Published on: Mar 11, 2022

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What Is an Air Fryer? Is It a Healthier Form of Cooking?

Air Fryer for healthy eating
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As you dig into a bowl of crunchy french fries or a bucket of moist fried chicken, the pleasure hits you right away. But later comes the feeling of guilt of having eaten them. 

You may also worry about the effects on your health as the oils used for cooking deep-fried foods can eventually cause health problems like heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

Enters air fryer–a popular kitchen appliance that promises similar taste, texture & appeal of oil-fried foods that you get with the traditional deep-frying–without the fat. 

Sounds like a BIG WIN, doesn’t it? But does this trending kitchen appliance deliver what it promises? Is an air fryer healthy? Is it worth investing in this deep fryer replacement? 

To get your questions answered, we spoke to Fitterfly’s in-house expert — Ms Shilpa Joshi, Registered Dietitian & Head of Metabolic Nutrition with 20+ years of experience in diabetes management

How does an air fryer work? 

An air fryer circulates hot air around the food to produce a crunchy, crispy exterior without the oil. According to Shilpa, “Air frying is similar to convection baking but the former has got a trending new name”. 

And here is how you can use it – just put the food you want to fry like chopped potatoes, chicken nuggets, chicken tender, vegetables into this egg or square-shaped appliance. You can brush a light coating of oil on your food items if you want. Set the time & temperature. Allow it to cook. Remove the food from the fryer basket and enjoy!

Does air frying cut the fat content? 

There is no denying that air fryers use less oil than traditional deep fryers. Many recipes of deep-fried dishes call for up to 3 cups (750 ml) of oil. Air-fried foods need only about one tablespoon (15 mL). How cool is that!

This means air fryers can significantly reduce the fat content compared to traditional deep frying.

But in another light, Shilpa said, “Although the visible cooking fat is less, if the recipe itself demands pre-frying oil then the fat will be present. For e.g. the right samosa dough requires significant amounts of oil (moin). This makes an air fryer samosa also unhealthy”.

To sum it up, fat content depends on what you are cooking, but the visible fat content is reduced with air frying. 

Benefits of an air fryer

Air fryers are time-efficient, and if you have picky vegetable eaters at home (kids, in particular), air-frying is a wonderful way to crisp up veggies and make them tastier. 

Additionally, a few studies have found that air-frying might help lower the potentially dangerous compounds like acrylamide (a known carcinogen) in your fried foods. 

Lastly, there is no leftover oil in air frying as seen in traditional deep frying. So there is less wastage. 

Disadvantages of an air fryer

Now let’s look at the downside of air-frying. Firstly, air-fried foods may prompt you to think – “This is great! I can eat fried food every day”. A low-fat, air-fried food sounds enticing. So you may end up overeating and make it a part of your everyday diet.

Shilpa added, “Air-fried food tricks your mind and plays with your psyche. But you shouldn’t forget that these air-fried foods are highly processed and aren’t calorie-free.”

Secondly, although a few studies stated that air-frying might help lower the potentially dangerous compounds, there is minimal scientific evidence to support this claim. “We are not sure whether these dangerous substances are completely removed or not. There isn’t enough scientific data and more research is needed to confirm this finding. So it would be best to consume these air-fried foods in moderation”, Shilpa added. 

Our take–Is it worth investing in an air fryer?

Yes, you may invest in an air fryer. It is a different type of convection oven that uses less space in your kitchen. 

Air-fried foods have reduced fat content than traditional deep-fried stuff, but please be mindful that these foods aren’t calorie-free. So make sure you consume air-fried foods once in a while and not make them a part of your regular diet, especially if you are living with metabolic health problems like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

And if you are living with diabetes, it would be best to take help from the experts of a Diabetes Management Program like Diabefly Pro, who can guide you better about what foods to eat and what not to eat. To know more about Diabefly, visit www.fitterfly.com/diabefly or speak to our counsellors at +91 2248971077 (Ext 1).

- By Fitterfly Health-Team