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How bad is plain popcorn on a low carb diet?

You probably know that the keto diet is a low-carb eating pattern and that is continually gaining in popularity. The premise is that you get the better part of your daily caloric intake from healthy fats and protein while limiting your carbs consumption. You should avoid simple carbs that are easy to digest (such as white bread, sugary foods, soda and more). You should have a maximum 50 grams of carbs per day when on a keto diet. In 3-4 days after starting such a regime, your body will start using fat as an energy source instead of from glucose, which is what you normally get from carbs. Such a diet could help to lower your risks of some types of cancer, heart disease, acne, diabetes and more (10).

So, can popcorn be a part of your keto diet?

Popcorn is made from dried corn kernels. Yes, it can be beneficial for your health and contains a number of nutrients. But it contains carbs as well, and that’s why keto dieters should be careful with portion sizes. A normal popcorn serving is 3 cups (we are talking about via air-popping) – it contains 18 gr of carbs (14 gr of net carbs). As you can see, even if you are a keto diet fan you can include this movie snack to your daily meal plan. It will fit both into a 50-gram daily limit of carbohydrates and into stricter patterns. Popcorn is a plant-based healthy snack, making it suitable for a vegan dietary regimens as well.

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Planning is important

When it comes to dieting, it is critical to plan your meals. First, decide, which meal you will replace with popcorn (maybe you want to use popcorn instead of unhealthy snacks?). You can try both variations and choose the one that is more effective and suitable for you. Define which portions of popcorn you are going to consume, and stick to your plan.

You should plan your other meals as well – make sure you have all the necessary nutrients for your body systems to work properly. Remember as well about proper hydration – it is the key to your weight loss. It is recommended to drink about 8 glasses of water per day. However, listen to your body as it is quite the individual, then you may need to adjust to higher or lower amounts of water. If it is hard for you to plan your meals why not make use of the wide range of weight loss apps that can do this for you.

how bad is plain popcorn on a low carb diet
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Improve the taste of your popcorn

Although the popcorn diet isn’t over restrictive, it is still a diet. That’s why such seasoning as salt (in high amounts) and butter will reduce all the benefits and effects of your eating pattern to zero. There are however, some tips that will help you to make your popcorn delicious without doing any harm to your body.

For example, one can add a couple dashes of healthy hot sauce, some Parmesan cheese, cumin or chili powder. Red pepper flakes, oregano and basil are great options as well. If you like sweet popcorn, look to honey and cinnamon to make it delicious (but don’t add too much honey, if your aim is to lose weight). Below you can find several recipes that will show you how to put together popcorn that will be both tasty and healthy.

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Popcorn recipes

  • Parsley, pepper and lemon popcorn

The ingredients in this recipe are quite simple, but they will make your popcorn’s flavor amazing. You’ll need 3 cups of popped popcorn, 1 tbsp of chopped parsley leaves, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of lemon zest, ½ tsp of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and add them to your popcorn. You may place your snack in a ziplock bag, add the topping and shake it. In this way you’ll mix everything quick, easy and complete. That’s it!

  • Popcorn with sesame seeds and ginger

Both sesame seeds and ginger possess a number of beneficial properties that will make your popcorn even more nutrient-dense. For instance, sesame seeds are high in antioxidants, that have anti-aging effects for your skin. They boost your bone health, stabilize blood pressure and help you to combat stress and depression. Black sesame seeds promote the proper working of your digestive system and help to cure constipation. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, supports cardiovascular health and lowers your risks of cancer (13). In combination with popcorn they will create a real super snack for your health.

can you eat popcorn on a low carb diet
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To cook such popcorn, you need 3 cups of popped popcorn, 1 tbsp of sesame seeds, the same amount of olive oil, and 2 tsp of chopped garlic. First, you should toast the seeds on medium heat for about 3 minutes. The preparation time depends on your cooker and skillet – when the seeds get golden, you can go ahead with the next step. Lower the heat and add olive oil and ginger. Wait for a minute until the flavors get mixed together well. Place your popcorn in a large bowl (or repeat the trick with a ziplock bag), add the topping and mix well. Enjoy!

FAQs

Is the popcorn diet safe and healthy?

As long as you don’t focus on eating popcorn only, but use it as an addition to two other healthy meals that provide you with all essential nutrients, it is totally safe. It is just important to remember that most everything is good in moderation. With the wrong approach, any dietary plan could be unhealthy. This is why you should control your portions, follow a well-balanced meal plan and stick to healthy habits. In this way you’ll be able to lose weight and support your overall health.

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Is movie theater popcorn Ok for my diet?

Popcorn that you buy in movie theaters is far from being healthy. It is usually cooked with oil, which is most likely harmful for your diet. It is also often served with butter and an abundance of salt.

Movie theater popcorn is high in calories, and by choosing it you won’t get the desired results from your dietary pattern. Of course, when you go to a movie you still can have a small portion, but don’t consume this type of popcorn as a daily snack or as one of your main meals. Always opt for air-popped popcorn when available.

Can I cook my popcorn in the microwave oven?

It was mentioned that the best option for your diet is air-popped popcorn. Of course, you might prefer to buy it online, but microwaved one is a nice option as well. But note that here we are talking about the homemade one. Store bought microwave popcorn may contain unhealthy coatings, such as butter or oil, as well as salt or sugar. The preparation is quite simple. You need kernels, a lunch bag, and a microwave oven. Take ¼ cup of kernels, place them in the bag, fold it several times and microwave for 1-2 minutes on high heat. Timing depends on your microwave. Listen attentively, the pops should be consistent with short pauses. When the pauses get long, you should remove your popcorn and wait until it cools down. Add your favorite seasoning and enjoy your meal!

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Conclusion

In conclusion, as you can see, you can eat delicious foods and tasty snacks even while sticking to this diet. The popcorn diet can be well-balanced if you follow it properly. Remember to make healthy choices when you plan your meals. Your eating pattern has to provide your body with all essential nutrients for your body systems to function properly. Don’t forget about your regular training sessions – only the combination of exercising and healthy diet will guarantee you long term results. Make sure to consult your health professional before making any major adjustments in your lifestyle.

If you want your weight loss plan to be efficient, don’t forget to do some exercise on the regular basis. Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 4 Warning Signs Your Diet May Lack Fiber (2007, webmd.com)
  2. Consumption of Cereal Fiber, Mixtures of Whole Grains and Bran, and Whole Grains and Risk Reduction in Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, and Cardiovascular Disease (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  3. Dietary Fiber and Weight Regulation Disease (2001, ubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: A meta analysis (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  5. Effect of Increased Consumption of Whole-Grain Foods on Blood Pressure and Other Cardiovascular Risk Markers in Healthy Middle-Aged Persons: A Randomized Controlled Trial (2010, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  6. Is popcorn a healthy snack? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
  7. Popcorn as a snack: Healthy hit or dietary horror show? (2019, heart.org)
  8. Popcorn study puts Scranton faculty member and student in national spotlight (2012, news.scranton.edu)
  9. Snacks, popcorn, air-popped Nutrition Facts & Calories (n.d., nutritiondata.self.com)
  10. What’s a Ketogenic Diet? (2019, webmd.com)
  11. Whole Grains (n.d., hsph.harvard.edu)
  12. Whole-grain Wheat Consumption Reduces Inflammation in a Randomized Controlled Trial on Overweight and Obese Subjects With Unhealthy Dietary and Lifestyle Behaviors: Role of Polyphenols Bound to Cereal Dietary Fiber (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  13. Why is ginger good for you? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
Lana Woods

Lana Woods

Lana is an excellent writer driven largely by questions of health and mental well-being. She specializes in writing articles on both nutrition and exercise. Nothing brings her as much pleasure as helping others get their health back on track. In her works, she provides informative tips on how you can change your lifestyle for the better, develop healthy eating habits, and improve your well-being with the help of workouts. Besides, in recent years she became more interested in studying weight management, gearing her focus towards healthy weight loss approaches.

Soraya Ziou

Soraya Ziou

Hi everyone! I am a Canadian Registered Dietitian (RD) who graduated from the University of Ottawa, Canada. I worked at the Montreal Pediatric University Hospital and the Ottawa Heart Institute before joining the International Clinic of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. With a strong interest in community nutrition, I worked in Haiti and in Syrian refugee camps affected by the scourge of malnutrition. I am passionate about food and its science!

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