When air fryers were launched on an unsuspecting public back in 2010, they may have seemed like another kitchen gimmick.
The market is flooded with gadgets and appliances for the kitchen that promise much but deliver little.
However, since then, this particular appliance hasn’t just sold millions of units, it has also spawned imitators, and garnered an almost cult following.
Along with the Instant Pot, the air fryer has transformed home cooking for many. Apparently, it has done this while also helping to improve diets.
But, can something that purports to recreate the great taste of fried food, really be that healthy?
What is an air fryer exactly?
People today are very much more aware of what they consume than in the past. However, there are many unhealthy foods that are dangerous that still get eaten.
The reason this happens is that whether it is bad for health or not, they often taste very good.
Fried food is extremely popular in the US and other countries around the world. Yet, as you probably know, it isn’t conducive to a healthy diet if consumed too often.
An air fryer is an appliance that uses air that is heated to a high temperature and circulated to cook ingredients. This has the effect of producing food that looks and tastes as if it had been dunked in the deep fryer. And yet, the appliance uses little or no oil to achieve these results.
Are air fryers healthy?
There is some concern in medical circles that air fryers could produce dangerous compounds known as acrylamide. These compounds are produced through certain cooking techniques such as roasting and baking that involve high temperatures.
It is believed that these compounds are linked to cancer, and they occur in many everyday cooked items such as French fries, cookies, and bread.
It should be noted though, that traditional cooking methods also produce acrylamide if high temperatures are involved. So, the problem doesn’t solely belong to air fryers.
The food cooked in an air fryer may be healthier though than through other cooking methods. According to WebMD, air fryers can reduce the number of calories in food by up to 70%-80%. This is largely due to the lack of cooking oil being used.
How can they help someone to eat healthier?
If you eat breaded chicken every night then your diet isn’t going to be completely healthy whether you use an air fryer or not.
However, the name of the appliance is somewhat misleading as it makes a lot of people assume that it is only French fries and chicken wings that can be cooked in it.
The truth is that there are many air fryer resources on the web full of healthy, creative recipes. For instance, you could try a healthy broccolini recipe by Cooking School Dropout. Or search for air fryer stuffed bell peppers.
Even if the majority of your use for an air fryer was to make French fries, you would still benefit from the reduction in fat and calories.
Using and eating fried foods regularly can lead to a number of health problems. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, can all be caused by a poor diet. Reducing the amount of cooking oil used can only be beneficial for health.
Are there other benefits to using an air fryer?
There are two other advantages to using an air fryer that help the health of the environment, if not you.
The reduction in cooking oil is a serious boon to the planet. The US disposes of around 3 billion gallons of waste cooking oil every year according to the EPA.
Great strides are being made with recycling cooking oil now. According to IBISWorld, the recycling of cooking oil generates around $2.6 billion every year.
Despite the leaning towards recycling by hotels and restaurants, many householders still dispose of WCO improperly. Using less oil to cook with negates this problem straight away.
The other benefit for the environment is through efficient energy use.
Air fryers do use very high temperatures, but they cook food very quickly. Regardless of the heat generated by the cooker, little of it escapes, and overall, less energy gets used.
This might result in negligible financial benefits for you, but it all helps the planet.
If you cook bacon in the air fryer every day, you will certainly benefit from reduced calories. Nevertheless, bacon is still not a healthy option.
While it is clear that air fryers can produce healthy food, it still requires the user to choose healthier ingredients to put into it.
Reducing calories and fat through an air fryer can help to improve a person’s diet. With this comes many benefits. It is known that physical health may affect mental health too, so this may be another reason to review your diet.
As long as a balanced diet is maintained, an air fryer can be enjoyed for those naughtier snacks such as French fries, with less guilt.