We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting pots and pans for cooking, ranging from traditional aluminum handis to stylish ceramic pans. However, one type that remains a staple in every kitchen is non-stick cookware. It’s affordable, user-friendly, and notably reduces oil consumption. But does this convenience equate to healthiness for daily use? While conventional wisdom lauds non-stick cookware for its oil-saving benefits, experts offer a different perspective. A recent report from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) warns against the potential side effects of improper non-stick cookware usage. Let’s delve deeper.

Understanding Non-Stick Cookware

What’s It Made Of? Non-stick cookware is designed to prevent food from sticking to its surface, typically achieved through a coating of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon. This synthetic chemical, developed in the 1930s, comprises carbon and fluorine atoms, delivering a non-reactive, non-stick, and frictionless cooking surface.

Is Non-Stick Cookware Safe to Use?

The safety of non-stick coatings has been under scrutiny for years, primarily due to the presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in Teflon. Studies have linked PFOA to various health risks, including chronic kidney disease, liver disease, infertility, and low birth weight. The ICMR’s 2024 Dietary Guidelines for Indians also caution against non-stick cookware usage, citing health concerns associated with overheating (temperatures exceeding 170 degrees Celsius), which can release toxic fumes and chemicals into cooked food, potentially causing respiratory irritation and flu-like symptoms.

Healthy Alternatives to Non-Stick Cookware

In light of these concerns, the ICMR recommends eco-friendly alternatives such as earthen pots and coating-free granite utensils for healthier cooking practices.

Advantages of Cooking in Earthen Cookware

Earthen pots offer several benefits, including even heat distribution, reduced oil consumption, and prolonged cooking times that retain maximum moisture and nutrients. Additionally, they impart a natural smoky and earthy flavor to dishes.

Advantages of Cooking with Coating-Free Granite Utensils

Granite cookware is chemical-free, non-toxic, and energy-efficient, retaining heat well after cooking. Lightweight, durable, and easy to clean, granite utensils are suitable for low to medium-heat cooking.

Choose Your Cookware Wisely

Select your cookware mindfully to ensure a healthy meal experience, considering the diverse advantages offered by eco-friendly options like earthen pots and granite utensils.