Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Popcorn's Dark Secret

Let’s go to the movies!  OK...its raining cats and dogs but we don’t mind standing in line for five minutes for the luxury of paying ten dollars for a ticket...cause its raining.   Let’s get some popcorn and treats!  We don’t mind waiting in line another ten minutes to pay six dollars for popcorn, another 4 dollars for chocolate treats and three dollars for a diet Coke (brown drool).  
Uh oh...we're now late for the movie!  But wait...the movie hasn’t started due to a lineup of poorly produced local ads serving as prologue to a string of previews...all of which hurt my ears (and my eyes).   Good thing the sound of crunching popcorn filling my head is louder than the special effects. (Perhaps that is why they make the previews so loud.) 
But through it all, the love of movie popcorn makes  the whole experience worth it....or at least it did until I stumbled upon this latest research on the salty, buttery treat.  A large tub of popcorn at Regal Cinemas, for example, holds 20 cups of popcorn and has 1,200 calories, 980 milligrams of sodium and 60 grams of saturated fat. Adding just a tablespoon of butter adds 130 calories. And don’t forget that it comes with free refills, which nearly everyone gets.
Dude...the medium size popcorn, which comes in a bag, contains the same amount as the large!  And even the small, at 11 cups, delivers 670 calories, 550 milligrams of sodium and 24 grams of saturated fat...and I and others have always thought it was relatively healthy snack. 
Actually,  plain air-popped popcorn is low in calories, free of saturated fat and tastes like the styrofoam peanuts that conveniently are included in every UPS shipment.  Movie theater popcorn, however, is 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.” 
One thing is for sure, those hot actors with their perfect bodies are not eating movie popcorn.  If Jennifer Anniston is eating popcorn, she is choking down her air popped with copious quantities of imported mineral water. (Air popped...air head?  Naw, that’s too easy.)

Well, here we are watching Jen in yet another ultra-light romantic comedy involving either a dog, a monkey or a gold fish.  Good thing we can cut the boredom with a package of M&Ms, the 12 oz movie size.  Mix these with the popcorn and it adds another 1500 calories.  
This salty, sugary mix is very popular with movie goers in eastern North Carolina and LA (lower Alabama) and can replace the daily meal, although it usually augments it.  
The sugar and caffeine buzz from the coke and candy, combined with the blood pressure spike from the sodium creates a sort of euphoria that actors like Hugh Grant count on,  such that you may be fooled into believing he is actually talented.
I sort of hit the wall on all of this when I donned 3-D glasses for a screening of Piranha! and couldn’t see the fishes teeth because of all the coconut oil smeared on the lenses.  

Even worse, I had sworn off movie popcorn, but the glasses smelled of a fresh tub, and made me give in to the urge.  I proceeded to eat an entire tub whilst watching the movie in 2D.  I left the glasses sort of stuck in the sticky goo that comprises the floor in the theater...along with an imprint of the bottom of my sandal. 

1 comment:

Linda said...

Funny, funny.... and ohhhh sooo true!