We’ve all heard that aluminum is not good for us. But most people connect that warning to cookware and certain products that are known to contain aluminum (such as cosmetics and underarm deodorant). But how many of us make the connection to aluminum foil?
Most of us cook with aluminum foil at some point, even though we know that aluminum is not good for our health. We still grill fish on aluminum foil or wrap our baked potatoes in it, maybe even line our toaster oven pan with it. Is it time to stop this common, but oh so easy practice?
According to a study from 2012, it was determined that cooking with aluminum foil can indeed transfer some of the aluminum from the foil to your food. And the more acidic or spicy the food or sauces you are cooking (think spicy marinades and marinades with a lot of vinegar), the higher the likelihood of this happening. This makes sense given the fact that acids dissolve metals (including aluminum).
The main question for most people is how much of the leached aluminum stays in your body? How much of it makes its way to your brain? Most researchers agree that the answer is “not much.” According to the World Health Organization, a very small percentage of the aluminum that makes its way into your bloodstream ends up in your brain. For some, that is a relief to hear. But others realize that that means the aluminum ends up in your bones, lungs, muscles, and liver. Better than in our brains, yes, but still concerning for some.
The connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s has been debated for decades. This makes those who are genetically predisposed to the disease a bit nervous about any amount of added aluminum in their bodies. They believe that “If ingesting or absorbing aluminum might increase the odds that I could get Alzheimer’s, why chance it?” There are those who take many steps to eliminate as much aluminum from their home as possible. And of course there are those who feel that this is overkill.
Whichever side you fall on, at least you have some information that could help you or a loved one. And if you’d rather be safe than sorry, substitute parchment paper for aluminum foil at your next barbecue. Or line the foil with parchment paper to block the food from touching the foil.