Aluminum for dinner. Why is it dangerous to bake food in foil? | Food and drinks | Kitchen | Arguments and Facts

What is aluminum foil? ⇑

Today it is difficult to imagine a person who has never encountered foil. This material has become an integral part of our daily lives. We see foil when we unwrap a chocolate bar, open a pack of cocoa powder or a box of sweets. Foil has found wide application in medicine, construction, cooking, creativity and other fields. Aluminum foil has long become a common attribute in any kitchen. So what is she?

Foil is the thinnest metal sheet, the thickness of which can vary from 0.0001 to 0.2 mm. It is very malleable and plastic, and can be made from aluminum, copper, gold, silver and other metals. Which of these have you encountered most often?

Every housewife will certainly have a silver roll in her kitchen. This is food foil, the thickness of which is no more than 0.2 mm.


  • absolutely non-toxic and environmentally friendly material;
  • harmless in contact with food;
  • does not impart any foreign odors or tastes;
  • has excellent thermal conductivity;
  • resistance to high temperatures (does not melt even at 600 degrees);
  • allows you to cook without adding oil or other fats.

What should be stored in foil?

Celery is usually sold in a plastic bag, from which almost no one takes it out. Meanwhile, it is plastic packaging
is one of the reasons why this healthy vegetable loses its juiciness and wilts so quickly. The fact is that the bag traps ethylene gas produced by vegetables, which causes the process of their ripening, and at the same time
overripening, accelerates. To stop it
However, celery should be stored wrapped in
. This material seems impenetrable, but in fact aluminum foil allows ethylene to not linger inside as much as in film, and this slows down the ripening process.

Celery stalks, tightly wrapped in foil, can be stored for up to a month and will remain fresh and crisp.
You can store any juicy green vegetables, such as lettuce or broccoli, in the same way. Foil can also be used to store fish, dishes with garlic and other foods with a strong odor.

1 What is best to bake in foil? ⇑

Everyone knows that dishes cooked in foil are juicy, soft and rich in flavor. By choosing this cooking method you get:

  • a less calorie dish that has a natural taste, and steam, without being able to leave your culinary masterpiece, makes it juicy, which allows you to do without sauce and saves a lot of time;
  • 1.5 times faster cooked food (this is especially true for baking a whole goose or turkey, since long-term baking of a large bird without foil leads to drying out of the meat; in foil it will turn out both quickly and juicy);
  • leave the oven clean (the dish in foil is sealed and sauces or marinade will not stain the oven).

It is recommended to bake in aluminum foil:

  • poultry: turkey, chicken, duck or game;
  • meat: beef, pork, lamb, rabbit;
  • vegetables: potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower;
  • independent dishes: casseroles, meatballs, cutlets, French-style meat.

Tip: If you are afraid that the foil will stick to the meat or poultry, you can grease it with a thin layer of vegetable oil before baking, then your dish will definitely not suffer.

Note to the housewife: When starting to bake a dish in foil, take into account the features of your oven and use it as a guide to the cooking time, and not what is written in the recipe. If you are preparing a dish for the first time, follow a few useful tips: – divide the total cooking time by 4; – open the oven every quarter of the total time and check the degree of readiness of the dish; – do not be afraid to unfold the foil for a more accurate check; – to make it easier to unfold the foil, always leave a “seam” on top; – if you wish, you can determine the degree of readiness without unrolling the foil by making one or two punctures in it with a toothpick. Remember that the quality of the foil also matters.

Important: Do not bake raw cereals in foil. They are very demanding of water and there is a high risk of getting a dry and tasteless dish, and they take significantly more time to prepare than when boiling.

2 How to properly cover a dish with foil when baking? ⇑

I think it’s worth starting with what exactly you are going to bake. If we are talking about a whole chicken, duck or boiled pork, then you need to wrap the product tightly, in several layers, and as tightly as possible with foil, so that all the juices remain inside the dish and there is no air gap.

If you want to get a golden brown crust, then literally 10 minutes before cooking, it is recommended to break the seal of the package and let the dish brown.

When we talk about baking vegetables (potatoes, peppers or pumpkin), the principle of wrapping is the same.

If you decide to cook a potato casserole with meat or a roast, then you need to remember that these dishes should simmer in their own juices. To do this, you need to either cover the pan with a lid or cover it with foil so that the steam remains inside.

Tip: Dishes that are sprinkled with grated cheese before going into the oven should never come into contact with the foil, otherwise all the cheese will remain on it.

There are times when the dish is partially covered with foil. For example, roasting a turkey is a long process, so that it turns out evenly browned; experts recommend wrapping the thin parts of the carcass (wings, legs) in foil and removing it only shortly before the dish is ready. This way the wings will turn out to the same degree of friedness as the whole carcass.

There is another option. Ever wondered how suckling pigs appear on movie screens, one half of which is baked and the other half boiled? Of course, you can cut the carcass in half and cook it in different ways, and then put it together just before filming.

Note to the hostess: If you have already put the dish in the oven, but did not immediately think to wrap it in foil, it may brown on the outside, but remain damp on the inside. In such a situation, nothing prevents you from opening the oven in the middle of the cooking process (just be careful not to get burned!) and cover the dish with a piece of foil. This way you will be able to save your culinary masterpiece from excessive browning and bring it to readiness.

I think it’s worth remembering cheesecakes. In the classic recipe, these pies are baked in the oven in a water bath. ” How is that?” – you ask. Easily! The bottom and sides of the mold with the cheesecake are wrapped tightly in several layers of foil, then sent to a larger diameter container filled with water, or a deep baking sheet, and into the oven.

Important: Always check that the water has not evaporated while baking the cheesecake. The cake pan should be about 70% liquid.

There is another option for preparing this dish. The cake takes longer to bake, but the oven temperature is kept lower. The filled crust is placed in the oven at 150 degrees for 1.5 hours. After an hour, you need to watch the dessert very carefully, as there is a possibility of browning on the top.

Tip: It doesn’t really matter which method you choose to make your cheesecake, but you need to control the baking process to make the cake a success. If you see that the dish is starting to brown on top, immediately cover it with a piece of foil: this way you can save it from excessive baking on the outside, while bringing it to readiness on the inside.

Note to the housewife: It is worth noting that you can not only cover or bake in it with foil, but also fold it in several layers to make the missing molds for muffins or juliennes. Thick foil holds its shape perfectly!

4 Which side of the foil should you cover the dish with? ⇑

I think everyone paid attention to the fact that one side of aluminum foil is matte, and the other is glossy. And for sure, at least once in your life you have asked the question: “So which side should I turn the dish on?”

There are many myths and speculations about this. Some say that potatoes should be wrapped with the matte side facing out – this way they will supposedly bake faster. Others argue that meat or chicken must be wrapped with the shiny side on top, otherwise they will not cook. Is it really? Let’s figure it out.

The reason why food-grade aluminum foil has a matte and a glossy side is commonplace and has to do with its production. Foil is made by casting molten aluminum into plates, which are then processed in a rolling mill. The sheets are rolled to a certain thickness, wound and sent to a cold rolling mill, where they are folded in half and rolled a second time.

During the last pass through the rollers, two sheets are rolled simultaneously to create a denser sheet. In this case, the outer side becomes glossy, and the inner pressed surface becomes matte. In other words, the presence of two sides of the foil is just a consequence of the technological process.

Important: Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t matter at all which side of the foil you wrap the dish in. This will not affect the cooking process in any way.

Now there are many who want to argue. People will start talking about the fact that the glossy side of aluminum foil reflects almost 88% of thermal radiation. But, again, it doesn’t matter at all. When you cook in an oven, most of the heat is transferred to the food through convection, meaning hot air transfers heat to the food.

Tip: Wrap the dish with the side of foil that is comfortable and familiar to you. Do not listen to speculation on this matter – they are absolutely groundless.

6 Foil and small household lifehacks ⇑

Have you ever encountered a situation where you need to pour liquid into a bottle with a narrow neck? Certainly! And when you don’t have a funnel at hand? And here aluminum foil comes to the rescue again. The funnel, twisted from several layers of food-grade aluminum, holds its shape perfectly.

If you have prepared food and need to keep it hot for as long as possible, for example mashed potatoes were mashed in advance, before guests arrive, you should immediately wrap the pan in several layers of foil, this will keep the heat inside. You should do the same if you want to take hot food with you into nature.

Have you already thrown out the wine cork, but you couldn’t finish the bottle? Twist the foil cap tightly and plug the bottle. This way your drink will not fade or lose its taste.

You can also use foil to clean tarnished silver. Place a sheet on the bottom of a glass container, place silver items on top, fill with soda solution in a proportion of 1 tbsp. l. soda per 250 ml of boiling water. After 10 minutes, the jewelry will turn white; you can remove it and rinse under running water.

If you don’t want to spend time and tediously cleaning the baking sheet after cooking, cover it with foil before preparing the dish. This way you will save yourself from a routine event.

If you want to extend the life of bananas, wrap their tails tightly in foil, this will keep the fruits fresh and attractive longer.

In cheese and salt

At high processing temperatures, for example, when food is baked in aluminum foil, the ligation process starts – aluminum particles can pass into the food. So, along with a ready-made dish, you can eat from 1 to 2 mg of aluminum. And if you add lemon juice or spices to your food before baking, there will be even more metal in it.

Thus, according to WHO, safe aluminum consumption for humans is about 40 mg per kg of body weight per day. It seems that such an amount of metal cannot enter the body simply after baking food.

Aluminum for dinner. Why is it dangerous to bake food in foil? | Food and drinks | Kitchen | Arguments and Facts
head of the analytical bureau of the expert center of the Union of Consumers “Roskontrol” Andrey Mosov
. In addition, dishes are made from aluminum, it is found in a number of medicines (for example, for the treatment of gastrointestinal problems), antiperspirants, and they are used to purify water. Therefore, in essence, we are constantly consuming aluminum.

“If it directly enters the body in the form of any soluble salt, it will have a toxic effect mainly on the brain, liver and other parenchymal organs,” the expert emphasizes. The most common symptoms of poisoning are bone pain, muscle weakness, muscle cramps, anemia, diseases of the respiratory system, and disturbances in the functioning of the nervous system. And for children, aluminum consumption is fraught with stunted growth and development.

Cooking in foil is harmful! |

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Food-grade aluminum foil is often used for baking fish, meat or vegetables.

This method of cooking has potential health hazards due to the fact that aluminum from foil easily transfers into food, especially when heated and in an acidic environment.

Cooking in aluminum cookware is not as harmful as cooking in foil.

The human body has the ability to get rid of aluminum and excretion of small doses is not a problem. Small doses of aluminum do not pose a health threat.

The WHO has established a safe daily intake of aluminum at 1 mg per kilogram of body weight. For example, for a person weighing 60 kg, the permissible daily intake is 60 mg of aluminum.

Microdoses of aluminum are present in various foods – corn, cheese, salt, herbs, spices, tea, etc.

We receive certain doses of aluminum from the use of pharmacological agents such as antacids and antiperspirants.

Aluminum sulfate is used to purify drinking water and can enter the human body through water.

In general, small doses of aluminum that a person receives daily are considered safe.

The main consumption of aluminum occurs through food.

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Cooking in aluminum foil can significantly increase the amount of aluminum in your diet, so cooking in foil is harmful!

For healthy safe eating, it is better to avoid using aluminum foil for cooking.

It is important to be aware of aluminum concentrations in food when using foil for cooking and to consider any known proven risks.

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Pots and other aluminum cookware tend to oxidize, providing an inert layer that prevents aluminum from leaching into the food. When washing dishes, this protective layer is erased. But as soon as you boil water in this pot several times, its inner surface oxidizes again, becoming dull, creating a natural protection that prevents aluminum from leaching.

Cooking in aluminum foil is a completely different story. Aluminum foil is disposable and we are unable to create an inert layer on it before using it.

The study linked below showed that migration of aluminum into food wrapped in aluminum foil during cooking resulted in aluminum concentrations well above safe levels recommended by the World Health Organization.

Aluminum has a much higher chance of getting from foil into food in an acidic environment when preparing dishes using tomatoes, lemon, cabbage, sour cream, pickled cucumbers, rhubarb, etc., as well as when using table salt and alcohol. Acid, salt and alcohol dissolve aluminum and it easily penetrates into food.

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Research shows that aluminum foil should not be used for cooking. Instead, it is recommended to use stainless steel, glass or porcelain containers as safe containers.

For example, cooking meat in aluminum foil can increase the aluminum content of the finished dish by up to 378%!!!

Foil is less hazardous for wrapping and storing cold foods for short periods of time. But during long-term storage, aluminum will inevitably begin to react with the product stored in foil.

The results of the study linked below indicate that the level of aluminum in milk stored in aluminum cans and in milk products packaged in aluminum foil pouches is beyond acceptable limits and suggests a health hazard.

Why is aluminum dangerous and what health risks can it pose?

The main danger of aluminum is that it is neurotoxic!

Soluble aluminum salts are absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood and the metal settles in the gray matter of the brain. Aluminum affects a number of neuronal processes, such as increasing protein synthesis and neurotransmitter breakdown, decreasing neurotransmitter reuptake, and slowing axonal transport.

Aluminum accumulation has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

High concentrations of aluminum have been found in the brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

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In addition to the potential role of aluminum in brain pathology, several studies suggest that dietary aluminum may be an environmental risk factor for inflammatory bowel disease.

Of course, it is impossible to completely remove aluminum from your diet, but we can reduce the amount of aluminum in our body to a minimum.

For this you need:

– Do not buy or consume industrial products in aluminum containers or packaging (canned food, semi-finished products and ready-made food in aluminum containers, dairy and other products in packaging with an inner layer of aluminum foil, etc. ).

– Do not use aluminum cookware or other aluminum kitchen utensils.

– And most importantly, do not cook in foil and do not use aluminum foil to store food.

I also recommend reading:

Hypertension shortens life expectancy

Prebiotics and probiotics. What is the difference?

Medicines for old age

The effect of stress on the body

Nicotinamide Riboside – anti-aging protection

Prevention and treatment of deep vein thrombosis

Pros and cons of chewing gum

A brief history of the appearance of food-grade aluminum foil

c12/Getty Images

Aluminum foil has long been a common household tool, widely used for cooking. The technology for manufacturing aluminum foil was invented in Switzerland, which is not surprising – manufacturers and sellers of the famous Swiss chocolate went out of their way to come up with the most original and practical packaging for their product, popular all over the world.

It is known that the idea of ​​using foil as wrapping paper came to the mind of the Swiss industrialist Heinrich Alfred Gauci, who patented this innovation in 1909. However, the foil was thick and expensive. But after just a year or two, a certain Georg Robert Neher, also from Switzerland, already patents the technology for manufacturing thin food-grade aluminum foil.

Since then, the equipment has been improved, but the technology for manufacturing this product has remained essentially unchanged – thin aluminum plates are rolled on special machines, obtaining the finished product known to us.

Culinary life hacks, or how to use foil in food –

Most often, we use foil in baking recipes, but few people go beyond the standard wrapping of food in it. Yes, you can also cover the bottom of the baking sheet with metal paper, but it doesn’t come to mind to make something more original out of it. Meanwhile, there are housewives who, with its help, bring a variety of ideas to life and bake original pies in the shape of a heart, star and any other shapes. Don’t be upset if you don’t have a suitable shape, because you can make it yourself from metal paper. If you plan to cut out cookies from rolled out dough, then the bottom is not needed, but it will be useful for making a pie.

How else can you use foil for those who often cook in the oven? Using metal paper, you can “shorten” your baking sheet, because it doesn’t always make sense to completely fill it with base, for example, when making pizza. By making an impromptu side and placing it in the right place, you can make a square one from a rectangular baking sheet. Speaking of pizza. It often happens that during cooking its edges dry out greatly, and if you wrap them in foil, you can avoid this undesirable effect.

Why aluminum is harmful to our body

Now let’s think about the possible consequences. In fact, aluminum is toxic and can cause anemia, cystitis, damage to the skeletal system, kidneys and liver. Moreover, all this has scientifically proven facts. And high levels of aluminum were found in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

It has also been proven that aluminum in large quantities slows down the growth of brain cells, which is also extremely dangerous, especially for children and adolescents. There are suggestions that this toxic metal may cause infertility and certain types of cancer. Finally, food baked in foil is unsafe for pregnant women, as the toxic metal can penetrate the placental barrier and reach the fetal brain.

And here many experts agree that a small aluminum content does not harm a healthy body. However, if a person has problems with the liver or kidneys, or is predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, regular exposure to particles of this metal can cause complications or the development of these diseases.

Finally, one more interesting fact. Although today there are no officially confirmed cases of diseases caused by the use of aluminum foil, countries such as France and Italy, England and Germany, Brazil and Holland have already abandoned the use of this product in cooking.