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Surprising Science

Buttery Flavorant in Popcorn Linked to Alzheimer’s

Butter on your popcorn could give you Alzheimer’s according to new studies. 

Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell


What’s the Latest Development?

The buttery taste popcorn lovers enjoy is actually a flavorant called diacetyl, which microwave popcorn makers use. Reportedly, diacetyl has caused lung damage in people who work in microwave factoriescausing the producers of microwave popcorn to stop using diacetyl in their products. University of Minnesota experts found that diacetyl “causes brain proteins to misfold into the Alzheimer’s-linked form called beta amyloid.” The flavorant passes through the barrier for blood in the brain and “can inhibit the brain’s natural amyloid-clearing mechanisms.”  

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What’s the Big Idea?

The flavorant diacetyl, which gives a buttery taste in foods and changes the texture in beverages, has been linked to Alzheimer’s. The dangerous ingredient has already caused lung problems in people who work in factories where microwave popcorn is made, and “now other workers exposed to diacetyl — and possibly consumers as well — may face another scary risk.” 


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