The good and bad of air frying food - Hindustan Times

The good and bad of air frying food

Jul 12, 2023 01:50 AM IST

Air frying is known to lend food a crisp texture, sans the oil. But, air fried food could also have harmful effects on health in some cases. Here’s what the experts say.

Air frying is known to lend food a crisp texture, sans the oil. But, air fried food could also have harmful effects on health in some cases. Here’s what the experts say.

 (Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash)
(Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash)

One of the pleasures of owning an air fryer is being able to indulge in fried food, minus the guilt of consuming oil. But whether you are using it once a month or every day of the week, air frying food can come with its own share of downsides. Here’s what you need to know about the good, bad and everything in between.

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Air frying reduces acrylamide (a potent carcinogen) by up to 90% — but some harmful compounds are still formed. “Aldehydes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines can be dangerous and may involve a higher cancer risk. While air frying produces less of these chemical agents, they are still present in some quantity, which calls for moderate consumption,” dietician Garima Goyal explains.

More research is needed to determine if regular consumption of air fried food can be problematic, but Goyal advises to be mindful when switching cooking techniques. “Air frying is healthier than deep frying as it can reduce the amount of fat, calories and potentially harmful compounds in your food. But long-term consumption is not advisable because it still consists of harmful chemicals like acrylamide in relatively smaller quantities. So, use it once a while,” she adds.

If you love the flavour of crisp food and are being cautious not to overindulge, reconsidering your food habits might not be required. “Acrylamide is produced any time starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures. And this is only when food is really charred/cooked till dark brown. In general, while acrylamide by itself is not good for us, it’s not alarming since the amounts involved when cooking food are very tiny,” says Krish Ashok, author of Masala Lab: The Science of Indian Cooking.

“Alternate air frying with boiling, grilling, roasting or pan frying,” says food technologist Gaurang Vijaya, adding, “While there’s no concrete evidence of any harmful effects, it is well-established that cooking food at high temperatures can risk the production of harmful compounds like trans-fatty acids (TFAs) and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), and in general reduce the nutrient quality of the food.”

Air frying food can be an easy method of cooking food items that are otherwise fried — which can lower the amount of fat and calories. However, it should be used moderately since acrylamide and other harmful compounds could impact your well-being.

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    Sneha Chakraborty writes on travel, food, culture, gadgets and lifestyle for the Daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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