Whether it’s a plate of french fries or delicious roast chicken, there’s no denying that fried foods are comforting and undeniably scrumptious! But overindulging in fried foods has been reported to increase our risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Air fryers, however, have claimed to have solved the problem of how we can enjoy fried foods in a healthy way.
This appliance has been growing in demand among consumers that want to enjoy the crispiness of fried food by using little to no oil. But are air fryers as healthy as they claim to be? Read on to find out how which Air Fryers help you cut down on calories and fat, and what you need to keep in mind to enjoy a healthy diet:
Benefits of Air Frying
Let’s take a look at the various ways in which air fryers help us eat in a healthier manner:
- Uses Little to No Oil: Since an air fryer uses circulating hot air to cook and crisp the food items, it involves merely brushing the food item lightly with oil, or not even that. This means traditionally deep-fried foods like french fries, onion ring, and cheese sticks are made with practically no oil.
- 70-80% Fewer Calories: Air fryers use barely a teaspoon of oil for cooking, while most deep-fried foods call for not less than 2-3 cups of oil. By drastically cutting down on the oil needed for their recipes, air-fried foods have up to 70 to 80% lesser calories than deep-fried foods.
- Can Help With A Healthier Lifestyle: Studies have time and again linked the consumption of deep-fried foods with an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers as well. Since air frying uses a fraction of the amount of oil used in deep frying, it helps users enjoy the flavor and texture of crispy, crunchy foods while still helping reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases and obesity.
- Crispy Exterior, Mushy Interior: One of the most tempting things about fried food like fries and chicken nuggets is their crisp outer texture and the mushy/soft interior. The air fryer helps recreate this texture since the heated air cooks the outer area of the food first. This leaves the food with that deeply-satisfying crisp brown outer layer while retaining the moistness of the food within, without all the extra calories.
- Versatile Cooking Settings: Air fryers can often do much more than frying as well. Many new models of air fryers offer other useful cooking modes as well such as roasting, dehydrating, baking, and reheating. This makes the appliance quite versatile and allows you to customize your cooking experience beyond frying in a healthier way. Models such as the Nuwave Brio are particularly versatile.
- Less Harmful Compounds: While cutting down calories and fat, air frying also reduces other harmful effects of traditional oil frying. Deep frying potatoes or starchy food items creates a harmful chemical called acrylamide that has been linked to a risk of cancer. Air frying cuts the levels of acrylamide in potatoes by up to 90%.
- Wide Variety of Foods: Air fryers are quite versatile in the type of foods you can cook in them – from chicken, various types of vegetables, fish, muffins, bacon, sausages, potatoes, pizza, and a lot more. This can help create a more vibrant, nutritious, and balanced diet for users.
- Temperature Customization: Most air fryers either come with a wide range of pre-set temperature modes, or a fully customizable temperature knob. This lets the user adjust the cooking temperature according to their preference and the food item being cooked. This prevents the food from being overcooked or burnt and helps it retain its nutritional benefits and qualities.
Does Air Frying Guarantee Good Health? What To Keep In Mind
While Air frying helps significantly cut down on the amount of oil used in your cooking, using an air fryer alone doesn’t guarantee a healthy diet. Using a high amount of oil when air frying can take us back to square one and can affect our health negatively by increasing risks of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Moreover, it’s important to remember that air frying is a cooking method, and what equally matters is the variety of foods we incorporate into our diets. It’s important to incorporate a healthy portion of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and protein into our diet. Without this, no cooking method can guarantee good health.
Air Frying vs. Grilling/ Roasting/ Slow-Cooking
Even though air frying is a much better alternative to deep oil frying, that necessarily doesn’t mean that it is the only healthy method of cooking. Other cooking styles like grilling, roasting, and pan-searing foods can also be equally healthy ways of cooking your food. These alternative methods also require a significantly lesser amount of oil than deep frying and help retain the nutritional qualities of the vegetables, meat, and fish that you’re cooking.
However, the texture and flavor that these cooking methods lend are not the same as what air frying offers. Grilling, roasting, and slow cooking heat and cook the food item differently than air frying does. As a result, they do not produce that deliciously crisp outer layer and soft interior associated with fried foods.
Using an air fryer is a healthier alternative that lets users enjoy the crunch of deep-fried food like fries, nuggets, and fried chicken without the high calories and fat. This is because air frying uses a fraction of the oil used in deep-fried foods to produce a similar outer crunch and inner moistness. However, air frying alone cannot guarantee a healthy diet, and it’s important to ensure that we incorporate vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and all major food groups to enjoy a nutritious, healthy diet.
It’s also a good idea to include other healthy methods of cooking such as baking, roasting, grilling, and pan-searing your food. Air fryers can help keep an already nutritious diet healthier by allowing users to indulge in healthier alternatives to fried foods.
Hello there, my name is Tracey Allen from New York. I am a cooking enthusiast and a restaurant industry veteran. I have been spreading my passion for air fryers and simplified cooking with colleagues and friends for close to a decade. If you have any questions about air fryers, air cooking or healthy cooking feel free to contact me on the contact page.