Popcorn, The R-Rated Horror

By Daniel Rosenfeld

Although movie-goers don’t easily admit it, seeing a good movie isn’t the only main attraction at the movie theater. Sold by the tons in theaters across America, popcorn is one of the country’s most popular snacks. What’s a movie without a hot, tasty bag of golden-popped kernels?

Besides being a wallet-draining burglar, movie-theater popcorn has another problem: these puffy, fluffy, tasty treats are deceptively drenched in artery-clogging, saturated fat—they are kidnapped by the evils of butter.

Before it is corrupted by this fatty, yellow nightmare, plain popcorn is actually very healthy due to its low-fat and high-fiber qualities. In fact, Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer called plain popcorn “as healthy as veggies.” A generous, seven-cup serving of popcorn—the amount in a small size at a theater—has around nine grams of fiber, the same amount of the cholesterol-lowering, heart-disease-preventing nutrient as in two apples!

However, this perfectly nutritious snack is ruined at the movie theater, as it is transformed into an overpriced tub of heart-torturing terror. Movie-theater popcorn is extremely high in saturated fat, the primary nutrient that leads to heart disease, stroke, and obesity.

McDonald’s, home of the Big Mac, is frequently criticized for having unhealthy products and for contributing to the country’s expanding waistline. The Big Mac is particularly known as the epitome of “typical, unhealthy American food.” Despite this label, the average medium tub at a theater has three times the calories, the same amount of sodium, and six times the saturated fat as in a Big Mac, according to WebMD Health News. Compared to movie-theater popcorn, the Big Mac looks like a heart-friendly salad.

Buttered popcorn even makes chocolate seem low-fat. Not many people would eat more than two or three Hershey’s chocolate bars at a time, but they would eat a medium popcorn. In terms of saturated fat, eating that popcorn is like gulping down eight chocolate bars.

If you’re a popcorn-lover, then don’t stop enjoying a treat at the theater; just think about portion size and maybe even sharing with a friend. Take advantage of plain popcorn’s health benefits and even persuade your parents to serve them as dinner’s vegetable. When making any food choice, remember to ask yourself, “Do I really want this?” Nutrients in your diet are bills in your wallet; spend them wisely.