Hold The (Artificial) Butter!
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 report in HealthDay.
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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.
The study authors pointed out that other experiments revealed that diacetyl also crosses the “blood-brain barrier,” which helps protect the brain from dangerous substances. Diacetyl also prevented a beneficial protein from protecting nerve cells.