The past while i have had to use aluminium foil when baking or cooking. Or let me rephrase that: I ran out of baking paper and had aluminium foil at home so choose to use that instead of buying more baking paper, or investing in reusable baking mats.
I have then gotten several/quite a few messages telling me that using aluminium foil is bad. And i know it is…. but at the same time i don’t really. I have just heard it is not good, and i presume that it is because of the environmental impact and that you most often just use it once and then throw it away.
But i thought it was time that i finally sat down and researched, why aluminium foil isn’t good, and maybe that will make me invest in some reusable baking mats (which really aren’t expensive, so i don’t know why i don’t just buy them!).
Fun fact before i get into this post. I have actually had an aluminium foil company quite adamentally message me about doing a cooperation and offering quite a huge sum of money for it….. but it hasn’t been something i have been willing to do a sponsored post about, hahaha.
So let’s get into the research and facts:
What is aluminium foil? “Aluminum foil, or tin foil, is a paper-thin, shiny sheet of aluminum metal. It’s made by rolling large slabs of aluminum until they are less than 0.2 mm thick.” (source)
Aluminium is found in small amounts in the air, soil, water and food as it is one of the most abundant metals on earth. Of course, how much you actually absorb varies – but is rather little and not deemed as a problem.
However, it seems that some of the aluminium in aluminium foil (or aluminium utensils) can leach into your food when cooking. Things like cooking at a higher teperature, cooking with acidic food and cooking with salt and spices increase the amount which can be absorbed/leached into the food. HOWEVER, it is still deemed safe by researchers to use aluminium foil – as it would be such tiny amounts that leach out. I.e the average use of aluminum foil is deemed as safe, and for normal healthy people their bodies can excrete the excess aluminium – if there is an excess.
There seems to be speculation that aluminium could be linked to certain illnesses – but more research needs to be done to confirm a correlation.
There are certain ways you can avoid /minimize exposure to aluminum and that is:
- Avoid high-heat cooking: Cook your foods at lower temperatures when possible.
- Use less aluminum foil: Reduce your use of aluminum foil for cooking, especially if cooking with acidic foods, like tomatoes or lemons.
- Use non-aluminum utensils: Use non-aluminum utensils to cook your food, such as glass or porcelain dishes and utensils.
- Using glass or porcelain when cooking can be a good option, and using reusable baking paper or parchment paper to wrap the food when possible.
- If possible use recycled aluminium.
Also important, to not store food in their tins/cans once opened (something i do a little too often.)
What about aluminium and the environment?
“One ton of aluminum takes about 170 million BTUs to produce—about as much as 1,400 gallons of gasoline—and emits about 12 tons of greenhouse gases. It’s also very long-lasting, taking as much as 400 years to break down after it’s discarded (not to mention the fact that it’s heavier than other disposable wraps). All those factors contribute to the importance of recycling aluminum—something most of us do with cans, but for some reason fail to do with tinfoil. “ (source)
I must admit, i have never actually thought about recycling aluminum foil… and i don’t know why. But also, when i use tinfoil it always ends up all greasy and i have just thrown it in the trash. .But now i realise that may not be such a good thing to do.
Is aluminium foil better than plastic?
To some extent yes, as it is reusable as well as doesn’t have BPA’s which can be found in plastic. From what i have read, neither are that great and it is better to go for other options such as glass jars or containers. It takes alot longer for plastic to deteriorate from our environment, so using aluminium foil would be better.
From my understanding of what i have read is that: No, aluminium foil may not be the best option but it is not the worst option either. And doesn’t have to be negative or lead to negative consequences – unless you were to maybe wrap your salted meat and tomatoes and grill them in high temperatures 3 times a day for 50years straight… then maybe there are health risks. But using it a few times a week there may not be any damaging health conseuqneces, not that research can show right now.
However, i would of course promote using other products instead, and my goal is to limit the amount of foil i use, primarily for the sake of the environment.
If anyone has any other tips or what to use instead of tinfoil, comment down below!