In our tests, we detected an unpleasant metallic taste in tomato sauce and lemon curd cooked in aluminum pots. Since it was discovered that aluminum is lightweight and heats evenly, it became the best choice to use for meal preparation.
However, according to tons of research done over the effect of aluminum on health, alarming information came to light. It helps to modify the aluminum ’s properties so that minimal or no amount of it is transferred to the food.
Even acidic and salty foods don’t react to aluminum pans that have been anodized. The latter adds a thicker layer of aluminum oxide which is twice as strong, safe, scratch-proof, and resistant to corrosion.
In fact, restaurants even serve dishes using aluminum pans to give their menu a quirky look. Anodized aluminum pans are super durable, which means they’re designed to cook multiple dishes in a day and deal with the heavy wear and tear.
With excessive use over the years, many of these utensils develop scratches and abrasions, which can alter the quality of food. In fact, the scratches and cracks can be pretty harmful and release chemicals into the food.
Some cookware heats food unevenly, leaving bits of it charred, burned, or evens tuck to the bottom of the pan. Conflicting research has come up claiming that people should abandon their said cookware and pick alternatives instead.
However, before we proceed, here are the “facts” that have caused people to doubt how great aluminum kitchen equipment really is. According to some studies, prolonged use of aluminum cookware to prepare meals can introduce aluminum into your body which then affects the brain.
Some reports came out claiming that patients who had died of Alzheimer’s Disease had high doses of aluminum in their bodies, which was apparently affecting their brain function. Apparently, such food reacts quite badly with the metal, releasing harmful compounds into your meal, which makes it dangerous to consume.
However, another group of people argues that aluminum cookware which is coated and goes through the anodization process isn’t bad at all. In other words, aluminum cookware which is processed properly isn’t harmful, but you probably shouldn’t keep certain foods in it for too long.
Ironically, even your usual gastric medicines will contain a big amount of aluminum because it is the most plentiful metal on earth. However, aluminum cookware only provides 1 – 2 milligrams of the compound, meaning you can stop worrying about contracting aluminum poisoning by preparing meals in those pots and pans.
In other words, these foods and tablets can easily introduce 500 – 5,000 milligrams of aluminum into our body per day. Antiperspirant deodorants, sunscreens, and other personal hygiene and beauty products contain aluminum, too.
After various conflicting debates on aluminum cookware and its potential harms, it’s best to be wary about your purchasing habits. In other words, follow certain criteria when picking out cooking utensils to ensure you’re getting the best of your meals and staying safe at the same time.
Besides, uneven heating can cause food to stick to the bottom of the pan, which is a pain to clean! Big pots and pans need to be held in order to cook their contents properly, so look for handles that don’t heat up too quickly.
For example, your big pot may be great for baking, but if it has wooden handles, you may just want to stick to the stove. It’s big enough to accommodate many ingredients, and also has a naturally nonstick surface.
Beautiful and used as a serving dish at various restaurants, copper is another alternative for aluminum cookware. One of the most popular and commonly used utensils in homes, stainless steel is a great alternative for aluminum cookware.
Ceramic cookware is quickly becoming popular because of its aesthetics and the earthy taste it lends to the food prepared in it. In fact, many manufacturers take care to use safe components to create ceramic cookware.
Well, aluminum is a good material for cookware and it offers a lot of benefits such as a great heat conductor, lightweight, and generally affordable. Meanwhile, anodized aluminum with the electrochemical treatment is now becoming the standard material to make better aluminum cookware.
The truth shows that aluminum can be dangerous for health because of several reasons. It reacts with sour and salty flavors- High heat and seasonings that contain acids, such as tomatoes, lime, tamarind, lemon, and vinegar cooked on an aluminum pan will cause oxidation, which allows particles of aluminum to be released and mixed into food.
Food gets burnt quickly- Cookware made from aluminum without a coating, usually thin and very easy to get hot. Besides the bitter taste, the food is cooked until charred due to excessive heat, much nutritional content is damaged.
However, these healthy properties can be lost if you fry eggs in an aluminum pan. Fortunately, cookware makers found that this material can be anodized to get a stronger surface, durable, slicker, and even non-reactive with acids.
Hard Anodizing is processed with electrochemical which produce strong aluminum so that it can conduct heat quickly and evenly. Hard Anodizing coating on cookware uses materials that are environmentally friendly and safe for health because it meets food-grade standards.
Most importantly, you have to make sure that the cookware is made from high quality hard anodized aluminum so that it is not dangerous for your health. Always choose non-stick hard anodized aluminum cookware products so that you will not only get strong cookware, but it is also easy to clean and foods will not stick on your pan.
Thus, hard anodized aluminum cookware must be your best choice if you want to cook some food safely without endangering your health. Also, buying hard anodized aluminum cookware is not difficult because you can find many products online.
The problem with this material is that it can leach into your food and potentially cause a myriad of serious side effects. Well, I’m back with a hard look at the safety and pros/ cons of this type of cookware you need to know for the health of you and y our family.
To give you an idea of how strong aluminum oxide is, gemstones like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are made from this material. The thick layer of aluminum oxide that forms after the electrolytic passivation is completed is inert.
This layer prevents the plain aluminum base from coming into contact with your food. Since hard anodized cookware is not reactive, you can safely cook acidic ingredients like tomato sauce in it without worrying about it changing color or flavor.
Of course, if the hard anodized layer has been compromised, the plain aluminum will be exposed and can leach into your food. Let’s say that you accidentally use a hard anodized pan with the raw aluminum exposed and it leaches into your food.
Acidic foods like tomato sauce and lemon juice increase leaching. Testing showed that the tomato sauce only contained .0024 milligrams of aluminum per cup.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also released a report which said that the average American adult eats about 7 to 9 mg aluminum per day in their food. In another report, the agency mentioned that the total body burden of aluminum that the average adult can safely handle is 30 to 50 mg.
Hence, even for a scratched hard anodized pan, the aluminum it can leach is virtually negligible. Several studies cite that aluminum consumption can cause this type of dementia.
The Alzheimer Society, however, claims that there aren’t enough studies to solidly prove this and that earlier animal studies weren’t reliable because they used an animal species that was susceptible to aluminum poisoning. Instead, renowned neurologist Dr. David Perl mutter said that brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, ADHD, and depression are caused by too many carbohydrates and grains.
This means that cooking on hard anodized cookware is highly unlikely to cause Alzheimer’s disease. Patients with chronic renal failure can’t efficiently get rid of the ingested aluminum in their body.
To be on the safe side, I do not recommend hard anodized cookware if you have or are cooking for someone with kidney disease. With the focus being on aluminum leaching, people overlook toxic chemicals like PTFE and FOA which are used to make the nonstick coating on a lot of cookwares.
A quick look at the most popular hard anodized cookware in the market showed that most of these products, though Scot-free, still had PTFE. PTFE or more commonly known as Teflon by the company Chem ours, is a man-made, almost frictionless chemical that is applied to cookware to make them nonstick.
However, the FOA substitutes called Gene and Pubs have been found to cause a myriad of health problems as well. As mentioned, most anodized cookware on the market these days are free from FOA but still rely on PTFE to give them that superior non-stick coating that consumers demand.
In general, they are safe as long as you heed the precautions above on handling cookware with PTFE. Cooks mark Contemporary Pots and Pans Set, Hard-Anodized Aluminum Scratch Resistant Nonstick... Hard anodized aluminum construction is super conductive and durable, made for fast and even heat distribution.
Safe for all stove types including induction, gas, ceramic top, and electric range Each cooking vessel in this Epicurus Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set will surpass your expectations; hard anodized aluminum is twice as strong as stainless steel and helps distribute... In general, hard anodized cookware only becomes a health risk when the surface has been damaged or is exposed to high heat.
Even if the manufacturer states that it can be placed in the dishwasher, we still recommend washing hard anodized cookware by hand to make the coating last longer. Otherwise, the caustic soda and phosphorus from the harsh detergent will cause a chemical reaction that will stain your cookware and leave it with a chalky residue.
As much as possible, turn on your exhaust fan or open the window to encourage ventilation when cooking with PTFE-coated hard anodized pots and pans. Do not cut or chop foods directly on your hard anodized cookware.
Now that we’ve established that hard anodized cookware is safe when used properly, let’s take a look at the reasons why it makes for a great cooking partner. Since it’s easy to carry and move around in the kitchen, even people with weak wrists or arthritis can use it.
The health risks of this type of coating can be mitigated by sticking to low to medium heat cooking. Or if you’re still concerned, look at the recommendations above for hard anodized cookware that are both FOA and PTFE free.