I'm a snacker. So when I go to the movies, even if I just ate and I'm not even a little bit hungry, I must have a snack. I mean, I'm about to watch a movie. Geez.
So what's better than light, buttery popcorn, right? My box at home (the SmartPop kind) says it's only, like, 15 calories per cup of popped popcorn. So that's a safe, healthy bet.
Ummmm. No. The Center for Science in the Public Interest released a study that shows otherwise. In fact, it shows the complete opposite.
I saw a news program this morning that said a large popcorn with buttery topping is equal in saturated fat and calories to three McDonald's Quarter Pounders.
And that's just one analogy used in the study. I don't recommend reading this if you've got your heart set on a large tub of popcorn to munch on during the "Twilight Saga: New Moon" midnight premiere tonight.
Here's a great quote from the study:
"Regal and AMC are our nominees for Best Supporting Actor in the Obesity Epidemic," said CSPI senior nutritionist Jayne Hurley. "Who expects about 1,500 calories and three days’ worth of heart-stopping fat in a popcorn and soda combo? That’s the saturated fat of a stick of butter and the calories of two sticks of butter. You might think you’re getting Bambi, but you’re really getting Godzilla."
Popcorn is part of the movie-going experience. And compared to the chocolate and sugar-coated alternatives, it seems like a reasonable snack.
This is what bothers me most: I can buy relatively healthy microwave popcorn. I could even use all the equipment a movie theater uses and pop myself some healthier popcorn (my grandpa has an old-school popper and it's pretty delicious). So why can't the movie theaters pop some corn that's not soaked in coconut oil and saturated with high fat butter?
Do you think this study will encourage theaters to pop their corn in healthier oils or reconsider portion sizes?
It's a step in the right direction - making the public aware - and if demand rises for a more health-conscious moving-going experience, we may see some changes at the cinema.