A couple of days ago one of the members of the Angry Trainer Fitness team sent me an article on The Daily that literally made my jaw drop!
The piece concerned the fat content of movie theater popcorn and some new guidelines that may soon be imposed. My colleague was quite surprised by what he read, and honestly so was I.
I think people in general view POPCORN as a healthier snack, and in some instances it may be, but not in this case. Don’t get me wrong, I always knew that movie popcorn was junk food, but I truly didn’t realize how much! Did you know that the small sized popcorn at your local theater has 20 grams of fat? And that’s BEFORE you drown it in the liquid butter, which can literally add hundreds of pure fat calories of mostly the saturated kind. A large bag of popcorn apparently has the same calories as two Big Macs! Plus, I see people shower their bags with tons of salt – which is obviously not good at all.
Since the new Federal Health Care bill requires all businesses that sell food and have more than 20 establishments to display nutritional information, you’ll hopefully soon see labeling or displays that shows calorie counts at your local cinema. But I wouldn’t be surprised if theaters somehow find a loophole in the law to avoid having to display their nutrition information. Although I am curious to see how many people would shy away from foods once they saw what it contained. I know that our series of Fast Food Fix postings, where I evaluate various fast food choices, have opened up quite a few eyes. But would a chart or a label turn people away? I’m not sure.
The article doesn’t discuss it, but my local theater sells nachos with cheese, huge sugar laden Slushees, and enormous boxes of various candies like M&M’s, Skittles, Milk Duds and other associated garbage. These “treats” can have upward of 500 calories of mostly refined sugar and fat. Let’s not forget the giant sized tubs of soda either. If a can has 100 calories, I’m guessing these large sodas have a minimum of 500 calories as well – all pure sugar.
I have to be 100% honest – I sneak my own treats into the theater for my children and myself. And it’s for a two-fold reason; first they don’t sell the types of snacks we eat, and second, it’s ridiculously expensive! Movie tickets prices are always being raised, but on top of that I should pay $5 for a soda, $4 for bottled water, or $7 for gross, disgusting nachos? No thanks.
I too like to munch treats during a movie, which by the way is completely habitual. Still, I do it. Sometimes I’ll bring sunflower seeds, dry roasted peanuts, baked bags of chips, oatmeal bites, even an apple or pear diced up. If the movie is going to interfere with a meal, I may bring a protein bar or a shake (but no, I don’t carry steamed chicken and vegetables into the theater!)
Of course I cheat, and I also allow my kids too as well. We may get a small popcorn to share, or each have a smaller candy that’s not quite as calorically devastating. The key as you’ll hear me say over and over, is not overeating. I’m not encouraging anyone to break their theater’s rules regarding outside food, I’m just filling you in on what I do. If there were healthier choices available, I’m sure I’d take advantage of them.
I understand that many people don’t go to the movies all that often and that it’s a treat. Nonetheless, you should still think about what you’re eating, and what you’re giving your kids. Try sharing a box of candy, downsize the popcorn with limited butter, and get water in place of soda. In a nutshell, don’t gorge yourself and take in 1000’s of garbage calories while watching a movie. You’ll pay for it later, trust me…
But what do you think? What do you eat at the movies? And did you know popcorn was that actually that fattening?