Back in September 2010, a new kitchen gadget, or appliance if you prefer, was launched onto the market.
The air fryer was immediately a hit with the general public, as it could do something that no other gadget could. The air fryer was designed to replicate the taste, appearance, and texture of fried food, but without actually frying as such.
As time has gone on, more advanced versions of the air fryer have been released, and they continue to sell. In one two-year period leading up to 2019, nearly 10 million air fryers were purchased in the states alone.
Despite their popularity, one nagging question remains; are air fryers actually healthy?
What is an air fryer used for?
These gadgets use a fan to circulate very hot air to cook ingredients. The idea behind the air fryer is that instead of deep frying food such as french fries, you could use this appliance to replicate them without the need for oil.
Air fryers produce all manner of fried food but they use no oil or just a minimal amount. This has led many people to proclaim them as being healthy.
There are some other benefits to air fryers other than reducing cooking oil usage. A small air fryer would be a useful gadget for a single person and might encourage home-cooking instead of takeaways. They are affordable, and they take up little space.
These factors have led them to become one of the most popular kitchen gadgets ever. But are they really healthy?
Are air fryers capable of producing healthy food?
The old saying about what you put into something is what you get out applies here. If you cook breaded chicken in an air fryer every day along with french fries, then your diet could probably use some improvement.
Many people purchase gadgets like this because they want to know how to eat healthy food every day, but also eat something that tastes good.
If someone ate fried food regularly and switched to an air fryer, their diet would undoubtedly improve. The benefits of using an air fryer to cook are a reduction in calories, oil, and some other harmful compounds.
If this gadget is used wisely then it could be construed to be healthy, when compared to deep or shallow frying with oil.
Can air fryers help someone to lose weight?
Simply cutting out all fried food and switching to an air fryer should have some impact on how much fat and calories are being consumed. Whether an air fryer could help someone lose weight may depend on what their lifestyle was before.
However, it might come into its own in one particular way. Some tips to lose weight without being restrictive include eating food you like occasionally and treating yourself within reason. So, being able to enjoy food that tastes fried might help to stop cravings for the real thing.
Is there a link between air fryers and cancer?
It would appear that this is an area of concern for some people. There has been talk about air fryers producing compounds that are linked to cancer.
Before you throw your air fryer away though, some facts need to be considered. The FDA reports that acrylamide was first discovered in food in 2002, and can be found in fried, roasted, and baked food items.
This chemical is produced when a certain food is cooked at high temperatures. This means that lots of food you consume can contain acrylamide including toast, cakes, bread, and french fries.
By controlling the temperature you cook at and stopping when food reaches a light golden brown instead of dark, will reduce the chance of acrylamides being formed. This can happen though whether you are using a hob, oven, frying pan, or air fryer.
What about the environment?
Air fryers have two major things going for them as far as the environment is concerned; no need for cooking oil, and they are energy efficient.
ResearchGate produced a chart that shows that the US, China, and England, produce 89% of the world’s waste cooking oil. This shocking statistic shows that people need to cut down on how much cooking oil they use.
Waste cooking oil improperly disposed of clogged drains causes damage to pipework, pollutes the environment, and is bad for your health.
Fossil fuels are also a concern, and using less energy should be a priority for everyone. Air fryers are very energy efficient and cook far quicker than other methods do.
All in all, the air fryer is a healthy way to cook when compared to shallow or deep frying. The food produced will appear and taste like fried food, but it will contain fewer calories and fat.
Fried food often means items like potato chips, french fries, breaded chicken, and bacon. This could mean that the user consumes a lot of carbohydrates, and fat as far as things like bacon are concerned.
However, if the gadget is used to replace fried food in a person’s diet, and not used to excess, it could be deemed to be healthy.