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We know that what we eat impacts our health, but what about how we prepare our food and eat it? Does it matter what kind of cookware and utensils we use?

Nonstick pans seem like a great option since, well, food won’t stick, but are they safe? At normal cooking temperatures, Teflon-coated cookware releases various gases and chemicals that present mild to severe toxicity, and the coating itself can degrade over time, so some of the Teflon can chip off and make its way into the food. I’d stick with non-non-stick pans to be safe.

What about aluminum cookware? Users had twice the level of aluminum in their blood, and those with the highest levels tended to suffer significantly more damage to their DNA. Occasionally using aluminum pots, utensils, and bottles may not be problematic, but regular, daily use isn’t ideal. And aluminum foil? There is leakage from foil to food, but it’s more of an issue for young children or those suffering from diminished kidney function.

Polyamide plastics are often used to make kitchenware, but polyamide chemicals can migrate into our food. Nearly one in three black plastic utensils tested exceeded the upper safety limit, and up to about one in three were found to be contaminated with flame-retardant chemicals. Opt for wooden and stainless steel utensils instead.

Melamine, used to make inexpensive, hard plastic kitchenware, isn’t suitable for microwaves and cooking, but what about just eating or drinking? Exposure to the chemical compound is significantly associated with kidney function deterioration in patients with early-stage chronic kidney disease, so I’d skip melamine altogether.

The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.

Image Credit: Clem Onojeghuo / Unsplash. This image has been modified.

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