Cooking sprays are endlessly convenient. They coat skillets and baking pans with a perfectly even, never-too-thick layer of oil—food doesn’t stick, but it doesn’t become overly greasy and soggy either. The issue with these marvelous sprays? There’s usually more than oil in that can. Here’s what else you’re likely to see on the label:
The big problem ingredient with cooking sprays is “propellant,” which, unless you’ve done some research, probably tells you nothing. In aerosol-style spray cans, a propellant is needed to force the dry shampoo, too). Some brands, especially organic ones, are now switching over to compressed air or carbon dioxide propellants as a safer alternative (these typically say “no hydrocarbons” on the label). Others are switching up canister designs to use air pressure to release the oil so that a propellant isn’t necessary.out of the pressurized can through the tiny spray nozzle. Typically, said propellant is a tiny amount of butane, isobutane, or propane—colorless, odorless gases derived from petroleum (you’ll find it in things like aerosol hairspray and
This is a type of silicone used as an antifoaming agent in cooking spray. The EWG gives it a safe score of 1, but notes there is limited data available.
Soy lecithin is extracted from oil and used as an emulsifier so that ingredients don’t separate. It’s also what makes nonstick cooking sprays nonstick. It’s good to know about for allergy reasons and because the overwhelming majority of soy is GMO. (Wondering if soy is good or bad for you? Here’s the science-backed answer.)
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Luckily, there are now a bunch of cooking sprays on the market with much simpler ingredients lists—and healthier oil choices that are made without GMO crops. Here’s a look at some of the best healthy, organic, and safe alternatives that don’t use the unsavory additives: