Are you suffering from Diabetes? Do you want to know whether Can Diabetics Eat Popcorn or not? Then, check out this guide for the answer to your question
Popcorn is considered a healthy snack when it is prepared using the correct method as it has high fiber content and fewer calories. People with diabetes can also enjoy eating popcorn, but they need to consider a few factors when they choose to consume a snack like popcorn. As popcorn contains carbohydrates, a person with diabetes needs to consider certain aspects like the cooking method, the type, and the serving size of the dish carefully to manage his weight and blood sugar level.
Regular exercise and diet control play a crucial role in controlling diabetes. The blood sugar level is managed by your body using insulin which is produced by your body. To regulate the blood sugar level in the body, insulin plays a vital role as it is a hormone that enables your body cells for circulating the sugar in the body. Diet also plays a vital role in controlling your diabetes. A healthy diet can reduce the risk of certain complications like damaging the nerve, stroke, heart disease, etc. Diabetes can be controlled by
- Exercising regularly as exercise helps in maintaining moderate body weight and increases insulin production in the body. The cells in your body can more efficiently use the sugar in your bloodstream. Moreover, exercising enables the muscles to make use of the blood sugar for muscle contraction and energy.
- It is also important that you limit the carb intake as it can strongly influence the blood sugar level in your body. When the carbs are broken down as sugars, the insulin enables the body to use it and store the sugar for producing energy. If you are a diabetic, you also need to count your calorie intake.
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can also help in controlling the blood sugar level. It also enables the kidneys to flush out the excess sugar in the urine.
- Choose the food that has a low glycemic index as it aids in reducing the blood sugar level in your body. Consuming food with low GI has the potential to reduce the blood sugar level in the body of people suffering from diabetes. The foods with low GI include barley, oats, nonstarchy vegetables, bulgur, lentils, etc.
- Managing your stress levels also greatly helps in controlling your blood sugar level. When you are under great stress, your body will release hormones called cortisol and glucagon which trigger the sugar level in the body.
- Getting enough sleep is vital for good health. Poor sleeping habits can adversely affect the blood sugar level and can also increase your craving for food and promote weight gain. Strictly follow your sleep schedule and your bedtime routine, avoid alcohol or caffeine in the late evening, cut down on the screen time in bed, and also stay away from work during bedtime.
- Implementing portion control to regulate the calorie intake and also for maintaining moderate body weight. You can use smaller plates, measure the portion you consume, avoid dining out, check the food labels, eating slowly are some of the tips that you can follow.
- Consider adding specific foods that have medicinal properties to your diet like cinnamon, Apple cider vinegar, Fenugreek seeds, Berberine, etc. Eating healthy meals and snacks more frequently will also help in avoiding low and high blood sugar levels.
- Consume more food that contains fibers as fiber helps in the digestion process and also absorbs the sugar in the body. Fibers can be classified into two types, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. The soluble sugar aids in improving your blood sugar level. A diet that contains fiber helps in reducing the blood sugar in your body. Food that contains fiber includes whole grains, legumes, fruits, and veggies including corn.
Some healthy snacks for diabetics
People with diabetes must choose to eat healthy diet meals and snacks so that it keeps their blood sugar level under control. Some of the foods that are good for diabetics include
- Hard-boiled eggs are a healthy snack as it contains protein. It can keep your blood sugar in control without allowing it to rise too high after a meal. There are six grams of protein in one hard-boiled egg. According to a survey, 65 people ate two boiled eggs daily for 12 weeks who was suffering from type two diabetes, and by the end of the 12th week, the patient experienced significant changes in their sugar level. The hard-boiled eggs can make you feel fuller thus avoiding becoming overweight or developing certain heart diseases. Hard-boiled eggs can be eaten plain or garnished with some toppings like pepper or a pinch of salt as a flavoring.
- Eating a few Almonds is very good for diabetics as per the research. One ounce of almonds has 15 different vitamins, and minerals, 19% magnesium, and 17% riboflavin. 58 people who have consumed almonds in their diet for about 24 weeks have noticed a 3% decrease in their long-term sugar level. Almonds contain fiber, healthy fats, and protein all of that is very good for diabetes management. Almond is also good to reduce the cholesterol level in the body, it promotes weight management. You must limit the almond intake as they are high in calories. Any food even though it is packed with nutrients, eating in excess can be harmful. A handful of almonds can be sufficient to eat as a snack.
- Popcorn is a popular and healthy snack for people with diabetes. The popcorn that you get at a movie theater and the popcorn that you prepare at home has a lot of differences. You can prepare a more healthy version of popcorn at home. It is also rich in fiber which makes it diabetes-friendly. About 8 grams of air-popped popcorn has about 31 calories. Foods that are low in calories, aid in controlling the blood sugar level. The prepackaged popcorn has trans fats, and salt and contains other ingredients, so it is better to avoid it and eat the air-popped popcorn.
- Yogurt with berries is another amazing diabetic-friendly food that you can add to the list. Berries contain antioxidants that help in reducing inflammation and are also helpful for the prevention of damage that is caused to the pancreas cells which is the organ that is responsible for producing the hormones to lower the blood sugar level. Berries also are a good source of fiber that helps in lowering the digestion process and stabilizing the blood sugar level. In addition, yogurt also has the power to lower blood sugar as it contains probiotics that metabolize the food which contains sugar. Greek yogurt is especially high in protein.
- Chia seed pudding is prepared by soaking the chia seeds in milk till it takes a pudding consistency. People with diabetes can consume chia seeds pudding as it has many nutrients which help in stabilizing the blood sugar level and also has omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein present in it. The fiber content that is present in chia seeds helps to absorb the water, helps to slow down the digestion process, and to control blood sugar. Chia seeds also help in lowering the triglyceride level which is good for your heart as people with diabetes are prone to develop heart disease.
- Hummus and veggies contain minerals, and vitamins and they are good sources of fiber. Hummus also contains protein which is good to control blood sugar. As per research, people who consumed one ounce of hummus during meals resulted in lower insulin and blood sugar levels up to four times than people who ate white bread. Various vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, and carrots can be dipped in hummus and eaten.
- Tuna salad is prepared by mixing ingredients like mayonnaise, onions, and celery. About 84 grams serving of tuna gives 22 grams of protein and has no carbs that making it a great snack for people with diabetes. As tuna fish is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids that enable lower inflammation and thereby control the blood sugar level in the body. To make it, even more, healthier, it can be mixed with yogurt or cottage cheese instead of mayonnaise.
- Sliced apple and peanut butter make a delicious snack that people with diabetes can munch on. Apples contain several nutrients like potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin B, manganese, and magnesium that enable the management of the blood sugar level. Peanut butter and apple are also high in fiber which helps in regulating the blood sugar in the body. Apples also have the potential to manage diabetes as the polyphenol antioxidants protect the pancreatic cells from getting damaged.
- Avocado is another fruit that helps to manage blood sugar as the monounsaturated fatty acids and the high fiber content present in avocados enable in preventing the blood sugar level from getting spiked after taking meals. People who consumed foods with monounsaturated fatty acids regularly saw a positive impact on their sugar levels. Avocados are high in calories, so it is advisable to eat one-fourth or half of an avocado.
- Black bean salad can be mixed with chopped vegetables like peppers, onions, etc. The black beans contain protein and fiber and it makes a healthy snack for people with diabetes. Eating black beans helps in lowering insulin levels and preventing blood sugar spikes. Black beans are also good for people with heart disease as it helps in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol level.
- The energy bites are a healthy and delicious snack as it includes ingredients like oats, nut butter, seeds, etc. The energy bites are rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein that enables to keep the blood sugar level stabilized. The energy bites are also convenient food as they don’t need to be baked and they can be easily carried wherever you go by placing them in your handbag.
Benefits of consuming popcorn for people with diabetes
This article helps in looking at the benefits of consuming popcorn for people with diabetes. The unflavored plain popcorn is 100% unprocessed corn that helps in breaking down the carbs, controlling type 2 diabetes, and absorbing the sugar in the blood. When you carefully follow the serving suggestions and also certain alternative snack options your sugar level can be well-maintained. Popcorn is a healthy snack as it contains carbohydrates and hence a person with diabetes need to choose the right cooking method and also the correct serving size.
Sticking to the serving size can make significant changes in the person’s calorie intake especially if you are counting your calories for weight loss or managing diabetes. Consuming five cups of aired popcorn can produce 100 to 150 calories. Strictly follow the calorie counting advice given by your doctor if you are managing diabetes by eating frequent smaller portions of meals as the portion size is important for managing the blood sugar level. The antioxidants present in the popcorn help in preventing and controlling diabetes and also enable to manage the body weight.
As per the American Diabetes Association, one serving of popcorn for diabetic patients equals 15 grams of carbohydrates and around three cups of popped popcorn kernels. Diabetic patients can consume about 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates as snacks not more than the recommended servings at a time. They must also choose the right type of popcorn as some have added sugar, fats, and salts.
When you buy popcorn at the grocery store, check the contents in the nutritional labels. The total fat, Sodium, and added sugar must be low. It is always better to consume plain air-popped popcorn for people with diabetes or you could prepare fresh popcorn at home in a healthy way. If you do not like the taste of plain popcorn but are craving a popcorn topping, instead of adding butter or caramel, go for a healthier version especially if you are a diabetic. You can spray some olive oil or add some garlic powder or onion powder if you like the flavor of it. People with a strong sugar craving can sprinkle some artificial sweetener like stevia for satisfying their sugar craving.
The benefits of eating popcorn include:
- Aids in weight loss
- Helps in blood circulation
- Contains low sugar and fewer calories
- Rich in antioxidants
- Aids in balancing the blood sugar in the body
Popcorn and Glycemic Index: The Glycemic Index (GI) is the scale to measure the speed at which sugar is released into the body when foods that are rich in carbohydrates are consumed. When the GI value is high more sugar will be released into the body and it causes a hike in the sugar level. Even though popcorn has a low GI, consuming too much quantity can result in a spike in your sugar level. If you are a diabetic, you must consume the right quantity or count your calorie intake.
As popcorn contains low GI, it does not cause a spike in blood sugar. The Glycemic Index (GI) is an important factor that must be considered when a person with diabetes chooses what food to buy. The air-popped popcorn is technically considered a low GI food and it has a GI of 55. When compared to other sugary and salty foods, Popcorn is safe and a better choice for people with diabetes when it is taken in moderation. The benefits of food that contain a low GI are it improves glucose and lipid levels, supports weight loss, and keeps you full for a longer period.
Our digestive system will process the food quickly with foods that have a high GI and it results in the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream rapidly. For people who are diabetic, the body cannot naturally regulate the blood sugar and hence it leads to hyperglycemia. The foods with a low GI are absorbed at a slower rate and the blood sugar level does not hike.
Serving size: A person with diabetes, when consuming popcorn, must stick to the serving suggestions which brings a major difference in the calorie intake. The seasonings that you choose can also affect your sugar level. There are 100 to 150 calories of fat content in five cups of air popped popcorn. A diabetic person who is counting the calorie intake and also managing the sugar level must strictly follow the advice given by the doctor.
Preparation: The best choice for people with diabetes is air-popped popcorn. It is advisable that people with diabetes must strictly avoid adding seasonings as toppings to the popcorn. Popcorn gives the best result when it is eaten plain without extra calories or fat. The unsalted, and buttered popcorn does not have Hydro generated oils in it and hence can be considered the best choice for diabetic patients. If you wish to enhance the flavor you can add a small amount of low-fat cheese or nutritional yeast, spices like garlic powder, cinnamon or chili powder can be added or you could even drizzle some small amount of olive oil.
Shopping tips to buy popcorn
The grocery store sells loose popcorn kernels in bulk where they are normally sold as plain popcorn without adding any seasonings like sugar, salt, oil, or other ingredients. As we have seen plain popcorn is best for people suffering from diabetes. The plain popcorn can be cooked in the way that best suits your choice.
Microwave popcorn is another alternative and those who want a quick snack can go for microwave popcorn. But, people with diabetes must be careful when choosing microwave popcorn as these pre-packed bags contain sugar and extra butter. If you want to buy microwaved popcorn, you can look for the ones with lesser calories or with unsalted butter.
The kettle corn must be avoided by people with diabetes as they contain added sugar and extra sweetness. The candy-covered and caramel popcorn must also be avoided.
The nutritional value of popcorn
The unsalted, air-popped popcorn contains very few calories per serving with less than 0.5 grams per cup and has no cholesterol, and is fat-free. As popcorns are whole grain food, one serving gives around 70 percent of the daily intake of the recommended whole grain.
It is also an excellent source of fiber where a cup of air-popped popcorn has more than one gram of fiber, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and nearly one gram of protein. There are also vitamins and minerals included in popcorn-like:
- Vitamin B 6
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
- Pantothenic acid
The outer shell of the popcorn also contains nutrients like lutein, beta-carotene, and Zeaxanthin that is vital for good eye health additionally it has anti-inflammatory properties, and polyphenols with antioxidants that protect against certain cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
As per the researchers, Popcorn has about 300 milligrams of polyphenol per serving which is about 13% of the average daily intake of a person residing in the United States. To derive the best benefit, use the air-popped popcorn as they retain all the nutritional benefits without adding any artificial seasonings.
Some of the alternative snack options to popcorn
The plain popcorn may not be liked by some people as it may not taste good if there are no toppings added to it like butter or another seasoning. There are a few alternative foods that are diabetes-friendly. Some of them include
- Vegetables are either raw or processed. The leafy green vegetables can be added to a salad with vinegar or olive oil. Other vegetables like carrot sticks, broccoli, peas, etc can be used as a healthier choice with tzatziki or hummus.
- The roasted nuts are rich in protein and they also have healthy fats. Salted nuts can be avoided.
- Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein with low sugar content and hence cheese can be eaten in small quantities.
- Fruits can also be eaten in moderation. Certain diabetic people avoid eating fruits because of their sugar content. But, fresh fruits can be eaten in moderation as they have fiber content and makes a healthy snack. Fresh fruits are packed with nutrients, but it is advisable to avoid eating canned fruits as they contain sugary syrup and other processed ingredients.
- Some of the best chips for diabetics include Tortilla chips, Organic chia and Quinoa tortilla chips, beans chips.
Frequently asked questions
1) How to cook popcorn healthily?
Popcorn can be cooked on the stove, microwaved, or air-popped. To prepare healthy popcorn avoid the toppings like caramel or butter especially if you are a diabetic.
2) How popcorn can be consumed by diabetic patients?
To manage and control diabetes, eating the right quantity of food is very important. When you eat popcorn if you add extra cheese, butter, caramel, or any other ingredient to enhance its taste, it will add more calories, increases your body weight and blood sugar in your body and so it is advisable to skip the additional toppings. Plain air-popped popcorn is best for patients with diabetes.
3) How frequently the popcorn can be consumed?
The popcorn must not be eaten more than 30 cal at a time as eating more than two servings at once can raise the blood pressure and increase the blood sugar. If you are a diabetic, stick to the portion size of the serving as overeating can be harmful.
4) Is popcorn a diabetic-friendly snack?
Popcorn has many nutritional benefits, it contains vitamins and minerals. Eating popcorn in moderation without adding extra toppings is good even for diabetic patients as it has a low GI that suppresses the blood sugar level in the body.
5) Can a person with diabetes eat popcorn with butter?
Plain air-popped popcorn is good for diabetic patients. Adding butter to popcorn can enhance its flavor, but will not aid in weight management and in controlling the blood sugar level.
6) Can popcorn be consumed on daily basis?
Popcorn can be eaten daily, but not more than two cups of plain popcorn. A diabetic person must strictly follow the diet plans to keep his sugar level under control.
7) Which is the healthiest popcorn a diabetic person can eat?
Unsalted, unprocessed, and plain popcorn are the healthy popcorn that a diabetic person can consume.
8) Which are some of the diabetic-friendly foods?
Foods such as vegetables and fruits that have a low Glycemic Index are good for people with diabetes to keep their sugar levels under control.
9) What can be a better bedtime snack for diabetics?
Fruits and vegetables can be a good bedtime snack for diabetics. Some of the healthy snacks include baby carrots, apples, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, a handful of mixed nuts, etc as they have low calories and high nutritional value.
There are plenty of health benefits of popcorn as it is a low-calorie and low sugar food that people even with diabetes can eat as a snack. Plain popcorn has high fiber content and is rich in nutrients which can be a great choice for people with diabetes if consumed in moderation. Nutrients like thiamin, niacin, folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Vitamin A are also present in popcorn. The blood sugar level of a diabetic person will not be raised significantly and hence making it a safe choice when eaten in moderation. But diabetic patients must avoid eating popcorn with toppings or eating in excess to stay healthy.