What is your snack of choice at the movie theater? Please don’t say popcorn. It is? It’s popcorn? Ok, well, you certainly don’t ask the concession stand employees to douse your corn with gallons of artificial butter spray, right? Oh, you do? Well, you might want to read on. We apologize in advance.

A new study claims that diacetyl, the “flavoring used to produce the buttery flavor and aroma of microwave popcorn and other food, may be linked to Alzheimer’s.” Researchers have determined that diacetyl “has an architecture similar to a substance that makes beta-amyloid proteins clump together in the brain,” and that this clumping “is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.”

“Other laboratory experiments also showed diacetyl easily penetrated the ‘blood-brain barrier,’ which keeps many harmful substances from entering the brain. ‘In light of the chronic exposure of industry workers to diacetyl, this study raises the troubling possibility of long-term neurological toxicity mediated by diacetyl,’ the researchers said in a statement.”

Cutting movie popcorn out of your diet isn’t going to eliminate the problem, however. Diacetyl, according to the study, can be found in margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and beer, among others.

So basically, everything fun. We might as well just stick to carrot sticks and water. At least the good news is that we’ll forget all of the harmful stuff we’ve consumed, thanks to diacetyl penetrating our blood-brain barrier. Thanks, science!

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