French fries, breaded chicken, and batter-fried foods are still incredibly popular these days, and they have one main thing in common – they’re all, well, fried. A bigger problem arises with the amount of oil that is used for cooking and that if consumed regularly, these dishes end up becoming less desirable though they may still seem highly palatable.
For some years there have been ‘air fryers’ on the market that are promoted as a healthier alternative to conventional fryers. These can help to make delicious, and crunchy meals without the need to cook with so much oil. It operates by circulating hot, dry air producing browned and crispy food with little to no oil. Curious? Then read on for Air Fryers: What’s All the Fuss About!
Air Fryer Pros
Some of the benefits that these machines can provide over conventional ones are the following:
- Cooks with Less Oil
These fryers require little oil to cook food and this is desirable, since an excessive consumption of fat is harmful to health. Overconsumption of fried foods leads to increased risk of heart disease and higher rates of inflammation, among other health complications.
- Safer / Peace of Mind
Making food in a conventional deep fryer involves heating a large amount of boiling oil and there may be a risk of splashing or spilling oil, perhaps getting burned. If pets or children are around, you do need to be extra careful. In the case of air fryers however, this is not the case.
- Reduces Acrylamides
These are compounds formed in the culinary process, at high temperatures, excess consumption of which is associated with health problems such as certain types of cancers.
- Less Processed Food & Take Aways
This is a great alternative for very busy people. You can prepare quick, simple meals without having to leave the house, and the results are just as good if not better overall. Homemade meals are definitely en vogue!
Air Fryer Cons
Whilst these appliances make a good cooking-method alternative, there are a few disadvantages you should be made aware of.
- No Guarantee of a Healthy Diet
These machines can’t of course assume that all meals made with them are automatically more nutritious, even if they encourage it. What is usually cooked in this type of fryer are foods such as potatoes, frozen products, etc which are arguably less healthy than for example, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, etc.
- Further Studies Needed
These devices need to be studied more carefully. This type of frying can lead to the possibility of hydrocarbons and amines emissions when cooking at high temperatures. The latter are toxic substances that, in excess, are said to be linked with cancer risks.
A decent machine will cost anywhere between £100-£150 so it’s probably not an option for everyone.
So now that you know a little more about these fryers, be aware that even if the amount of oil used in them is reduced, you’re still frying. Simple, cooking techniques (steaming, baking, cooking) to retain vitamins (iron, etc.), and close-to-raw foods in a varied, and balanced diet are still healthier!