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Comparing Cheese, Caramel, and Buttered Popcorn

Butter vs. Cheddar vs. Caramel Popcorn

If you haven't seen them yet, you must not be looking too hard — the triple flavored popcorn tins are already popping up at shopping malls, pharmacies, and grocery stores just in time for the gorge holiday season. Growing up, they were always a big holiday hit in my house. My grandma ate the cheddar, my mom ate the buttered, and I gobbled up the caramel. Now it seems the cycle has shifted as I'm drawn to the buttered, my daughter to the caramel, and my mom to the cheese. Now if they were all equally healthy, I wouldn't care much who ate what. Since they're not, I'm paying more attention and figuring out which one is better for trimming fat while I trim the tree.

Want to see how the three flavors stack up against each other?

Since not all popcorn tins are the same, I encourage you to look at the labels on your own can and use the nutritional stats from the Popcorn Factory as a general guideline.

Butter Popcorn

Cheddar Popcorn

Caramel Popcorn

Total Fat (g)
Carbs (g)
Fiber (g)
Sugar (g)
Protein (g)

If I had to guess, I would have said that the caramel popcorn was the worst option between the three. It turns out, however, that the sweet bites are lower in calories and significantly lower in fat content. Not surprisingly, the caramel does steal the carb and sugar category and lacks any bragging rights in the fiber or protein areas. When you chow on the cheddar popcorn, you may get the highest calorie count, but at least you get more protein. Between the cheddar and butter option, I say stick with the butter though the difference is negligible. As for the caramel vs. cheddar and butter, it depends on which battle you would rather fight — fat and calories or sugar and carbs? I'm more inclined to go with whatever suits your fancy but do it in moderation.

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Dare-You-To Dare-You-To 5 years
If these charts were made using the serving sizes from the Popcorn Factory itself, then the comparison is skewed -- notice that each serving size is 1 oz, which means that caramel popcorn's thick layer makes it much heavier than the other two. The 1 oz translates to two cups for butter and cheddar, but to only 2/3 cup for caramel! So in weight, caramel may be less calories, but if you're counting the physical pieces, or "a handful", then caramel is likely much HIGHER in calories! (And forget about the sugar content...) Not to say I don't love the caramel =) Just pointing out that it's not as surprisingly innocent as it seems here.
guavajelly guavajelly 5 years
I am also a cheddar/caramel fan. Butter, though the best one, would not even be a choice for me.
kellycc kellycc 5 years
Butter and cheddar are both from an animal source (the protein). Popcorn is made from corn (no protein). And caramel, is just sugar.
Curlock-Holmes Curlock-Holmes 5 years
how do the butter and cheddar have more protein and fiber? isn't that from the popcorn itself? Anyways, I'm a fan of the caramel/cheese mix. Delicious!
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