Air frying has been advertised as a great alternative to deep-frying, and on paper, it is a healthier cooking method because it uses less oil, hence reducing calories and fats. Whether you are boiling, grilling, or poaching your food, it will surely lose nutrients. Typically, even the healthiest foods lose nutrients during the cooking process, and air frying is not an exception since air fryer units operate under high temperatures.
Does air frying destroy many nutrients compared to other cooking methods?
Air fryers destroy nutrients in food but not as much as other cooking methods. If you do not want your food to lose nutrients, you will probably munch them raw because as mentioned, every form of cooking will result in loss of nutrients.
Did you know an air fryer keeps food dry?
The good thing with air fryers is that it keeps the food’s surface dry; therefore, food can retain a significant number of nutrients.
How does air frying preserve nutrients?
When food comes into contact with either heat or water, it must lose nutrients. Air fryers prevent food from being exposed to direct heat while cooking. Therefore, air frying does not destroy nutrients in food; instead, it helps preserve nutrients for consumption and a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy foods lose nutrients during cooking
Healthiest foods also lose nutrients during cooking. For example, meat and vegetables lose up to 40%-50% of their nutrients during cooking, depending on the cooking procedure and method. Air frying is not a supernatural cooking technique that will prevent food from losing its nutrients; instead, it tries to preserve nutrients during cooking. There is no scientific evidence that has shown air frying destroys nutrients in food than other cooking methods.
Cooking methods for nutrient retention
Scientific evidence has shown that air frying, grilling, steaming, and baking or roasting are the best cooking methods recommended for nutrient retention.
Cooking methods for nutrient depletion
Cooking methods such as poaching, deep-frying, simmering, and boiling are not recommended methods for nutrient retention since they result in the depletion of nutrients. Deep frying is an unhealthy option because it uses a lot of oil and destroys nutrients.
The concept of food losing nutrients lies with exposure of food to heat and water. The more food is exposed to heat the more nutrients it loses or is destroyed. Air frying preserves nutrients by coating the food or nutrients with dry, hot air and this allows vital nutrients like Vitamins to cook slightly at lower temperatures compared to foods that have been boiled, poached, simmered or deep-fried.
Apart from helping in nutrient preservation, air frying also reduces acrylamide, which is a chemical that forms in foods while cooking under high temperatures and causes cancer.
Why air fry?
If you on a diet or trying to lose weight, air frying is a suitable cooking method. Air frying is a healthier cooking option that will protect and not destroy critical nutrients from your food. The frying process makes food undergo physical and chemical changes that affect the final “food” product. During the frying process, water is lost through evaporation; proteins denature, Vitamins, thiamin, and Riboflavin nutrients are lost at high temperatures. Frying gives food flavours, makes food crispy and with a distinct texture. Air frying achieves the same result when deep-frying food but now using less oil compared to deep frying and also helps in the retention of the critical nutrients for a healthy life, i.e. air frying gives your food similar crispiness and flavour as deep-fried food using less oil which means no fats and calories. Therefore it is a good recommendation if you like fried food and also trying to prevent weight gain. Now, let’s take a look at the changes in food composition during the frying process, as shown below:
Both air frying and deep frying alters the nutrients of the final “food” product. Air frying reduces trans-fat, which are health hazards.
Compared to other cooking methods, air frying does not lose many nutrients and instead helps preserve nutrients. Other cooking methods, boiling, simmering, deep frying, poaching, and steaming, lose critical nutrients. It is important to note that air-fried foods are still “fried” foods, and they are not advisable for you to take them daily. When it comes to your health, you will need to limit the intake of fried foods as they have fats and calories that are responsible for weight gain, acrylamide, and trans-fat acid that are hazardous and cause cancer.