Is Popcorn a Healthy Snack?


Popcorn in its pure form made in an air-popper with a light sprinkling of salt, is an extremely healthy snack that is great to enjoy at any time, but especially during a movie. It is high in fiber, gluten free and all natural with no animal fats so great even for vegans.

Does Popcorn have Gluten?

The simple answer to this question is no, natural popcorn is most definitely gluten free. Corn is a type of whole-grain food and all corns are gluten-free. However, there are times when popcorn is not gluten-free. Huh? I hear you all say. Well, the answer is simple, it depends on what you add to your popcorn in terms of seasoning, oils, and butter to enhance the taste.

If you are going to be cooking your popcorn in pure vegetable oil and only seasoning it with a light sprinkling of salt, then your popcorn will contain absolutely no gluten. However, if you are going to be using other flavorings to enhance the taste, then you could run into problems if you are looking for a gluten-free snack.

If your flavoring has “contains wheat” on the label then you are going to have some gluten in your popcorn, however, most of these will have less than 20ppm gluten in them. At these levels, the FDA has determined that it will have no effect on people who need to avoid gluten such as those with Celiacs disease. Most theater popcorn will also be gluten-free, however, this is not definitive. Some theaters may use seasonings that contain gluten.

Does Popcorn have Carbs?

Does Popcorn have Carbs?The bad news for people on a low carb diet is that popcorn most definitely contains carbs. Popcorn, being a whole grain food, is high in carbohydrates. How high you ask? When working out how many carbs are in popcorn you also need to consider how much fiber it contains. Popcorn is also a high fiber snack in addition to containing carbs. So when you want to calculate how many carbs you are going to be taking in when sitting down to your favorite movie with a serving of your favorite snack it is quite simple.

Say you have a serving of air-popped popcorn, that is about a two and a half cups of popcorn, then you are looking at taking in about 16 grams of carbohydrates. You will also be taking in about three grams of fiber.

So if you want to do your calculations to see how many carbs you will actually to taking in to determine what you will have to forego to enjoy your popcorn, you will subtract the about of fiber from the total amount of carbs. So for this serving, you will be taking in around thirteen grams of carbs, which equates to about four percent of the recommended daily intake.

Is Popcorn Vegan?

The good news for vegans is that popcorn on its own is completely vegan in nature. They are not at all derived from animals no matter what brand you chose. However, and yes there is a “but” in this answer, they may not be vegan after being prepared. Why the “but”, well often popcorn is seasoned with butter or other spices that may be derived from animal fat or animal products.

The safest way to ensure you get vegan popcorn as a healthy and cheap snack is to make it at home with your own popcorn popper (click here to find the best one). If not you might end up with a non-vegan version. Some examples of when popcorn becomes non-vegan in nature is when cheesy seasoning is used, this popcorn is seasoned with a dried version of “real” cheese which is obviously an animal product.

Next, on the list of no-no’s would be using butter on your popcorn. Some oils also contain animal fats. Then some of the other seasoning spices used on popcorn may also contain animal products so it is best to check before using them. Also if you are going to the theater, ask the manager if they use butter and what seasoning spices and oil they use to make their popcorn or you might end up with a non-vegan type of popcorn.

Is Popcorn good for Dogs?

Is Popcorn good for Dogs?The answer to this question is not straightforward. Yes, popcorn in a way is good for dogs, however, if it is full of butter and salt it is not at all good for dogs. The plain, unsalted, air-popped popcorn is high in both fiber and minerals that could be good for your dog.

Although in saying that it is not something they need, as they get everything they need in their dog food. One cautionary word if you are going to be sharing with your best friend when sitting down to a bowl of popcorn and a movie is that popcorn kernels can get stuck in your dog’s teeth and this can present a choking hazard for them.

So when sharing make sure they get the popcorn with completely popped kernels. But, kernels can get stuck in dogs’ teeth and pose a choking hazard, so it is probably a good idea to keep whole or only partially popped kernels away from curious dogs.


Popcorn, especially popcorn popped in an air-popper is a very healthy snack that is high in fiber, and vegan in nature. It may contain carbs but then not so much as to prevent you from eating this snack even when on a low carb diet. Easy to make, really nice to eat and a great movie night healthy snack for you and your family to enjoy.