True or False: Is Popcorn Fattening?

Popcorn is an easy-to-make snack, so many people eat it on a regular basis. But is popcorn fattening? In this article, we'll tell you what you need to know.
True or False: Is Popcorn Fattening?
Florencia Villafañe

Written and verified by the nutritionist Florencia Villafañe.

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Is popcorn fattening?

The answer to this question is important to those who are afraid of gaining weight, or who want to lose weight.

So what’s the truth about it? Can you eat this food if you follow a diet?

There are myths and controversies regarding popcorn. However, nutritionists recommend it as a healthy option because it’s a snack that can provide benefits for the body.

Read on and find out more about it.

Is popcorn fattening?

Popcorn comes from a variety of corn. When exposed to heat, popcorn explodes due to the overheating of the water and starch it contains. This is how this spongy mass with its characteristic aroma forms.

In fact, due to its easy elaboration, popcorn is popular in many countries, ideal for accompanying movies or as a snack. 

But is popcorn fattening?

Well, it depends. Commercial popcorn, in general, has an added energy value. That is to say, it has higher amounts of salt, sugar, caramel, or even butter, unlike those made at home.

However, when you make popcorn yourself at home, it can be a healthy snack. In fact, a study published in the magazine Antioxidants analyzed its composition and found that 1 cup of this homemade snack provides only 30 calories!

Popcorn is a healthy snack.
Homemade popcorn is low in calories and not harmful.

Read also:

Is popcorn fattening? How to make it so it isn’t

Write down the following recipe if you’ve never made popcorn before. You’ll need 2 tablespoons of oil, a large pot with a lid, and half a cup of popcorn. In less than 5 minutes, you’ll be able to enjoy the results!

  1. The first thing you should do is heat the oil in a pot over medium heat.
  2. When you notice that it’s already hot, add the corn, mixing it in the oil, and cover the pot.
  3. You’ll hear that the corn starts to burst suddenly. Wait until the noise stops to make sure it’s ready.

For flavor add sugar, salt, or your choice of spices… or you can eat it naturally. Remember that if you’re looking for nutritional quality, you shouldn’t overdo it with the flavoring.

See also: An Easy Corn Dog Recipe

What nutrients does popcorn provide?

In addition to being a practical and cheap option, popcorn has various nutritional benefits. In fact, it contains carbohydrates, dietary fiber, fats, and proteins. What’s more, it also has vitamins and minerals. According to data from Nutrition Data, popcorn has the following components:

  • Vitamin B1, B3, and B6
  • Vitamin E
  • Minerals, such as iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and copper
  • Phosphorus and potassium
  • Fiber
  • Polyphenols

Additionally, science suggests that in comparison to oats, wheat, and rice grains, corn has the best antioxidant capacity. This because it offers phenolic compounds (chemical substances that protect cells). Fortunately, the burst caused by cooking does not degrade or alter them.

What are the benefits of eating popcorn?

Although many people don’t know it, eating popcorn can provide certain health benefits because it’s a whole grain. Because of the nutrients it provides, it contributes to general health and well-being.

Here are some of the benefits of eating popcorn:

Weight and digestion control

Popcorn is a great option for people who want to calm the feeling of hunger. That’s because, in addition to being low in calories, dietary fiber has a filling effect. Thus, as an in-between-meal snack, popcorn can reduce your appetite. Naturally, this has repercussions in the control of body weight.

Also, those who eat popcorn can improve the functioning of the intestinal transit, thus reducing flatulence.

Prevention of illnesses

The fiber content of popcorn alongside the presence of phenolic compounds act by reducing blood cholesterol. This, in turn, prevents the formation of atheroma plaque. This is a protective factor against atherosclerosis, which translates into lower cardiovascular risk.

Also, popcorn reduces blood pressure when consumed without salt and it normalizes glucose. In fact, studies point out that the prevention of cardiac pathologies is also expressed in a decrease in the risk of suffering from diabetes, considering the absence of added as sugars.

Commercial popcorn is not healthy.
Commercial versions of popcorn contain additives that are not as healthy, such as salt and simple sugars.

So, is popcorn fattening?

It’s time to stop thinking that popcorn will make you gain weight. Remember that nutritionists consider it a healthy and complete alternative to other snacks. Best of all, popcorn is low in calories and provides nutrients that contribute to your well-being.

If you’re looking to satisfy your hunger, control your weight, or even calm your anxiety, popcorn is an excellent choice. Of course, try to avoid those offered by the market, as the additives are harmful.

So, go ahead and create your own homemade recipe!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Gear, J. R. (2006). El cultivo del maíz en la Argentina. Serie de Informes Especiales de ILSI Argentina, Volumen II: Maíz y Nutrición, 4.
  • Nguyen, V., Cooper, L., Lowndes, J., Melanson, K., Angelopoulos, T. J., Rippe, J. M., & Reimers, K. (2012). Popcorn is more satiating than potato chips in normal-weight adults. Nutrition Journal11(1), 71.
  • Coco, M. G., & Vinson, J. A. (2019). Analysis of Popcorn (Zea Mays L. var. Everta) for Antioxidant Capacity and Total Phenolic Content. Antioxidants8(1), 22.
  • Nutrition Data. Snacks, popcorn, air-popped Nutrition Facts & Calories. Disponible en
  • Bautista-Ramírez, E., Salinas-Moreno, Y., Santracruz-Varela, A., Córdova-Téllez, L., & López-Sánchez, H. (2019). Características físicas y químicas de la raza de maíz Palomero Toluqueño. Revista mexicana de ciencias agrícolas10(2), 441-446.
  • Grandjean, A. C., Fulgoni III, V. L., Reimers, K. J., & Agarwal, S. (2008). Popcorn consumption and dietary and physiological parameters of US children and adults: analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2002 dietary survey data. Journal of the American Dietetic Association108(5), 853-856.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.