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Popcorn is a popular snack, but it's best to watch how much of it you eat

Sitting in a dark movie theatre with your friends and a pack of buttery popcorn sounds like a perfect way to spend a Saturday night. A review of the nutritional contents of movie-theatre popcorn reveals an alarming amount of fat, salt and calories in even the smallest sizes. The study, from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in the U.S. looked at popcorn from three movie theatre chains and detailed the contents of all portions offered. A large tub of popcorn, 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.

Not so hungry? 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.

The findings may surprise those who choose popcorn because they believe it is a relatively healthy snack. In fact, plain air-popped popcorn is low in calories and free of saturated fat. Movie theatre popcorn, however, is popped in oil which is saturated fat. Add salt to the enormous portions, and your once-healthy snack turns into a health offender.

One way to make your popcorn healthier? Pop a portion without salt. The best way to make your movie snack healthier, however, would be to skip the popcorn altogether.

You could share a pack of popcorn with 10 friends or watch the movie without eating anything.

NYT NEWS SERVICE

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