If you needed another reason (besides the heat) to watch movies in theatres instead of at home, here it is: a recent study by scientists at the University of Minnesota suggests that the artificial butter flavoring used in microwave popcorn may also cause Alzheimer’s disease.
The flavorant in question, called “diacetyl,” is responsible for the buttery smell and texture in several foods including margarine, pet food and some wine, and has been previously shown to cause lung damage. As detailed by CBS, the U of M study discovered “that [diacetyl] has a structure that’s similar to a substance that makes beta-amyloid proteins,” which are a key component of the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.
As of yet, the results have not been duplicated in living subjects, only test tubes, but experiments have shown that even in low concentrations, diacetyl can cross the blood-brain barrier, meant to prevent toxins from entering the brain, and can also inhibit the brain’s natural ability to clear away beta-amyloid.
Granted, science has still yet to pinpoint the exact cause of the terrible disease, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Besides, doesn’t real butter taste better anyway?
Read the abstract for yourself here.