Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pass on movie theater popcorn

Yes, I know the smell calls your name the second you step foot in a movie theatre... "Popcorn in all its buttery glory...must eat NOW."
But did you know a medium-sized buttery popcorn and medium soda can be a nutritional nightmare?

This may have you thinking twice about dinner and a movie.
Your popcorn could count as your splurge, big meal for the day.

15 years after the food police brought to our attention that the snack packed the equivalent of three Quarter Pounders TOPPED WITH 12 pats of butter, it seems not much as changed.

Consumer advocacy group, Center for Science in the Public Interest had several servings of movie theater popcorn from the three largest chains tested at an independent lab.

Here's what they found:

Regal medium popcorn: 20 cups, 1,200 calories, 60 grams of saturated fat, and 980 milligrams of sodium (without buttery topping!) Butter flavored oil can add 200 calories, 3 grams of saturated fat per 1.5 tablespoons.

AMC medium popcorn: 9 cups, 590 calories, 33 grams of saturated fat
(before buttery flavored topping)

Cinemark medium popcorn: 14 cups, 760 calories, 3 grams of saturated fat (before buttery flavored topping)

*According to the American Heart Association, you should not eat more than 16 grams of saturated fat a day.

CSPI says Regal and AMC pop their popcorn in processed coconut oil. It has 90 percent saturated fat. Cinemark has lower levels of saturated fat because it uses canola oil.

Movie theaters say they do have healthier options available. The Motion Picture Association of American says popcorn and movie snacks are viewed as a treat and not intended to be part of a regular diet.