Consumer Reports: How do 'Popped Chips' stack up?

November 11, 2013 America is truly a 'Snack Nation.' One snack has become very trendy, thanks to some Hollywood and music celebrities. Testers at Consumer Reports wanted to see if the fanfare about 'popped chips' is worth it.

Stars like Katy Perry and Bruno Mars are pitching them: The popped snacks are made of corn, rice, potato, chickpeas, or a mixture of any of those.

Rather than being fried, most of the chips are heated and pressurized until they pop.

"The clear message is that these popped snacks are more healthful," says Amy Keating of Consumer Reports. But we wondered if they really are.

After crunching the nutritional data for 12 different popped chips, Consumer Reports found it's a mixed bag when it comes to nutritional value.

Most of the popped chips are less than 130 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving. But that's actually more than some other crunchy-snacks, such as Lay's Baked Chips. It's also more than Quaker Salt-free Rice Cakes, which have no fat and only 35 calories each.

"But the skinny on fat is, it's all relative," Keating says. "Popped chips have less than half the fat of several other snacks we looked at, including Cheese Puffs, Doritos, regular Lay's Potato Chips and even Wise Butter Air-popped Popcorn."

Consumer Reports suggests the hummus snacks, because you'll also get a bit more fiber than most others - 3 grams per serving.

If you're looking to join pop stars in their crunchy snack quest, popped chips might be your ticket. Testers found that all of the popped chips have a satisfying crunch, although the seasoning may not be to everyone's liking.

Remember, as with most chips, sodium amounts can be high so check the labels and the serving size. Even within the same brands, the servings may not be the same for every flavor. For example: 1 serving of Quaker's cheddar snacks is 18 chips, the chocolate is just 13.

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