Is Popcorn Healthy for Bodybuilding?

Who doesn’t love popcorn?

It doesn’t matter if you’re at the movie theater watching the brand new bodybuilding documentary that just hit the block- or if you’re stuck at home like me watching some TV- popcorn is a classic food to enjoy.

And let’s be honest, it’s pretty cheap and really good.

But, if you just started bodybuilding, you may be wondering- is popcorn healthy for bodybuilding?

Yes, popcorn is healthy for bodybuilding. In fact, it’s one of the healthiest foods you can eat! Popcorn has a ton of nutrients, antioxidants, and is honestly pretty low in calories. It’s a great source of carbs and fiber- and even has a little bit of protein in it for those gains.

So next time you hit the theater, it may be worth it to order some. (Honestly, no butter- but put salt on it, tastes way better)

Is popcorn healthy for bodybuilding?

Popcorn IS a Vegetable

A lot of us forget that popcorn is quite literally, corn- that has exploded.

While most of us know that popcorn comes from corn, we usually forget that it is still a vegetable at the end of the day.

And because it’s a vegetable, it already comes preloaded with a ton of powerful nutrients, fiber, and is low in calories.

That’s why I always make sure to eat broccoli– plus, it has incredible anti-cancer properties.

Did you know Americans eat over 17 billion quarts of popcorn a year? I think that alone shows how popular it is.

I think we can all agree, popcorn is by far the tastiest vegetable. It has a satisfying crunch, it doesn’t taste over the top, it doesn’t taste weird- it’s just good!

Vegetables Are Superfoods in The Bodybuilding World

Look, vegetables are quite literally superfoods in the bodybuilding world. (Well, I guess they are superfoods for everyone)

But, vegetables, SPECIFICALLY in terms of bodybuilding, help our muscle growth.

It all lays within the micronutrients that vegetables have. There’s a reason doctors always tell you to eat your vegetables.

Let’s start with the weight loss factor.

Popcorn Is a Great Food To Eat If You Want To Lose Weight

At some point in our bodybuilding career- after our bulk is done- we need to cut weight.

Our goal, of course, is to lose as much fat as possible and look super shredded.

However, that is really easier said than done. If losing weight was so easy, everybody would be shredded right now.

The hardest part of losing weight is not being hungry all the time. And that’s where popcorn comes in.

Popcorn is a great food to eat if you want to lose weight. Vegetables are notorious for having low calories, keeping you full with the fiber content, and taking up space in your stomach. All of these factors make you feel fuller, longer.

Instead of those constant hunger pangs, you’ll get after eating a few chips, you’ll actually feel quite satiated.

To lose weight, you sometimes have to trick your stomach.

High Volume and High in Fiber

We all know we need a big tub to carry all of that popcorn, even if we only used a few tablespoons of popcorn kernels. That is because when you blow up the kernels, they take up so much space.

Now, when you eat, your stomach feels much fuller because of the volume the popcorn will take up.

Plus, fiber is harder to digest (in fact, it doesn’t really get digested at all) which makes you also feel full.

Low in Calories

And lastly, popcorn actually is really low in calories. (Provided you aren’t dousing it with butter or oil).

I personally use one of those cheap popcorn poppers you can get on Amazon. They literally save you so much money in the long run, are easy to use (just plug it in), and they will let you eat popcorn in a much healthier way.

I put around 2-3 tablespoons of popcorn kernels in there, and that makes a ton of popcorn, around 7 full cups worth. And yet, that whole bowl of popcorn only comes to be around 200-300 calories. And with how filling it is and how much I am eating- that is actually very little at the end of the day.

Popcorn Has ‘Polyphenols’ – A Powerful Antioxidant Needed For Lifters

Bodybuilders need more antioxidants than the average person, otherwise, your body will literally fall into chaos.

Now, this may sound like weird voodoo magic- but it is something you will have to learn as a bodybuilder- so bare with me as I try to explain it.

Whenever you work out, your muscles break down and shoot out these things called ‘free radicals’. These free radicals basically just cause a lot of problems for you, to keep it in simple terms.

To get rid of these free radicals, you need to eat antioxidants. (And that’s not to bring up how antioxidants boost your immune system and have a nearly endless list of health benefits…)

According to, Polyphenols specifically: “have been linked to better blood circulation and digestive health, as well as a potentially lower risk of certain cancers”.

Not bad.

Popcorn Has a Ton of Vitamins and Nutrients Lifters Need to Grow Muscle

Bodybuilders tend to become deficient in many vitamins and minerals real fast. (cramping is usually caused by vitamin/mineral deficiencies!)

This is because your body uses a lot of your nutrients to repair muscles, bones, and other processes in your body way more frequently than non-lifters.

Also, you sweat a lot more than other people, leading a lot of water-soluble nutrients to leave your body.

People don’t realize how serious this stuff is. Having deficiencies seriously slows your muscle growth, causes BAD cramps (like the ones that make you cuss so bad you get kicked out of the gym), and can even cause bad health effects.

Remember, popcorn is a vegetable. And it is a whole grain! So it actually has quite a bit of nutrients in it. According to Healthline, these are some of the most important nutrients popcorn has.

  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Maganese
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Vitamin B1, B3, and B6

So, what’s the bottom line here? As a bodybuilder, you need nutrients more than normal people do And popcorn actually provides it!

Popcorn DOES Have Protein!(Although, not a lot)

Bodybuilders are always scanning nutrition labels for any amount of protein they can get.

Popcorn actually does have protein, although not a lot. But, honestly- it isn’t too bad.

Sure, there are much better high-protein snacks out there, and this certainly doesn’t have much protein compared to just eating a steak or something.

But, popcorn usually has 3 grams of protein per 100 calories. A normal-sized serving will be 300 calories of popcorn, so you’ll usually be getting around 10g of protein per serving.

As I said, that isn’t spectacular by any means. But it actually isn’t too bad and is much better than a lot of other junk foods like chips or something.

The Bottom Line – Eat That Popcorn!

Popcorn is actually a really good food for bodybuilding.

Just try to avoid the butter and oil. Some salt is okay.

Generally speaking though, there is a small amount of protein, lowish calories, good nutrients, and it will fill you up. My favorite part is those antioxidants that help cleanse your body after a tough lifting session.

Plus, at the end of the day- popcorn is a vegetable!

So, enjoy!

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