A dish as simple to cook as good macaroni or spaghetti can end up being harmful to our health if we add salt at a particular point in preparation, and this is because the disinfectants in tap water are capable of creating harmful products when combined with salt.
And it is that adding salt at the wrong time at the time of cook a good macaroni or spaghetti can be a danger to our healthas pointed out by scientists from the University of South Carolina, via dailymail, who were able to analyze substances in the water and manage to find certain amounts of disinfectants that, when combined with salt, could produce harmful products.
Known as iodinated disinfection byproducts (DBPs), these substances can cause cancer, liver damage, and decreased nervous system activity.
In their experiments, they showed that when wheat flour was heated in tap water, which contained residual chlorine, and seasoned with iodized salt, potentially harmful iodized disinfection byproducts could be formed.
Safe steps for cooking pasta
After several tests, the research team formulated the scientifically safe steps to remove toxins from the pasta.
The first step is to boil the water without a lid, and the second step is to strain all the pasta water.
The researchers clarify that iodized salt should be added after pasta is cooked, and non-iodized salt options should only be used if the pasta is boiled in salted water.
“Boiling the pasta uncovered allows vaporized chlorinated and iodinated compounds to escape, and straining the noodles removes most contaminants”, they comment.
“Adding iodized salt after cooking should reduce the risk of by-product formation, but non-iodized salts are recommended if water is salted before boiling“.
For that first part of the experiment, they followed the cooking instructions on the box so they filled a pot with water, added salt, left off the oil, and then put in the pasta.
The team measured the amounts of six iodinated trihalomethanes, potentially toxic compounds, in the cooked food and pasta water.
They detected all iodinated trihalomethanes in cooked pasta water and macaroni, and clarified that cooking conditions significantly affected the amounts.
The next test changed the cooking conditions and the type of salt, which led them to find those earlier ways to reduce contamination.