Researchers at the American University of Sharjah, Dr. Fathia Mohammed and Dr. Essam Zubaidy, have issued a concerning warning regarding the use of aluminium foil in cooking. Their extensive research has unveiled that a single meal cooked with aluminium foil can contain up to a staggering 400 mg of this metal, well beyond the acceptable daily limit of 60 mg per person. The implications of this discovery are alarming.
Aluminium, when absorbed by the body, can accumulate in the bones and brain, leading to severe health issues like Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. To convey this message, the duo conducted experiments with various cooking methods, temperatures, and substances, including meats, tomato juice, citric acids, and more. The results were unequivocal – aluminium foil should only be used for packing, not cooking.
Their research scrutinized foil from different sources, including China, India, and Egypt. Environmental scanning electron microscopy revealed significant leaching of aluminium into the food, especially at higher temperatures. Notably, citrus juices, spices, and vegetables like tomatoes exacerbated this issue.
Osteoporosis is a major concern associated with long-term aluminium absorption, as aluminium shares characteristics with calcium and can incorporate into bone structure. Additionally, it can accumulate in brain tissue, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Toxicologist Dr. Mohamed Yousef Baniyas noted that while the amount of aluminium released during cooking may not be dangerous for healthy individuals, its connection to Alzheimer’s warrants further investigation. The presence of aluminium in water and its occurrence in foods like processed cheese and baked pastries cooked on aluminium trays have raised additional concerns.
Dr. Mohammed suggested mitigating leaching by adding spices, salt, vinegar, and citrus juice at the end of cooking. However, alternatives like titanium or stainless steel cookware are either expensive or less effective conductors of heat. Recycled aluminium pots can pose an even greater risk if scratched.
In their latest article, the researchers concluded that “excessive consumption of food baked with aluminium foil may carry a serious health risk.” This revelation underscores the need for heightened awareness about the potential dangers of cooking with aluminium foil and the importance of exploring safer alternatives.