Air Fryer Health Benefits

The spike in popularity of air fryers has many people asking the question: are there any health benefits to using an air fryer?

It is a valid question, especially when determining if they are a healthier cooking option when compared to deep fryers.

In order to determine how healthy, or what even healthy means, there needs to be some background and comparisons made concerning air fryers.

air fryer health benefits

what is an air fryer?

Before determining if using one is healthy or not, or possibly could cause cancer, a brief overview of air fryers is justified.

Air fryers are a small, kitchen countertop, appliance, about the size of a large coffee maker, which rapidly circulates hot air around food. The combination of a minute amount of oil, small volume, high heat and fast moving air creates the crispy, brown, flavorful “deep fried” texture and taste that so many people crave. They are inexpensive, relatively small, and pretty darn cool given the convenience and end-product that they produce when it comes to cooking. The purpose of the air fryer is to provide that deep fried taste and texture by using a safer and healthier cooking method.

In order to produce the crisping effect, which is caused by a chemical reaction referred to as the Maillard reaction, a small amount of oil and hot, fast moving air is needed. When it comes to traditional deep fat frying, lots of oil is needed to induce the Maillard reaction.

healthy and unhealthy cooking oils

You might as well put some big ol’ air quotes around “healthy” and “unhealthy” when comes to cooking oils. Studies on cooking oils and fats are usually limited in scope and biased by the sponsors of the studies, so it is very difficult to get an honest opinion as to which cooking oils are healthy or not.

Before diving into more details about oils, there are a lot of oils that can be utilized for cooking. By no means a comprehensive list, the following oils are some of the most commonly used for cooking.

  • Peanut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Soy oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil

Oil characteristics can change between when they are at room temperature or heated above certain temperatures. Therefore, one of the characteristics when choosing an oil to use in an air fryer is that it has a smoke point above 200 degrees Celsius, or about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, because that is how hot most air fryers can get.

Various oils have different amounts of saturated fats and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in them. The final verdict as to which type of fat is good or bad for you is still up for debate.

Some studies will say that saturated fats, from coconut, avocado, olive and palm oil, should be avoided because it supposedly is linked to higher cholesterol levels, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Those studies would then recommend consuming oils with less saturated fat in them, like peanut, soy, canola and sunflower oil.

The best thing to do is hear it from a real expert, Dr. Ken Berry.

So which type of oil is healthier? To be honest, who knows! The only thing we can agree on is that air fryers use much less oil when compared to traditional deep fryers or pan frying, so let us take a look at that next.

how much oil does an air fryer use?

Air fryers require between none and one tablespoons of oil when cooking. The amount of oil required depends on how much food is being cooked, as well as what kind of food. Fortunately, manufacturers typically provide some recipes and recommend amounts of oil to use with the air fryer. And if all else fails, there are tons of recipes and how-to’s on Pinterest to help you determine how much cooking oil to use when air frying.

In contrast, frying foods in a deep pan or a traditional deep fryer oil, can use multiple tablespoons to quarts of cooking oil. Obviously not all of that oil is absorbed into the food, but it is much more likely to than if only one tablespoon of oil is flying around in the hot air cooking the food.

A simple way to look at it is less oil used means less oil, calories, and fat consumed! With an average cost of about $20 per gallon of cooking oil, that means you will be saving a lot of money as well when using an air fryer for cooking.

less oil means less calories and fat!

As stated before, up to one tablespoon of oil is required while using an air fryer. While it varies depending on the oil used, but this roughly translates to about 120 calories and 10 grams of fat. Studies have shown that deep fried foods have roughly twice the calories from fat as those cooked in air fryers.

Thus, if you want that deep fried taste and texture, with the benefits of half the fat, calories and guilt, then air fryers are clearly a healthier option when compared to traditional frying.

conclusion – are air fryers healthier than deep fat fryers?

Based on the facts that less oil is used, less oil is absorbed, and therefore less oil is consumed, it would be our opinion that air fryers are a healthier option to cook with than deep fryers.

Fortunately, it’s not only health benefits that air fryers offer over deep fryers. Safety, convenience, cost and easy to clean are just some of the other advantages to air fryers!

recommended reading

what is the best air fryer to buy? <– click to read more

With so many air fryers on the market, how do you pick the right one for you? Let us help you pick the best air fryer based on your needs, price budget and preferences!

do air fryers really work? <– CLICK to READ more

Does an air fryer really work as well as everyone says? Let us help prove to you that air fryers really are that good, but you don’t have to take our word for it! We compiled a review of reviews from across multiple stores to bring you the overall impressions people have of air fryers!

what can you cook in an air fryer? <– CLICK to READ more

Are you a little uncertain of what you can cook in an air fryer? We’ve compiled a list of types of foods and meals that can be made in an air fryer, along with many examples for each type and category. Once you’re done drooling about all of these goodies, you’ll be ready to go find the perfect air fryer for you!

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