Lifestyle Works

Cooking With Aluminium
Pots, Pans, Kettles & Trays

Over the last decade, toxicity of aluminium has been discussed in depth. A recent study has been published that aluminium is indeed harmful. A lot of our aluminium comes from processed junk foods that contain food additives like those within processed cheeses, baking powders, cake mixes, frozen dough and pancake mixes.

But approximately 20 percent of the daily intake of aluminium is believed to come from cooking utensils, such as pots, pans, kettles and trays made from aluminium. To see if this was the case, researchers started taking blood from consumers. It was found people walking around who used aluminum cookware had twice the amount in their blood, plus they had more free radical fat damage and DNA damage.

Aluminium is considered to be a pro-oxidant agent. Those tested were not just casually using aluminium cookware, but using it daily to cook and store acidic food, like yoghurt and tomato sauce, which can leach out more aluminium. But twice as much content is alarming. Even using just a week of continual use, like aluminium camping cookware and incorporating something acidic, like marinating a fresh catch in lemon juice, could greatly exceed the total allowable guidelines - especially for children. The odd time you will get away with it, but will not want to use it day in and day out.

What about aluminium drinking bottles?

They are nice and light, but German Institute for Risk Assessment recommend that consumers avoid the use of alumimium storage facilities - particularly for the use of acidic or salted beverages and foods, such as apple sauce, rhubarb, tomato sauce or anything salted due to the increased solubility of aluminium under the influence of acids and salt. It is necessary to mitigate, or better still, to eliminate the ingestion of aluminium.

What about aluminium foil?

It is a common culinary practice in households to wrap food in aluminium foil and bake it, but this is a potential hazardous source in the human diet.

When put to the test, yes, there was leakage of aluminium into food which carries a health risk, but in all, the leakage was small.

So what about food wrapped in foil and put into the fridge, without the process of baking and heating. There was found to be only marginal leaching into the food - unless the aluminium wrapped in the foil came in contact with certain other types of metal.

Stainless steel is mainly iron with a small portion of chromium (18%) and an even smaller portion of nickel (10%), and together these can lead to tremendous food/aluminium concentrations.  So be very conscious of wrapping, particularly acidic foods into foil and placing them on a stainless steel dish or tray. You are unconsciously increasing your poison risk.

While on the subject of foil, sometimes in cooking aluminium foil, there is a gloss side and a dull side. Is there is a difference as to which side contacts the food items? For the sake of research, food was cooked in both the glossy side and in the dull side, with no significant difference between the contamination readings.  

Michael Greger MD, FACLM, May 20,2020

Recipe of the Month

Tofu Loaf

2 T oil                                                500g tofu, mashed
2 cloves garlic, crushed                       1 T soy sauce
1 onion, chopped                                ½ t garlic powder
1 carrot, diced                                    1 c  yeast flakes
1 red pepper, (capsicum) chopped        ½ c tahini or peanut butter
1 large celery stalk, chopped               ½ t each of basil, oregano, tumeric
2 T soy sauce                                     4 slices wholemeal bread

Heat 1 T of oil in a pan; add garlic, onion, pepper, carrot and celery. Season with 1 T soy sauce. When vegetables are tender, remove from heat and put in bowl, add mashed tofu. Cut bread into small cubes; saute in 1 T oil, 1 T soy sauce, ½ t garlic powder and 5T yeast flakes. Add bread to tofu mixture and season with remaining ingredients. Combine well. Place into an oiled casserole, bake at 180ºC for 35 minutes. Allow to cool then remove and enjoy.  — Tried and True, p.77