Is Cooking With An Air Fryer Healthy? Exploring The Health Benefits

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These cooking gadgets are presented as a healthy way to enjoy fried foods. But is an air fryer good for your health? However, it has become an accepted kitchen appliance. Many claim they help reduce the fat content of popular foods like fries, chicken wings, empanadas, and fish sticks. The question is how good and healthy an air fryer is. This article examines the evidence and determines whether the benefits of using an air fryer outweigh the risks

What is an air fryer? Is it healthy

A deep fryer is a popular kitchen appliance that allows you to prepare fried foods like meat, pastries, and chips. Each circulates hot air around food to produce a crispy exterior.

Often, it leads to a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction. This happens when there is a reaction of a reducing sugar and amino acid in the presence of heat, which changes the flavor and color of foods.

Benefits of using an air fryer 

Air-fried foods are touted as a healthy alternative to fried foods, thanks to their lower fats and calorie content. Instead of completely immersing the food in oil, air frying requires only a tablespoon (15 ml) of oil to achieve a taste and texture similar to fried foods. Using an air fryer can help reduce fat content. Fried foods are generally fattier than foods prepared with other cooking methods.

Some brands claim that using an air fryer instead of a deep fryer can help reduce fat content by up to 75%. Air fryers require much less fat for cooking than traditional fryers. Why do many fried food recipes call for up to three cups (750 ml) of oil, air fried foods only need about a tablespoon (15 ml). It shows that air fryers use close to 50 times less than deep fryers. Even if the food doesn’t absorb all of this oil, using an air fryer can significantly reduce the overall fat content

Studies comparing characteristics of fried and air-fried found that air-fried resorted in a final product with significantly less fats and a crispy texture, but lower color and content.

Some studies suggested that consuming more fats from vegetable oils increases the risk of diseases like heart disease and inflammation. However, results are mixed, and other study reviews suggest that the fats in vegetable oil may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease

air fryer may help lose weight 

Fried foods are not only fattier but also higher in calories and can contribute to weight gain. A large review of studies found that higher consumption of fried foods was associated with a higher risk of obesity. If you want to reduce your waistline, replacing your fried foods with air-fried foods can be a good place to start.

With nine calories for every gram of fats, dietary fat contains more than twice as many calories per gram as other macronutrients like protein and carbohydrates. Since air-fried foods are less fatty than deep-fried foods, switching to a deep fryer can be an easy way to cut calories and help you manage your weight 

Air fryers can reduce the formation of harmful compounds 

In addition to being higher in fat and calories, fried foods can create potentially dangerous compounds like acrylamide. This compound forms in food that is reached in carbohydrates in the presence of high heat during cooking such as frying. Acrylamide is a compound that is classified as carcinogenic, which according to some research could lead to cancer development

The Environmental Protection Agency also considers Acrylamide to be carcinogenic to humans. Air frying your foods instead of in a deep fryer can help reduce their acrylamide content. Another study found that air frying reduces acrylamide by up to 90%, compared to traditional frying.it is important to note that other harmful compounds can still be formed during the air frying process.

Aldehyde, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are all other potentially dangerous chemicals formed with high-temperature cooking and may be associated with higher cancer risk. However, more research is needed to determine how air fryers may affect the formation of these compounds

Benefits of using an air fryer 

Air-fried foods may be healthier than fried foods in several ways. They are lower in fat, calories, and harmful compounds in traditionally fried foods. If you want to lose weight or reduce your fat intake, switching to an air fryer may be a good choice instead of deep frying.

Also consider that since an air fryer uses less oil than a deep fryer, it may be easier to opt for higher quality but more expensive oil, such as avocado oil. However, remember that just because it is a better option than fried food doesn’t mean it is the best option for your overall health.

The disadvantages of using an air fryer 

Although air-fried foods may be healthier than deep-fried foods, there are some downsides to consider. Compared to traditional frying, air frying takes longer to cook the food. In a study comparing the characteristics of fried fries with those made in a deep fryer.

It took 21 minutes to air fry fries compared to only 9 minutes for deep frying. In addition to requiring longer cooking times, air-fried foods produce a slightly different taste and less crispy consistency than deep frying.

It is important to note that why air frying reduces the formation of harmful chemicals like acrylamide and advanced glycation end products compared to deep frying, Air-fried foods contain this chemical which should be limited in your diets

Conclusion

Air fryers could be healthier than deep frying, despite this, dangerous and harmful chemicals in lower amounts can still be found in air-fried food. Additionally, air fryers take longer to cook food, producing a slightly different taste and texture than deep frying.

A deep fryer is a healthier option than fried foods and can be an inventive way to fry not only meat and potatoes but also other nutritious foods like broccoli, yams, tofu, or eggs. When this is compared to frying, an air fryer can greatly reduce calories, fat, and possibly harmful chemicals in your body.

References

  • Fadairo O.S., Nandasiri R., Nguyen T., Eskin N.A.M., Aluko R.E., Scanlon M.G. Improved Extraction Efficiency and Antioxidant Activity of Defatted Canola Meal Extract Phenolic Compounds Obtained from Air-Fried Seeds. Antioxidants. 2022;11:2411. doi: 10.3390/antiox11122411. [PMC free article]
  • Nagata N., Xu L., Kohno S., Ushida Y., Aoki Y., Umeda R., Fuke N., Zhuge F., Ni Y., Nagashimada M., et al. Glucoraphanin Ameliorates Obesity and Insulin Resistance Through Adipose Tissue Browning and Reduction of Metabolic Endotoxemia in Mice. Diabetes. 2017;66:1222–1236. doi: 10.2337/db16-0662. [PubMed]

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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