Does It Really Matter Which Side Of Aluminum Foil You Use?

You may have heard that you should use one specific side of aluminum foil. Whether the reason was about health concerns or simply to make cooking and cleaning up easier, chances are the myth about using the dull side of the foil has made its way to you in one way or another. Fortunately, the answer to this longstanding question is actually quite straightforward.

As it turns out, it really does not matter which side of the aluminum foil you use. "Regardless of the side, both sides do the same job cooking, freezing and storing food," Mike Mazza, marketing director for Reynolds Wrap explained to TODAY. The only time it does matter is if you specifically buy non-stick foil. In that case, the non-stick coating is only applied to one side. That said, it should be labeled as such, making your decision pretty easy.

Those who are still skeptical of the difference between the shiny and dull sides of aluminum foil should rest easy knowing that it's simply the result of the foil manufacturing process. "In the final rolling step, two layers of foil are passed through the rolling mill at the same time. The side coming in contact with the mill's highly polished steel rollers becomes shiny," Mazza said. The other side, then, is the dull one that didn't directly touch the rollers.

Aluminum foil doesn't cause dementia

Another persistent myth is that one side of aluminum foil somehow leads to cognitive issues or even an increased risk of cancer. Yet, those who are concerned that it might cause either health issue can rest easy. That food myth has been busted by Dr. Robert Yokel, a toxicology professor who specifically studies aluminum at the University of Kentucky (via USA Today). According to Dr. Yokel, the average adult consumes less than 1%, or seven to nine milligrams, of aluminum from various sources throughout each day. That level of exposure is not nearly enough to cause harm in most adults, much less dementia or cancer. "If one goes to a high enough concentration, basically of anything, one can produce toxic effects. The dose makes the poison," he explained.

In certain unique contexts, aluminum is primarily linked to dementia (along with other health impacts) for individuals with low kidney function. However, according to USA Today, those health problems are never the result of dietary exposure. Instead, the issue is generally caused by aluminum-contaminated dialysis fluid. Foil's got practically nothing to do with it in the first place, regardless of what side of it you use.

So no matter if you're trying to stop your food from sticking or concerned about health issues, you can use either side of your aluminum foil without a second thought.