Breathe Again | Should you use an air fryer?

An air fryer has an alluring promise to it. A hundred per cent of the taste minus all the problems associated with frying food. So have you done a good turn to your family by investing in one? 

The underlying promise of an air fryer is that it helps you make the switch from deep frying food, which adds calories and unhealthy fat to your diet to one where you use minimal oil. By using a very small amount of oil, if, at all, you are reducing the risk associated with the medium of frying. The machine is passing hot air around the food you are cooking using heated air, instead of the hot oil. So is it a case of QED?

The key issue with frying food is always with the medium of cooking. The oil has a smoking point or temperature at which the oil burns. Ghee, for example, has a smoking point of 250 Celcius. The temperature at which you fry food is usually about 200 Celcius. There is no risk of ghee burning. So if you used a cooking medium that was unhealthy, frying food was definitely bad for you and reducing the oil in an air fryer is an excellent alternative. 

An air fryer, however, is not a licence to eat anything you like. Remember, what you are frying also matters. Frying unhealthy food, regardless of how you do it will still remain unhealthy. 

In a study done on the benefits and risks of using an air fryer, the researchers found two key issues – first, if you used the air fryer in such a way that you ended up burning the food, it was harmful as burnt food can be carcinogenic. For everything else, the consumption of a lower quantity of oil reduced the risks associated with saturated fats or hydrogenated fats.

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