Who Knew This Scary Fact About Grilling?
I can't believe summer is already here! How did that happen and where did the time go?
Now that we've unofficially kicked off the start of summer vacation and Memorial Day weekend has quickly come and gone, we're also full swing into one of my favorite times of the year...grilling season.
I love everything about a BBQ (that's the NJ in me...down here we refer to it as cookout). It usually involves two of my favorite things...friends and family and doesn't food just taste better when it's been on the grill? Charcoal or propane...it doesn't matter. I've never really been one for hot dogs or even burgers...but on the grill who can turn one down? This holiday weekend I went to 4 separate cookouts and at every single one there was the All American staple...hamburgers and hot dogs. It's a national tradition.
But, as much as I love grilling out I just learned something for the first time that I never knew. Apparently it is not safe to cook with aluminum foil on the grill! Yep, who knew? It's so easy to just throw some fish on aluminum foil or wrap an ear of corn and baked potato up in foil and cook on the grill, however this can lead to long term health issues. According to a 2012 study, aluminum can leach the foil into your food when cooking at high temperatures. In other words, metal can transfer from the foil into your food. This is especially relevant when you are cooking spicy and acidic foods, like all those spicy and vinegary marinades we love to drench our meats in. Anything acidic sparks a particularly aggressive process that dissolves layers of aluminum into food.
Scientists have been studying exploring whether over-exposure to aluminum may be harmful over the years because aluminum is in everything from drinking water to deodorant and even in your utensils. However, high concentrations of aluminum have been found in the brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Aluminum can pose other health risks as well. Similar studies have suggested that high aluminum intake may be harmful and pose a threat of nervous system, brain, and bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, or possibly cause renal impairment. It will also reduce the growth rate of human brain cells and might put you at risk for anemia if your kidneys aren't filtering it out of your system properly leading to kidney damage.
One way to be sure your food doesn't actually come into contact with the aluminum foil, is line the foil with parchment paper first. This way you still get to enjoy the versatility and durability of foil, especially when cooking over high heat on the grill, but your food isn't touching the foil itself, so no aluminum can leach into it leading to the digestion of toxins.