Fried foods are an important part of our food menu. Whether it is appetizers, main course or evening snacks, fried food has a special place. Despite the fact, they are not healthy and are associated with so many health diseases, still, they are globally one of the highest craved, consumed and loved ones. Some of the most famous fried foods include french fries, fish, chicken strips and cheese sticks. But almost anything can be fried and served.
So how are these tasty fried food cooked?
Fried foods are cooked by deep-frying, which is widely used all over the globe. Deep frying is a dynamic process in which a frying medium (usually fat or oil) is heated to very high temperatures (close to 400°F) and foods are placed inside the hot medium until they are golden brown. This process is called Milliard reaction and basically, it involves caramelization of starches (carbohydrates) and the browning of proteins. This method is very widely used by restaurants and fast-food chains. This is a quick, efficient and inexpensive way to prepare delicious tasty foods.
But these tasty and flavored foods come with a price, that is a real cost for our health. Because of the excess use of oil/fat in frying the food, they have a high content of calories and trans fat and consuming a lot of these can have bad impacts on our health.
So in this blog post, we will explain why commercially fried foods are bad for us and find out what other options are available to us for fried foods.
Why fried foods are not healthy?
Deep frying methods are complex chemical reactions. As foods are processed in a very hot medium, they lose water and instead absorb a lot of fats. So deep frying increases the calorie level as well as their fat content. Again heat breaks down the fat/oil into their trans forms. Trans fats are not good for our body.
So to reduce the absorption of fat/oil in the fried foods, frying should be done at lower temperatures, and as a result, foods will lose less moisture and therefore absorb less oil compared to the foods fried at higher temperatures.
Another way to reduce the absorbed oil content from fried foods is to drain the excess amount of oil properly. For that purpose, we can use multi stacks of paper towels. Fried food items should be transferred immediately to that stack of paper towels for a minute or two. After the waiting period, the delicious fried food is ready to serve.
But you should be very careful about your intake quantity of fried foods. Because in spite of all your cautious steps, oily fried food is riskier for health. They are associated with diabetes and heart diseases. Fried food can influence these disease conditions along with several risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol level in a negative way.
Safety measures to cook fried foods
We know fried foods are not healthy but can’t control ourselves because of their taste and crunchiness. Some of the bad effects of fried foods can be avoided by following a few safety tips while preparing them.
Healthy oils vs Unhealthy oils:
The oils we used for frying are the main culprit that influences the health risks associated with eating fried foods. Different oils have different properties basing on their boiling points, fats content, and densities. Certain oils can withstand much higher temperatures than others and this property makes them a little safer to use for frying purposes.
Oils that have a high content of saturated and monounsaturated fats are most stable during heating. Coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil are some of the healthiest options.
Coconut oil has more than 80% saturated fats, which makes it very resistant to heat.
Similarly, olive oil and avocado oil contain mostly monounsaturated fats, making it relatively stable for high-temperature cooking.
By using these healthier oils, we can reduce some of the risks associated with eating fried foods.
Reduce oil absorption from fried foods:
Another option to choose while making fried foods is to use a multi-layer stack of paper towels to soak out all the extra oil from the food. This way we can reduce the quantity of oil from our food.
Battering or breading with gluten-free flour
Sometimes we coat our foods with flour before frying. So if we can use gluten-free flours and starches, such as rice flour and corn starch into our flour mix, we can be able to reduce the fat content to some more extent.
Apart from the precautions mentioned above, there are other frying options available such as oven fry and air fry methods which can be much safer for health than deep frying.
Air Frying: the ultimate alternative to deep frying methods?
As air fryers require less oil or sometimes no oil than traditional deep frying, it makes them healthier than their oil-immersed counterparts. Technically, air fryers do not fry the foods, instead circulating hot air inside it cook the food and give it a crispy texture and browned color. A basket-like container is used for keeping the foods inside the air fryer to cooks it. It’s a very simple and handy kitchen appliance that is meant for fryers lovers.
Philips introduced its first air fryer in Germany and after that, so many brands are available in the market. We will very soon publish a comprehensive blog comparing some of the best air fryers that are available in the market. We will soon write up a blog on some handy recipes for air fryers’ cooking method.
Finally, I will say we as humans loved fried foods in the past and present and will continue to love it in the future. So it’s better to choose healthier options available to us. With this, I will finish this article here and leave to our readers what they think about fried food.