According to UPI.com, a new study has found that diacetyl, an ingredient put into popcorn to give it that buttery taste and smell, may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
The scientists conducting the study said that the reason they focused on diacetyl was because it had already been found to contribute to respiratory issues in people who worked at popcorn and food-flavoring factories. UPI.com says that diacetyl is also used in margarines, certain baked goods and in some beers and chardonnay.
According to Robert Vince, the study’s lead author and director of the Center for Drug Design at the Universty of Minnesota, diacetyl is similar in its structure to a substance that aids in the clumping of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain, which is an indicator of Alzheimer’s. And like the similar substance, diacetyl increased the amount of beta-amyloid clumping in observations and studies.
Update: An additional recent study found that yet another artificial butter flavoring in popcorn is unsafe. Know as PD (short for 2,3-Pentanedione) this artificial flavoring is a respiratory hazard that can also alter genes in brain cells. (Source)
So the price might not be the only thing that deters you from the popcorn counter at the movie theater.