Healthy Cookware: The Aviva Philosophy
By Nathan Zassman
One of my passions at Aviva is researching and evaluating products that can provide health benefits to our customers. My philosophy has always been to look for products that can be integrated into a person's lifestyle, rather than require conscious effort.
Our customers know they don't have to do the research when they're looking for a product at Aviva because I spend so much time comparing and studying every type of health product, from cookware to air purifiers to juicers, from footwear to supplements. If I'm not happy with any product in a particular category I will choose not to carry it, or as in the case of water purification, I thoroughly research the technology and design an original and unique product to meet my demanding specifications.
Cooking has always been a major interest for me. Finding
the best cookware has been one of my interests because I
spend so much time in the kitchen . I love being creative, and
when it comes to cookware , I personally use the products we
sell and recommend at Aviva.
Non-Stick Cookware Coatings
Most non-stick cookware coatings use some type of 'polymer' material to impart the non-stick quality into the cookware surface. PTFE made by Dupont is known as Teflon®, however there are other companies that make PTFE materials under different names. PFOA, a 'carrier chemical' that appears during the production of Teflon and other PTFE raw materials, is the harmful chemical that the EPA has cited as a health risk . During the production process used by Scanpan and Swiss Diamond all PFOA is removed and captured in filters which are then discarded in compliance with applicable laws.
Some websites mention that if you overheat a PTFE (Teflon, etc.) coated pan and you have birds nearby, that the birds can be killed. The respiratory system of birds is extremely sensitive and even overheating cooking oil or butter may kill your beloved parakeet, so this issue is somewhat exaggerated. Nevertheless, there is no PFOA in Swiss Diamond or Scanpan cookware.
Studies have shown that PTFE coated cookware that contains PFOA (brands other than Scanpan and Swiss Diamond) will release the PFOA into the air when heated to high temperatures (over 500°F). By the year 2010, all cookware manufacturers have agreed to produce PFOA free cookware, but Swiss Diamond and Scanpan are PFOA free now. Aviva does not sell cookware with PFOA.
PTFE, even without PFOA, can release noxious fumes when
heated to temperatures above 650°, but temperatures
500° are not recommended for healthful cooking. Foods
at high temperatures could be as dangerous to your health as
the PTFE fumes. PTFE materials that are heated to over
may produce a symptom called "polymer-fume fever," temporary
flu-like symptoms that disappear in 24-36 hours and are
rarely serious. There have been only a few reported cases of
polymer-fume fever in over 50 years of use of non stick PTFE
Normal Use vs. Abuse
I do not recommend high heat for cooking any food, as dangerous AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products) are produced which may be more harmful than the PFOA produced by normal Teflon coated pans. In addition, heating cooking oils (including butter ) to high temperatures may create toxic byproducts. I recommend keeping cooking temperatures under 325F.
The advantage of non stick coatings that use
titanium/ceramic or diamond crystal material, as opposed to
a coating that is "pure Teflon," is that the majority of the
material used is not PTFE (or Teflon). The material used is
predominantly either titanium/ceramic (Scanpan) or diamond
crystals (Swiss Diamond), with a small percentage of the
non stick PTFE material added to provide the non stick
qualities. With products that are Teflon coated, there is
only the Teflon material coated on aluminum; there is no
"carrier material" like titanium/ceramic or diamond
Aviva has been selling Scanpan cookware for almost five years, and while we have been pleased with the quality, performance and durability of Scanpan, I am always looking more great products, as it is my goal to offer the very best in each product category. When I learned of Swiss Diamond cookware I was intrigued and decided to research the product.
I asked for references from customers who had purchased the product, and every individual I spoke with told me that they loved cooking with Swiss Diamond and that they felt this was the most durable, best quality non stick cookware on the market.
At this time, I learned of Mike Adams' article on NewsTarget, now the Natural News website (a great resource). Adams took a sharp pointed fork and scratched the surface of a Swiss Diamond pan, indicating that the surface was easily damaged. As a user of Swiss Diamond cookware for over a year, I have learned that it would take considerable effort to cause this type of damage, and that normal use, even with metal utensils will not damage the surface of a Swiss Diamond pan. Under normal circumstances, cookware would never be subjected to the level of abuse illustrated by Adams. Choice Magazine (Australia) published a comprehensive durability comparison of non-stick products. Swiss Diamond placed 2nd, withstanding an automated, motorized grinding process using a scouring pad that ruined many other pans. The coatings on many of the pans in this test were worn completely off showing the bare aluminum below, but Swiss Diamond showed virtually no damage.
While Scanpan and Swiss Diamond indicate that it is safe
to use metal utensils with their cookware, I see absolutely
no reason to do so. A sharp fork can scratch the surface of
any pan, including stainless steel, cast iron, ceramic and
enamel. If you use wood or plastic utensils on Swiss Diamond
products and you do not exceed the 500°F maximum
the surface should last a lifetime. In my opinion the non-
stick surface of Swiss Diamond is more durable than Scanpan,
and the overall finish reflects fine Swiss craftsmanship.
Plus, Swiss Diamond coats the exterior with an easy to
clean, durable surface. Swiss Diamond also offers a new line
that can be used with induction cooktops and a terrific new
wok that can be used on induction and ceramic ranges.
I have evaluated many of the alternatives to non- stick cookware products, including enamel, ceramic and stainless steel. Nickel is combined with steel (a steel/nickel alloy) to make steel "stainless." As nickel is difficult for the body to eliminate, and as some people have nickel allergies, I do not recommend stainless steel cookware or storing foods in stainless steel containers. Plus, foods can easily stick and burn with stainless steel cookware.
Enamel is a reasonable choice as the material is more inert and safer than stainless steel, but as with stainless steel, foods stick and burn easily with enamel cookware when compared to non-stick products. New non-stick coatings including GreenPan (Thermalon), EarthPan (Meyer), and Silit Ceraprotect offer non-stick performance and the ability to withstand higher temperatures without the use of PTFE in the coating. Early test reports with some of these new materials indicate that there may be durability issues, and some reports have indicated that the non-stick qualities are not long lasting. Once I have fully evaluated these newest non- stick products I will update this article to reflect my findings.
As the percentage of non-stick material (PTFE) in the
Swiss Diamond coating is lower than traditional Teflon
coated pans, and as there is no PFOA in the material, I feel
Swiss Diamond is an excellent, healthy choice in high-
quality non-stick cookware.
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