Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - I could kill the popcorn! Popped calorie difference

01-07-2008, 04:26 PM
I would like to know why UNPOPPED popcorn has a ton more calories the popped kernels!? This makes calorie tracking difficult since I love popcorn, damn it. I yahoo'd this inquiry and got zip. I am going to take a guess that the heat burns off some of the calories, but I am not positive.

01-07-2008, 04:32 PM
I always wondered that too! Weird...

01-07-2008, 04:35 PM
Well I just thought... unpopped popcorn is smaller and therefore more kernels per cup or tbsp, etc. popped popcorn is bigger and takes up more room, so a cup of unpopped popcorn would be more then popped since popped takes up more space, but they are the same thing... I don't know if that makes sense...

01-07-2008, 04:37 PM
Well I just thought... unpopped popcorn is smaller and therefore more kernels per cup or tbsp, etc. popped popcorn is bigger and takes up more room, so a cup of unpopped popcorn would be more then popped since popped takes up more space, but they are the same thing... I don't know if that makes sense...

That's what I think too. Just like rice or pasta, things that expand when you cook them will be less calorie dense after preparation than before.

01-07-2008, 04:38 PM
As we type on this thread... I am looking for information on this, it has been driving me crazy. Don't even get my started on two different brands, same ingredients, different calories per unpopped vs popped. What? Do they just come up with some arbitrary number and slap it on a box and think we won't notice... (lol... sorry, got a little worked up in my silly frustration with nutrition)

01-07-2008, 04:43 PM
OMG! I thought for sure I was the only one in the world who wondered about this insanity! The popcorn I use is 20 for 1 cup of popped popcorn, but like 110 calories for 1 cup of unpopped! Why the heck do you even want to eat unpopped popcorn??? Think of what it does to your teeth, OUCH!

01-07-2008, 04:44 PM
I would think it has to be the weight and volume of the popped vs the unpopped. the popped corn takes up more room and weighs the same as it did before it was unpopped. so unpopped it will fit into a smaller container.

1 cup of unpopped popcorn is much more than 1 cup of popped.

did that make sense? lol

As Ever

01-07-2008, 04:48 PM
Maybe those two brands have the same ingredients, but different amounts of each ingredient? And also, are the serving sizes the same?

01-07-2008, 05:15 PM
I always measure mine unpopped, but I EAT it popped. Basically, you're looking at DRASTICALLY different volumes for popped vs. unpopped kernels, so of course the less dense (popped) is fewer calories per cup than the more dense (unpopped).

Measure out a portion unpopped and count the calories for that, then pop it. You may overestimate a bit if you don't eat the uncooked kernels at the bottom, but you'll be close enough.

01-07-2008, 05:43 PM
Some brands have 100 calorie bags....I got tired of the popcorn I just started buying those!

01-07-2008, 06:58 PM
I take unpopped kernels - like the ones you get in the jar - and I put them in a brown paper bag - seal it up and pop it in the mircowave with no oil for about 2 1/2 minutes. I only put a very few amount of kernels in - I think 1 tablespoon makes 3 cups of popcorn or something like that? Can't quite remember. But yeah its like the whole pasta ordeal.

01-07-2008, 07:39 PM
I wondered the same thing! And, why would anyone just eat unpopped kernels anyway? LOL Maybe some stragglers left on the bottom of the bowl if you're desperate, but a whole bowl of unpopped? Silly. :dizzy:

01-07-2008, 07:51 PM
I miss popcorn. I really wish I could eat it. I enjoyed popping it in a little bit of oil and then putting garlic or onion powder on it. No butter or anything else. I never thought of the paper bag thing. I did have a microwave popper at one time.

I, too, was confused about the calories. Maybe you popcorn eaters should start a blitz to the manufacturers and ask them to provide the nutritional values of already popped corn. Just visit their website and hit the contact us button. If they get bombarded, then maybe they'll listen.

01-07-2008, 07:58 PM
It is less accurate to measure calories popped vs. unpopped. See, the size of a popcorn kernel, once popped varied incredibly based on many factors (humidity, popping method, etc). The size of the kernels (and calories/kernel) unpopped don't vary much - the size of the popped corn varies insanely (paper bags produce a denser popcorn than my Whirley-Pop stovetop popper, for example).

Way too technical,'ll get a more accurate calorie count unpopped.

01-07-2008, 08:09 PM

OK. The label says that 2 Tbs unpopped makes about 5 cups popped. Then it gives the nutritional info for the unpopped (100) as well as the popped (10). What happened to the other half the calories? Seems to me that 100/5 should = 20. Also, it gives the grams for the unpopped and only a percentage for the popped.

01-07-2008, 08:16 PM
That is also why I count unpopped measure - they use some wonky "this many kernels don't pop" calculation, and also account for different volumes, to ensure their per-cup-popped is as low as possible. No calories are "burning up" for sure.

01-08-2008, 01:24 AM
Now THAT makes the most sense of all!


01-08-2008, 05:31 AM
mandalinn82, I think I'll take your advice on this one, though I don't feel any better about the popcorn situation (yes, now it has become a situation). I'm going to count the unpopped calories and if it is a bit over the real caloric amount... then yay... I'll save a few on the days I eat popcorn. -_- However, I may just end up buying 100 cal bags.

01-10-2008, 01:10 PM
I am not an expert on these things, but isn't calories a measure of combustible fuel? The popping, the little mini-explosions, require fuel to happen. Matter is converted to energy. The calories, they burn themselves.

01-10-2008, 01:52 PM
The popping is caused by heat (energy) applied to the popcorn. The energy doesn't come from the popcorn itself.

Popcorn pops when water (no calories in that) inside the kernel boils due to heat being applied. The steam then pops the kernel open. No calories in the popcorn itself are consumed as part of this...only heat energy from the stove/microwave/popper.