Air fryers are a hot (pun intended) trend. They debuted in 2010 and are now continuously loved by Americans. Between May 2017 and mid-March 2019, about 10 million air fryers were sold. Last year, there was an increase in sales of 2 million MORE than in 2019 indicating that this appliance continues to gain in popularity.
So what is exactly an air fryer? And is cooking with one actually healthier or is it just a popular fad?
An air fryer is a small kitchen appliance that has a convection feature. They have a fan inside that continuously blows hot air around the food, and with this continuous flow of heat, food is cooked at all sides.
Air fryers are very famous for frying food with less or no oil at all. Many people are enticed by this so that they can make healthier versions of their favorite fried foods. And, Air fryers can do more than just frying. You can reheat your food in them and even bake, roast, and grill anything you put inside them.
Are air fryers actually healthier?
Well, I want to make it clear that not all air fryer recipes are healthy. Air fryers can help us cook foods in a healthier way, BUT the ingredients matter.
Here are some ways that air fryers can support our health:
- Reduction of fat and calories
Food cooked in traditional deep frying has more calories and fats–that’s a given fact. With the use of an air fryer, food only needs a light coating of oil while others don’t need any at all. Manufacturers of air fryers claim that by using this kitchen device, fat content in food is reduced to about 70-80 %. Now, I am a big fan of fat. Fat is an important macronutrient. It provides important building blocks to your body for creating healthy cell walls and hormones. However, deep frying isn’t a healthy way to prepare food and many oils used to deep fry are horribly unhealthy vegetable oils. So, reducing the intake of poor quality oils is an excellent way to support your health. If you are enjoying the texture of food made in an air fryer and that provides you with a sense of satiety, that can help you normalize your portions and eating frequency to support your weight, digestion, and hormones=WIN! If you are eating too many calories daily, you’re not going to maintain a healthy weight, so again, assuming that you are using good quality foods in your air fryer, preparing your food in one can support weight balance if you are swapping it out for less healthy cooking methods.
- Less formation of harmful compounds
When many oils are heated, trans fats and harmful compounds, such as acrylamide, are formed. According to a study, as reported by the FDA, animals who were exposed to high amounts of acrylamide developed cancer. Acrylamide is a health concern for humans as well and it is helpful to be conscious about avoiding them. With the use of air fryers, acrylamide content is reduced to about 90%.
- Aid in weight loss
As I mentioned, because there is less calories in food cooked in air fryers versus deep fried, using them can support weight loss. People who have increased consumption of fried foods are at increased risk of health challenges including obesity in the long run. Also remember that air fryers are not designed for frying alone, although that is their most popular function. You can bake, roast, or grill in it which are all healthy ways to prepare food.
So, using an air fryer can certainly be a healthy, easy, and convenient way to cook food…but the ingredients we use in the food we make matter. If you start swapping your salads for air fried french fries, that is likely not a wise plan. However, if you start eating more veggies and healthy proteins because you like how they taste using your air fryer, that’s a win! If you cook at home more rather than dining out, that’s a win!
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to your optimal diet. The best combo would be to customize your diet and then look at the best ways to prepare those optimal foods, such as air frying.
If you’d like to learn more about customizing your diet and optimizing your health, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!