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An image of a woman cooking with an Air FryerYou may love it, loathe it, or not do it at all - but everyone can agree that cooking is an important part of life. It’s an activity you start your day with and generally end your day off with. And even if you avoid cooking completely, you still eat the results - prepared foods. Cooking is important and how you cook your food plays a big role in whether these foods support your body and health. With busy lifestyles and individuals looking to eat healthier and not have cooking take up all their evenings, the air fryer has entered the cooking scene. Air frying is a popular cooking method. But are air-fried foods as healthy as they are claimed to be? We take a look at what air frying is and whether air-fried foods are all they’re hyped up to be.

What Is An Air Fryer?

The air fryer is a small appliance, either egg- or square-shaped, that sits on your countertop. It is essentially a small convection oven and was patented by Philips Electronics in 2010. The air fryer circulates hot air up to 400o F around the food.

The hot air cooks the outside of the food first, creating a crispy outside and keeping the insides soft, like fried foods. As the food cooks, any grease that drops off the food is collected by a container under the inner basket with the food; this is called the outer basket.

Are Air-Fried Food Healthier Than Deep Fried Food?

Whilst air-fried food does use oil, it uses a maximum of one to two teaspoons of oil. In contrast, deep-fried foods can use cups of oil.

By air fryers using less oil, they cut the calories by 70-80%. The basket in the air fryer is a basket with gaps in it and this allows any fat to drop off the food and drop into the outer basket. This further reduces the amount of fat.

An increase in fat content in foods, particularly saturated fat, increases the risk of high cholesterol, heart attacks, and strokes.

Not only do air fryers reduce the amount of fat, but they also reduce the number of harmful chemicals. During the frying process, particularly the frying of potato chips, the chemical acrylamide is produced. Research suggests that this chemical can increase the risk of cancer. Air frying reduces the production of this chemical and can thus reduce the risk of cancer.

Thus, air-fried foods are much healthier than traditional deep-fried foods. However, they are not necessarily the healthiest overall.

Is Air-Fried Food Healthier Than Baked Food?

Air frying and baking are similar as hot air is circulated around the food; however, there are a few differences. The first difference is that baking using an oven uses an element that produces heat from either gas or electricity. This heat slowly disperses through the oven over time and takes longer to cook food than an air fryer.

Air fryers use rapid air technology to create heat rather than an element. This results in the air fryer heating up quickly and using less time to cook the food.

An image of a man pulling out a roasted chicken and potatoes from an ovenAccording to one source, baking may help retain more nutrients in foods than frying.

There is not much difference in the oil used in these cooking processes. During baking, the food does need a small amount of oil to ensure that the food does not stick to the baking tray, although in some foods this is not necessary. In air frying, only a few teaspoons of oil are used.

Both processes use high heat, however, which can contribute to the production of dangerous chemicals through the cooking process, especially broiling. The healthiest cooking method may be grilling or steaming, to avoid these chemicals and extra fats.

How Do You Air Fry?

There is a range of different foods that can be air-fried. Some popular foods include:

  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Onion rings
  • French fries
  • Cheese sticks
  • Leftovers

Here's how to get started with air frying.

  1. First, choose your food.
  2. Before you pop your food into the air fryer, preheat the air fryer. This is done by switching the air fryer on and moving the heat dial to the heat you would like. Preheat for five minutes.
  3. After five minutes, open the air fryer and place the food into the basket. Be careful not to overload the basket as the food may not cook properly.
  4. Using the dials on the air fryers, select the appropriate time. Using a teaspoon, measure out one to two teaspoons of oil and pour it into a basket. Close the lid and press the start button.
  5. Once finished the air fryer will start to beep. Open up the lid and be careful not to burn yourself with the hot steam.
  6. Remove the inner basket from the outer basket, and place the food on a serving plate.
  7. Keep the basket on a flat surface and make sure it is cool before you clean it.
  8. Enjoy your air-fried food!

Easy Air Fryer Recipe

If you are new to having an air fryer and you aren’t sure how to use it or don’t know what to cook, here is a simple recipe to get you started.

Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients A:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, grated
  • ½ small onion, grated
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and grated

Ingredients B:

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large organic egg, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup parmesan, grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredient C:

  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400o F.
  2. Place the grated ingredients A on a clean tea towel, bring up the corners and squeeze out any liquid.
  3. Place ingredients A in a large bowl, and stir in ingredients B.
  4. Using your hands, form the mixture into ¼ cup patties.
  5. Slightly grease the basket with oil.
  6. Place patties in a single layer in the basket.
  7. Cook for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.
  8. Remove and place on a plate to cool.
  9. Enjoy your vegetable fritters.

Air-Fried Foods and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS)

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is a group of symptoms that individuals can experience after a period of chronic stress. Your body responds to short-term stress through the adrenal glands and the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response.

An image of the adrenals and their hormonesIn response to this short-term stress, your adrenal glands release stress hormones to assist your body in coping. When this stress becomes chronic stress, your adrenal glands are not able to continuously produce these stress hormones. This results in your adrenal glands becoming depleted and imbalances arising within your NEM system.

The NEM stress response system consists of six different circuits composed of related organ systems, and one circuit is the Bioenergetics circuit. This circuit consists of the pancreas, thyroid, and liver, three important organs in your body. The main function of this circuit is to regulate your metabolism and blood sugar levels. When there are imbalances within this circuit, symptoms such as weight gain, sugar cravings, and dizziness can occur.

If you are currently experiencing an imbalance within this circuit, there are some practices you can do to manage them. One of these practices is managing your weight. Using an air fryer and choosing air-fried foods over deep-fried foods is one of the nutrition changes you can do to help you control the calories and fat content you consume. By controlling this, you will be able to help manage your weight.

Cautions With AFS and Air Frying

Air frying is a cooking method that can help to control the number of calories and fat you consume. Whilst this can help to control your weight and potentially reduce the risk of health conditions, there are a few cautions with AFS.

During AFS the body is sensitive to external products, and this includes the food you consume. It’s important when buying food to choose food that is free from hormones and chemicals. If it has, it increases the risk of your body reacting negatively to the food and could possibly set you back in your healing journey.

To prevent this from occurring, when you cook, use organic foods when possible and foods that are hormone-free. Also, opt for extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil instead of canola or vegetable oil. These types of oils will help support your body throughout the journey.

Conclusion

An air fryer is a welcome addition to cooking appliances and can provide nutritious meals that are healthier than traditional frying methods. Not only are they healthy, but they are also easy to use, quick, and can help to provide you with nutritious meals despite a busy schedule. They are about as healthy as baking, and while air-fried foods are not as healthy as grilled or steamed foods, they are a great alternative for many.

If you are looking for more ways to improve your diet to enhance your health, you can call the Dr. Lam team at +1 (626) 571-1234 for a free consultation or click here.

© Copyright 2023 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Whilst air-fried food can be healthier, there is a risk of air frying creating harmful compounds such as acrylamide and additional harmful compounds. However, while air frying isn't perfect, it is a great alternative to deep-fried foods and some other cooking methods.

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