Movie Theatre Popcorn

August 5, 2007 · 6 comments

I Saw the Bourne Ultimatum yesterday (great movie!) and I thought I was very good at my choice of snacks.  For a drink I had a Liter bottle of Dasani water (I think I paid $4.50 for it in the theatre, ugh!), and a Medium (not a Large!) popcorn with NO BUTTER.  Usually this would be a large pop, normally Diet Coke but sometimes I’ll mix some Cherry Coke in with the diet, a Large popcorn WITH butter and some candy of some sort.  So I’m thinking I’m being good.

Until I started eating the popcorn.  That’s when I realized that movie theatre popcorn is not air popped and it already has enough butter in it for a week.  I could tell that despite what I thought were good choices that I had made a bad choice.  But I ate it anyway, justifying that it was better than what I would have normally done, so I was still being OK.  I started researching when I got home and what I found was that Medium sized popcorn with no added butter was a 650 calorie hit to my diet.  The Large with butter I would normally get?  Calories in movie theater popcorn – 1640 calories!  The only good thing was I was at a Carmike where they apparently use Canola oil instead of Coconut oil.  Even the small with no butter is 400 calories.  It simply isn’t worth it, if I’m going to blow 400-600 calories of my daily diet on something it damn sure is going to be something better tasting than movie theatre popcorn.

I don’t want to spend my entire life recording everything I eat but I am getting a lot of value out of doing it now, where I am learning just how bad my diet really was.  I know I won’t look at calories in movie theatre popcorn the same way again.

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{ 6 comments }

The Pound Slayer August 5, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Good for you, John, educating yourself on what is in the food you’re eating. And yes, even though the medium is still 650 calories, it is better than what you would have normally had, and every small change counts. After a while, the small changes add up to a big change.

Angela August 7, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Oh yeah. The movie popcorn and the donut. Both of them are about the worst thing you might eat. I mean other than the Burger King Angus Burger which is downright horrifying.

And thanks to your blog, I can AVACADO to that list.

Sarah August 11, 2007 at 10:38 am

I also don’t want to be a calorie counter/food diary keeper, but I do look at caloric content just to get a ballpark figure.

We went and saw Evan Almighty last night and I really did stop myself from eating the popcorn because, even though I didn’t know the exact calories, I knew it wasn’t pretty. Glad to know now that I saved myself about 600+ calories!

Lady Rose December 1, 2007 at 9:51 am

The benefits of being a woman with a large purse – I can bring my own air popped plain popcorn from home in a zip lock (no salt, no butter). Other options for small places (like a pocket) – a protein bar; small rice cakes in a zip lock.

I find keeping a food journal is the perfect tool for me to keep me on track – I tend to eat a lot of the same things so keeping it isn’t that hard and I know the calories of almost everything I eat, so I don’t have to look up everything every day.

Winston June 13, 2008 at 11:41 pm

There’s nothing particularly unhealthy about unbuttered popcorn other than the oil it is cooked in. If a theatre uses Canola vice Coconut it goes a long way. 650 calories? I say BIG DEAL, EAT IT.

First of all, EXERCISE… Dont you exercise? A good 1 hour exercise routine should burn at least 400 extra calories, not to mention the synergistic boost of increased metabolism the 8+ hours following said workout. Thusly a good routine automatically negates 70% of the big bag of popcorn.

Secondly, moderation. You dont go to the movies every day do you? Of course not, only once in a while, so when you see a good flic, get that medium unbuttered popcorn and chow down. You’re not ‘cheating’ on your diet, becuase without enjoying some tasty foods in moderation, most dieters relapse into weight gain due to the inability to completely give up non-diet foods. The long run is what you’re after.

Thirdly, bring a friend. If you share your popcorn with someone they eat half of it. Chances are you won’t be willing to get up in the middle of the movie to get more. Also, drink a large water during the previews. This will help fill you up and send the signal to your brain that you’re full much earlier. This signal usually has about a 20 minute ‘lag time’ to it… this small amount of time between when you’re actually full and you “know” you’re full is why most people over-eat.

If you do all of these things, you are well on your way to creating a 500-700 daily calorie defeceit, even with popcorn at every movie you see.

Brian August 13, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Great post by Winston! Very important points. I am currently watching what I eat, counting calories, exercising for at least an hour everyday, drinking lots of water, etc. I love movie popcorn. For my wife and I, it is a staple of going to the theatre. Sometimes, it’s of equal importance to the film we’re seeing! We’ve never really been into the butter topping, so we eat “plain” with salt. No the calories aren’t great and yes, we drink regular Coke with it. I eat light every day now, lots of salads, skinless chicken, etc., so I allow for some indulgences within moderation. Like Winston said, if you exercise regularly you can burn off that popcorn and coke or whatever you have to have. Just don’t eat it all the time. Movie popcorn once a week is as much as I would eat it. Go to a film early enough so you can walk or run those calories off afterwards. It isn’t one food that makes us gain weight, it’s what we’re eating all day and what we’re physically not doing for exercise.

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