Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oh No, Not Popcorn, Please!

Via AMERICAblog's Aravosis, we learn from (forgive me) NY Daily News: Popcorn's butter flavoring may trigger Alzheimer's disease:
Diacetyl, already linked to lung damage in people who work in microwave popcorn factories, is also used to produce the distinctive buttery flavor and aroma of margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods, and even some chardonnays.


University of Minnesota drug-design expert Robert Vince, PhD, and colleagues found that diacetyl causes brain proteins to misfold into the Alzheimer's-linked form called beta amyloid. Vince's team also found that diacetyl has an architecture similar to a substance that makes beta-amyloid proteins clump together in the brain -- clumping being a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

I can live without chardonnay. Candy I can cut back on, if necessary. But I do like my popcorn; I probably eat it once a week. Left to my own devices, I'd use real butter and take my chances, but with microwave popcorn, it's not easy to avoid the artificial buttery flavors. Damn... another of life's pleasures revealed to be bad for you. That really sucks!


  1. All you have to do is use the plain version and then stick the butter in the microwave to melt it.

    I like butter, real butter, and it is the only way to make real buttered popcorn.

    Of course, now that the corn is being popped in the field because of the drought we won't be able to afford it anyway, so it doesn't matter.

  2. I used to use real butter, melted in the microwave, but Stella squelched that practice because of the occasional spatter on the inside of the microwave. (So emphatic was she that she bought a new microwave and made me throw mine out when we moved here. The "new" one is underpowered and sucks for most purposes.)

    Like you, I use real butter by preference, and I got in the habit of keeping it on hand from my baking days. Sometimes now I add real butter to the microwave popcorn, but what we get depends on what we find at the store. (Old-fart voice...) Popcorn just ain't what it used to be! Why, when I was a kid...

  3. My husband found an Amish site that sells 'real' popcorn and an old fashioned stove top popper. That's all we do now. I threw out my boxes of microwavable popcorn when I read about the guy who got 'popcorn lung' from breathing the delicious fumes. We aren't being fed real food anymore from the Big Ag companies. I'd love to rip up my lawn and grow corn, but trying to raise a cow for the butter would really piss off my neighbors.

  4. At my stage of the game, I doubt that an early grave is much of a consideration now, so I will continue to eat my favorite food---popcorn.

  5. ellroon - is it Amish Country Popcorn? There seem to be several such sites out there.

  6. karmanot - the grave does not unduly scare me. Alzheimer's disease scares the (bleep!) out of me. Having watched my mother decline and die with Alzheimer's, I do not wish to be alive and yet not living.

  7. But Steve ( same here regarding family AZ) the good news is that we can eat it many times a day, having forgotten having done so previously. Unfortunately, we'll be confined in some place with tight-ass Republican dietitians.

  8. ellroon - thanks. I'll check it out.

    After a quick look... shipping to Houston may kill the deal. Or not. I'll have to do more research. Sigh!

  9. karmanot - I've known many dietitians (from working for the UTSPH Human Nutrition group), but only two of them are likely to have been Republican!

  10. ellroon - inevitably, s/he who consumes the output of a popcorn popper is soon a popcorn pooper...

  11. Hey Steve, don't overlook hot air corn poppers. They work really well and some even have the facility to add butter as it pops. Also don't overlook extra virgin olive oil as an additive instead of butter. If you use butter upgrade too a proper butter which for me are the cultured European butters like Plugra and Presidents or Kerry Gold(my regular butter).

  12. fallenmonk, thanks for the reminder... I had a hot-air popper, used it for possibly 20 years and wore it out; eventually it stopped working... about the time microwave popcorn became ubiquitous. I never thought that switching to microwave popcorn could be a health hazard. But now I will look for another popper, probably hot-air.



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