Table of Contents Hide
- What Is Air Frying Anyways?
- Air Fryer Vs. Cooking In Oven
- Advantages Of Air Frying
- Disadvantages Of Air Frying
- How to Make Air-Fried Foods More Healthier
Let’s be honest: the pleasure of diving into a plate of french fries or everyone’s favorite chicken wings hits you right away. Especially that familiar crunch and luscious, juicy middle. But as much as fried food tastes, it comes at a healthy cost. The use of cooking oil can link to several health problems like heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer.
Enter air fryers, a piece of kitchen equipment that promises the taste, crunch, and golden-brown color of oil-fried foods minus all the fats and calories. But do these air fryers truly live up to their promises, or was it all a myth all along?
In this article, we will be looking at the health benefits and risks of using air fryers and comparing air frying to other cooking methods.
What Is Air Frying Anyways?
Before we begin, let us take a few steps back. An air fryer is a piece of kitchen equipment that allows us to make crispy foods that taste similar to their deep-fried versions. It’s a cross between a deep fryer and a convection oven with a basket in which food is suspended and exposed to heat on all sides, giving it that wonderful and crispy texture we love. However, hot air is circulated through the meal instead of submerging it in hot oil.
And now that you know how an air fryer works, let’s compare it to other traditional cooking methods.
Air Fryer Vs. Cooking In Oven
Because air frying and oven cooking employ the same heating procedures, food will have the same nutrients regardless of which appliance you use. However, certain foods have been shown to reduce fat intake when cooked in an air fryer.
For example, according to research published in the Journal of Food Science, air-fried fish with anti-inflammatory herbs like black pepper, red pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, and turmeric can help with the healthy breakdown of fat.
What’s healthy in an air fryer or oven depends a lot on what you eat and cook. Foods that are high in nutrients, such as vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and lean meats, are essentially just as nutritional in the air fryer as they are in the oven.
Related Article: NuWave Oven vs Air Fryer (Full Guide)
Air Fryer Vs. Deep Frying
One method stands out as the winner if we look at the difference between air frying and deep frying. You guessed it: air frying! One of the reasons why air frying is more preferred to deep frying is because of the amount of oil used. A deep fryer requires a few liters of oil, while an air fryer requires little to none.
Eating too many deep-fried foods sometimes is too much. That being said, air fryers decrease the amount of oil absorbed into foods, leading to fewer calories and preventing various illnesses.
Furthermore, when cooking oil is heated, it can generate various compounds, which can cause a high risk of genotoxic, mutagenic, tumorigenic, and other cancers. In this case, an air fryer consuming less oil equals fewer compounds we are eating.
When food is exposed to high temperatures, whether cooked in an air fryer or a deep fryer, both methods can increase the development of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE). While air frying lowers AGE production compared to deep frying, consuming too many AGEs over time increases the risk of having chronic diseases.
Nonetheless, an air fryer is beneficial when frying starchy foods like potatoes. Air frying foods take longer than deep frying foods, which reduces the breakdown of starch and makes it digestible, minimizing the impact on your blood sugar.
Advantages Of Air Frying
- Lowers Fat
Air fryers can dramatically lower the overall fat content of meals because they use little to no oil compared to deep frying. This is possible because an air fryer uses hot circulated air to crisp your food.
- Cuts Calorie Intake
Deep-fried foods usually contain more calories, which leads to obesity, heart disease, and other illnesses. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, air fryers lower calorie intake by 80% because of low oil consumption.
- Lowers Acrylamide Levels
Another study published at the National Library of Medicine discovered that an air fryer could minimize the acrylamide compound by up to 90% compared to deep frying methods. Acrylamide is a cancer-causing chemical that arises when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures.
- Preserve Nutrients
Because an air fryer uses convection heat, it preserves key nutrients like vitamin C and polyphenols that are typically lost when food is deep fried.
Disadvantages Of Air Frying
One thing to keep an eye on when air frying is Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE) level. AGEs, as previously stated, are hazardous substances that occur when food is exposed to higher temperatures. This is also formed when protein or fat in the circulation mixes with sugar. Antioxidants and enzymatic activity help our bodies eliminate AGEs, but when we consume too much, our bodies can’t keep up. This causes inflammation, which has a negative impact on your overall health, such as high cholesterol levels and cancer.
Does This Imply That Air Fryers Are Bad For Your Health?
Generally, air fryers are not harmful as long as the following precautions are taken:
- To ensure proper use, carefully read the recipe instructions as well as the manual that comes with your equipment.
- Instead of using aerosol cooking sprays that destroy your equipment’s nonstick basket or tray, massage your items with olive or avocado oil. You can also use an oil sprayer, such as the Misto Oil Sprayer, to ensure that you apply the appropriate amount of oil to your food.
- A high-end air fryer is superior to a cheap one. Low-end air fryers may contain materials or plastics that leak harmful chemicals into your food during the cooking process, such as bisphenol A (BPA).
How to Make Air-Fried Foods More Healthier
Here are some ideas on maximizing the health benefits of your air fryer:
- While an air fryer does not require oil, lightly spraying food with good oils adds healthy fats, enhanced tastes, and a more crispy texture.
- For a more flavorful meal, skip the breading and use spices and seasonings instead.
- For a healthy crunch, replace potato chips with air-fried kale or sliced apples.
Do Air Fryers Actually Fry Food?
Frying is a cooking process in which food is submerged and cooked in oil. Thus, making air frying similar to a convection oven because it suspends hot circulated air to cook the food.
Can an Air Fryer Boost Your Health?
It depends. An air fryer can improve your health if you’re cooking nutrient-rich foods like Brussels sprouts, kale, and poultry meat.
The air fryer isn’t just a myth. If you eat a lot of fried foods, this is a great alternative for you and your family. Keep in mind, however, that the air fryer is not a kitchen equipment that magically makes any cuisine into a healthy one. Just because something was cooked in an air fryer does not make it healthier than other foods. We hope that this has thrown some light on how healthy an air fryer really is and its comparison to other cooking methods.
To understand more about air fryers, visit the link to discover everything you need to know about this handy kitchen appliance.