Popchips is a young company that offers what is supposedly a healthier alternative to potato chips. It recently expanded to tortilla chips as well. The tagline for their Ranch Tortilla Chips is “all the flavor. half the fat”. We decided to compare Popchips to the industry standard – Doritos. Here is what we found.
A snack serving, as defined by the FDA, is 1 ounce. Comparing 1 ounce of Popchips to Doritos, we see that Popchips has 4.5 grams of fat to Doritos’ 8 grams. Not exactly half, but close enough. Obviously the fact that its chips are popped, not fried, helps reduce the fat content in Popchips.
From a flavor perspective, Popchips are a bit “drier” in the mouth compared to fried chips, but not unpleasantly so. Calorically, the difference between the 2 brands is not that big – 130 calories for Popchips, 150 for Doritos. If you’re going to enjoy a snack, 20 calories are not going to make a big difference.
Other advantages of Popchips include the use of mostly benign ingredients compared to Doritos. Here is the Popchips ingredient list:
stone ground whole corn masa treated with lime, sunflower, safflower,and/or canola oil, seasoning (buttermilk powder, salt, whey, tomato powder, dextrose, sugar, natural flavors, onion powder, garlic powder, yeast extract, spices,citric acid, dehydrated parsley, lactic acid, turmeric extract[color]), corn germ.
The yeast extract is an MSG-like ingredient used to enhance flavors. if you have a sensitivity to MSG, watch out.
Compare to Doritos:
Whole Corn, Vegetable Oil (Contains One or More of the Following: Corn, Soybean and/or Sunflower Oil), Corn Maltodextrin, Salt, Tomato Powder, Corn Starch, Lactose, Whey, Nonfat Milk, Corn Syrup Solids, Onion Powder, Sugar, Garlic Power, Monosodium Glutamate, Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Dextrose, Malic Acid, Buttermilk, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Acetate, Artificial Color (Including Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5), Sodium Caseinate, Spice, Citric Acid, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate.
Doritos has MSG, and additionally uses not one but 3 different artificial colors. Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate are flavor enhancers, much like MSG. Not recommended for babies or asthmatics.
Clearly, the Popchips product is a less unhealthy alternative. That does not make it a health-food, it’s still a snack that uses a multitude of flavorings to hook your taste buds into wanting more.