Food Alert: Popcorn's Artificial Butter Flavor Linked to Alzheimer's

by Lexi Petronis, Glamour

I have a habit of always looking for the yellowest popcorn kernels in the tub and eating those first. I always thought it was just an annoying thing I did. But could loading up on popcorn with artificial butter flavoring also be dangerous?
According to research from the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota, that artificial butter flavoring could be a problem. Diacetyl is the name of the flavoring used to give popcorn (and a whole range of processed foods, from baked goods to margarine) its buttery taste--and now researchers have found that "prolonged or excessive exposure" to diacetyl increases the type of protein clumping that's a signature trait of Alzheimer's disease.

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Some of this research stems from the fact that workers in popcorn factories--people with "prolonged or excessive exposure" to diacetyl--were experiencing a weirdly high rate of a rare lung-damaging condition (some of them even died).

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The study's authors point out that the average popcorn-eater does not have to worry about getting Alzheimer's (and they're quick to explain that this a link, not a cause-and-effect relationship).

Still-it's strengthened my resolve to stick to plain old butter. How about you?

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