Butter-flavoured products linked to brain, lung diseases

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Microwave popcorn and margarine addicts may just need to start kicking the habit.  Doctors have known for some time that workers in microwave popcorn factories can get a debilitating lung disease, and now new research shows that chronic exposure to Diacetyl, the artificial butter flavouring ingredient, can worsen proteins clumping together in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Diacetyl gives a buttery taste and aroma to some of the most popular food items such as candy, baked goods, margarines and microwave popcorn.  Diacetyl is also found naturally in fermented beverages such as beers and wines.

In the University of Minnesota study, researchers found that Diacetyl was able to pass through the blood-brain barrier, a defence wall vital in preventing dangerous substances from the brain, influencing the brain’s toxicity.

These new findings have sparked large popcorn manufacturers like General Mills and the American Pop Corn Company to work on new recipes for their products, eliminating Diacetyl as an ingredient.

However, the study concluded that the average microwave popcorn fanatic does not need to worry.

The study only sampled individuals with chronic exposure to the flavouring chemical.

Source: HealthDay News

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