There has been a lot of talk about the different types of cookware and what type is the best. From non-stick, low-fat cookware to cast iron, stainless steel or aluminum, there are mixed messages about what is the best. Hopefully, this article will summarize the facts and ease your mind on what choice you make for cooking. Next article, I’ll go into more detail about Teflon and the debate over non-stick pans.
The Good News
The comforting news is that pretty much all the choices for cookware are quite safe, as long as you are not using a damaged product. Many of the rumors that you have heard or seen on the internet or through social circles are actually not accurate. What a surprise! Here are the facts:
Aluminum cookware – Claims have been made linking aluminum to Alzheimer’s disease and other health problems, but these claims have NOT been supported by any scientific research. In fact, according to the FDA, taking one antacid or aspirin tablet provides the body with far more aluminum than cooking and storing an entire day’s meals in aluminum pans. Take care to not scratch the pan in order to keep excess aluminum from entering your food.
Teflon/non-stick pans – There is a lot of controversy over Teflon® and non-stick pans.Some say that the chemicals used to make it can cause health problems. The bottom line is that there is a very small amount of the chemical in question (PFOA). As long as your non-stick pans are not damaged or heated to very high temperatures (you would see them smoking), you should be fine. Be sure you are using wood or silicone cooking utensils so that you do not scratch the surface of the pans.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cast Iron pans – These are classic, inexpensive and naturally non-stick! They can actually add iron to food that you cook in it. Many cooks love cast iron pans. The only downside? You have to be particular about how you clean them and they can be VERY HEAVY!
Stainless steel – is made mostly of steel, but this type of cookware also contains small amounts of chromium and nickel. The best composition is 18/10 (18 parts chromium and 10 parts nickel).
Stainless steel is sturdy and easy to clean. However, when scratched or worn, the chromium and/or nickel may leach into food, causing negative health effects. To avoid the leaching, use only nonabrasive materials to clean stainless steel pots and pans.
You might wonder what I use at home. When my husband and I first got married, we had non-stick pans. However, with years of use and abuse (mainly by me!), they had bubbles and scratches. We got rid of our non-stick frying pans, but we kept the non-stick pots that we use for cooking soups and steaming vegetables as they were still in good shape. We purchased 3 stainless steel frying pans and 1 cast iron pan. So far so good!
If you want to read more reviews, I found these two articles helpful and pragmatic. My favorite!
What is your preferred cookware? Have you ever burned the non-stick coating on your pans? Share your story on the my facebook page