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Popcorn - Low Cal, But High Fat? Good or Bad Treat?

I recently discovered that an ENTIRE bag of microwave popcorn only has about 100 calories! I thought this was the perfect solution to my snacking addiction. Even the extra butter varieties still only have 100 cals. BUT....I now notice that it has about 12 g of fat ...hmmm, maybe even per serving? I have to check that. So, if I have 100 cal popcorn as a snack in my 1200 cal day -- is it BAD because it has such a high fat content? I'd prefer to stick with this variety instead of the low fat variety. Any insight would be appreciated?

Thu. Aug 17, 4:33pm

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Well it's probably not great but still not bad. If your eating a lot of other fatty foods I would probably avoid it, but every diet needs some fat so it's definately not the worst thing.

I like to get the low fat, lite butter popcorn then spray it with spray butter for additional flavoring.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 4:36 PM

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BAD -- too much salt and fat!

Popcorn has too much salt and fat! Also, while it is low in calories it requires twice the insulin and cortisol response in the body as a chocolate bar for the same calories! Insulin and cortisol -- tell the body to HOLD ONTO and STORE fat.

So ... while only 100 calories you are doing more damage than eating a chocolate candy bar.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 5:03 PM

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It's not true that an entire bag has 100 calories AND 12g of fat. 12g of fat, by itself, is 108 calories (9 cals per gram), and popcorn is mostly carbohydrates.

I know for a fact, Orville Redenbacher makes mini bags of Smart Pop (94% fat free) that are exactly 100 calories per bag, but the bags are smaller. Each bag, fully popped, has 100 calories, 2g of fat, 24g carbs (4 fiber) and 3g of protein.

A normal-sized bag of microwave popcorn that's listed as 94% fat free (as many are) is about 250 cals, 5g of fat, 60g carbs, and 7g protein.

And even that, with the same number of cals as a chocolate bar, is better for you b/c it's more filling, and has some fiber and protein.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 5:14 PM

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None of the 100 cal bags I eat have 12 g of fat. That seems high. You might want to double check that number.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 5:58 PM

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OP Here

It is the Orville's Popcorn, movie theatre butter. The label says it has 35 calories per cup and 2.5 cups per it would be just under 100 calories. It also says 12g of fat per serving, which would equate to 30g of fat. So, would you suggest I have a brownie or candy bar instead of popcorn when I have a craving? Is the label wrong?

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 6:13 PM

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OP here again....

I am reading the small print and it says that when it is POPPED, 1 cup is 2.5 g of fat, so that means it is for the entire bag it has only a little more than 6g of fat? Is it still a BAD choice?

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 6:16 PM

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The Mini Bags only have 40 Calories

The mini bags have 40 calories for the entire bag.Hmmm, now that you bring it up, the labels are VERY confusing. It says 1 cup popped is 40 calories, but how many cups are in 1 bag? gggrrrrrr, this is frustrating!

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 6:20 PM

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I don't think it's so terrible. I would even suggest popping it yourself in an air popper, spraying some butter on there, and voila! Guilt gone, tasty popcorn on. :) You can also try adding some yummy herbs like rosemary and the tiniest drizzle of honey or REAL maple syrup, it's SO good that way.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 6:21 PM

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you can buy all-natural, organic, non-gmo popcorn that is very low in fat (un-buttered) and still delicious and filling and satifies thta urge to chew. look in your local natural foods store.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 9:56 PM

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High gylcemic content. Why not have an apple and peanut butter? Much better and will satiate you.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 10:57 PM

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Sometimes the whole point of looking for healthier alternatives (although they may not be ideal alternatives) is to find a way to eat the thing you're craving/wanting!
Not to disregard your suggestion, but it's silly. If I want fudge and someone tells me to have a rice cake w/PB instead, does that make the fudge craving go away?

Friday, August 18, 2006, 8:14 AM

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I wouldn't discount straight popcorn...

1 cup of air-popped popcorn has 31 calories, 0g of fat, 1g of fiber and even 1g of protein. It has only 1 mg of sodium naturally, no cholesterol, and no sugar. It's crunchy, and you can grab big handfuls of the stuff, which feels really good. True, it is not extremely filling, but it's such a great movie snack! You can control how much butter or salt you want to add at home - or try it with spices or hot sauce for a real kick.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 9:23 AM

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Popcorn Label Confusion

If your bag of popcorn is only 100 calories for the whole bag, it cannot have 12 grams of fat. One gram of fat has 9 calories, so the calories from fat alone would be 108 calories. Popcorn labels are very confusing, and I haven't been able to find much helpful information online. Most bags give nutritional information in 2 different ways - unpopped (by the Tablespoon) and popped (by the cup or serving). The two do not seem compatible with one another. (ie. the total unpopped per bag calories is way more than the total popped per-bag calories) I think it is because the unpopped information includes the nutritional info for EVERYTHING in the bag -- including oils, butter, flavoring, etc., while the popped information includes the nutritional info for what you are actually eating. If you opened the unpopped bag and measuring out 2 T of the total contents, that's different from what you'd be eating if you measured out 3 cups (or 1 serving) of the popped contents. Most of the fat, butter, oil, etc. sticks to the inside of the bag when you pop it, and unless you lick the inside of the bag, you don't eat it !

Monday, January 01, 2007, 12:15 PM

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microwave popcorn

Stay away from that stuff... the chemical they coat the inside of the bag with is a teflon chemical (perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA for short) that is mobilized with the high heat conditions inside the microwave. EPA has told Dupont to phase it out over the next few years. For a healthier snack, put some regular popcorn in a lunchbag that's been stapled shut (the metal in the staples isn't enough to spark in the microwave). Then YOU can control the amount of fat you add later.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 11:06 PM

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My mother-in-law pops popcorn herself, puts on a SMALL amount of butter and then sprinkles it with brewer's yeast (also called nutritional yeast). It is so good!!!! I agree that fruit would be a better alternative but sometimes something crunchy just hits the spot.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007, 5:43 PM

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those microwave popcorn labels are very confusing. I have not figured one out yet.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007, 7:56 PM

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Get an airpopper. They're not very expensive and you make your popcorn with no fat at all. I think it tastes better than microwave too.

Thursday, January 04, 2007, 8:31 AM

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I agree with the last person! I have a microwave popper, which means I just put the kernels in the plastic bowl-y thing and nuke it. It's better for you and it's *so* much cheaper than the pre-bagged stuff with the fake butter flavor.

Thursday, January 04, 2007, 1:08 PM

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no one says anything about the fiber,which is important in counting the calories,for every gram of fiber is 7 calories .if it is 5 grams it would be 5x7=35
35 subtracted from calories per serving.
I am on 1200 calories a day,I eat 35 grams fiber a day.I have lost 33 pounds in a little less then 11 weeks.Fiber is great in weight control.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007, 2:35 PM

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2.35, 1200 cals per day, with high fiber seems a little low. Don't take this the wrong way, and congrats on your weight loss, but many people who go that low end up having metabolism slowdowns after.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007, 2:44 PM

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Sounds like the above poster eats 1200 calories plus 35g of fiber. He/she somehow has the idea that calories from fiber don't "count."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007, 3:14 PM

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The labels never seemed to confuse me. they give you the amount for one cup popped, which means take the popped popcorn and put it in a measuring cup. the best way is to just use the mini bags- just enough to satisfy that salty craving- I like the kettlecorn- salty and sweety!

Thursday, August 16, 2007, 1:02 AM

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100 calories is a 100 calories - not a bad number for a snack - plus popcorn is a whole grain - its a prefect snack... its all in the numbers... calories in, calories out.

Thursday, August 16, 2007, 3:41 AM

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We Wish 100 Calories....

I figured the label out. One cup popped equals 40 calories(ACT II Movie Theater Butter, Microwaveable). I counted roughly 12 cups popped, in a ordinary-sized, nukeable bag. Multiply 40(calories/cup) by 12(cups/bag) - and you get 480 calories/bag. Yikes......that's the same as McDonald's Super-size fries!!! The good thing is that the fiber content of corn handily beats the spuds out.

Friday, May 30, 2008, 1:41 AM

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Yep, that sounds about right. And, if you use the 94% fat free popcorn, then the total number of calories in a bag is around 250 cals. And, if you just buy the 100-calorie bags, then a whole bag (though smaller) is, duh, 100 calories. I just bought a huge box of 100-calorie bags at Costco. I think they're a great snack size.

Friday, May 30, 2008, 1:34 PM

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I make it the old fashioned way.. a little teflon pot w/ a little sunflower oil on the bottom.. its all natural, satisfying and higher fat than air popped but tastes really good and its healthy. all those chemicals in the microwave bags are just not worth it.

Friday, May 30, 2008, 4:18 PM

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I just tried 'Curves' brand microwave popcorn the other day. Good butter flavor, only 90 calories and 2.5g fat per bag. For me, it's a perfect night time snack.

Friday, May 30, 2008, 6:09 PM

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As far as chemicals go, be careful with using the Teflon. They say that if that coating starts to break down, you'll be ingesting that too. Teflon is no bueno.

Saturday, May 31, 2008, 11:20 AM

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I'm not sure who has told you that Fibre has 7calories per gram, it is 0 calories. the term 'calories' means energy, and we do not recieve any energy from fibre because it does not break down in out body- it goes straight through. So if your popcorn has 100 calories, none of those calories are from fibre.

I think you may be confusing this method with carb counting. If you have 30 grams of carbohydrate in your popcorn and 4g of fibre, HERE YOU CAN SUBTRACT, so its really 26 grams of carb (bc the 4g of fibre go out your other end.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010, 6:14 PM

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Teflon is a BRAND NAME. The original teflon is what was believed to be bad but new technology has created new "teflon" and the new stuff, aka non-stick coating, is perfectly safe.

Sunday, January 24, 2010, 6:52 PM

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Related article:

Is Popcorn A Good Diet Food?


Monday, February 06, 2012, 7:55 AM

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