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The Popcorn Points Question Answered (I think)

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This is one of the most asked questions on the Weight Watchers boards. Why is it so to calculate points for popcorn? Let me break down the brand I eat.

Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop 94% Fat Free Butter 2.9oz bag (regular size bag, not the mini or 100 cal pack)
According to the bag, a serving size is 3 tbsp unpopped (7 cups popped) there are 2 servings per container which means the bag contains 6 tbsp of unpopped popcorn (14 popped)

Nutritional information for 6tbsp unpopped:Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop 94% Fat Free Butter

  • 240 calories
  • 4 g of fat
  • 8 g of Fiber
  • 4 points

Now the bag gives the calorie count for 1 cup popped as 15 calories. If you multiply that by 14 (number of cups in the bag) you get 255 calories for the bag. This still gives you 4 points. So, no matter how you look at it the normal size bag (meaning not the mini bag) of Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop 94% Fat Free Butter is 4 points for the whole thing.

Next I looked up another brand online, 94% Fat Free JOLLY TIME® Healthy Pop® Butter Flavor. According to their site, a serving size is 2 tbsp unpopped (5 cups popped) and there are 2.5 servings per bag which means the bag contains 5 tbsp of unpopped popcorn (12.5 cups popped).

Nutritional Information of 5 tbsp unpopped:94% Fat Free JOLLY TIME® Healthy Pop® Butter Flavor

  • 225 calories
  • 5 g of fat
  • 22.5 g of fiber (find this hard to believe, but it doesn’t really matter because of the fiber cap)
  • 4 points

They give the calories of 1 cup popped as 20 calories. 20 times 12.5 is 250 calories which still gives you 4 points.

In my opinion, most larger bags of 94% fat free popcorns are 4 points. As for the smaller or single servings bags, I don’t buy them much, but when I do I count them as 2 points. I know there are some brands out there that are 1 point, but they are usually the 100 calorie bags.

I hope that helps a little but. I think everyone has asked the popcorn question at least once. If you calculated the points for other brands let me know in the comments.



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Discussion

There are 36 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.

    Emily

    August 5, 2007

    I'm an Orville Redenbacher addict! Hi, I'm Emily and I'm addicted to popcorn..."Hi Emily". There, I admitted it ;) I absolutely love the Smart Pop 94% Fat Free Kettle Korn!

    The nutritional information is the same for the Smart Pop Butter & I noticed an error in your post. There's actually only 210 calories per 2.9oz bag, not 255! 255 calories would be for 17 cups of popcorn instead of 14! When I know this off the top of my head, I think it's a sign I've eaten one too many bags! ;)

    Keep it up Roni - I love your site! Reply

    Anonymous

    January 17, 2008

    Hi. I went to the Weight Watchers page for more answers. Click on the link below. It caclulates most of the major brands as 1 point depending on how many cups. Most are 1 point for 5-6 cups.

    http://www.weightwatchers.ca/util/art/index_art.aspx?art_id=12261&tabnum=1&sc=3017&subnav=Shopping+%26+Ingredients Reply

    Robin

    February 6, 2008

    it is 7.5 cups in a serving. 15 cups total in a bag. Nutrition facts for the whole bag is as follows. You all need to read the what is next to the * lower down on the Nutrition list.
    Calories = 225
    Fat = 0
    Sat Fat = 0
    Sodium = 300
    Carbs = 45
    Fiber = 15 Reply

    Anonymous

    March 27, 2008

    Have you ever measured out the bag, though? There isn't 15 cups of popcorn once it is popped. Reply

    Roni

    March 27, 2008

    Anon - Actually if you go by weight, it's pretty close! Reply

    Anonymous

    April 5, 2008

    Hi Robin, If you read down in the fine print of SmartPop, it says that the popped popcorn contains less than 1g of fiber per serving. Which puts the whole bag at 4.5 points per serving if I'm doing the math right? Reply

    Laura Brandon

    June 13, 2008

    this is all too confusing for me... so i just buy the 100 cal bags! Reply

    Anonymous

    July 2, 2008

    How about the Orville Redenbacher "Mini Smart Cakes?" They are very yummy, and only 1 pt. for 9 "cakes," each cake being a very small version of a rice cake (except these are made from popcorn). I love the caramel flavor, but they also have butter or sour cream and onion flavors, as well.

    ~ Denise Reply

    Amanda

    October 29, 2008

    Jolly Time's FAQ, (which is new, I believe, because they are becoming endorsed by WW) says a 3oz bag is 2.5 POINTS. http://www.jollytime.com/contact/FAQs Reply

    roni

    October 29, 2008

    Amanda - Thanks for the update! I'll have to hunt for it on my next grocery trip! Reply

    Sabrina

    November 22, 2008

    I just get the mini bags...no brain pain there!!! LOL Reply

    Jacinda

    February 5, 2009

    Thank you so much for this info, this is exactly what I was looking for. :) Reply

    Sue

    February 11, 2009

    I do my popcorn hot air style...no oil; butter; or salt. Any points in that? Reply

    roni

    February 11, 2009

    This may help.... http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-popcorn-air-popped-i19034 Reply

    Emily

    April 16, 2009

    why does 94% fat free popcorn have less calories than air-popped popcorn with no extra additives (salt, butter, etc.) which is technically 0 fat? Reply

    roni

    April 18, 2009

    Emily - I'm not sure. I was only using the Nutritional Info found on the bags of popcorn. I didn't compare it to air-popped. Sorry. Reply

    gerry

    May 9, 2009

    what about popcorn at the movies? a bucket or tub? thanks! big g Reply

    Suzie Parker

    November 17, 2009

    Help! I love Erin's Popcorn-low fat, low salt (already popped) but it goes by the serving size of grams. How do I figure out points??? Many thx, Suzie Reply

    roni

    November 19, 2009

    Suzie - this may help.. .http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/snacks/7719/2 They have grams up there. Reply

    sara

    May 2, 2010

    i want weigth watchers popcorn i want lose weigth has lower points/ Reply

    kim

    May 3, 2010

    I have started buying the Primetime Butter Light. Its fabulous. It has the best taste. Serving Size is 2 tbsp unpopped makes about 3.5 cups popped. Servings 2.25 per bag Calories per cup 28 FAT 2 Dietary Fiber 4 g I have calculated it out for the whole bag about 1 pt... I could be totally wrong and if so please correct me. This has been the best popcorn IMO..I get it from our local Dollar tree and you can't beat that it is a buck. Reply

    roni

    May 12, 2010

    Kim here's what I get... serving size is 2 tbsp unpopped which makes 3.5 cups popped = 7 total cups in the bag Total nutritional info.... 7 x 28 cals a cup = 196 7 x 2 g of fat a cup = 14 7 x 4 g of fiber a cup = 28 points for the bag = 4 That's how'd I calculate it, but I may be wrong. Sorry, I'm pretty sure it's not 1 point a bag. Even the small bags are 2. Reply

    GWF

    September 15, 2010

    RE: Jolly Time - I think the confusion is a result of a marketing gimmick by Weight Watchers, or at least in my opinion. I believe they want to advertise that a service is only 1 point or in the case of the mini bag is 1 point per bag. In reality, using the WW point formula, it is 1.4. I have noticed this "sizing" on other stuff as well. Not a big deal unless you consume a lot of these 1 point type servings. For example, So if you consumed 10 bags of the mini bags in a week, it should be 14 pts, not 10. Not the end of the world, but if you are faithfully following the program, a bit misleading and dissapointing . Where do i get the 1.4; I have an App on my iphone called Nutrition Menu, there are settings to round to one decimal and use the same food score formula as WW. Also, a easy tool to conveniently track your diet, regardless of whether on WW, Low Carb or Calories. Reply

    Erin

    October 6, 2010

    I am in Germany continuing doing weight watchers and the one thing I miss is ACT2 94% fat free popcorn which is only 3pts for an entire LARGE bag!!!!!! So in the meantime I have to make due with air-popped popcorn and I am having a difficult time figuring out the points on them. On the bag it says that 1 portion is 50g. 50g have 155cal, 2.1 fat, and 6.8 fiber. When I make it I make it without oil. With these figures one portion comes to 2 points. I am confused though if usually on bags of popcorn kernels the portion is in unpopped or popped. 50g popped or 50 grams unpopped...and then do the cal, fat and fiber change once I pop it?....so confused Reply

    roni

    October 7, 2010

    Erin - I always go with unpopped measuring. It's just easier. That being said the nutritional info difference between 50g unpopped and 50g popped is so minor that it's not worth stressing over. Calculate the NI based on the unpopped amount used and you'll always be fine. Especially when airpoping. hope that helps!! Reply

    abba21

    January 27, 2011

    Do you think they're different on the new plan? I just put the info in the calculator and got 7 points for the bag. Still not too bad because I usually split them. Thanks! Reply

    roni

    January 31, 2011

    abba21 - I do think they are different but I have NO idea. I haven't ran the numbers yet. Sorry. Reply

    Bob

    March 27, 2011

    Somebody must be lying. Air popped popcorn says its 31 calories a cup. 94% fat free popcorn claims to be 15 calories a cup. Is Orville lying to us? Reply

    Willy

    April 30, 2011

    Thanks for the answer on the 94% fat free orville popcorn, normal size bag...i calculated it to be about 4.5...so I rounded it up to 5 just to be safe. The nutrition label is misleading. I used my Android WW Barcode Reader app and it goes by the unpopped values and it would be like 40 something points for the whole bag...I'm going with 5 points. When I lost weight before years ago and not on WW, I ate this stuff every night and lost 100 pounds as part of my diet...so I think 5 points is very fair for this food. If I did not have this popcorn, I'm afraid I would go back to my big bowls of nightly ice cream!!! I started this past Monday with WW (first time member) and my goal is to lose 101 pounds. Reply

    Sister_Lidna

    July 24, 2011

    I'm kind of "math" obsessed, and I just joined Weight Watchers. I love air popped popcorn, so I did the math. First, the little cup that comes with the air popper is 1/2 cup (un-popped) The packaging on un-popped popcorn say's that there are 3 tbs of un-popped popcorn in a serving. There are 16 table spoons in a full cup (middle school math folks0. 8 Table spoons in a half cup. So, based on the "generic great value" simple, plain white popcorn, and the information above and on the label, 1/2 cup of un-popped popcorn would have the follow points. 8 pts. One table spoon of un-popped popcorn would have 1 point, so you could, at the end of the day say, Hey, I have 4 points I want to blow in popcorn, so use a Table Spoon (instead of that top measuring cup) and put in "4" for 4 points. Now, if you pop that WHOLE 1/2 cup and don't add thing, or add "free" flavors, then you would still only get 16 points, which isn't that bad if you've been good all week. There are a lot worse ways to blow a diet....i.e., with fat, cholesterol, etc. You may wonder "Why does plain white popcorn have any fat at all? Again, let's go back to middle school and remember that we can get oil from corn.."Corn oil" So, even when it is dried, it has trace amounts. On the good side, it is "GOOD FAT" So smiles folks. Hope this helps. Reply

    Sister_Linda

    July 24, 2011

    The Above WITH CORRECTIONS (sorry, I didn't proof read...and a middle school teacher should no better...here is the corrected version of the above entry): I’m kind of “math” obsessed, and I just joined Weight Watchers. I love air popped popcorn, so I did the math. First, the little cup that comes with the air popper is 1/2 cup (un-popped) The packaging on un-popped popcorn say’s that there are 3 table spoons of un-popped popcorn in a serving. There are 16 tablespoons in a full cup (middle school math folks). 8 tablespoons in a half cup. So, based on the “generic great value” simple, plain white popcorn, and the information above and on the label, 1/2 cup of un-popped popcorn would have the follow points. 8 pts. One table spoon of un-popped popcorn would have 1 point, so you could, at the end of the day say, Hey, I have 4 points I want to blow in popcorn, so use a Tablespoon (instead of that top measuring cup) and put in “4″ for 4 points. Now, if you pop 2 batches (i.e.., two 1/2 cups) and don’t add thing, or add “free” flavors, then you would still only get 16 points, which isn’t that bad if you’ve been good all week. There are a lot worse ways to blow a diet….i.e., with fat, cholesterol, etc. Binging on Popcorn is more filling and gives you great fiber! It’s meets the need for chewy and crunchy. You may wonder “Why does plain white popcorn have any fat at all? Again, let’s go back to middle school and remember that we can get oil from corn, ”Corn oil” So, even when it is dried, it has trace amounts. On the good side, it is “GOOD FAT” So smiles folks. Hope this helps. .. Reply

    Precious

    January 26, 2012

    Ok, I am sooo glad to have found this thread of confusion! I just posted this question on the WW Facebook page and someone replied as if I were a moron. It's surpisingly complicated. AND I don't understand the point of stating the unpopped caloric content anyway... I'm trying to get the points on an entire bag of Pop Secret Homestyle popcorn--not the lite or fat free. I'd rather eat the good stuff! Reply

    Trish

    February 24, 2012

    WHY oh WHY can't a popcorn maker, regardless of whom, just STATE on the stupid box that each BAG is "x" amount of points. Period. OR...if they do not want to do the points route, why can't they just simply list what the cal, fat, carbs, and fiber is PER FREAKING BAG? Maybe I'm kind of simple, but seriously! AAAH! Reply

    Michelle

    May 13, 2012

    I just do air popped and I use Pop Secret Jumbo POpping COrn it's says 3 tblsp unpopped is about 5 cups and that is 3 points that's alot of popcorn. I bag this in a big ziplock bag and take it to the ballpark . Reply

    Michelle

    May 13, 2012

    Oh sorry I also spray 0 point butter spray or I can't believe it's not butter on it.. This is the best popcorn and not processed.. Reply

    SLee and Topher

    September 28, 2014

    I love popcorn. One question though: I’ve always thought that butter was a food to avoid when trying to lose weight, but I just read this article that says the opposite. Have you guys ever heard of this? http://www.viralbistro.com/chewing-fat-butter-future Reply