Ignore the Slick Advertising for Non-Stick
A non-stick, synthetic surface on cookware, is less durable than the underlying metal and is therefore reactive and toxic. With use, the coating will pit, scratch and wear off from the pan and into your food. Don’t be seduced by advertisements for nonstick cookware. And don’t despair; there are safe, non-reactive alternatives.
Ceramic Coated Pans
To make the so-called ceramic coatings, a metal pot is dipped into or sprayed with a plastic (chemically based polymer) solution. As these synthetic, plastic-like coatings are softer than metal, the surface degrades with normal use. The life expectancy of a nonstick ceramic-coated pot is about one year. Once the synthetic coating wears thin, pits or scratches, toxic metals from the underlying metal can leach into foodstuffs. And the coating itself may contain toxic metals like arsenic.
Do NOT use non-stick ceramic cookware; it’s potentially toxic. However, superior 100% ceramic cookware is non reactive; it is not advertised as “non-stick” because foods will stick unless you add oil or water. 100% ceramic withstands erosion and temperatures exceeding 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Also see Healthy Cookware; Food Tastes Best when Cooked in Clay; and 100% Ceramic: A Great Choice for Cookware.
Non-Stick Cookware Coated with a Synthetic Fluoropolymer
Also avoid Teflon or Teflon-like non-stick pans even if they are PTFE and PFOA free. If heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit the polymers emit noxious fumes that are lethal to parakeets and certainly not healthy for humans. Once overheated, the coating starts to break down at the molecular level and toxic particles and gases, some of them carcinogenic, can be released.
So long before the pan is scratched, if it gets overheated, it’s reactive. Even though I never intend to boil a pot dry, I did so just last week. Had that pot been Teflon, its temperatures would have exceeded the safety limit.
Don’t be fooled by Swiss Diamond Cookware; the polymer used to make it is PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene); one of the same toxic chemicals found in Teflon. While titanium is an ingredient in the non-stick surface of Gotham Steel cookware, the non-stick fluoropolymer is synthetic and therefore reactive. For healthy cookware, favor 100% ceramic or earthenware; second best is stainless steel.
Aluminum cookware is reactive and taints your food with aluminum. When ingested, aluminum is deposited in various bodily tissues and can cause illness and even death; it’s also a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
When new, Anodized Aluminum is non-reactive as the electrochemical anodizing process “locks in” the aluminum. I’ve read, but am yet to see studies, that older, or heavily used anodized aluminum pots may release aluminum.
Cast Aluminum pans are more stable than thin aluminum pans, but they are reactive and therefore not recommended.
As much as possible, avoid cooking with Aluminum Foil. A potato, for example, bakes just fine in its own jacket and doesn’t need to be foil wrapped.
Coda: Cookware is only part of the story of cooking and healthy eating, albeit a very important part. Knowing what foods may cause intolerances in our body is the most overlooked yet simple way to influence our health. In my book, Read Your Face, I show how to identify obvious clues about diet and health – things you can easily change for happier and healthier eating. Learn more about Face Reading and Diet.
May you be well nourished,