Buttered popcorn and soda — two thumbs down?

A movie and a tub of buttery popcorn could make for a relaxing afternoon at the theater. And an artery-clogging one, too.

According to a story in the New York Times, a study by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest reports the calorie counts at movie theater chains Regal, AMC and Cinemark. 

A medium popcorn with butter and soda combo at Regal, the country’s biggest movie theater chain, is a total 1,610 calories and three days’ worth — 60 grams — of  saturated fat. (Nutrition aside, that combo costs $12 — for raw ingredients that must cost Regal pennies.)

The findings may surprise those who choose popcorn at the concession stand because they believe it is a relatively healthy snack. In fact, plain air-popped popcorn is low in calories and free of saturated fat.

On the other hand, movie theater popcorn is typically popped in oil, often coconut oil, which is 90 percent saturated fat. Add salt to the enormous portions, and your once-healthy snack turns into a health offender.

“The issue here is quantity,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University. “One of those large tubs is three-fourths of a day’s calories.”


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