Despite being among the most popular cookware types, aluminum is still quite controversial when it comes to its safety. Since aluminum can leach into food when cooking, many people assume you end up ingesting a lot of it over time which can have adverse health effects.
However, this could not be further from the truth because no matter the type of aluminum cookware you use, you will hardly take in enough to pose a significant health risk.
According to a Healthfully.com, a publication in the Journal of Food protection from 1985 concludes that cooking with aluminum cookware could cause you to take up to 3.5 mg of aluminum. However, this is an insignificant amount, given that most people take up to 10 mg of aluminum from natural sources.
Which Types of Aluminum Cookware is Safe for Daily Use?
While even untreated aluminum cookware does not pose a substantial health risk, it is essential to make sure you are on the safe side if you plan to use aluminum for cooking daily. Here are the safe types of aluminum cookware you can use every day.
1. Hard-Anodized Aluminum
If you love the lightweight, easy cleanup, and excellent heat retention of aluminum and hence prefer to use it daily, hard-anodized aluminum cookware is by far your best choice.
Hard-anodized aluminum goes through an acid solution treatment that makes it up to three times more durable and ensures the metal is non-reactive. Therefore, it does not react with foods to cause leaching.
Other benefits of using hard-anodized aluminum include that it allows you to cook with less oil than most other cookware types and offers better non-stick properties than regular aluminum.
2. Aluminum Core Cookware
As the name suggests, this cookware has aluminum as the core material but with a top coating that ensures your food never comes into direct contact with the untreated aluminum.
Ceramic is one of the most popular coating options, but it can be quite pricey and is not wholly non-stick. Other options include three-ply stainless steel coating, which makes the cookware more durable but can quite costly.
Teflon non-stick cookware with aluminum cookware core can also work. While it is a cheaper option, it may pose a greater health risk than using untreated aluminum if the coating is not PFOA-free.
Does Aluminum Leach into Food from Cookware?
When using untreated and even most other types of aluminum cookware, it is possible for some of it to leach into your food. The good news is the amounts are often insignificant, and there is hardly anything to concern you.
A lab test conducted by Cook’s Illustrated in 2012 concludes that by cooking tomato sauce in an aluminum pot for 2 hours and further living it in the pot for at least 24 hours, you end up with around 0.0024 mg aluminum for every cup of the sauce. These numbers show the quantity of aluminum leaching to food is insignificant.
There are many misconceptions about cooking with aluminum cookware out there, but most of them are unfounded as there is no research evidence that shows it can cause health issues.
Cooking with aluminum, even if it is untreated, is relatively safe as the amount of it that can leach into your food is insignificant no matter what food you are cooking. However, it is a good idea to use non-reactive types such as hard-anodized aluminum cookware to be on the safe side.