Deciphering Nutrition Data on Microwave Popcorn

Daren Welsh

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I'm trying to figure out the nutrition data on a bag of popcorn, but it's hard to figure out because of how they present it. They list the data for "unpopped" and "1 cup popped". So is that 1 cup of unpopped (which I'd imagine is the entire bag)? Or is it the amount of unpopped kernels necessary to make 1 cup popped? *scratches head* Basically, I just want to know the nutrition data for the entire bag, popped. Another thing that's confusing is how they list one value for each item in grams, but then two values in percentages. So I could take the value for 1 cup popped and multiply by 14.5, but what if they rounded down to 0 on stuff (like fat), when for the entire bag, it would actually be more? I know this is incredibly anal, but I'm trying to track my food and keep myself honest.

 

Dennis*G

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I get confused at this all the time, but my wife knows it well and I think it's drilled into my head now.

Only look at the popped side. The bag makes 7.5 cups and the serving size is 1 cup, and there are two servings in the bag. So just times everything in that 1 cup popped column by 15 and you have the totals for the whole bag popped.

I have no idea why they give unpoped information. Who eats unpopped popcorn sitting in the oil??

As for the other info, I never look at the %'s like total fat, I would jst mark that as 4g for the popped bag, fiber would be 12g.......
 

Daren Welsh

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Now that I look at it more closely, it looks like one "serving" of unpopped kernels (3 tbsp) yields about 7.5 cups popped. So, like you say, I could just take those numbers and multiply by 2 to get roughly what it would be (14.5 ~ 15 cups).

The nutrition data is nice, but sometimes their ideas of servings is so ridiculous. Who pops a bag of popcorn, eats a cup, and puts the rest away for later?
 

MarkHastings

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Daren, you need to listen to Brian Regans stand-up bit on serving sizes


Yes, there are 2 servings per bag, so multiply by 2.

I assume, for legal purposes, they need to put the unpopped values there since that is what they are selling you, but as Dennis mentioned, ignore those since they are of no value to you.
 

Jon_Are

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This gets more confusing every time I give it more thought.



If the serving size is one cup, and there are two servings in the bag...how can the bag make 7.5 cups??

Jon
 

MarkHastings

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The serving size is 7.5 cups.

The confusing part is that they list the "1 Cup Popped" values near the words "Amount per serving" leading you to believe that a serving = 1 cup, but that's not the case.

What the "1 Cup" section is supposed to show (by means of the percentages) is, since one serving is WAY too many calories for a 2,000 calorie (per day) diet...if you are on a 2,000 calorie diet, you can eat 1 cup of the popcorn and still maintain your diet.
 

Jon_Are

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Are they purposely making this more complex than it needs to be?

If the serving size is 7.5 cups, aren't they required to list the nutritional break down of that serving size?

Jon
 

ScottHH

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This is the most confusing nutritional label I've ever seen. And I think it's because they give you the info on 1 cup popped, which is only a small portion of a serving.

We know the following:
The bag yields 14.5 cups of popped corn
We have nutritional information for 1 cup of popped corn
There are 2 servings per bag.

If I pop the corn and eat the entire bag, I've eaten two servings, but that's 14.5 cups of popped corn. So I'd have to multiply the 1 cup nutritional information by 14.5 to get my intake.

If I pop the corn and eat 1 serving, I have to multiply the 1 cup nutritional information by 7.25 to get my intake. (They've rounded this number to 7.5x on the third line.)

When you pop the corn most of the tasty oils get on the corn, and of course the corn has its own calories. So 1 serving of unpopped is 110 calories. The calories in 1 serving of popped corn is 15 x 7.25 = 108.75. Which gives me solace that I've done this math correctly.

It might be an easier approximation to just multiply the unpopped numbers by 2.
 

Joe Szott

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Mr. Serving Size to the rescue. You are making this too hard on yourselves, the nutritiolnal info is always per serving as listed. So 2 servings == label x2.

So per bag:

220 cals
720 mg sodium
4 g fat
52 g carb (12 g dietary fiber, so really 40 g carb)
8 g protein

Pretty good except for the dumping of salt. I'm surprised pop corn has so much protein in it.

PS - As a sanity check: 40 cal(f) + 160 cal(c) + 32 cal(p) = 232 cals per bag. That seems about right for 15 cups of popcorn.
 

MarkHastings

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No, 1 serving = 7.5 cups. Since there isn't 15 cups (i.e. 7.5 times 2) in the bag, they didn't round it up. While, yes, half the bag is 7.25 cups, half the bag is not a full serving.

Basically look at it this way: One serving is 7.5 cups and the other serving is 7 cups. This is why they have to say "about 2 servings"
 

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