Non-stick cooking sprays can be a beneficial cooking aid. They can help to evenly coat a frying pan with healthy oils, ensuring you don’t overdo it from a caloric standpoint. In theory, this makes for a healthful food source.
What many fail to realize is that oils have “smoke points.” If you exceed the smoke point of an oil, it will become rancid, breaking down the double bond structure of the oil and potentially turning it into a carcinogen. To address this fact, PAM has come out with a cooking spray called PAM Professional High Heat (apparently originally designed for professional chefs). PAM Professional High Heat is formulated so that you can cook at high temperatures without the oil smoking, and avoid the associated blackened pans and residue build up. Sounds good, right? Not so fast…
Take a look at the ingredients. The first ingredient listed: Vegetable Oil (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil*, Canola Oil*). Any time you see the word “partially hydrogenated” it means that the oil is a trans fat. Sure, trans fats are resistant to high heat–but they are also one of the biggest nutritional detriments to your health and well and being.
An examination of the listed ingredients on the label claims only a negligible level of trans fats (0.1 g). Upon closer inspection, however, this is deceiving. Values are based on a .4 second spray. That’s 4/10 of a second! Who coats a frying pan with a spray lasting less than half a second? No one I know. A two second spray would be more realistic, in which case you’re already up to half a gram of trans fats. It certainly wouldn’t be unusual to spray for five seconds or more to fully coat a pan. If so, you’re well over a gram of artery-clogging, cancer-causing trans fats. Don’t be fooled, they add up quickly.
Bottom line: stay away from any product that contains “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients. They are one of the biggest–if not the biggest–food-based impediments to your health.