Is it healthier to use an air fryer?


Air fryers are all the rage because they make food prep quick, easy, and tasty. It’s widely believed that air-fried foods are healthy, but is it true?

Air fryer vs fried

Air fryers create food that tastes like french fries without frying it in oil, which can result in 70-80% fewer calories than deep-fried food.

Air fried foods don’t taste exactly like fried foods, but they are similar. The exterior has the familiar creak and the interior is softer.

“For people who want to eat healthy, it’s a good substitute,” says integrative nutritionist, Marissa Winters, MA, RDN. “The air fryer can make foods that people might not like when prepared in the conventional way more appealing, for example, air-fried fish (not breaded) for dinner or chickpeas for a snack. While other people might complain that the food doesn’t taste exactly like fried food.

How Air Fryers Help People Eat Healthy

People who want to change their diet can benefit from using air fryers. For maximum impact, choose nutritious ingredients, like lean protein or vegetables.

Some benefits of cooking with an air fryer include:

  • You will eat less fried foods. Fried foods are high in calories because they are cooked in oil, a fat. Removing oil from the cooking process dramatically reduces fat and calorie intake.
  • You can lose weight. Do you frequently eat fried foods? Substituting low-calorie fried foods can help you lose weight over time.
  • You can avoid trans fats. This unhealthy fat can be found in fried foods, especially fast foods. Air-fried versions do not contain trans fats, which increase “bad” cholesterol levels.
  • You can eat less acrylamide. This substance, which can increase the risk of cancer, can form when cooking over high heat. Frying can lead to the formation of acrylamide in foods; air frying may not be.

“An air fryer can help kick-start a weight loss journey for obese people,” says Marissa. “It may also help anyone who regularly eats fried foods eat less fat.”

Why Air Fryers May Not Be As Healthy As You Think

Don’t assume that air fryers guarantee you’ll eat healthy. The trendy kitchen gadget may encourage you to limit your diet to nutrient-poor choices.

There are some downsides to using an air fryer to prepare your meals, including:

  • You may be encouraged to eat more fried foods. An air fryer can encourage you to eat breaded and fried foods daily. It is healthier to have a varied diet, with salads, beans and fresh produce.
  • You can burn food more easily. Air fryers cook food quickly, so you risk burning things if you’re not careful. Burnt and charred foods may contain substances that increase the risk of cancer.
  • You can consume less healthy oil. Moderate amounts of olive oil, a kitchen staple, can raise “good” cholesterol. If you air fry everything, you may not be getting enough of this healthy fat.

“People shouldn’t eat fried-style breaded foods or French fries every day, even air-fried versions,” says Marissa. “Don’t forget about other cooking methods, like baking, broiling, or steaming.”

Next steps and resources:

The material provided by HealthU is intended to be used for general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your doctor for individual care.


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