Cooking sprays are a great way to add convenience to the kitchen. But recently, the ingredients in conventional cooking sprays have come under pressure (no pun intended) and we want you to know why.
Is cooking spray bad for you? Most conventional cooking sprays do not just contain oil; many are loaded with questionable additives. Let's take a look at the additives most commonly found in these sprays.
Dimethyl silicone is an anti-foaming agent. It is also used as a textile finishing agent, paint additive, and an ingredient in cosmetics. The health implications of ingesting dimethyl silicone have not been extensively researched and therefore are not well understood. Our best advice for this ingredient…eat at your own risk.
Soy lecithin is a waste product produced by the refining of soybean oil. In conventional cooking sprays, it serves as an emulsifying agent. In other words, it prevents ingredients from separating. Critics claim that consumption of soy lecithin is harmful to our health and likely contains varying amounts of pesticides and solvents leftover from the growing and refining of soybeans.
Propellants, in conventional cooking sprays, are chemicals used to drive the fluid out of the can. Although most cooking sprays list “propellant” on the ingredient list, most fail to mention which propellant is used. However we did a little research. Nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, propane, n-butane and isobutane are all common aerosol propellants. Yes, we said propane. Not something you would want to cook your eggs in!
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)
The vast majority of soy, corn, and rapeseed (canola) oils are derived from genetically modified crops (GM crops). GM Crops come from seeds whose genes have been altered in order to enhance the growth, survivability, and/or nutritional value of the organism. The growing popularity and usage of GM crops has given rise to a wide range of health and environmental concerns. Studies assessing the health risks and environmental impact of GM crops have discovered a number of alarming results. Glyphosate, an ingredient found in the herbicide extensively used in GM crops, is speculated to be linked to digestive disorders, obesity, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, liver diseases, and cancer, to name a few (Samsel et al., 2013), (1-4).
To avoid the potentially harmful affects of cooking oils derived from GM crops, look for the Non-GMO Project verified seal on your next purchase.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), the propellants previously used in aerosols, have been found to deplete the ozone layer. Now, Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are used instead, but not without environmental impact. Environmental hazards linked to HFCs include global warming, flammability hazard, adverse effect of exposure, and ecotoxicity (having an adverse effect on the environment and the organisms living in it) (5).
In closure, we have good news for all of you environment-loving, health-conscious, cooking spray enthusiasts out there. Chosen Foods is now creating healthy cooking sprays made with only one ingredient, 100% pure oil (additive, GMO and propellant free). Our avocado oil spray is perfect for high heat cooking, baking, and spritzing salads. Find it in select Whole Foods Markets or online.
1. Thongprakaisang, S., Thiantanawat, A., Rangkadilok, N., Suriyo, T., & Satayavivad, J. (2013). Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 59, 129-136.
2. Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases. Entropy. 2013; 15(4):1416-1463.
3. Laxman L, Ansari AH. GMOs, safety concerns and international trade: Developing countries’ perspective. Journal of International Trade Law & Policy. 2011;10(3):281-307.
4. Walsh L, McCormick C, Martin C, Stocco D. Roundup Inhibits Steroidogenesis by Disrupting Steroidogenic Acute Regulatory (StAR) Protein Expression. Environmental Health Perspectives [serial online]. August 2000;108(8):769. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed July 24, 2014.
5. Tsai, W. T. (2005). An overview of environmental hazards and exposure risk of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Chemosphere, 61(11), 1539-1547.