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Cutting calories? Be choosy about air-popped snacks

Air-popped chips are popular, but they aren't necessarily better when it comes to fat and calories. Read the label, Consumer Reports says.

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air-popped chips

Made of corn, rice, potato, chickpeas or a mix of these ingredients, popped chips are the latest snack craze.

Instead of being fried, most are heated and pressurized until they pop.

The message is that they're heathier. But are they?

Consumer Reports found mixed results.

Most popped chips are less than 130 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving. But that's more than options like Lay's Baked! Chips, which has 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,” said Amy Keating of Consumer Reports. “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 snackers looking for a popped chip option should try the Hummus popped snacks. It has a bit more fiber than most others at 3 grams per serving.

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