Is it possible to capture the taste and texture of deep-fried food without the unhealthy fats found in oil? Companies that make air fryers, and many of their customers, say the answer is yes.
An air fryer is a countertop kitchen appliance that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years because it is advertised as a guilt-free way to cook and eat fried foods. Any food that would traditionally be deep-fried, like potatoes or chicken tenders, cooks well in an air fryer. Air fryers circulate air at high temperatures, resulting in food that has a crunchy exterior and a juicy interior
Is air-fried food healthy? Air fryers use only a few tablespoons of oil to cook food, while traditional deep-frying requires food to be submerged in oil as it cooks. Reducing oil consumption can significantly improve a person’s health by lowering the risks of heart disease and obesity. This method can also cut calorie intake of traditionally deep-fried foods by 70 to 80 percent.
A 2015 study compared the characteristics of French fries that were deep-fried versus those that came from an air fryer. The researchers found the two fries had similar taste and texture, but the air-fried ones were healthier because they had less fat.
Another study found air fryers reduce a compound called acrylamide in foods, which is associated with kidney, endometrial and ovarian cancers.
However, nutritionists warn fried food is still fried and should be consumed in moderation. Eating too much fried foods leads to a greater risk of obesity, heart failure and Type 2 diabetes. Experts still recommend sautéing, roasting and baking as healthier ways to cook.