The pleasure of digging into a plate of French fries or biting into a piece of crispy fried chicken is unmatched. While you may be dreaming about them a day long, like many other tasty foods, fried food is not good for your health. But what does a hardcore fried food lover do?
According to Harvard Medical School, people who indulge in fried foods have higher chances of dying as compared to those who eat it less.
What if you want to live long and eat fried foods at the same time? While there are no guarantees, a compromised solution would be to have an air fryer as THE kitchen gadget for you.
Air fryer is a kitchen appliance that offers the same goldenish-brown color and texture without any fat or extra calories. But the question is – Are air fryers healthy? In this blog we will answer this question but before that, let’s see what air fryers are.
What Are Air Fryers and How Do They Work?
Despite the word “fryer” in their name, air fryers do not fry food. These oval/square shaped devices are of the size of a coffee maker and can be placed on any countertop.
From chopped potatoes to chicken nuggets to fish stripes, you can place anything in an air fryer that you would otherwise deep fry. If you like, you can add a little oil in it as well. Air fryers have fans which blow hot air around the basket where your food is placed.
The air that is circulating cooks the outer part of the food and makes it crispy brown, while the inner side remains soft. Once the food is cooked, a container just below the basket catches any extra grease that may drop off your food.
Even though there are various other alternatives of fried food items like grilled, roasted, slow cooked, and pan seared, none of them guarantee the crispy fried texture that an air fryer provides.
What Can Be Cooked in an Air Fryer?
An air fryer can cook most things that would be normally deep fried. Some of these foods include:
- Chicken- nuggets and chicken fingers
- French fries
- Onion rings
- Cheese sticks
And… Pizza as well!
Some models of air fryers also come with a bake and toast setting. This setting allows you to roast chicken or bake brownies as well. The only issue is that air fryers have small baskets which makes it difficult to cook for the entire family in a single go.
Now that we know how an air fryer works and what can be cooked in it, let’s see some of their health benefits and adverse effects.
Health Benefits of Using Air Fryers
Following are some benefits of using air fryers:
Reduced Disease Risk
Eating deep fried food is linked to various health diseases like heart attack, diabetes, stroke, etc. Once you replace fried food with healthy alternatives, the risk of these diseases is reduced.
Promoting Weight Loss
Deep fried food does taste good but it comes with a whole lot of calories. Since deep fried food has a lot of calories, they increase your chances of getting obese.
Switching from deep fried to air-fried food reduces your intake of unhealthy oils and promotes weight loss.
Reduced Risk of Acrylamide Formation
High heat cooking methods, such as deep frying, lead to the production of a toxic compound called acrylamide.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), acrylamide may play a role in the development of some cancers like ovarian, pancreatic, breast, endometrial and oesophageal. Some other studies have also linked dietary acrylamide with ovarian, endometrial and kidney cancers. However, the results are not certain.
Switching to an air fryer helps people reduce their risk of consuming food that contains acrylamide.
Deep frying involves a large container that is full of boiling hot oil which poses a huge safety risk. While air fryers also get hot, there is no risk of spilling or splashing of hot oil. Even if you are using an air fryer, make sure you are careful and follow the instructions written in the manual.
Adverse Effects of Air Fryers
While air fryers have various benefits, they have a few significant disadvantages as well. Some of these are listed below:
Not Entirely Healthy
Air fryer is capable of making healthier food as compared to a deep fryer but at the end of the day, it is still fried food. Make sure you cook it with as little oil as possible.
Replacing deep fried foods with air-fried food does not guarantee a healthy diet.
While air fryers reduce the production of acrylamide, the risk is still present. As a result of high-heat cooking, air fryers can also lead to the production of other compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines, which can cause blood and liver problems.
According to a study, air frying a fish raises the amount of cholesterol oxidation products (COPS). COPs are formed during cooking when the cholesterol in the meat or fish breaks down and they lead to various diseases.
Pro Tip: When you are air frying fish, add chives or parsley or a mixture of the two as they act as antioxidants and reduce the COPs.
Is An Air Fryer Worth It?
As compared to a deep fryer, an air fryer is a healthier option. However, it is suggested that you limit your fried food intake as much as possible.
If you want to buy an air fryer online, there are various options available at OLX Pakistan’s website.
You may also like:
Do let us know where you stand when it comes to the air fryer vs deep fryer debate.