Let’s talk about aluminum foil. Many people ask if parchment paper and aluminum foil are interchangeable. Sure, both work as a pan lining option that can easily be disposed of and make cleaning your pans quicker. Whether or not aluminum foil is safe for you to cook with is another question altogether, and a much more pressing one.
Aluminum is an element that we humans consume in small doses every day, and generally our bodies are capable of releasing it; however, experts believe we are ingesting more than our bodies are built to handle.
Scientists are researching the kinds of lasting effects prolonged exposure to aluminum foil can have. In a 2012 study researchers suggest using aluminum foil for packaging only, and that it is not recommended to use while cooking. According to their research, certain foods with varying acidity cause differing amounts of aluminum to leach into food and “contribute significantly to the daily intake of aluminum through the cooked foods.” More acidity means more aluminum leaching. Foods with spices were observed to contribute even more to the leaching of aluminum.
High concentrations of aluminum have been found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and it is hypothesized that aluminum may contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's. In 1988 the drinking water in Camelford (Cornwall, UK) was accidentally contaminated by aluminum, causing close to 20,000 people to be exposed to high amounts of the substance. In a ten year follow up study, those residents were found to have had cerebral impairments such as memory loss and interrupted concentration. Many other studies are cited within this particular source that give an in-depth look at the different issues that have arisen from prolonged exposure to aluminum.
Unbleached parchment paper is a much better option for your cooking and baking needs. Parchment with a vegetable silicone coating has not been through any bleaching processes and does not have any added metals or chemicals. It is a more natural and healthy option when it comes to cooking or baking in high heats. There is no leaching of chemicals into your food and you still have the convenience of a non-stick, easy to clean up surface. While aluminum foil will keep your pans clean, food may still stick to the aluminum itself because it is not intended as a non-stick surface. Parchment paper will release your food without any sticking because it is designed to replace oil or butter on your pan.
If your priority is food safety in addition to convenience, parchment paper is the way to go. It's natural and it provides even more benefits as a pan liner than aluminum foil, it's a win-win!
Check out our full line of unbleached, eco-friendly, vegetable silicone coated parchment paper for all of your baking needs. Our sheets are perfectly fitted for your pans and come in a wide variety of sizes (for both baking sheets and cake pans). You'll be glad you did!