When I think of aluminum foil, I think of my gray cat Lucy. That may sound strange, but I’ll explain. My sons and I found her abandoned in our backyard, just before a hurricane in the summer of 2004. Merely 10 days old, we nursed her back to health. And since then, she’s turned into a chubby and happy kitty, who loves to play with crushed aluminum foil balls.
But aluminum foil may not be all ‘fun and games’. A recent study has shown that heat causes aluminum from the foil to leach out into foods in significantly harmful amounts.1
The researchers found dangerously high levels of aluminum in foods after being cooked, reheated, and even cooled on aluminum foil. The cause for alarm is that when aluminum accumulates in the body, it can lead to osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.
What’s more, Dr. Zubaidy, one of the study authors, comments that:
“The higher the temperature, the more the leaching. Foil is not suitable for cooking and is not suitable for using with vegetables like tomatoes, citrus juice or spices.”2
On the other hand, the researchers also noted that foil can be considered safe to wrap cold foods, since no leaching was observed without heating. They also did not find a difference if the shiny or dull side were in contact with food.
High aluminum levels in the body alter bone mineralization, matrix formation, as well as parathyroid and bone cell activity.3 Ironically, one of the most common signs of excessive aluminum accumulation is hypercalcemia or high calcium levels in the blood.
This happens because the presence of aluminum impedes calcium deposition in bone, thus leading to elevated blood calcium levels.3 As a result, PTH secretion, the hormone secreted by the parathyroid hormone, is greatly depressed.3 Additionally, chronic aluminum toxicity greatly reduces osteoblast population and inhibits bone mineralization, resulting in osteoporosis.3
While the study is less adamant about the link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s than it is about the osteoporosis connection, it does point to evidence that aluminum is deposited in brain tissue. The researchers note that previous studies have found an aluminum build-up in autopsies performed on Alzheimer’s sufferers.
In view of this, you really should avoid using aluminum foil or aluminum utensils for cooking. So here are a few simple steps you can take right away:
As you can see, it’s easy to avoid aluminum in the kitchen.
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