Did you know that kitchenware can contain toxins and release them during cooking?
It's not fun to invest in healthy food and end up transferring unwanted heavy materials into the food we cook.
If you try to search for information about which material is the healthiest you will find that there are many options and some of them are a bit confusing.
To help you, I have prepared a ranking of the best non-toxic pots and pans on the market.
From the outset, you should know that we should not be alarmed. Having as much information as possible will only help us make better decisions in the future.
Heavy materials that can be ingested by cooking with unsuitable pots and pans do not usually cause immediate damage to health, but can end up causing some toxicity in the long term.
What materials do we want to avoid?
If you have to buy household goods, these are the materials you should banish from your kitchen and replace them as soon as possible.
Teflon and other non-stick coatings
Teflon, which is the name of the best-known brand, is in fact Polytetrafluoroethylene (PFTE). This material is a non-stick polymer that has become popular in recent years.
It is used in the coatings on frying pans to prevent food from sticking to them, this has been a great advantage. However, what we did not know was its negative impact on health.
What happens when Teflon reaches high temperatures?
The WHO declared Teflon to be a possible carcinogen (which produces cancer or favors its appearance). Some studies have shown that at normal cooking temperatures release various gases and chemicals. Although studies are lacking to ratify this conclusion, the level of toxicity that may be caused by inhalation is unknown.
Along with Teflon we see other indications such as "PFOA-free".
What does PFOA mean?
PFOA or Perfluorooctanoic Acid is the compound that binds the non-stick coating (Teflon) to the pan. This compound turns out to be an endocrine disruptor and is associated with serious diseases such as cancer.
The problem then goes beyond the Teflon in question.
When the Teflon layer deteriorates with use, the food then comes into contact with the next layer, PFOA.
PFOA besides being detrimental to our health, it is also detrimental to the planet, since it is considered very environmentally unfriendly.
The marketing of PFOA has been banned in Europe since July 2020, which is why brands use the "PFOA" label., "PFOA-free".
Some health consequences of these components
Although more studies are needed to confirm at what level these materials affect human health, at the moment everything points to:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- liver problems
- immunological alterations
- delayed puberty
- increased uric acid levels
If it is banned, but non-stick pans are still sold, what has PFOA been replaced with?
Some manufacturers use other chemicals such as GenX, but at present there is still no certainty that these substitutes are a safer option.
With the lack of information, we can believe that these alternatives could generate similar toxicity to the PFOA models. For this reason, it is not considered a safe material.
Another option that has been widely used for being very economical, lightweight and a good conductor of heat is aluminum.
We have studies that conclude that aluminum household is transferred to food and affects our brain when ingested. It acts as a neurotoxic and causes diseases such as Alzheimer.
Fortunately nowadays it is not common to sell this type of pots and pans. They remind me of the pots and pans my grandfather had in the village.
But, it is also common to wrap food for baking in the oven with aluminum foil, and the consequences of this use remain just as negative.
It is best to eliminate aluminum in any form in the kitchen.
You may think that this material is not used for cooking, but the tupperware in which we store food is also where we heat the food.
Plastic has no positive points. In addition to being a environmental problem often contains BPA.
Why not use plastic tupperware?
The main reason why you should not use plastic tupperware is that it often contains a chemical compound bisphenol-A or BPA that appears to mimic the structure of natural estrogens.
What is BPA?
BPA is a common component in plastics. It is a oil derivative. It is considered a endocrine disruptor that can cause or aggravate health problems such as diabetes, obesity, infertility, cancers, and other health problems ...
It is curious that in Europe, BPA is banned in food packaging for babies. But there is no such obligation for packaging intended for adults, which are also negatively impacted by BPA.
Now that we know the materials we don't want in our kitchen, which pots and pans should I use that are safe?
The best pots and pans
These are the best materials to choose when buying new home furnishings:
Cast, enameled or mineral iron
Undoubtedly the best choice with respect to your health, but has some practicality drawbacks:
- They are quite heavy making it a bit uncomfortable to operate, especially for older people.
- The price may seem high at the beginning, but this type of kitchenware is of such quality that its lifetime use is much higher than other options.
- Requires dedication good care to ensure that it is well maintained, greasing and drying after each use.
- It is important that they are of quality and do not contain lead in their composition.
- It is not recommended to cook long periods of time and do not use them on a daily basis because excessive iron may not be good for our organism..
The most modern versions are bathed in a vitrified enamel with some advantages:
- Their maintenance is easier: no cure required
- No iron transfer occurs to food.
- As these are high quality parts, it can be said that they last a lifetime. Sometimes they are even passed on to the next generation.
- Both models withstand high temperatures.
Zwilling Frying Pans
BOJ Frying Pans
*At ZWILLING you have a discount with the coupon ANABELPUMP on all non-discounted products.
It must be ensured that the enamel must not contain lead or cadmium.
I find this type of pots and pans super beautiful. They inspire me to cook and to do it without rushing. I love all shapes, sizes and colors. And since I know they will surely last me a lifetime I feel better about buying them because they are not cheap.
Cast iron cocotte
TIP! Don't skimp on centimeters.
I have two cocottes, a round one of 26 cm that you see on the cover of the article and an oval one of 31 cm.
As we have said, these pots are not cheap, but the economic difference between one size and another is small compared to the versatility that a few extra centimeters can give you.
Unless you have very, very limited space in the kitchen, my advice is to go for the larger size, you will never regret it.
There is also the iron ore, this other version is slightly lighter than the two previous, although it is still heavy.
Its main advantage is that it is more affordable than the previous ones and is still just as good for cooking.
Lyon iron frying pan
Frying pan B iron
In the following article I discuss in detail the differences between these three types of iron pans and pots, with their peculiarities in the care, differences in use and price.
Another totally reliable material.
And as we have just commented in the previous case, if they have enamel it is important that must not contain lead or cadmium.
This is all a bit complicated because this information provided by the manufacturer is usually not clearly specified on the product.
Glass is the safer material for food preservation and cooking.
The major drawback is that these pans are not suitable for all types of fires. For example, you cannot cook on induction although you can purchase an adapter.
Visions glass ladle set
Maybe you don't find a glass pot + adapter practical, but can use glass in the tupperware where we keep and heat the food.
At home, we got rid of plastic containers years ago as they were breaking down and replaced them with glass.
My recommendation is that even if you are not going to transport them, you should opt for the airtight ones because this way you not only ensure that you do not spill but also that you preserve the food better and for a longer time.
Other recommended materials
There are other non-toxic options on the market if we pay attention to the material they are made of.
Stainless steel comes in many types. The 18/10 composed of 18% of chromium and 10% of nickel, is the most commonly used in kitchen products..
Best stainless steel cookware.
- Free shipping on orders over 50€.
- 14 days for returns
- Guaranteed quality
**At ZWILLING you have discount with the coupon ANABELPUMP on all non-discounted products.
Advantages stainless steel pans:
- Non-porous surface so that does not pick up food flavors and odors.
- Resistant to heat up to 400 °C.
- Material durable and resistant to wear and tear.
- Weighs less than iron.
- Intermediate price.
Saute Frying Pan 24 cm inox
Zwilling Pico 16 cm
How to cook to avoid food sticking?
You may find it difficult to cook in stainless steel pans if you were previously using nonstick. Just follow these steps:
- Heat the pan without adding anything.
- Make a test before throwing the oil. Throw a few drops of water, they should run down the pan as if they were little balls. If they still stay in place, wait a little longer.
- When it has passed the water test by dancing like little balls, you can add the oil with which you are going to cook and then the food.
Ceramic is a 100% safe material as is glass, however these pans are actually made of aluminum and/or stainless steel, ceramic coated.
But as with the Teflon option, there is a layer that serves as a bonding layer between the pan material and the coating. If the ceramic becomes damaged and the material underneath is toxic, it would not be a good option.
It is important to check that they do not contain PFOA or heavy materials.
Although they are ideal because they do not stick and do not require special care, they are expensive pans.
Toxic-free frying pans
Demeyere offers its customers 30-year warranty limited in their frying pans.
It is a 100% non-toxic material, it is necessary to look at the enamels used in the finish. Once again, this must not contain lead.
The porcelain is a material very similar to ceramics, since it made of the same type of materials: clay, sands and other inert materials. The main difference is that in the manufacturing process more temperature is used.
The result is a more resistant and less porous pot than the ceramic one.
Are the instant pot and crockpot good?
The Instant Pot uses a bucket of food grade stainless steel so you have nothing to worry about.
There are many models of slow cookers. At home, we have this one and the bowl is ceramic. Another material with which we can cook with complete peace of mind.
What do I do now? I had no idea about all this
First of all, there is no need to be alarmed; having as much information as possible will help us to make better decisions in the future.
The amount of toxics that are passed on are inside the limitsthat we are considered to be able to tolerate.
It is not a matter of throwing away all our household utensils, but knowing that some materials are safer than others, you will be able to renew the pots and pans in your kitchen in a healthier way.
- Start with frying pans
Although the price may scare you at first if you invest in buying better pieces for the kitchen is not only a benefit for your health, it is also for the environment because they will last much longer. Consider that on the other hand, you will save money by not having to renew every few years.
With them we cook at higher temperatures. The higher the heat, the greater the instability of the materials, which can transfer undesirable molecules to the food..
- Buy quality products
Today it is still difficult to make a purchase knowing 100% about the materials used. Unlike food labels that must include all the ingredients, household brands are not obliged to detail the composition of their pots and pans, so they can play with the marketing message they want to give us without having clear information.
It is therefore important to choose trusted brands.
- Vary the way food is cooked to avoid always cooking at high temperatures.
Combine different recipes that include slow cooking or medium temperature.
- To extend the life of our pots and pans
Avoid subjecting kitchenware to large temperature changes. Do not immerse them in cold water just after cooking when they are still hot. If you want to soak them to help clean them more easily, wait until they have cooled.
Hand wash them because although many brands advertise that their products are dishwasher safe, it is best to avoid cleaning pots and pans this way if we want to extend their useful life.