There is bad, if unsurprising, news for moviegoers who routinely stuff their faces with incessant handfuls of popcorn: Not only does your maddening snack rustling ruin the delicate movie magic, but you're making yourself morbidly obese and prone to heart disease, too. Lab tests conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest have determined that popcorn at the major movie chains has way more calories than cud-chewing plebes are led to believe. For cinema snack-hounds, these lab results are more horrifying than The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past:
Regal says that its medium popcorn has 720 calories and that its large has 960. But CSPI's lab tests found that those numbers were understated. Regal’s medium and large sizes each had 1,200 calories and, thanks to being popped in coconut oil, 60 grams of saturated fat. A "small" at Regal has 670 calories and 34 grams of saturated fat. That’s about as many calories as a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizza—except the popcorn has three times the saturated fat. ... And every tablespoon of "buttery" oil topping adds another 130 calories. Asking for topping is like asking for oil on French fries or potato chips.
The popcorn at AMC, the nation's second-largest theater chain, has 1,030 calories and 57 grams of saturated fat, which CSPI says is "like eating a pound of baby back ribs topped with a scoop of Häagen-Dazs ice cream—except that the popcorn has an additional day’s worth of saturated fat." Actually, that sounds pretty good.
"Sitting through a two-hour movie isn't exactly like climbing Mt. Everest," says nutritionist Jayne Hurley. "Why do theaters think they need to feed us like it is?" Obviously, she hasn't seen 2012—that movie's exhausting. The Post sent a reporter over to Regal Union Square to get reactions from moviegoers, and one mom suggested, "They could try to offer vegetables or cut-up fruit." But somehow we don't see popcorn munchers shelling out six bucks for a tub of celery sticks.