Aluminum foil is something that is regularly used in the culinary arts. Whether it be wrapping a Jamaican patty up in tin foil or shoving a baked potato into the oven, aluminum foil can be found in most families’ kitchens. But according to new research and studies, aluminum foil can actually be detrimental to one’s health.
A study conducted by Ghada Bassioni for Ain Shams University found that aluminum (the primary dangerous component of aluminum foil) is not only prevalent in the foil itself but also in a lot of cookware. According to a Huffington Post article which reviewed aluminum foil, they said: ‘while cooking your food in aluminum pots or pans isn’t a bad thing, placing it in foil and putting it in the oven is problematic. This is especially true with acidic or spicy food that’s prepared at high temperatures.’
The World Health Organisation has a daily intake for the amount of aluminum that a human body should ingest because the human body is only capable of processing small amounts of aluminum efficiently. The WHO recognizes that limit as 40mg per kilogram of body weight per day. The Huffington Post article went on to state: ‘aluminium is present in corn, yellow cheese, salt, herbs, spices, and tea. It’s used in cooking utensils, as described above, as well as in pharmacological agents like antacids and antiperspirants. Aluminum sulfate, which is derived from aluminum, is used as a coagulant during the purification process of drinking water.’
A Health Line article indicated that while most aluminum intake is derived from food such as fruits, spinach, radishes, mushrooms, vegetables and some meats ‘aluminum foil, cooking utensils and containers can leach aluminum into your food.’ A United States National Library of Medicine journal revealed that cooking red meat in aluminum foil can increase the aluminum content between 89 to 378 percent.
A study published in the International Journal of Electrochemical Science in 2012 found that the amount of aluminum that leaches into food is based on the type of food and what spices accompanied it. A Reader’s Digest article stated: ‘the amount varied based on factors such as temperature and acidity (fish and tomatoes are highly acidic), but the findings showed conclusively that aluminum foil does leach into food cooked in foil.’ Ghada said: ‘The acidity of the food would enhance further leaching of aluminum into the meal. How aluminum will actually harm your body depends on many factors like your overall well-being and consequently how much your body can handle the accumulation of it in relation to the allowable dosages set by the World Health Organization.’
A Health Line article, as well as a Reader’s Digest article, suggests that people with Alzheimer’s have a high level of aluminum in their brains but there is no direct correlation between a high intake of aluminum and Alzheimer’s.
The Health Line article stated: ‘in addition to its potential role in brain disease, a handful of studies have suggested that dietary aluminum could be an environmental risk factor for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Despite some test-tube and animal studies that allude to correlation, no studies have yet found a definitive link between aluminum intake and IBD.’