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Tuesday 21 June 2011

Movie Theatre Popcorn Uncovered

So you skip out on lunch, go to the movies and split a large popcorn and diet coke with your significant other. Can’t be that bad right? I have seen several articles stating that popcorn is low in calories and even low carb so what’s the problem? Well it’s the way that they cook it, but most of all, the butter. An average small popcorn is said to have 600 calories, a slice of cheesecake at 410. So let’s get to that large popcorn.

According to an article in Wed MD, you would be taking in 1,270 calories – the same as 2 large pieces of fried chicken, a cup of mashed potatoes and a 16 ounce regular soda. So basically if you had the large soda (regular not diet,) and popcorn on your own, based on a 2,000 calories diet you would have just consumer 85% of your day’s calories. The problem is that there are no labels for us to look at, and the FDA regulation requiring chain restaurants to include nutrition facts does not apply to movie theatres, airlines or bowling alleys. Why not? Would people make the same choices if they knew all the facts?

So what if you order unbuttered popcorn would that do the trick? No, because you still have to address the oil it is cooked in and the salt. A small popcorn has about 30% of the recommended salt intake for an adult per day. If you are splitting the large then you have consumed more than half of the sodium advised – not good! Theatres usually use coconut oil for their popcorn so that also adds in 27 grams of saturated fat for a small. If the movie theatre uses non-hydrogenated canola oil the saturated fat drops to 2 grams.

So the recommendation is to eat a salad or something healthy and filling before you go to the movies, so if you can’t resist the aroma of popcorn when you arrive, you will order a small versus a large. Request unsalted, unbuttered popcorn, (arrive early as they may need to make it for you, and try to share with a friend. Order a diet soda instead of regular, or an even better choice is bottled water.

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