- Are Air Fryers Toxic?
- How Do Air Fryers Work?
- Benefits Of The Air Fryer
- Risks Of Air Fryer
- How To Use an Air Fryer Safely?
- Do Air Fryers Cause Cancer?
- Do Air Fryers Have Radiation?
Air fryers are advertised as a healthy alternative for deep frying or even baking food. This has made the device extremely popular all around the world to cook delicious recipes while cutting on the fat. But how healthy are air fryers exactly? In this article, we provide a comprehensive answer to these questions and help in determining whether or not the benefits of air fryers outweigh its risk.
Are Air Fryers Toxic?
There has been a massive surge in the popularity of air fryers due to the benefits it gets. But along with all the advantages, the device also comes with certain limitations that concern people. It works by frying the food at a high temperature, which can result in burnt food.
Subsequently, charred food is said to be harmful because it paves the way for the growth of toxic compounds, including acrylamides, heterocyclic amines, and hydrocarbons. All these components are formed when food is fried at a high temperature.
But if you are careful, you can avoid the formation of these elements. Firstly, you have to make sure that the food is not overcooked. Therefore, investing in an air fryer with an alarm or indicator for overcooking will be a good start. Secondly, you need to understand you cannot completely eliminate the risk of developing toxic compounds. So, try cooking at lower temperatures; don’t go above 350-degree Fahrenheit.
But, air fryers are the only accessory that results in the production of such harmful components. Food when fries at high temperatures by any means can cause such toxic production. Therefore, generally, it is preferred that you imbibe a healthy eating habit to enhance your overall well being.
How Do Air Fryers Work?
This popular kitchen appliance is used to make fried foods like pastries, meat, potato chips, etc. Primarily, air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food in order to create a crunchy and crispy exterior. Moreover, this is also the result of a chemical reaction called the Maillard effect. This happens between an amino acid and reducing sugar due to the heat. It results in alterations in the flavor and color of the foods.
Benefits Of The Air Fryer
So here are some reasons why you should consider investing in an air fryer:
It Is A Safer Alternative Than A Deep Fryer
When you deep fry food, it involves using a substantial amount of scalding oil. This increases the safety risk significantly. Although air fryers get hot, you do not have to worry about splashes, spillage, or accidentally touching the hot oil. However, using the air fryer is comparatively easier and safer; even a novice can easily handle it.
It Promotes Weight Loss
Consuming fried foods is one of the reasons contributing to the risk of obesity. This is because deep-fried foods contain a high amount of calories and fat. Therefore, eating air-fried foods in place of deep-fried food can help in reducing the consumption of unhealthy oils, therefore, promoting weight loss.
Protection From Diseases
Cooking with a lot of oil and intaking fried foods frequently can cause an array of adverse health conditions. Therefore, substituting deep frying with other forms of cooking methods can mitigate the risk of diseases.
Risks Of Air Fryer
The air fryer comes with its own share of downfalls. Here we are listing some prominent ones:
It Is Not A Guarantee For A Healthy Diet
Manufacturers tout air fryers as a medium to eat healthily. Although air fryers are definitely a safer alternative to the deep fryer, there is still frying involved. So in order to improve your overall health, limit the intake of fried food altogether. Merely switching from deep-fried food to air fried food does not guarantee a healthy diet.
There Is A Risk Of Creating Harmful Compounds
While the level of acrylamide formation is significantly less in an air fryer than in a deep fryer, there is the production of other harmful elements. Along with acrylamide, there is a risk of heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These are compounds that have links to the development of cancer.
How To Use an Air Fryer Safely?
Along with how you cook food in an air fryer, how you use it also impacts the experience you get from the device. So below, we have shared some useful tips that will help you use an air fryer in the most efficient manner:
Always Read The Owner’s Manual
You might be tempted to just tear open the package and test your air fryer by the recipe you saw online. But before you jump the gun, make sure you read the owner’s manual carefully. Air fryers from different brands come with distinctive features and do’s and don’ts.
And, the manufacturer mentions all the important information in it. So make sure you take some time to thoroughly read through the guide and understand what you should and should not while using the device.
Unplug The Air Fryer After Using
Imbibe a safe habit if unplugging the air fryer when you are not using it. This is a great habit because you never know if you accidentally bump on a button and create a safety hazard.
Protect Yourself And The Countertop From Heat
Certain internal as well as external elements of the air fryer get extremely hot while cooking. So if you are not careful, you will end up burning yourself or the countertop. Firstly, when you are taking food out from the device, make sure you use oven-safe mitts or silicone gloves. Moreover, to protect your countertops, use a heat-safe mat/board or silicone trivet and place the basket of air fryer on it.
Proper Ventilation Is Imperative
Ensure to place your air fryer near vent hoods and turn the hoods on. Additionally, pull the device away from the wall and open the windows when required.
Don’t Use Chemical Based Non-Stick Sprays
The aerosol, propellant, or any other chemical-based non-sticky sprays are harmful to your air fryer. This is because these products can break down the coating of the non-stick basket of the device. Therefore, it is better to invest in a good quality oil pump or spray along with a high flash point oil.
Avoid Seasoning The Food When It is In The Basket
When you season your food once it is inside the basket, there are more chances of dry salt lying on the surface of the basket. This can cause the non-stick interiors of the air fryer’s basket to break down. Therefore, it is better to season the food prior to adding it to the basket.
Avoid Using Metal Scouring Pads
Rubbing with metal scouring pads can peel the coating of the air fryer. So make sure you always use a gentle scrubber to clean the inside of your air fryer. The best way to go about it is to simply soak the basket and racks in warm soapy water for around 15 to 20 minutes. This will allow the crushed food to soften, hence making it easier to clean.
Do Air Fryers Cause Cancer?
Some researchers suggest that along with the formation of acrylamides, an air fryer can also produce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as well as heterocyclic amines that can result from cooking meat at high temperatures.
And, according to the National Cancer Institute, these compounds can increase the risk of cancer. However, as of now, there is no concrete evidence behind this study. Therefore, more research needs to be done in order to get clarity regarding how air fryers and these compounds are related.
Do Air Fryers Have Radiation?
Air fryers do not produce, use, or emit radiation like microwave ovens. However, these devices do use radiated heat, which is what heats and circulates around the food. This is what makes the exterior of the food dry out quickly, thereby creating a crispy coating.