Popcorn can be a delicious and healthy snack for those who don't suffer from diabetes. But can diabetics eat popcorn? I'll discuss how much sugar is in popcorn, does it raise your blood sugar levels, as well as whether or not popcorn is good for people with diabetes.

In this Diabetic & Me article you will learn about:

  • Can people with diabetes eat popcorn?
  • Does popcorn contain many carbohydrates and sugar?
  • What are the health benefits of popcorn?

Can a Diabetic Eat Popcorn?

Popcorn can be a tricky food to eat if you are diabetic, especially when you are looking for healthy snacks. This is because popcorn can contain so much sugar, which can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels. That being said, there are some varieties of popcorn that can be enjoyed by people with diabetes.

Popcorn can be a healthy snack for diabetics depending on what you put on it and how you prepare it. For those who suffer from diabetes, you should be careful about how much sugar, butter, and salt is added to your popcorn because this can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels.

Even though some varieties of popcorn are healthy for diabetics, there's always going to be a certain amount of natural sugars and carbohydrates found in the food – and this too will increase blood glucose levels if consumed excessively.

If you're looking for something healthier than store-bought microwave popcorn then try making homemade air-popped popcorn. It contains carbohydrates but it's a whole grain food that contains fiber. This allows you to manage blood sugar levels and keep your blood sugar control steady with fewer blood sugar spikes.

What Is The Glycemic Index of Popcorn?

The glycemic index is a system for people with diabetes of measuring how carbohydrates affect blood sugar. The glycemic index is measured on a scale from 0-100, and the higher the number on this list, the more it affects your body's ability to maintain stable levels of glucose in your bloodstream.

Plain popcorn with no toppings and any added sugar has a glycemic index of 55, which is not too bad and is listed to the low GI foods. This means that when you eat plain popcorn your blood sugar levels will not increase quickly and too high over time. This prevents blood sugar spikes.

However, it's important to note that the glycemic index of a food can change depending on how it's prepared and what you add to it before eating. We can slow the rate at which carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels by combining carbs with fat, fiber, and protein. But if your goal is to keep your blood sugar levels steady and keep yourself healthy then avoid adding too much butter, salt, or added sugar.

As mentioned earlier in this article, there are some varieties of popcorn such as air-popped or homemade stove-top popped corn made with healthy ingredients (such as olive oil) – one serving size contains 50 calories and around 11 grams of carbohydrate. 

Does Popcorn Spike Blood Sugar Levels?

Popcorn has a relatively good glycemic index and only has a glycemic load of 6 which means it won't affect your blood sugar levels too much. Popcorn is also known to be a healthy whole grain food that contains dietary fiber which helps you manage the effects of consuming high amounts of carbohydrates over time.

If possible try air-popped varieties without any salt or sugar on top after popping instead of microwave popcorn types with extra additions such as oil, butter, caramel sauce, ...

If at all possible avoid having large servings sizes since even though there are fewer carbs in plain popcorn compared to other snacks it's still carbohydrate nonetheless.

What Are The Benefits of Eating Popcorn?

Besides being a natural whole grain food that contains dietary fiber popcorn also contains other nutrients like polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

  • It contains vitamins like folate, niacin, thiamin, and vitamins B6, A, E, and K.
  • Popcorn has about 8 percent of the daily value of iron and has proven health benefits due to it contains calcium, copper, magnesium, and zinc.
  • All this goodness makes popcorn a healthy whole grain food choice for people who suffer from diabetes or want to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

How Many Cups of Popcorn Can a Diabetic Eat?

When you eat a snack it's always important to check how it's going to affect your blood sugar levels. It is recommended that only one cup of plain air-popped popcorn should be eaten at a time – and it shouldn't take more than two cups in a day. Avoid eating excessive portions to blood sugar control in range.

Remember, the glycemic index can change depending on what you add to your popcorn before eating so if possible avoid adding butter or salt which are high in fat content. 

What Is a Good Bedtime Snack for a Diabetic?

A good bedtime snack for a diabetic would be fruits and vegetables. This helps to control blood sugar levels and keep them stable throughout the night and also aids in preventing diabetes-related issues.

According to the American Diabetes Association, healthy snacks could be a handful of mixed nuts, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, popcorn, hard-boiled egg, celery sticks, apple, and peanut butter. These snacks have a great nutritional value and are a low-calorie snack option.

Handful Of Mixed Nuts


It's clear that there are many health benefits of eating popcorn. It has a low glycemic index and contains nutrients like folate, niacin, thiamin, vitamins B6, A, E, and K. Popcorn also contains antioxidants which are important for fighting free radicals in the body.

Always remember to eat small portions of plain air-popped without any toppings since these have fewer carbs and sugar than microwaved varieties with extra additions such as oil, butter, caramel sauce, or sugar.

Last update on 2022-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville and I am the founder of Diabetic & Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996 I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I am currently using a Medtronic Guardian 4 and a Minimed 780G insulin pump with Humalog.

View All Articles