Health Benefits of Air Fryers Explained
If you love a good fried fish sandwich or have a family that enjoys golden brown fried chicken but you don’t like the unhealthy grease that goes along with those favorite foods, you are going to love learning about air fryers. They’ve been around for several years now, but are still a fairly new appliance, and for those of us that loved fried foods, it’s like finding the ‘Holy Grail’ for your kitchen.
Air fryers were created to fry foods, but to do it with just a fraction of the oil used in normal deep frying. Less oil means less fat and less of all that bad artery clogging stuff that goes with it. The air fryer was meant to be a healthy fryer, one that can give you great taste without all the fat and calories. I’ve put together a few key questions and answer to help you understand the benefits of this newer kitchen appliance.
Where did the air fryer come from?
While it may seem like something from out of Back to the Future, it looks like one of the first to debut was by Philips in 2010, according to Gizmag, who stated it was unveiled at the IFA Consumer Electronics Show that year. The Air Fryer patent was first filed in 2006 with a publication date in 2008.
Are Air Fryers Healthy? Really?
This is a great question, and the first one that I asked, because deep fried popcorn chicken without the guilt just seemed too good to be true. So is your air fryer healthy? They actually do have a healthy benefit due to the fact that they use less oil than traditional fryers. And by less, I mean a LOT less.
Manufacturers state that their air fryers use between 70% to 80% less fat than traditional deep frying. T-fal invites you to enjoy real French fries made with their ActiFry, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, knowing that they have only 3% fat. So let’s compare that to some typical regularly fried fast food French fries. According to WebMD among the highest are 53% fat and lowest are 37% fat – so only 3% fat with air fryer made fries is a definitely a significant reduction!
How to air fryers work?
Air fryers circulate super heated air around the food at high speed, so only a small fraction – usually just a tablespoon – of oil is needed to produce that same crispy layer that deep frying creates.
Sounds great, but does the food actually taste “Fried”?
This is the big question. Sure it sounds great to eat those yummy fried onion rings and potato chips with only a fraction of the oil, fat, and guilt, but does it actually taste as good? I’ve baked French fries or chicken nuggets for my kids in the oven before, but it doesn’t have that same great taste. So it’s only natural to wonder if the air fryer is both healthy and tastes just as good.
Well, there are two sources we can go to for the answer. One is a study published in the Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences, and the other is consumers that write reviews on Amazon, just like us.
So first let’s take a look at that scientific study. A study titled, “Air frying a new technique for produce of healthy fried potato strips” was published in August of 2014 by Shaker, M. Arafat of the Oils & Fars Research Department, Food Technology Research Institute, Agriculture Research Centre, Giza, Egypt.
Some great takeaways from this study were:
Using less oil to fry food results in significant cost savings due to the cost of various oils. They studied the amount of oil to fry a 200g batch of potato strips (i.e. French fries) and found that the price to fry them with traditional methods was $3.44 USD. Using an airfryer, it was just $0.00023 USD. Wow! Huge grocery bill savings there.
But lets get back to the question…does it taste good?
They also did a sensory evaluation of the fried potato strips, looking at taste, appearance, color, odor, crispness and overall acceptability. The results showed that using air frying process didn’t cause any significant differences on overall taste, texture, or appearance as compared to traditional frying. And actually the study showed that air frying won over traditional frying on taste, color, odor, crispness, and hardness. The only place that if fell just slightly under was appearance. For anyone that is a true science geek, I recommend reading this study
Now….let’s consider what actual buyers and consumers have to say:
Overall, reviewers on Amazon of several air fryers also say that the taste stands up to traditional frying. They mention the crispness of the food as well. Which is important because texture of food can be just as impactful as the taste for the overall experience. One person mentioned that they tried cooking chicken wings in the oven and they did not achieve “crunch” level. But when cooking them in an air fryer, they did and were just as crispy as they were when fried in a deep fryer.
Why is less fat more healthy?
This question is one of those that seems obvious, but we just end up assuming things that people tell us. To truly know why an air fryer is healthier we need to know why more fat is bad and less fat in our food is good. So I went to the experts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more insight.
The type of fat found in most traditionally fried foods is Saturated Fats. This type of fat is unhealthy because they increase your “bad” cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease. Of course we all know that controlling fat intake is also one of the most important steps to losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight.
From our earlier question, is your air fryer healthy, we can conclude that statement is actually correct! So from our research, we can overall say that too much unhealthy saturated fat found in deep fried foods is bad. So if we can make that same food with 70% to 80% less fat, that is a wonderful and healthful thing. Air fryers use a technology that is proven and patented. So this technology is definitely for real, and according to both academic studies and every day consumers, the food fried in air fryers tastes just as great as food fried in traditional fryers.
This technology is one that greatly benefits many. We can now make our family everything from fried chicken to mushroom, fries, or hushpuppies with just a small fraction of the fat. Air fryers truly take the bad reputation out of fried foods, and turn them into a much more healthy fare to serve your family. Whether you’re serving corn dogs, fried shrimp, mozzarella sticks or fried zucchini, you can do so with zero guilt, secure in the knowledge that your air fryer is doing what you thought was impossible, frying up food that is actually healthy.
If you want to check out some of the best rated healthy air fryers on the market, you’ll want to look at the Philips range. After all, they’re the ones that debuted them back in 2010.
Their extra large version is the Philips HD 9240. It has a 2.65lb food capacity. You can find it on Amazon here
Their medium sized version is the Philips HD9230. It has a 1.8lb food capacity. You can check it out here
They also have a smaller version, which is the Philips HD9220. It has a 1.75lb food capacity. You can check it out here
Product Images Sources From Amazon.com