35 tsp of sugar – in a box of cinema popcorn

Obesity expert criticises supersize sugary cinema snacks, and asks for healthier alternatives

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One of the UK’s top obesity experts has criticised cinemas for selling hugely sugary snacks, as reports suggest just one box of cinema popcorn can contain up to 35 teaspoons of sugar.

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Professor Susan Jebb, chair of the Government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal Food Network, says she’s concerned at the ‘excessive’ sizes of cinema snacks and drinks, and she’s called on all cinema chains to offer clearer nutritional information, smaller packs and healthier alternatives.

With a large bucket of sweet cinema popcorn weighing at anything from 840 calories (at Cineworld) to 1005 calories (Odeon) and containing anything from 30 tsp (Cineworld) to 35 tsp (Vue), according to the Daily Mail, it’s quite possible that a cinemagoer who buys a large popcorn and a fizzy drink could consume the recommended allowance of sugar for an entire week before the film’s even ended.

Only a few days ago, the World Health Organisation announced they’ll be advising people to halve the amount of sugar in their diet, and recent evidence suggests most adults and children in the UK already eat more than the recommended limit of 6 teaspoons of sugar a day.

“Entertainment companies all have a role to play to make it easier for people to make healthy choices,” says Susan Jebb. “The least they should do is provide clear information on calories.”

Weight Watchers has also voiced concern at supersized sugary cinema snacks.

“Cinemas are inherently family focused spaces,” says Weight Watchers spokesman Angharad Massie. Yet we all recognise them to be one of the worst spaces for promoting portions of high fat, salt and sugar snacks with little or no choice of healthier alternatives.”

Odeon, Cineworld and Vue all display nutritional information on their websites, with Vue also putting calories on menu boards at the tills. And both Cineworld and Vue said visitors are welcome to bring their own snacks.

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