The CSPI Stikes Again: Movie PopCorn Edition

The militant-vegetarian-posing-as-nutritional-big-brother CSPI were (shockingly) allowed to comment on this story about the amount of calories in a a medium popcorn and soda combo at your local theater. The grand total of this dynamic duo, 1610 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat, is certainly excessive for anyone in one sitting. However, let’s play this game called “math,” shall we?So here’s what we know:

  1. Coconut oil has about 14g fat/tbsp with 12g being saturated. Since popcorn is nearly fatless by itself, we know that the total amount of fat in that bag is 70g or 630kcal. So 980kcal is protein and carbs.
  2. Popcorn has a ~ 6:1 ratio of carbs to protein per cup. Both are worth 4kcal/g.
  3. Thus, the remainder of the bag will be ~40g of protein and 205g of high glycemic carbohydrates
  4. Since cola is just sugar water, I’m being generous; the protein would be less and the carbs even higher.

But never mind that the amount of garbage carbs substancially outweigh the fat on a caloric basis. Or that 66% of the fat are in form of Medium Chain Triglycerides, readily useable for energy and less likely to be stored as body fat. Or that entire civilizations thrive on high saturated fat diets with nary a heart attack in sight. Humans were nobel, ate only fruits and veggies, rode sharks, played catch with bears, and all sorts of other amazing, idyllic bullshit.

So what’s the take home, squire of the simple hate?

  1. Eating a diet of mostly saturated fat from natural sources isn’t likely to kill you (or you, or you, and perhaps you too)
  2. Eating a diet high in carbs from natural sources is likely to keep you (and you too) alive and well.
  3. However a diet high in both saturated fat and high glycemic neolithic carbohydrates is death to the lot of you (I’m looking at you, corn-fed, chicken-friend south).
  4. Sneak some jerky into the theater if you must eat something.

2 thoughts on “The CSPI Stikes Again: Movie PopCorn Edition

  1. Good stuff Skyler.

    I’m in the process of convincing the staunchest of anti-sat-fat evangelists in my office that the variables all heart-disease-free civilizations are the absence of refined sugar, grains, and vegetable oils.

    It’s been a painful process because, since he has a degree in health and physical education, it’s nearly impossible for him to accept that anyone, even someone who studied biomedical engineering, might know a little more about nutrition than he does.

    But, slowly and surely, he is finding his position that sat fat is evil, and that a calorie is a calorie, to be untenable. I think he’s seeing the light! What’s more important is that, even if he never ends up seeing the truth, several of our coworkers have begun to eschew refined western foods and embrace natural fats, simply by observing my discussions with the conventional wisdomite. All of these folks who’ve gone paleo have noted various positive health changes (weight loss, less achne, lower triglycerides, etc).

    Just thought I’d share. Thanks for another good post.


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