The amount of fat and calories lurking inside movie theater popcorn is a bit of an open secret. Even though movie theaters aren’t required to post calorie counts (yet), most people know by now that downing a huge bag of popcorn at the movie theater isn’t exactly a good idea. But how many calories are in the movie theater popcorn, exactly?
Nutrition Action sent popcorn samples from three theater chains — Regal, AMC, and Cinemark — to three separate labs for testing, and the results were disheartening, do say the least.
They found that a small popcorn at Regal Cinemas contains about 670 calories, a large contains 1,200, and a medium/large contains 60 grams of saturated fat, about three days’ worth. And the reason we called it a “medium/large”? They both hold 20 cups of popcorn, but the large tub looks a lot larger than the medium bag. Oh, and if you want to add some of that “buttery topping,” that contains about 120 calories per tablespoon.
At AMC, a small popcorn contains 370 calories, with the saturated fat equivalent of about eight pats of butter. Medium contains 590 calories and 33 grams of saturated fat, and a large popcorn contains 1,030 calories, with 57 grams of saturated fat.
As for Cinemark, their small-size popcorn contains 400 calories, the medium contains 760 calories, and the large 910.
So if you decide to have some popcorn at the movies, keep in mind that you’re about to down one of the unhealthiest “snacks” in existence. It’s loaded with calories and the worst types of artery-clogging fat, and did we mention sodium? Oh right, we didn’t! A large popcorn averages at about an entire day's worth.