Friday, November 20, 2009
Not such a catchy tune when we put it that way, eh? Well, yesterday and
today reports are all over the news about the amount of calories and
saturated fat in the typical movie theatre popcorn and pop combo, and
it is enough to make even a die-hard fan think twice. Take a read of
this story and then come back for a few different perspectives from
Some movie theatre popcorn full of fat: Study
so kinda gross right? For many of us, the calories in a large popcorn
and regular pop are the equivalent of an entire day's caloric needs,
and certainly several days worth of saturated fat. This is not
something we need to eat on any regular basis, not for our hearts, or
I do want to comment on one thing in the
article though. It mentioned that AMC is using the highly saturated
coconut oil to pop their popcorn and that this isn't a good choice
because it is so saturated. Back in the 90's headlines were made on
this very topic, because all theatres were using coconut oil back then.
The attention of the news reports pressured them to change to a
polyunsaturated oil (usually canola, which is touted as being healthy).
reality, coconut oil, while being highly saturated, is extremely health
supportive on all levels. The body doesn't process saturated oil from a
plant source in the same way it does from an animal source (due to the
different length of the chain of fatty acid molecules). Medium Chain
Fatty Acids like coconut oil are processed more like a carb (for
energy) than a fat (stored as body fat much more easily), and it has
been shown to actually boost the metabolism, and support the thyroid as
well. There are many benefits of coconut oil and coconut products, and
I'm going to spend some time in my next article (or two) outlining
In regards to popcorn, if I'm going to subject my body
to eating any movie theatre popcorn, I'll choose the AMC coconut oil
popcorn over any canola-popped corn... IF they are using a
non-hydrogenated (aka: trans-fat) version. Coconut oil is highly
stable, and when being heated to the high levels they use for large
batches of popcorn, it is less likely to become a "trans-fat" or
damaged in the heating. Canola on the other hand is a highly processed
oil (not naturally occurring) which creates inflammation in the body.
As well, being less stable, through the process of heating to high
temperatures, the oil becomes a trans-fat, which is extremely damaging
to our health (Health Canada has stated that daily recommended intake
of trans-fats should be less than 1% of daily caloric intake - as
little as possible).
So there you have it, another treat spoiled
by your friendly neighbourhood nutritionist. Sorrrrrrry! But you know
I'm not going to leave you without some healthy alternatives, because
what's a movie without snacks? So, here's what I've been known to take
- home-made Kale Chips (yes, really)
- a handful of nuts (cashews, pistachios, almonds, walnuts...), mixed with raisins and/or a small amount of chocolate chips
- cherries or grapes
- brown rice crackers, sometimes I'll also bring some hummus in a small container for dipping
- brown rice chips like Rice Works - super tasty but pretty high in calories so don't eat the whole bag!
- Kashi granola bar
- chocolate covered almonds (not too many)
- And for a beverage, I'll have water (plain or soda water), or a nice peppermint or other herbal tea.
I know, it's not the same as a nice big bag of salty buttery movie
popcorn. But that's just what we've been conditioned to want by
marketers and by habit. You can break that association, and learn to
find healthier options that feel like a treat. And really, isn't it
worth it, when you consider the impact to your heart, your brain, your
skin, your energy, and your figure?