Popcorn: Mindless Eating Is Not Blood Sugar Friendly


We celebrated Tom’s 12th birthday yesterday (yes, that makes me…. old). Tom didn’t want a big party so we invited a few of his friends over for a movie and pizza.

Jessica made popcorn, using coconut oil, instead of olive oil.

“I’ve read that coconut oil is what makes movie theater popcorn taste so much better,” she said.

“I thought it was the chemicals,” I replied.

Jessica and I haven’t been to the movies for years, so we’re not very up-to-date on movie theater food and I have to confess I don’t remember much about movie theater popcorn.

When Jessica’s popcorn was ready I couldn’t resist trying it. I don’t usually eat popcorn, both because it’s not paleo and because I consider it mindless eating, but it was there, it smelled good, and I tried it. 

Jessica was right (as usual). It did taste better and did have the movie theater smell.

The problem with popcorn is that you can keep eating it even when you’re not hungry. It’s hard not to. So I ate some popcorn, don’t know how much, but I didn’t think it was very much. I didn’t bolus for it either (mindless eating).

The kids watched the movie, played and ate pizza. At around 7:00 p.m. it was finally cake time (of course I didn’t have any). The cake was another one of Jessica’s great ideas – a Boggle cake that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOM. (Boggle has become very popular in our home over the last few weeks. 

At around 8:30 after all of Tom’s friends had gone, Jessica and I finally sat down for dinner (we had resisted the pizza too, not just the cake). I checked my blood sugar and was surprised by the result – 217. I bolused and ate my low carb dinner.

A couple hours later, while in bed reading I started to feel extremely tired, the kind of tired where you can’t keep your eyes open no matter what.  Sleep takes over. I checked my blood sugar again. It was 258. I bolused and grabbed my phone and set an alarm to wake up an hour and a half later.

I never heard the alarm go off, but I did hear Adam in our bed a little before 6:00 a.m. telling Jessica he wanted to watch “the SpongeBob movie”.  I felt terrible, hung-over, as if I had spent the evening drinking, not eating popcorn.

It’s hard to know what caused the hung over feeling – was it running high all night?  Or had I been low?  Every time something like this happens it reminds me why I don’t eat carbs and why I try to avoid mindless eating.  It just never works for me.

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Deborah Kanter
10 years ago

I try to bring alternative treats to the movie theater: a square of good dark chocolate, a bag w/ some apple slices, chewing gum. But if I’m with my son, who always wants popcorn, it is really hard to resist its siren song.
A few times I have had a no/low carb meal before the movie & ate the popcorn.
Great cake btw! 

10 years ago

I find that the fat, especially when eaten later in the day, causes far more problems for me than the carbs do.    Carbs alone are consistently predictable.  Carbs + Fat appears to live in a different dimension where normal correction ratios and action curves don’t exist.

Jennifer Jacobs
10 years ago

The unfortunate thing about this post is that it makes me crave popcorn. I have experienced the same problem — my husband occasionally makes a bowl and I have some, and then hours later, I pay the consequences. The combination of the carb and fat in popcorn make it particularly confusing. But that coconut oil version sounds so good. . . . 

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