• Whether it’s for an at-home movie night or simply for an afternoon snack, popcorn can be a light snack or a little treat. For those of you with a salty tooth, ever reached the end of a big popcorn bag and thought, “wait, I really ate the whole thing?”

    Well, many factors encourage popcorn overconsumption. Plus, between the “small” movie theatre popcorn bag and the classic shop-bought size, it can be confusing as to what is a “normal” portion. But if you eat smartly, it can be good for you!

    What’s a Reasonable Portion of Popcorn?

    According to a study on factors of popcorn overconsumption, 2 main factors would cause it:

    • Distraction
    • Available size

    In fact, study participants who received a bigger popcorn portion tended to eat 30% more in average! Since the bags in movie theatres are oversized, they encourage people to eat more than needed.

    GOOD TO KNOW: Even popcorn bags found in grocery stores are very big, which can increase your consumption! Instead of buttery popcorn, try these smartpop bags… But the best option remains to buy kernels and pop them at home!

    Too much popcorn in movie theaters?

    The results of the study mentioned earlier revealed that individual popcorn portions in movie theatres ranged from 8 to 20.5 cups. All these options are higher than the recommended portion of USDA, which is of 3 cups per day.

    Portions are getting bigger and bigger…

    Have you noticed that there are now jumbo and family-sized bags in movie theatres? Popcorn alone is not very energy-dense. But if you add lots of salt and butter like movie theatres do, the nutritional value of popcorn is considerably affected.

    In fact, a large popcorn bag can contain up to 75% of the daily energy need of an average adult (which is 2000 calories per day). Plus, the same portion has 174% of the daily lipid need.

    And depending on the movie theatre and where the popcorn is made, the large size can contain 436 to 2038 mg of sodium, which represents up to 90% of the recommended daily salt quantity.

    Distraction as A Factor of Popcorn Overconsumption

    Popcorn is characterized by its association to movies, sports on TV, and theatres. In each scenario, your attention is brought elsewhere than on what you eat and your feeling of satiety.

    Since it’s much easier to be mentally satisfied of by your meal when your focus is on the stimuli related to smell, taste, and texture, you’re likely to eat a bigger portion of popcorn than needed before you feel satiety.

    Tips to eat smartly

    Here are 2 tips to eat popcorn moderately during your next movie night:

    • Plan ahead a portion of popcorn in a bowl so that you’re more aware of how much you eat compared to when you share a familial bag.
    • Play along and try to enjoy each popcorn piece with all your senses: touch, taste, smell, and sight!

    It will help you fill full! Enjoy your movie!

    Popcorn as A Healthy Snack

    Popcorn is rich in fiber and protein. If it’s consumed with just a little bit of salt and vinegar, it can make a healthy and nutritious snack. Simply be careful with your quantities.

    You can also pimp your popcorn as you wish to satisfy your salty tooth, or even your sweet tooth (caramel popcorn… Yum!)!