Crispy, fried food is popular for a good reason. It tastes delicious and gives food a satisfying crisp. Unfortunately, deep fried food typically means soaking the food in unhealthy oils, which can cause real damage to your health. But, what about air frying? Is air frying healthy? Like many things in the kitchen, it all depends on a few things. Learn more about this cooking method and the potential benefits.
Air Frying: The Basics
Air fryers tend to be small, countertop devices that can help supplement your oven or toaster. They use a high-heat cooking method that utilizes a fan to create extra heat. This is called convection, and it can give your food a delicious, crispy exterior. For this reason, air fryers have become a popular kitchen appliance.1
How Do Air Fryers Work?
In many ways, air fryers are more like little convection ovens than little deep fryers. They have one heating element on top of the oven and a powerful fan. The combination of their small size and high heat can give food a crispy outside similar to fried foods. But, they don’t require lots of oil. That’s because air fryers bake food instead of frying it.2
How Does An Air Fryer Stack Up Against A Conventional Oven?
The quick and consistent cooking of an air fryer can certainly make it a helpful tool in the kitchen. Learn more to see if this new appliance deserves a spot on your countertop.
Air Frying Compared To The Oven
The main potential benefits of an air fryer are the large fan, the tiny cooking space, and the perforated pan. All of these elements can help cook food faster than a conventional oven. Plus, the perforated pan allows fat to drip off and away from food. However, the larger size of a conventional oven means you can cook more food, albeit more slowly.3
What About Taste?
You may not find much difference between the actual taste of air-fried food. But, air fryers may create a crispier, more enjoyable texture compared to a normal oven. Additionally, they may even keep that crispy food nice and juicy inside.4
Air Frying Vs Deep Frying
Air fryers are beloved for their ability to mimic the crispy exterior achieved with traditional frying. And, they can accomplish this without using a big, bubbling vat of oil. Aside from being much easier to clean, this also means you can choose to use a health oil (like olive oil).5
Concerns With Fried Food
Lowering fat content in your food can be good for your health. That’s because a regular diet of deep-fried foods with high oil content comes with a range of potential health risks. Fried food is not heart healthy, and multiple studies back this up.6
Deep-fried foods get their high fat content from being submerged and cooked in oil. This high-level of oil within the food does not support healthy blood pressure levels, a healthy heart, or a healthy weight.7
But, Is Air Frying Healthy?
For the most part, air frying is a healthier option than deep frying because it doesn’t coat food in oil. (and again, you can CHOOSE to use healthy oil).8
Potential Benefits Of Air Frying
Air frying can offer a variety of potential benefits compared to deep fat frying. If crispy, fried food is a regular feature in your diet, then switching to an air fryer may come with certain perks.
Air Frying Could Help Support Weight Loss Goals
The high calorie and fat content found in deep fried foods can have a major impact on your weight. In particular, fried food has a lot of trans fat, which is directly linked to weight gain. One study found that just a slight increase in trans fat consumption may result in extra pounds of weight gained over the course of one year.9,10
When you air fry food, on the other hand, it can help reduce the amount of trans and saturated fats in your food. It also preserves nutrients better than deep frying.11
Reduce The Risk Of Toxic Acrylamide Formation
When you fry foods like french fries and potato chips, they can develop harmful compounds called acrylamide chemicals. The formation of acrylamide in these fried foods is not good for your health.12
Cooking with an air fryer may help reduce the risk of acrylamide forming in food.13
Is Air Fried Food Healthy?
For the most part, air frying is a healthier cooking method than deep fat frying. But, you also need to focus on what you eat as much as how you cook it. Get the most out of your air fryer recipes and cooking process by following a few of these suggestions below.
Select The Best Cooking Oils
Your cooking oils can have a big impact on the quality and taste of your food. Many air fryer recipes call for a very small amount of oil to create a crispy exterior, but it’s still important to choose healthy oil options. The American Heart Association recommends that you use healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for cooking. These include oils such as:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Sesame oil
- Perilla Seed oil14
Cook Balanced Meals In The Air Fryer
Your air fryer may be healthier than a deep fryer, but what matters most is what goes into it. You can load it up with chicken nuggets and fish sticks, but that doesn’t make these foods healthy. There are all sorts of nutritious meals you can make in the air fryer that don’t come breaded or pre-cooked in oil. Try to maintain a balanced diet with healthy air fryer recipes.15
Delicious And Healthy Foods For The Air Fryer
Fortunately, an air fryer can cook a wide variety of foods. So, if you do decide to make it a part of your kitchen arsenal, you have a lot of options. Check out a few of the cooking ideas below to help make your air frying as healthy and tasty as possible. These are just a few healthy meals:
- Crispy chickpeas
- Buffalo wing style cauliflower
- Air fryer brussel sprouts
- Chicken tenders
- Kale chips
- Sweet potato chips16
Air Frying: An Intriguing New Cooking Technique
So, is air fried food healthy? In some cases, it can be. What matters most is the type of food you put in the air fryer and the kinds of oils you use. Try to limit packaged or pre-made food that may have already been fried in oil. Instead, try to cook fresh produce or lean proteins with limited, healthy oils in your air fryer (think olive oil or avocado oil).
An air fryer may help you get that crisp texture on your favorite foods, but it’s up to you to keep things healthy. So, enjoy that crispy texture, as long as it comes from a healthy food source.
-Your Ultimate Guide To Healthy Cookware: Find The Right Pots And Pans For Your Kitchen
-Here’s How To Grill Vegetables For That Perfect Taste And Texture
-How To Stop Eating Unhealthy Food When You Snack
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