Calorie Bargain: Popchips Original Potato Chips
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Calorie Bargain: Popchips Original Potato Chips

Smarter snacks: Potato chips with fewer calories and less fat.
Diet Detective

The Why: We heard about these from the Daily Candy, which is typically not a source for healthier food choices, but they really hit the nail on the head with this one. These crispy chips are good, and lower in calories than regular chips, which have 150-160 calories per ounce (Popchips are 120 calories per ounce). Some chip-makers attempt to go low-fat by baking, but this is not the case here. Popchips are made by applying heat and pressure (no oil), which is kind of interesting. It's almost like popcorn, which you know I'm a big fan of.

The Health Bonus: They have 1 gram of fiber per ounce, they're not fried, and they're all natural. The chips have no trans or saturated fat. They only use heart-healthy safflower or canola oil in seasoning the chips. They've also got some other flavors that you can try if you're feeling adventurous.

What We Liked Best: You get about 22 chips for 120 calories, almost double the amount of chips you get from regular or even baked chips. And most people eat by volume (the amount of food), not by weight, so these chips could help you cut down on overconsuming.

What We Liked Least: They're still 120 calories per ounce, and they're addictive like any other chip or snack food, so watch your portions. Also, I didn't see individual 1-ounce bags available, which would be better for portion control. We all know what happens when we open up a big bag of chips.

What It Replaces: Regular or baked chips. And keep in mind, this is a replacement for other high-calorie chips or snacks you might already have in your diet -- it's not to be added as a new food group if you're not munching on the higher-calorie versions already!

The Price: $2.50 per bag, or about $30 for twelve 3.25-ounce bags

Offerings: Original, Barbeque, and Parmesan Garlic Potato Chips; Sea Salt, Hint of Butter, Cheddar, and Salsa Corn Chips; and Sea Salt and Wasabi Rice Chips.

Web Site:

Where to Buy: Popchips are now on the shelves in the salty snack aisles at all Safeway, Vons, and Pavilion stores throughout the Western United States, as well as Bristol Farms, Mollie Stone's, Mother's Markets & Kitchen, and on

Nutritional Information: Serving Size: 1 oz. (28g/about 22 chips). Servings per Container: About 3. Amount Per Serving: Calories, 120. Calories from Fat, 40. Total Fat, 4.5g. Saturated Fat, 0g. Trans Fat, 0g. Cholesterol, 0mg. Sodium, 290mg. Total Carbohydrate, 20g. Dietary Fiber, 1g. Sugars, 0g. Protein, 1g.

Ingredients: Natural potato ingredients (potato flour, potato starch), safflower oil and/or sunflower oil, rice flour, sea salt, soy lecithin (processing aid).

Do you have a Calorie Bargain to share? Send in your favorite Calorie Bargains to -- they will be posted on the Web site. And if your idea is published in the column, you'll receive a FREE copy of the book Breaking the FAT Pattern or Lighten Up.

Reprinted with permission from, July 2007.