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Are Air Fryers Toxic?
The essential part of a well-balanced life is good food; this is why the preparation of the food is just as important to us as the food itself. Yet, people tend to wonder which is the best food preparation practices; this is why questions like “Are air fryers toxic?” are asked.
Although there is no actual proof that air fryers are toxic so far, some people believe that eating food prepared using air fryers can lead to cancer; this is just a misconception. Most health and cooking experts even recommend using air frying as there is a lower fat content and calories to be applied to the food.
Differences between Air Fryers and Deep Fryers
Most people will ask why the Air fryer is any different from their deep fryers. Deep fryer can be used for cooking small things like fries or chips and more oversized items like chicken wings to an entire turkey.
They work by placing food in a basket and then lowered and wholly submerged into a hot oil bath. Some of the differences I have found include;
- Deep fryers require a lot of oil as food needs to submerge the oil completely. On the other hand, air fryers can use do with little to no oil at all.
- The oil used in deep frying penetrates the food deeper, giving a thicker and crispier crust than an air fryer. Some foods even come out dryer with an air fryer when compared to the deep fryer.
- Deep fryers are strictly for frying foods. With an air fryer, you can use different cooking methods like grilling and baking.
- Cleaning up is much easier in Air fryers than with a deep fryer.
Operation of an Air Fryer
Traditionally when frying, food is submerging foods in oil. With the invention of the air fryer, little or no oil is applied to the food when cooking, still meeting the same taste and texture of deep-fried food. Small amounts of oil can, however, be applied to improve the taste of the food. To answer the question “Are air fryers toxic” in a more thorough manner, we need first to understand the operation of the air fryers, the concept behind the cooking process, as well as the materials used in making the air fryer itself.
An air fryer is perfect cooking equipment that circulates heat at extremely high temperatures to grill, fry, and bake food. The air fryer’s cooking chamber radiates heat from a heating element close to the food; the hot air is circulated to the cooking chamber. The temperature typically goes up to 482 °F depending on the model of the air fryer. Most air fryers are made of plastic, with a metal basket inside for holding the food item. Plastics is one of the materials that is a cause of concern to many because when we cook food in plastic, some of the chemicals leach into our food. These chemicals can disrupt our endocrine system; however, most air-fryers use plastic-free of bisphenol A (BPA), one of the most common hormone-disrupting chemicals in plastic.
During the cooking process, a chemical reaction is called the mallard effect occurs between an amino acid and reduces sugar in heat. This leads to alterations in the color and flavor of foods causing the fryer to change the taste of the food without necessarily frying it with so much of the oil.
Merits of Using Air Fryer
- The most important use of an air fryer is that it reduces the overall fat content in food. It can reduce the overall fat or calories intake to as much as 75% while not directly affecting the taste of the food. Air fryers provide your food with a crispy outside layer while the inside of your food remains moist and perfect.
- The time saved by using an air fryer is significantly much when compared to other traditional cooking practices. In addition, they are very efficient to use.
- Less energy is used for cooking, and it is easy to use. It is no rocket science when using your air fryer.
- It is convenient to use; the process through which an air fryer is cleaned after cooking is more straightforward than traditional cooking. In addition, many of the air fryers are multifunctional. It can roast, grill, fry, broil, steam, or heat food.
- Apart from higher fat and calories content in fried food, it can also create potentially dangerous compounds known as acrylamide. Acrylamide is a compound usually formed from high-heat cooking methods like frying carbohydrate-rich foods. However, some studies have that air-frying can reduce acrylamide by up to 90% compared to traditional deep-frying.
Demerits of an Air Fryer
- While I wouldn’t say using an air fryer is toxic, it has some demerits over other forms. Some of this includes;
- Air fryers cook food at extremely high heat; this tends to produce high temperatures, frequently making it easy to burnt foods items; this is a significant concern because charred food can cause cancer.
- Many individuals have complained about getting addicted to using their air fryers because of the low oil needed for cooking. It may cause them to eat fried food more often than recommended.
- People are gradually moving from eating plant-based foods since air-fried foods also have low-fat content and low calorie without any health risks.
- Air frying can still create other harmful compounds. While air fryers reduce the acrylamide formation in food, other potentially damaging compounds could still be formed. For example, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines are evident from all high-heat cooking with meat using the air fryer.
- Air fryers cannot be used to cook for a large number of people at a time. You, therefore, need to consider the size of your family when choosing your air fryer size.
Since research on the effects of air-fried food is currently limited, there is little or no evidence to prove air fryers are toxic or the food cooked in them can be carcinogenic. So, therefore, it is safe to conclude that air fryers are not harmful. However, while Air fryers use less oil and can produce foods with significantly lower fat content, I will encourage the inclusion of other cooking methods into daily dietary routines for optimal health.