We, humans, don’t necessarily eat to live, as much as we live to eat. And lately, our constant desire to satisfy solely taste buds has taken its toll on our health.
The fast-food/junk food industry is pretty much based on the same cooking method: deep frying. There are very few foods in this world that don’t taste great when deep fried. We deep-fry everything this day and age, from meat, to potatoes, to Oreos!
Why are deep fried foods so delicious?
Soft inside and crunchy on the outside. How can you resist? But why are deep fried foods so delicious?
Well, it is mostly because of the high temperature necessary to fry food. The oil used for frying gets twice as hot when you fry, than when you boil something. That high temperature is what makes the food dehydrate and form that delicious crust we love so much in deep fried foods. The fatter the food, the tastier it will be. And if we also use a batter for foods such as fried chicken, fish and so on, the effect is even greater, because the batter will get crispy and dehydrated while the inside will remain moist.
The disadvantages of deep frying
The problem with fat, deep fried food is that it is as unhealthy as it is delicious. There are several reasons why deep fried foods are bad for you:
- They are very high in calories, compared with foods cooked using other methods. Too many calories means you can gain a lot of weight
- The oil used for deep frying foods is usually rich in trans fats and cholesterol; consuming too much of them increases the risk of various heart diseases (because of the clogging of the arteries), diabetes, colon cancer and more. The reason why trans fats are so unhealthy is that they go through hydrogenation, due to the high temperatures of cooking; hydrogenation modifies the structure of fats and your body has a hard time breaking them down
- Deep frying is bad for the environment, especially when it is being used at an industrial level; waste oil from restaurants for instance ends up in a lot of cases in the sewage system
- Deep frying is messy and it requires more time for cleaning the kitchen
The good news is that there is a healthier and better way to cook all your favorite meals, without sacrificing too much in terms of taste. You can cook all your favorite dishes using an air fryer.
What are air fryers?
An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that uses the principle of hot air circulation to cook your food. Air fryers require very small amounts of oil in order to prepare your food, which significantly reduces the fat content in your diet. Most dishes only require you to use a tbsp. of oil. You no longer have to submerge food in oil, but you still obtain that same crunchy food you are used to, while the inside stays soft.
By using an air fryer, you reduce the content of oil by up to 80%.
Air fryers circulate the hot air around the food and thanks to the Maillard effect, your food will get that crunchy layer. The Maillard effect or Maillard reaction, is a chemical reaction that occurs due to heat and results in the browning of the food, with its special aroma.
Air fryers consist in several components, which are detachable: a basket, where you put the ingredients, a divider, a basket holder with a fan beneath it and the main body of the appliance.
What are the benefits of cooking with air fryers?
The biggest advantage of using an air fryer is it helps you cut back on the calories, because it requires significantly less oil. Less fat means a lower risk of developing all the aforementioned diseases. Air fryers also help you fight obesity.
Another benefit of cooking with air fryers is that they are less messy than conventional fryers. They are easier to clean and maintain.
Air fryers are also great for reducing the bad odors that occur due to traditional fryers. Compared to traditional frying, air frying is basically odorless, again thanks to the low quantity of oil.
If you are also financially responsible, air frying will help you save a lot of money, because you’ll no longer use so much oil.
Air fryers are also easy to use, even by people who are not that into cooking.
They are also versatile, allowing you to prepare everything you want, just like with traditional frying. Most of them include a recipe book in the box, too, and you can use it to make delicious recipes, including desserts.
There aren’t too many drawbacks in using an air fryer over a conventional one. Traditional frying might obtain a more consistent ‘crunchiness’, but the difference in taste is not that noticeable, and it is a compromise you should be able to make for your overall health.
Aspects to consider when choosing an air fryer
- Size and capacity
- Warranty policy
- Ease of use
- Features (digital timer, temperature control, alerting feature, preprogrammed cooking options, a grill mode, etc.)