If you’re like most people, you like the occasional bag of microwaved popcorn while watching a good movie. And like most people, it’s probably the buttery flavoring you like best.
This buttery flavor comes from an artificial flavoring called diacetyl, which is a natural byproduct of fermentation found in butter, beer and vinegar.
It can also be made synthetically by food companies and they use it because it gives the food that wonderful buttery flavor and aroma.
However, due to its link to lung damage in people working in the factories, several companies have already stopped using the synthetic diacetyl.
But according to a recent study at the University of Minnesota, diacetyl is not only a risk to a workers' lungs... it may also pose serious risk to your brain.
Chemical In Microwave Popcorn
Linked To Alzheimer's Disease
In studies conducted using test-tubes researchers have discovered that diacetyl has several concerning properties when it comes to brain health. One of the biggest concerns is that it can easily pass through the blood-brain barrier, which is meant to keep toxins out, but of even greater concern is the fact that it causes brain proteins to misfold into the Alzheimer's-linked form known as beta amyloid. To make matters worse, it also inhibits mechanisms that help to naturally clear out the dangerous beta amyloid from your brain.1
At the moment, researchers don’t know whether or not eating diacetyl-containing foods (it's used not only in microwave popcorn but also in a variety of other snack foods, baked goods, pet foods as well as other food products) does in fact increase your risk of Alzheimer’s or not. However, the findings associating it’s use with the plaques linked to Alzheimer’s even at very low concentrations is alarming.
For years consumers have been told that other synthetic chemicals are perfectly safe, including MSG and aspartame…but there are others.
Microwave Popcorn Still Isn’t Safe
With The Diacetyl Removed
As we discussed, diacetyl is known to cause significant even life-threatening respiratory illness in workers at factors where microwave popcorn is made.
Because of this, several companies stopped using the chemical in their products. However, they’ve replaced it with another ingredient called 2,3-pentanedione (PD), also used to give the popcorn that buttery flavor and aroma.
But new research shows that PD, can also lead to similar respiratory problems too. Like those brought on by diacetyl.2 This chemical was also shown to pathologically alter the gene expression in rat brains, ultimately leading to neurotoxicity.
The study's lead researcher noted:
"Our study is a reminder that a chemical with a long history of being eaten without any evidence of toxicity can still be an agent with respiratory toxicity when appropriate studies are conducted."
An additional risk associated with microwave popcorn is the use of perfluoroalkyls (PFCs). These chemicals are used to keep grease from leaking through food wrappers and they are widely used in microwave popcorn factories.
Plus, these chemicals leach into your food and are ultimately processed by our body. There they can interfere with your endocrine system and damage your sex hormones. PFC use has been linked to a variety of health problems including infertility, thyroid disease, cancer and immune system problems.
Most US Corn Is Genetically Modified
Most of the corn grown in the United States is genetically modified, about 86 percent. This brings with it a whole new set of problems. And while, none of the popcorn itself is genetically engineered, just about all of the corn is.
Plus, corn is a grain which can also pose additional health issues.
There’s also what is called “Bt corn” which is equipped with a gene from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which produces what’s known as Bt-toxin - pesticide that literally bursts the stomachs of certain insects, killing them instantly.
This strain of corn hit our food supply in the late 1990’s and since then there have been numerous reports of adverse reactions.
Both Monsanto and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were adamant that the toxin only affected the insects eating the crops and posed no threat to animals or humans. They repeatedly insist that Bt-toxin doesn’t bind or interact with the intestinal walls of mammals, including humans.
However, Bt-toxin has shown up in the blood of pregnant women and their babies. It’s also shown up in non-pregnant women too.
In one study a full 93% of pregnant women, 80% of umbilical blood in their babies and 67% of non-pregnant women tested positive for Bt-toxin.3
A separate study showed that the Bt-toxin produced in genetically modified Bt crops like corn is extremely toxic to humans and mammals and triggers a response in the immune system.
During a study sponsored by the Italian government, mice given Monsanto's Bt corn showed a wide array of immune system responses:4
- Elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, a response that is normally shown with allergies and infections.
- An increase in cytokines, typically associated with allergic and inflammatory reactions. The specific cytokines (interleukins) have also been linked to a wide range of health disorders in humans. Conditions ranging from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, to MS and cancer
- Elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are typically elevated in people suffering from asthma, and in people with food allergies, primarily children, it’s also seen in juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases.
And when rats were given a different form of Monsanto’s Bt corn called MON 863, they also experienced increased activity of their immune systems. In particular, they showed higher levels of basophils, lymphocytes, and white blood cells.5
All of these can be indicators for allergies, infections, toxicity and a variety of diseases. The rats also showed signs of kidney and liver toxicity.
How Popcorn Pops
Have you ever wondered how a corn kernel turns into popcorn?
It’s really quite interesting.
You see, a kernel of corn contains both moisture and oil inside as well as a hard, dense starch. As the kernel is heated, the moisture inside the kernel turns into steam, which is contained inside the strong hull.
This steam turns the dense starch into a soft, pliable material and as pressure builds, the hull eventually ruptures as the starch expands into the airy, light foam that we all love.
If the thought of giving up popcorn is too much to take, try making it at home using organic popping corn and coconut oil or real butter.
Simply, place the oil or butter in a large pot, turn to medium heat and add the kernels. Just like in the microwave, as you notice the popping begin to slow down to one or two every few seconds, you’re done.
Next, add your own seasonings using things like grass-fed, raw butter and Himalayan sea salt for a naturally tasty popcorn without all the artificial ingredients and chemicals that you find in microwave brands.
It’s hard to protect yourself from everything out there and environmental toxins, ultra-processed foods, EMFs, government-subsidized GMOs and a host of other threats are constantly out to get you.
But, by doing what you can to limit your exposure, you’ll be much more apt to stay healthy and feel your best.
Starting with your popcorn.