Is There a Nutritional Difference Between White & Yellow Popcorn?

Close up on blurred  popcorn
White popcorn (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Humans have been eating popcorn for thousands of years. The oldest ears of popcorn, dating back 4,000 to 5,000 years, were unearthed in New Mexico in the mid-1900s. Both white and yellow popcorn make a healthy, whole-grain snack, as long as you omit or limit the amount of butter and salt you add. There are some slight differences in nutrition between white and yellow popcorn, which may help you determine which best suits your diet plan.

Calories

White popcorn is slightly higher in calories than yellow popcorn, but the difference is minimal. A 4-cup serving of air-popped white popcorn contains 122 calories, while the same size serving of yellow popcorn has 110 calories. Both varieties are low energy density foods -- they have fewer calories by weight than high energy density foods -- so you can eat a larger quantity of these than high energy density foods. Snacking on air-popped popcorn can help fill you up while helping you limit your overall calorie intake.

Carbohydrates and Fiber

Both yellow and white popcorn are whole-grain foods, and most of the calories come from their carbohydrate content. White popcorn is slightly higher in carbohydrates and fiber than yellow popcorn. A 4-cup serving of air-popped white popcorn contains 25 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fiber, while the same size serving of air-popped yellow popcorn contains 22 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber. Both white and yellow popcorn are good sources of fiber, meeting more than 15 percent of your daily value.

Fat and Protein

Both white and yellow popcorn contain the same amount of fat and protein. A 4-cup serving of either variety contains just 1 gram of fat and 4 gram of protein, which makes them both a good low-fat snack. Either can help you meet your protein needs, but they are both low in the essential amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which makes them an incomplete source of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

One of the significant differences between white and yellow corn is their vitamin A content. However, when comparing them in their popped versions, there is no appreciable difference. Both white and yellow air-popped popcorn meet 2 percent of your daily value for vitamin A. Although white and yellow popcorn do not contain a significant amount of iron, they can help you meet your needs. A 4-cup serving of either variety air-popped meets 4 percent of your daily value.

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