It is one of the most popular appliances ever designed for cooking. The air fryer continues to sell in the millions every year, and for its legions of fans, there is no alternative.
It has managed to build up a cult army similar to that which the Instant Pot enjoys. And as such, has countless blogs, YouTube videos, and recipes all across the net. Dedicated Facebook groups exist just for the air fryer, and its affordability is one reason why so many households have one today.
Another reason that the air fryer is popular is that it is deemed by many to be a healthy cooking option. But, when the word ‘fry’ is included in the appliance name, can it truly be a healthy option?
Here is why the food cooked in an air fryer could be healthy, and a few reasons why it might not.
What is an air frying appliance, and what does it do?
An air fryer is a small kitchen appliance that allows a range of ingredients to be cooked, often resulting in food that appears to be fried. While there are hundreds of recipes on the net for inventive ways to use the air fryer, it is often used for basic options.
Many people like to use the air fryer for chicken wings and french fries for instance. The reason why is the cooking technique that the appliance employs.
Instead of being filled with oil and deep frying french fries, the appliance uses very hot air to crisp and brown the potato to give it the same taste and texture as deep-fried food. Many believe then that this allows them to eat their favorite food but in a healthier manner.
Air fryers are also convenient in their size. According to airfryermasterchef.com, a good mini air fryer can cater to one or two people, and let them cook up snacks and meals without taking up much counter space. They are also affordable, and there are many options ranging from smart versions to simpler ones.
Does air frying help with a healthier diet?
If you decide to bread every ingredient you put into your air fryer, then you may be limiting how healthy your diet is. Constantly eating french fries and chicken wings cannot be described as a balanced diet.
However, the air fryer does help to reduce the amount of fat in diets if used regularly. Because air fryers use little oil, or very often none at all, they instantly reduce the amount of fat and calories in meals.
The National Library of Medicine reports that fat and cholesterol are the single biggest group of nutrients to reduce if you want to avoid chronic disease. So, simply by air frying food, you could be improving your diet. This is particularly true if you have previously been frying food regularly.
Air fryers may also help to trap more nutrients
As a side effect of the cooking method used by air fryers, they may also help you to consume more vitamins and minerals.
Steaming, poaching, boiling, and some other cooking methods, can either see vitamins leaching out of the ingredients, or being destroyed. The air fryer, like the Instant Pot, is a sealed unit that keeps more of the nutrients in the food.
Minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients, are critical to health, and there are many benefits of vitamin B complex supplements for instance. Salmon is something that can be cooked in an air fryer and it contains plenty of vitamin B12. Therefore, cooking certain ingredients in an air fryer may lead to a higher intake of important nutrients.
Surely you need to exercise as well as change your diet?
You may have often wanted to ask, can you lose fat without any exercise? The answer is yes, although exercise is an important element of all-around health.
Cutting down on portion size is one way to lose weight without exercising. This is due to you consuming fewer calories. An air fryer can help in this regard because the lack of cooking oil means that you are consuming fewer calories too.
Nevertheless, this only works if you stick to regular or smaller portions. Knowing that the food has less calories doesn’t mean that you should make larger portions.
Are air fryers healthy for the planet as well as consumers?
These appliances cook at high temperatures, they are energy efficient, and they use no cooking oil.
The high temperature may sound undesirable, but it means that the air fryer cooks quicker than standard ovens. This in turn means that less energy is used. The sealed unit also retains more heat than other cooking methods such as steaming. No cooking oil means no waste and no damage to the environment.
Isn’t cooking at a high temperature bad for you?
Your second concern about cooking at a high temperature may be due to something you have read about.
The FDA reports that acrylamides form during high-temperature cooking. Acrylamides are a compound that is thought to be linked to cancer. This has led some to consider how healthy air-fried food truly is.
Acrylamides happen in certain types of cooking including roasting, baking, and frying. They don’t happen during poaching or steaming for instance. However, air fryers may be less likely to produce acrylamides than the other cooking methods, due to the lack of oil used.
It is possible that using, and then reusing cooking oil is also partially responsible for acrylamides forming. And some studies have shown that air fryers are far less likely to produce these compounds especially as they cook so quickly. The ingredients may reach high temperatures, but only for short periods.
While it cannot be said that everything cooked in an air fryer is healthy, the method used is certainly better than deep frying.
The positives of using an air fryer range from the lack of cooking oil used, to the reduction of calories and fat consumed by the user. They are also energy efficient and therefore better for the environment.
There would then appear to be a case for food being cooked in an air fryer as being healthy. It just depends on what you are cooking, and what you are adding to it afterward.