Watch those popcorn calories, they quickly add up

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by Debi and Grant

When watching your weight, popcorn can be a magical snack. As a whole-grain food, it’s a great source of fiber and can curb your hunger between meals. On the flipside, popcorn can be one of your worst enemies. Popcorn calories add up quickly. Like so:

Hot air popcorn calories
Calories in a cup of popcorn equal just 31 calories. So far so good. Hot air popcorn poppers like the Presto Corn Popper are great for the weight watcher.

Calories in oil popped popcorn
Not too bad at 55 calories in just one cup (no butter added).

Calories in oil popped popcorn with just 2 teaspoon of melted butter
We’ve more than doubled the calories at 122. Still not too bad when compared to most Microwave popcorn brands or other snacks (chips, candy, etc.)

Speaking of Microwave Popcorn Calories, how about a ½ bag of lightly buttered microwave popcorn
Now we’re heading to more time on the treadmill. 180 calories

That small bag of popcorn at the movie theater, just hold the butter
Double the time on the treadmill. 400 calories. Wow!

Okay, let’s add butter to that small bag of popcorn at the theater
630 calories. Hmmm. This isn’t looking good. Need to upgrade to the eliptical at the gym.

Calories in large movie theater popcorn without butter
You’re not going to like this. 1,160 calories

Calories in large movie theater popcorn with butter
1,640 calories. That’s almost a daily calorie intake.

So, hot air popcorn poppers win in the calories department followed by oil popcorn makers. Of course at home it’s easy to control how we pop and what we put on our popcorn. At the movie theater, it’s a different story. We’ve chosen to share a small bag of popcorn between two people instead of purchasing those larger tubs.

How do you watch your popcorn calories?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve May 8, 2009 at 11:01 pm

How many calories in a large movie popcorn WITHOUT butter?

Thank you

DG May 9, 2009 at 2:34 am

Hey Steve,

You’re looking at around 1,160 calories in large movie popcorn without butter. Butter adds about 480 calories more to large theater popcorn.

joec2528 May 31, 2009 at 11:02 pm

my cousin willies 94% fat free natural flavor is listed on the back at 15 calories per cup popped, so is there a calorie/health benefit from investing in an air popper? It listed above as 31 cal per in air popped.

DG June 4, 2009 at 12:35 am

Interesting. My Cousin Willie’s Fat Free Natural Flavor nutritional information states only 15 calories per cup of popped popcorn. Pretty curious how they accomplished that. From a calorie perspective this microwave popcorn product does beat popcorn popped in an air popper. However, I’m not sure what the “rich butter flavor” is made from. One of the reasons an air popper works well from a health perspective is that you control what you put on the popcorn. And you can change the flavor from one serving to another with an assortment of spices.

Ed May 1, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I was over 400 lbs and lost down two 325, then the horror, went back up. I used the hot air popcorn and mrs dash, along with pam spray. It was great and now I’m back on it. I use the popcorn as a filler inbetween.

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