Potato chips are the most common snacks consumed by
Americans. On the other hand, popcorn is a less favored snack. However, popcorn
does contain some important nutrients like whole-grain, fiber and magnesium,
which makes it nutritionally more preferable. It provides more volume due to
its irregular shape and air content. Fat-free, air-popped popcorn is preferable
to buttered and salted popcorn; such a preparation neutralizes the benefits of
Snacks that are low in energy content and provide a
feeling of fullness early are ideal from the point of view of weight management
and prevention of obesity. High calorie snacks like cakes and candies on the
other hand hinder weight control and are associated with obesity.
The study comparing the effects of popcorn with
potato chips was conducted on 35 adults. The study participants were given
snacks 30 minutes prior to meal on 4 occasions after overnight fasting and a
standard breakfast. The snacks consisted either of one cup of potato chips, one
cup of fat-free microwave popcorn or six cups of the same popcorn. The participants were also allowed intake of
200 ml water. (The labeled sizes of one cup of potato chips and six cups of
popcorn were similar). Some individuals were allowed only water intake and
served as controls. Thirty minutes after the meal, the participants were
allowed to eat as much as they wanted.
The participants rated hunger, satisfaction, how
much food they thought they could eat and thirst on visual analogue scales.
They also rated the snacks as pleasant or salty, and based on texture,
bitterness and taste.
found that eating 6 cups of popcorn gave a more feeling of fullness as compared
to one cup of popcorn or potato chips
. The participants also gave lower estimates of
prospective meal intakes. One cup of popcorn was similar in filling the stomach
as compared to a cup of potato chips, despite a nearly 10-times difference in
energy content. Meal consumption following the snack was significantly reduced
after consumption of six cups of popcorn and one cup of potato chips as
compared to the control group.
The participants of the study were aware of which
snacks they were taking. Thus, this visual appearance of the snack could have
influenced their responses on the visual analogue scale. Further studies are
necessary to establish the benefits of popcorn in this regard.
1. Von Nguyen et al. Popcorn is more satiating than potato chips in
normal-weight adults. Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:71 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-71