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Air frying: Way to reduce calories

By Eseoghene Laba
29 March 2020   |   3:45 am
Some people can simply not do without frying their food. This probably is due to the flavourful and delicious taste fried food gives. It also explains why this category of people tends to binge on it, when the craving comes. But, there is a little catch here.

Some people can simply not do without frying their food. This probably is due to the flavourful and delicious taste fried food gives. It also explains why this category of people tends to binge on it, when the craving comes. But, there is a little catch here.

If you plan on eating healthy, fried foods are your number one enemy. And this is not just about weight gain. There are other health-related issues, such as diabetes and heart diseases, among others, that are caused by consuming too much oily food. The idea is to eat as little oil as possible to avoid these health problems.

So, how can you enjoy your favourite fried foods without the accompanying excess oil? A method that has been adopted by some people is to use the air fryer. Although this device has been in the market for a while, it is yet to attain the popularity for the good job it does. The air fryer produces crispy fried foods without using oil. This means you’ll get all the flavour without the fat.

Kemi, a 29-year-old banker, attested to the efficacy of the air fryer. Her weight loss coach had advised her to get an air fryer, so she could substitute pan-fried and deep-fried foods for air-fried foods. This way, she would be able to lose weight and still enjoy fried foods.

“I really love fried foods and eat them every day. When I started my weight loss journey, no matter how much I tried to abstain from fried foods, I always succumbed in the end. But when my weight loss coach told me to try air fried foods as a replacement for regular fried foods, she saved my life. Now, I get to follow my weight loss plan, while still enjoying fried foods,” she said.
Some people also find meals prepared with the air fryer tastier than other methods of frying. The fact that it saves the individual from consuming too much calories is an added benefit.
Mrs. Ugboh, a businesswoman and mother of three, has always been health conscious. So, she tries out new things she feels will help in this regard.

“I found out about the air fryer early 2019 and since then, I have been using it to prepare fried meals, especially fried plantain, which I love so much. And whenever I air-fry it, I feel that the plantain tastes more natural to me than when I pan-fry it. Sometimes, I add a little oil to make it tastier.”
A nutritionist, Natachi Ugbajah of Health‘n’ Healthy Complete Living, Lagos, described the air fryer as a mini oven, since it also bakes and roasts.She said: “The difference is that its heating elements are located on the top and are accompanied by a large, powerful fan, which means food is baked or roasted faster and is super crispy. Importantly, it requires little or no oil to bake or roast, compared to deep fryers. The air fryer heats up quickly and cooks evenly in no time.
This is due to its size and placement of the fan.

“It is really not much of a fryer, as it doesn’t fry food like regular pan-frying or deep-frying machine. An air fryer is the conversion of oven in a bucket. It has a heating element and is fancier than a regular oven. It has a fan that circulates hot air in 360 degrees, keeping a consistent temperature, thereby causing food to mimic the result of a deep-frying crispy layer.

“Due to the size and heat element, it bakes and roasts food faster than a regular oven. Air fryers can be used to cook all sorts of food, such as chicken, steak, pork chops, fish, potatoes, plantain and yam, among others.”

She believed that air frying could help reduce calories, just like the waistline is improved in the process.

“It can also help individual avoid trans fat (the harmful processed fat that raises the risk for type 2 diabetes), thereby protecting health of the heart. It can also reduce exposure to such harmful compounds as acrylamides, which have been tied to cancer,” she said. Reusing frying oil has been proven to raise blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as cause vascular inflammation. This is another advantage of using air fryer.

Does air fryers actually affect the taste of food?
Natachi replied in the negative. She explained that the taste and texture of air-fried meals are not different; so long a tiny amount of oil is added, when cooking with the air fryer. The only difference is in the amount of calories.

She said: “Air fryers absorb less fat than regular deep fryer and pan-frying. For instance, if a pan-frying recipe calls for one cup of oil to fry 500g potatoes, and a deep-frying machine calls for three cups, an air fryer will call for one tablespoon of oil. This is a drastic reduction in food calories with air-fried foods.”
She, however, explained that some people have expressed concern over the possible health risk of using this new form of cooking. This is primarily due to fear of over toxicity and cancer.

“Others are skeptical about the alleged benefits of air-fried food,” she said. “Some adverse effects that might arise with using air fryer include harmful compounds that may be formed during the process of air frying. These are aldehydes, heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are potentially dangerous chemicals formed with high-heat cooking and may be associated with a higher risk of cancer.”


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