Popcorn at The Movies: too many calories, fat and salt

Armen Hareyan's picture

Eating popcorn at the movies is a classic, not perhaps not a very healthy eating practice, shows the analysis from the Canadian Center for Science in The Public Interest (CSPI). Have you ever wondered how much salt, calories and fat that bag of popcorn has? It's just too much of all of it.

The big bags of popcorn sold in movie theaters in Canada contain up to 1,440 calories, more than half of what what we are supposed to swallow in one day. These numbers of calories may be similar with those in USA, as the bags and sizes are identical. The bags of popcorn also contain up to 44 grams of saturated fat. Health Canada recommends 20 grams of saturated fat consumption per day.

The salt is too much too. There are up to 1.5 grams of salt in big bags. This is roughly the equivalent of our daily needs.

According to CSPI's analysis, we might as well eat a Quarter Pounder hamburger with cheese and a Big Mac, and it would be virtually the same. Nutritionally, this joyous feast is equivalent to a large bag of popcorn.


What we found in the popcorn

The CSPI, a group of vigilance and action in favor of healthy nutrition, analyzed the popcorn sold in three large chain cinemas in Canada, Cineplex, Empire (absent in Quebec) and AMC. Here is an overview of nutritional data collected.

Small size popcorn

* Calories: from 330 to 480
* Saturated fat: 2 g to 13 g
* Sodium: 220 mg to 740 mg
* With butter, add 190 to 250 calories and 3 grams to 17 grams of saturated fat

Large size popcorn

* Calories: 730 to 1 120
* Saturated Fat: 3 g to 38 g
* Sodium: 530 mg to 1 480 mg
* With butter, add 310 to 420 calories and 6 g to 29 g saturated fat