[Ed. Note: Had to post this one. My son once pointed out to me at the Marcus Theater near our house that a "butter" dispenser had a big graphic reading "Real Golden Flavor". With humor he asked me "Dad, what the heck is real 'Golden Flavor' and why would we want it on our popcorn?" Buyer beware.]
Chronic exposure to an artificial butter flavoring ingredient, known as diacetyl, may worsen the harmful effects of a protein in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.
The findings should serve as a red flag for factory workers with significant exposure to the food-flavoring ingredient, researchers from the University of Minnesota said in the report published in a recent issue of the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.
Diacetyl is used to give a buttery taste and aroma to common food items such as margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and other products.
The investigators pointed out that previous studies have already linked diacetyl to respiratory and other health problems among workers at microwave popcorn and food-flavoring plants.
Although diacetyl forms naturally in fermented beverages, such as beer and wine, its chemical structure is similar to a substance that makes beta-amyloid proteins clump together in the brain. This clumping, the study authors noted, is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.