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Bad News About Movie Popcorn

Bad News About Movie Popcorn

This week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) updated the findings of its historic study about the caloric and fat overload found in many moviegoers’ favorite treat: popcorn.

A bag of popcorn is really a super-sized nightmare times three.
Ever eat three McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with twelve pats of butter while watching a movie? Well, that’s nutritionally comparable to what you’d find in a medium popcorn and soda combo at the country’s biggest movie theater chain, Regal. The combo contains 1,610 calories and three days’ worth–60 grams–of saturated fat, and that’s without buttery topping! (Nutrition aside, that combo costs you $12. What does it cost Regal? Pennies.)

The advertised nutrition information is incorrect.
Regal says that its medium popcorn has 720 calories and that its large has 960. But CSPI’s lab tests found that those numbers were understated–way understated. Regal’s medium and large popcorn sizes each had 1,200 calories and, thanks to being popped in coconut oil, 60 grams of saturated fat, and that’s without buttery topping. The large size looks bigger, thanks to its titanic tub, but it costs a dollar more and comes with a free refill. A small at Regal has 670 calories and 34 grams of saturated fat. That’s about as many calories as a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizza–except the popcorn has three times the saturated fat. To factor in the buttery topping, add 130 calories to a small, 200 calories to a medium, and 260 calories to a large.

In these tough economic times, we all know it’s hard to eat healthy because it costs more. While there are truths to this, movie meals can cost a pretty penny while you’re eating them ($12), as well as in the long run (heart disease, etc.). As an alternative, bring your own healthier treat (it’s not hard to be healthier than this popcorn) and save some bucks. Or even better, come to the movie for the entertainment and skip the food. After all, sitting on our backsides gazing up is hardly strenuous activity requiring refueling.

I also want to provide some information here about coconut oil, lest it become the easy target of this nutrition-less story. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it’s one that has good health properties (medium chain triglycerides for easy absorption, lauric fatty acid, etc.) and can tolerate high heat, making it a better choice than a trans fat or an oil that shouldn’t be heated to higher temperatures. I prefer and recommend organic because then the health benefits aren’t reduced by the potential for pesticides. That said, coconut oil, like any saturated fat (and food in general), must be consumed with portion control in mind–60 grams of saturated fat is the issue here, not the use of coconut oil.

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, ,

By Ashley Koff R.D., Intent via DivineCaroline

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At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

68 comments

+ add your own
12:07PM PDT on Aug 31, 2013

the movie theatres dont allow to carry your own snack, not even water
What do you say about that,
they sell scum, carbonated drinks n bottled water

6:05PM PST on Jan 12, 2013

Thanks

12:38AM PST on Mar 6, 2012

Okay, seriously... In this day and age, how many people get to go to the movies AND afford popcorn? For those of us who can only afford one or two trips a year to the movie theaters and then if lucky, afford popcorn once, I really don't think it's going to kill us...

11:50AM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Thank you

8:12AM PDT on Sep 15, 2010

Thanks, I have to stop eating movie popcorn now that I know how bad it is for me. I love it though :(

6:54PM PDT on Sep 14, 2010

I make healthy popcorn at home---on top of the stove with canola oil--and when I go to the movies I really make a pig of myself--I can eat at least half of a large bag! I don't like butter on it, and it seems like once in a blue moon that can't be all that bad!! I'm sure passing it up certainly has its virtues, but when it comes to movies, I like the popcorn so much, that I'd almost choose it over the movie if I had to choose!!! Anyway, I continue to eat movie popcorn once in a while and watch what I eat when it's practical, and I've managed to stay pretty healthy overall.

1:24PM PDT on Sep 6, 2010

Scary news for me.. am I the only one that got sick of hearing that another thing I enjoyed is bad for health? To be honest, I was expecting that from popcorn.. bad, BAD popcorn!!


furniture stores

2:44PM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

i knew it was bad.... but WOW!!! certainly an eye opener!

10:04AM PDT on May 20, 2010

I quit eating movie popcorn many, many years ago when I worked at a movie concession stand. Movie popcorn is nasty!

12:05AM PST on Jan 25, 2010

i'd rather bring trail mix.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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