Air Fryers, good or bad?

Frying is one of the most popular cooking methods due to its appealing taste, it makes food crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but it comes at a cost in terms of health as the oils used cause heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Fryer manufacturers advertise this appliance as a way to prepare and enjoy fried foods without the negative health effects, as they have a lower fat content than fried foods, which means they can be healthier.

However, some people are concerned about the possible health risks of using this new form of cooking, due to fears of toxicity and cancer.

In this article, we look at the health benefits and risks of using air fryers.


Air fryers arrived on the market in 2010 as an alternative to frying. Because many people like fried foods, the ability to prepare crunchy foods despite using less oil has led to their rapid growth in popularity, although longer cooking times are often required.

The air fryers are small appliances of different shapes, around we can find the classic shapes that recall the classic and old oil fryers and the new egg shapes, but there is no difference between the models, it is just a choice of taste .

The classic models are equipped with a removable basket where you can put food and, if desired, also condiments. There are also other types very similar to a microwave oven that have larger capacities and the possibility of toasting.

How do they work

When looking at the potential advantages or disadvantages of a cooking method, it is helpful to understand exactly how food is cooked or reheated.

Air fryers are called incorrectly because, essentially, they have the characteristics of an oven and, instead, differ greatly from deep fat fryers. Air fryers have resistance like that of classic ovens and a fan that pushes hot air around the food, a bit like a concentrated fan oven.

The circulating air cooks the outside of the food first, creating a crunchy coating and leaving the inside soft, just like with fried foods.

The crunchiness that is obtained is due to the liquid that is removed from the food in the cooking process. While the food is cooking, a container under the basket collects the fat or liquids released by the food.  

What can be cooked in an air fryer?

With an air fryer you can cook everything you normally fry in oil, in particular: french fries, chicken, meatballs, omelettes, croquettes, vegetables, cheese sticks, fish.

The larger models (microwave oven type) also have the ability to toast and cook like conventional ovens. You can also use the air fryer for other recipes, such as quiches and desserts.

Air fryers versus traditional frying

The main difference between the air fryer and the traditional deep fryer is in the amount of oil used. In general, much less oil is needed when cooking with an air fryer than with a classic deep fryer.

Sometimes only a small amount of oil is needed and, if added to the breading, a teaspoon may be sufficient, but it is even possible to cook in the absence of oil.

If we take as an example the cooking of french fries, with an air fryer the fries will contain 75% less fat than those cooked with the classic frying and for those who never believe, here is  a study that proves it.

Negative effects of air fryers

While air fryers reduce the likelihood of acrylamide formation, other potentially harmful compounds may still form.

For example, air frying fish increases the amount of a substance called ” cholesterol oxidation ” (COP). COPs are formed when the cholesterol in meat or fish breaks down during cooking.

These substances are connected to  cardio-vascular problems , hardening of the arteries and other diseases. Additionally, these compounds have associations with cancer risk,  according to the National Cancer Institute  .

One way to reduce the amount of “cholesterol oxidation” when frying fish is to add fresh parsley,  chives,  or a mixture of both, as these herbs act as  antioxidants .

Air frying also appears to curb the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish. These “good fats” help lower blood pressure and raise “good” cholesterol levels and can help protect the heart.

Scientists need to do more research to clarify exactly how air frying and these compounds are related.

If you want to deepen the subject, i invite you to read the article ” La friggitrice ad aria, parliamone ” di Luigi Villani .

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button