Most of us know that we’re not exactly being healthy when we treat ourselves to snacks at the cinema, but our findings reveal that you could be consuming a lot more fat and calories than you imagine.
I find it so hard to resist popcorn on a visit to the cinema – without it I feel like I’m not getting the whole experience.
But after our testing revealed that regular-sized popcorn could contain more than half the calories a woman should have in a day, I’m racking my brain to think of an alternative treat.
The results of our nutrition tests
We visited a cinema from each of the three main chains: Cineworld, Odeon and Vue, and bought a regular/medium-sized sweet popcorn, salted popcorn, a coke, nachos with cheese and jalapeno peppers and a hotdog with ketchup and mustard.
We then packed it all up and sent it off to a lab for nutrition testing. Our results revealed a sweet popcorn that contained 1,260 calories and 79.6g fat – this is way more calories and fat than in a McDonalds Big Mac and large fries.
A woman should have 2,000 calories and no more than 70g fat a day, a man 2,500 calories and 95g fat. So, this is an enormous amount of calories and fat, especially when you think that this would be a snack or treat on top of your usual meals.
Combine this with a medium coke and as a woman you would have consumed more than 75% of your daily calories. The other two sweet popcorns contained around 720 calories.
One of the three nachos we tested contained 1,030 calories and more than half the maximum amount of salt an adult should have in a day (6g).
Should cinemas list calories?
Although this was just a snapshot it showed how much the calories can vary between the same items at different cinemas. It also showed how many calories you can unwittingly consume.
Odeon does produce a leaflet containing nutritional information but this was not on show or promoted and we had to ask for it. With many restaurant chains putting calorie information on their menus from September we think cinemas should do the same.
Of course, it’s nice to have a treat but when some of these foods contain so many calories and such high levels of fat and salt, I for one would rather know what I’m getting. Then if I still choose to eat it, at least I’m making an informed decision.
I’m still no closer to finding a healthier cinema snack, my husband laughed when I suggested grapes. I could make my own popcorn at home but our cinema states you’re not allowed to take your own food on to the premises. Any ideas?