Is Kettle Corn Healthy? (Benefits & Drawbacks)

Is Kettle Corn Healthy?

Kettle corn is the perfect sweet and salty snack to keep you filled. But you may be wondering how healthy it is or if there are better alternatives. We’ve researched for you to figure out just how healthy kettle corn is and what else is out there.

Store-bought kettle corn is not considered healthy as it contains sugar and additives. However, kettle corn does include vitamins such as B1 and B2, as well as fiber. The healthiest kettle corn brands include Lesser Evil, Boom Chicka Pop, and SkinnyPop. Alternatively, you can make kettle corn at home, using sugar alternatives such as monk fruit or coconut sugar.

In this article, we’ll go over all the nutritional facts for different popular popcorn brands. We’ll also let you know how healthy popcorn really is and what some great alternatives are. Keep reading to learn what our suggestions are to help you along your nutrition journey.

Is Kettle Corn a Good Snack for Weight Loss?

Kettle corn is popcorn with an added sweetness that gives the popcorn a hint of caramel flavor.  It can be a delicious alternative to other snacks if you are looking to lose a bit of weight or cut back your calorie intake.

Kettle corn can be a good snack for weight loss if you make it yourself at home. By controlling the amount of sugar and ingredients, as well as potentially using a sugar alternative such as monk fruit, you can ensure that it is healthy.

If you’re on the go or don’t have time to make kettle corn yourself, you’ll probably turn to popular brands of kettle corn.

Here are some popular brands and their breakdown of nutritional facts and ingredients:

  • Redenbacher: Per 1 serving (34 grams) of Orville’s classic kettle corn popcorn, you’ll eat about 160 calories. In those calories are about 8 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of protein. It consists of 5 ingredients: whole grain popping corn, palm oil, salt, sucralose, and vitamin E for freshness.
  • Pop Secret: Per 1 serving (25 grams) of Pop Secret’s classic kettle corn, you’ll eat about 130 calories. According to their label, you’ll have 9 grams of total fat, 12 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of protein. They also use 5 similar ingredients: popcorn, palm oil, salt, rosemary extract for freshness, and sucralose.
  • Act II: Per 1 serving (34 grams) of Act II classic kettle corn, you’ll eat about 150 calories. 1 Serving will come with 9 grams of fat, 19 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of protein. Their ingredients include popping corn and palm oil. They also say they use less than 2% of salt, sucralose, and TBHQ and Citric Acid for freshness.

Kettle Corn vs. Popcorn Calories 

Kettle corn is a good alternative to other snacks. Take a look at the following chart to see how kettle corn brands stack up to salted-only or light butter popcorn.

BrandServing SizeCalories
Orville Kettle Corn36g160
Orville Simply Salted35g170
Pop Secret Kettle Corn25g130
Pop Secret Sea Salt25g130
Act II Kettle Corn34g150

As you can see, for many of the brands the number of calories differ only slightly.

  • The lowest calorie type of popcorn is Act II light butter, which gives you the biggest serving size for the lowest number of calories.
  • Conversely, Orville’s salted-only popcorn option has the highest number of calories.
  • Pop Secret’s Sea Salt and Kettle Corn have the same number of calories but have a lower serving size than other popcorn brands.

Is Kettle Corn Healthier Than Chips?

When picking your snacks, you might be wondering if kettle corn is a better alternative than regular chips.

We’ve compiled a list of the top chip choices so that you can decide for yourself. We used Orville Kettle Corn as a comparison to other popular brands.

Snack TypeServing SizeCalories
Orville Kettle Corn36g160
Lay’s Classic Potato Chip28g160
Ruffle’s Classic Potato Chip28g160
Pringles Original28g150

As you can see, most potato chips are similar in calories to kettle corn. With kettle corn, however, you get a slightly larger serving size. When it comes to potato chips, Pringles is slightly healthier than other popular brands.

From a nutritional standpoint, it is worth to know that potato chips like Lay’s, Ruffle’s, and Pringles, generally contain a lot more ingredients. Pringles, for instance, contains potatoes, vegetable oil, degerminated yellow corn flour, cornstarch, rice flour, maltodextrin, mono-and diglycerides, salt, and wheat starch.

If you are looking for a healthier option, kettle corn might be a better option for you than chips.

Is Kettle Corn Good for Diabetics?

Popcorn can be a great option when prepared at home. However, store-bought popcorns tend to be higher in sugar and carbs which can cause your blood sugar to spike.

It is recommended that you don’t eat store-bought kettle corn regularly if you are diabetic. However, you can consider homemade, sugar-free popcorn as a healthy and filling alternative. 

A cup of homemade popcorn popped in oil has only 35 calories and no added sugar, which means it is a great alternative to store-bought kettle corn.

What Are the Benefits of Kettle Corn? 

Kettle corn can be a great snack to incorporate into your diet. Not only is it tasty, but it can come with some great, and unexpected, benefits.

  • Popcorn is a filling snack because of how it’s made and because of its high fiber content. When each piece of corn pops, it fills with more air which can give you the sensation that you are eating more than you actually are.
  • Kettle corn generally contains vitamins such as B1, B3, B6, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. These vitamins help to give you your daily nutrients. While these vitamins won’t give you your total daily requirements, they do contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle.
  • Just Sweet Enough. Having kettle corn will likely fix your sweet tooth, but it doesn’t have as many sugars as a lot of other sweets, like candies or cookies do. Having kettle corn will probably prevent you from snacking on other sweets later on.

Drawbacks of Kettle Corn

Even though kettle corn has some great benefits, it does come with a few drawbacks. No snack is perfect, though, so don’t let these cons turn you off to kettle corn completely.

  • Many popular popcorn brands include additives to keep the popcorn fresh and tasty. Unfortunately, putting these extra ingredients can raise the calorie count and be harder for your body to digest. Making kettle corn yourself is the easiest way to avoid unwanted additives.
  • High Carb. Again, many ready-to-pop kettle corns are a bit higher in carbs than other snacks. Orville kettle corn, for instance, has 20 grams of carbs.
  • Lacking Diversity. While kettle corn is a great snack every now and then, you probably won’t want to eat it every day forever. There are many other types of popcorn, like butter and salt varieties. Some of these have higher calorie and sodium levels. Most kettle corn brands will taste similar, so you may want to mix up your diet with other healthy snacks.

Healthiest Popcorn Brands

Not every kettle corn brand is the same. Some brands prioritize being healthier while still giving you a great flavor. Here are some of our favorite options:

Lesser Evil Himalayan Sweetness

  • This popcorn is sweet and salty with only 110 calories per 28-gram serving.
  • It’s lower in fat with only 3 grams. It has 18 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein.
  • They use a variety of organic ingredients including popcorn, cane sugar, coconut oil, brown rice syrup, salt, organic flavor, and sunflower lecithin.

Boom Chicka Pop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn

  • This popcorn is 140 calories per 28-gram serving.
  • It has 8 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein.
  • Its simple list of ingredients includes popcorn, sunflower oil, cane sugar, and sea salt.

SkinnyPop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn

  • This popcorn is 140 calories per 28 gram serving. It has 7 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of protein.
  • They are preservative free.
  • To mix up your snacking options, they also have a sweet vanilla flavor.

Healthier Alternatives to Kettle Corn

If you want to consider other alternatives to kettle corn that can still satisfy your craving for something sweet and salty, then consider these options:

Lesserevil Sun Poppers

  • These poppers are made of all organic ingredients, including cassava flour, avocado oil, a protein blend (watermelon and pumpkin), tapioca starch, and salt.
  • They only have 130 calories per 28 gram serving. This includes 6 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of protein.
  • They have a variety of flavors and great reviews.
  • The ingredients speak for themselves as a healthy alternative to kettle corn.

Nature Nate’s Better Than Popcorn! Popped Sorghum

  • This alternative is as simple as it gets. Their classic popped sorghum only has three ingredients: organic sorghum, coconut oil, and sea salt.
  • They have 60 calories per 14 grams, with 2 grams of total fat, 10 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein.
  • They have a variety of flavors including butter, rosemary garlic, cheezy, and butter caramel.
  • As an alternative, this will meet every craving you have while remaining simple and healthy.

Thrive Market Grain-Free Puffs

  • This alternative is made of cassava flour, navy bean meal, coconut oil, and natural flavorings.
  • It has 130 calories per 28 gram serving. It breaks down as having 7 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of protein.
  • They have flavors like BBQ, vegan nacho, and salt.

It’s great to know that you have plenty of options when it comes to healthy alternatives to kettle corn. With that being said, kettle corn still has a variety of benefits that can make it a great snack when you are craving something sweet and filling.

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Choosing Nutrition Team

Here at Choosing Nutrition, our goal is to help people with making smarter food choices. Whether you're wondering about vegan, keto, paleo, or other diets, we'll help you determine which options fit your nutritional lifestyle. Our staff is composed of registered dieticians, nutritionists, and health-conscious individuals.

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