Calories in Movie Theater Popcorn

When you think of a movie, what comes to mind? Popcorn I bet!  If you are like me, you’ve been spending quite a few nights lately in movie theaters. Seeing a movie is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. But it won’t be so enjoyable when you can’t squeeze into your jeans if you give in to your urge for popcorn every time you see a movie.  And based on all the crunching and munching I hear in the theater, I think a lot of people are giving in to their urges.

I was just in a movie theater last night seeing “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Ok – so it’s not Oscar material … but it was girls night out!  I was with a certain person (Esther from Esther’s weight loss journey) who wanted popcorn. Now I am certainly not the “popcorn police” so who am I to tell my friend not to get popcorn. She ended up getting a small unbuttered popcorn and diet soda.

So how bad is movie popcorn? Not good … “Movie Theater Popcorn Is Just Not That Good For You”!  Why? The portions are jumbo sized and it is popped in oil. I think most of us realize that movie theater popcorn is not exactly a health food, but did you realize that a medium size popcorn without added butter contains 11-16 cups (depending on which movie theater you are in), 650 – 900 calories and 43-60 grams of fat?  You probably thought it wasn’t so bad because you didn’t add butter! Now if you add butter,  the calories jump to 910-1220 calories and 71-97 grams of fat. This is more than 6 McDonald cheeseburgers! And even worse, much of that fat might be saturated, depending on what kind of oil it was popped in. Saturated fat is the kind of fat that raises LDL cholesterol (the kind that clogs arteries).

A few years ago, the Center for Science in the Public Interest made headlines with its expose on movie theatre popcorn. This caused many theaters to change from using a saturated oil such as coconut oil to an unsaturated oil such as peanut oil. While this was better for the heart, your waistline doesn’t know the difference between good fat and bad fat. In any case, many theaters have changed back to using the saturated oils – so back to bad for the heart and waistline.

 Check out the calories and fat content of movie theater popcorn:

Tips to improve your movie munchies:
1. Bring in your own snack- discreetly of course! Pop a 100 calorie mini bag of popcorn at home and eat that instead of the movie theater popcorn. Check out my post on crunchy snacks for other ideas.

2. If you really have the urge for real movie popcorn, get a kid size if they have it – no butter of course! A small sans butter would be your next best choice. Or share one small container with a friend or two.

3. If you have the real movie theater popcorn, try to make your next meal a little lighter.


Check out my other popular posts
How many calories are in pizza?
How many calories are in Chinese food?

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