Diet Plans Low-Carb Diets Foods Carbs in Cornmeal, Popcorn, Grits, and Tortilla Chips By Laura Dolson Updated January 04, 2019 Pin Flip Email Print Corn Harvest. Photo: Don Farrall/Getty Images More in Diet Plans Low-Carb Diets Foods Popular Low-Carb Diets Cooking Tips/Products Dining Out Other Diets Foods derived from corn, like popcorn, cornmeal, polenta, grits and masa flour, which is made from dried and ground corn kernels, vary in carb counts. The jury is still out on whether corn-based foods are good to include in a low-carb diet. Popcorn is low in carbs, but also low on nutritional content. Cornmeal is higher in carbs but is a decent source of minerals. The key is always moderation. The corn plant is a grass, and corn can be considered a grain when used for its kernels. Carb information about fresh, frozen or canned corn as a vegetable is different than dried corn. Cornmeal, grits, polenta, and corn flour all have very similar amounts of carbohydrates. They seem to vary more by brand than by type. Corn-based food Carbs, fiber, and calorie counts 1/4 cup raw cornmeal (about one ounce) 21 grams of net carbs, 2 grams fiber, 111 calories 1/2 cup cooked grits 18 grams net carbs, 1 gram fiber, 87 calories 1 cup air-popped popcorn 5 grams net carbs, 1 gram fiber, 31 calories 1 cup oil-popped popcorn 5 grams net carbs, 1 gram fiber, 55 calories 1-ounce tortilla chips 18 grams net carbs, 1 gram fiber, 138 calories Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for Cornmeal and Popcorn The glycemic index of a food is an indicator of how much and how fast a food raises your blood sugar. Two studies of cornmeal had an average glycemic index of 68. The glycemic load of a food is related to the glycemic index but takes serving size into account. A glycemic load of one is the equivalent of eating 1 gram of glucose. Glycemic load of cornmeal and popcorn 1/4 cup raw cornmeal (about one ounce): 131/2 cup cooked grits: 111 cup popped popcorn: 31-ounce tortilla chips: 1 Health Benefits of Corn-Based Food Whole grain cornmeal is a fair source of thiamin and magnesium. Cornmeal products made from dried corn, such as grits, polenta, and masa flour are also a good source of vitamin B6 and folate. Selection Most corn-based products are prepackaged as they are derived from dried corn. You would be hard-pressed to find corn kernels to pick yourself. Getting the best cornmeal is all about where it came from and whether it is stoneground or de-germinated. Stoneground is less processed and therefore has more nutrients and a richer taste than de-germinated cornmeal. However, some de-germinated corn meal is enriched with added vitamins and minerals that give it a nutritional boost. Storing Corn-Based Foods Stone-ground cornmeal should be refrigerated no longer than four months, but de-germinated cornmeal can be kept in the cabinet in a cool dry area for up to eight months. Cornmeal can also be frozen and last up to two years. Polenta, a cooked cornmeal dish famous in Italy can be cooked into a porridge much like grits, or it can be fried, baked or grilled and turned into firm wedges and used as bread or as a side dish to accompany fish, meat or stews. Grits, like regular cornmeal, can be kept in a cool dry place, however, once grits are opened they should be transferred to an airtight container or the entire package should be added to an airtight zip-closing bag to prevent spoilage. How Do Other Food Groups Stack Up Carb-Wise? Some choices are wiser than others in terms of selecting low-carb food options. Leafy vegetables and nuts and seeds seem to fare the best. Bringing up the rear are most fruits, grains and some legumes and milk and dairy products. Sources: Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Looking to start a low-carb diet, but not sure where to start? Sign up to get our free recipe book and enjoy delicious low-carb meals. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002).USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21. Continue Reading Article Is Amaranth a Good Grain for Calorie Counters to Eat? Article Are the Tons of Carbs in Mangoes Worth It? 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