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Diet busting movie theater food

Consumer Reports News: February 07, 2012 01:08 PM

Like to snack at the movies? That tub of popcorn and large soda can amount to almost a full day’s calories, two days’ worth of fat and a cup of sugars.

We tested the largest sizes available of popcorn (with and without butter-flavored sauce), cheese nachos, pretzel pieces with cheese, and Coke or Pepsi at three of the nation’s biggest movie-theater chains: AMC, National Amusements, and Regal.

Here are some of our findings, including some nutrition nightmares for the largest possible sizes of some classic movie theater snacks.

Largest size Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg)

Sugars (g)

Popcorn, buttered
844 to 1,591
54 to 113
436 to 2,038
Popcorn, plain
697 to 1,269
37 to 81
365 to 2,013
Cheese nachos
728 to 907
38 to 54
1,033 to 3,132
Pretzels and cheese
581 to 1,056
15 to 32
743 to 3,556
384 to 696

96 to 174

Now compare those scary nutrition facts to the recommended daily amounts for the following:

  • Calories: 2,000
  • Fat: 65 grams
  • Sodium: Less than 2,300 milligrams
  • Sugars: There's no recommended amount, but the American Hearth Association suggests a limit of about 6 teaspoons daily for women and 9 for men.

So it turns out that a large tub of buttered popcorn and a large Coke can supply all the calories you need to eat in a day.

For our snack-by-snack summary and other helpful tips for how best to resist a snack attack at the movies see our full report Movie-theater food: A scary story, as well as our video below.

Maggie Shader

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