Consumer Report: Truth about popped chips

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Popped chips are the new craze, and the testers at Consumer Reports wanted to know what all the fanfare was about.

Chips that are popped are now they're being pitched by pop stars like Katy Perry and Bruno Mars.

The popped snacks are made of corn, rice, potato, chickpeas, or a mix of those. And then, rather than fried, most are heated and pressurized until they pop.

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

After crunching nutritional data for 12 different popped chips, Consumer Reports found, it's a mixed bag. Most are less than 130 calories and four grams of fat per serving.

But that's actually more than some healthier crunchy-snacks like "Lay's Baked! Original Potato chips," which have about the same number of calories but half the fat.

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. 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 says try the "Hummus popped snacks" and you'll also get a bit more fiber than most others with three grams per serving.

So if you're looking to join pop stars in their crunchy snack quest, popped chips might be your ticket.

Consumer Reports says as far as taste goes, it's mostly about the seasonings used, but they all deliver a satisfying crunch. Also remember, as with most chips, the amount of sodium can be high, so be sure to read the label before you dig in.