by Ingredient

Health and nutrition news that’s easy to digest

A bowl of healthy homemade popcorn, unlike the movies

Do you know what is lurking in America’s favorite movie theater snack? 

If you think of popcorn as a healthy concession stand snack to munch on while watching the newest movies at your local theater, it might surprise you to learn that the average tub is dripping with fat, salt, and calories!

A 2009 study conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest analyzed the nutrition of popcorn from three movie theater chains: Regal, AMC and Cinemark.

A large tub of popcorn at Regal theaters serves up 20 cups of popcorn and contains 1,200 calories, 60 grams of saturated fat and 980 milligrams of sodium. A small bag holds 11 cups with 670 calories, 550 milligrams of sodium and 24 grams of saturated fat.

The popcorn sold at AMC theater concession stands is just as loaded with calories, salt and fat - only it is served in slightly smaller portion sizes. 

While Regal and AMC theaters pop their popcorn with coconut oil, Cinemark uses healthier nonhydrogenated canola oil. Per cup, Cinemark popcorn contains 53 calories and .25 grams of fat versus the 60 calories and 3 grams of fat found in Regal and AMC popcorn.

Movie-goers would be better off enjoying a box of Raisinets. This chocolate-covered serving of fruit contains 380 calories and 10 grams of saturated fat, making it a better choice than a small bag of popcorn.

Do not despair popcorn lovers! There are healthier ways to enjoy this delicious munchie.

If you cannot face going to the movies without indulging in popcorn, order an appropriate size and ask the concession stand to prepare it without the salt and butter. According to, holding the butter can save up to 240 calories.

Plain, air-popped popcorn contains no saturated fat and is low in calories making it a classic snack you can feel about eating.