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Plain popcorn vs flavoured

Plain popcorn vs flavoured

Popcorn is a delicious snack but not all brands are equal when it come to health benefits.  Healthy Food Guide gets to the kernel of which is healthier, plain or flavoured popcorn.

We compare plain air-popped corn to two other varieties. We have used 25g serves, which is around 2 cups of popped corn.

POP’N’GOOD POPPING CORN ACT II SWEET & SALTY KETTLE CORN MICROWAVE POPCORN NZ KETTLE KORN SEA SALT CARAMEL
Energy 425kJ 575kJ 503kJ
Protein 3.2g 2.1g 1.3g
Fibre not stated 2.4g 2.5g
Fat 1.2g 8.1g 5.4g
Sat Fat 0.2g 3.9g 0.9g
Sugar 0.2g 0g 9.6g
Sodium 0mg 81mg 64mg

The natural popcorn has less energy and more protein for the same weight and although the fibre is not stated we’d expect it to have at least 2.5g. Overall the plain popcorn is a great snack choice.

Our comparison shows popcorn is low in fat and we need to check what’s added to flavoured versions. ACT II uses palm oil, making it high in saturated fat and best avoided. Many people avoid palm oil for environmental reasons too.

Popcorn is naturally low in sugar, but 25g of Kettle Korn Sea Salt Caramel has the equivalent of 2½ teaspoons.

As a traditional accompaniment to popcorn, salt (providing sodium) is not overdone in this selection.

Winner: Pop’n’Good Popping Corn

Remember, we can train our palates to enjoy less salty and sweet foods. Plain popcorn is a healthy snack but as an occasional treat, sweet popcorn will deliver more nutrition than many other snacks, if we choose wisely.

First published: Jan 2016
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