Air fryers seem to be everywhere these days. Look anywhere. Your local grocery store, an online catalogue, your neighbour’s kitchen. Anyway you approach it, these cookers represent the culinary future.
So with this said, there’s no denying that air fryers cooked up quite the hype upon their release. We’ve all heard time and time again that they’re the so-called “healthy” fryers. In other words, they take the yummy taste of fried foods and reduce the yucky stuff that happens inside our bodies. But it’s really time to ask the big question here:
Are air fryers actually healthy?
By this, we’re asking if we can truly live a better lifestyle with one of these cookers in our kitchen. Can these really cut excess calories? And even if they do, does the food actually look and taste appealing? Because no one likes disgusting and bland matter entering their mouths.
Okay, so maybe that’s a few big questions. But we still went out of our way to answer most of these questions for you. So join us today as we take a look at the healthiness of air fryers. Who knows? This could be the kitchen gadget that nets you the body of your dreams.
Comparing the Calories
Let’s kick this off with something easy to measure—calories. We’ve all been curious as to whether or not air fryers can really help us cut some of those extra calories we don’t need. Especially those of us trying to trim some body fat. We all know those caloric deficits aren’t easy to obtain.
So here, we’ll let the numbers do all the talking. In fact, even we were downright impressed with some of these differences.
First off, you’ve got to make chips in your air fryer! It’s truly a taste like none other. We all know bagged chips can feel addicting. Seriously, who can stop at just one? So amp that feeling to 11, and you’ll understand the greatness of homemade chips.
But surely, something so tasty can’t be healthy, right?
According to fatsecret.com, a 100g bag of potato chips contains a whopping 547 calories! That’s right. 547 calories there goes about ⅓-¼ of your daily caloric intake. Ouch!
You can remedy this slightly with oven cooked chips, which contain roughly 430 calories per 100g. But that’s still a lot of calories in one sitting for a quick snack.
Thankfully, Air fryers are here to save the day by cutting down the calories quite a bit. Pop some Maris Piper potatoes in your air fryer, and you’re looking at 100g of chips with a calorie count of only 129 calories! That’s close to a quarter of the calories you’d consume with a bag of chips from your local grocer.
Of course, the great food choices extend far beyond some savoury crisps. Are you craving some chicken? Then you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be cutting an even more noticeable amount of calories here.
Let’s begin with everyone’s favourite fried chicken franchise KFC. A fried chicken breast from Colonial Sanders will net a lofty 230 calories per serving. Naturally, that seems high, but this is fast food after all. But even more surprising is when you make a fried chicken breast in your own deep fat fryer. Expect somewhere in the ballpark of 295.75 calories.
So, care to take a guess of how many calories are in air fryer fried chicken?
You won’t need any suspenseful cues here. The competition isn’t even close. Your air fryer fried chicken is only 161 calories. This one is less than half the calories you’ll get from fast food chicken. So yes, an air fryer will help you keep your calories low.
Now we could go on for days here with calorie counts. But you probably get the idea by now that air fryers will allow you to cook low calorie meals. This is even truer when compared to fast food and traditional fryer counterparts.
So to give you a full idea of how many calories air fryers cut, we created a convenient little table just for you. Note that everything here is measured in 100g servings.
You won’t need any analysts to help you notice the trend of air fryers offering lower calorie foods. So, keep this in mind if you’re still on the fence of buying one of these cookers.
Can Air Fryers Reduce the Fats in My Foods?
As we all know, a healthy meal is much more than calories. You’ll also need to balance out your fats and carbs. Thankfully, air fryers will reduce the amounts of oil you’ll need for your favourite foods. In other words, you can cut down on excessive fats with these cookers.
In most cases, you can cut 70-80% of the oil you’d normally use in a traditional fryer. For specific numbers, this means you’ll only ever need 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for a great fried chicken.
But what if you don’t want any oil. Period.
Well, that’s possible with some recipes. Crispy chicken wings never tasted so good with no oil. And best of all, our kitchen didn’t smell like a grimy fast-food joint after cooking. So it’s an all around win-win situation here. No odors and minimal trans fats!
And don’t just take our word for it. Peer reviewed research from the International Food Research Journal studied the amounts of fats from air fryers and traditional fryers. The bottom line: Air fried foods contain fewer amounts of moisture and oil. So yes, even studies indicate that air frying is a healthier technique than many conventional methods of frying.
But watch out for free radicals. These can appear depending on the type of fat you use as well as cook times. So if you want to play this one safe, pick and oil or fat that does not oxidise as well as other oils out there.
Are Air Fryers Safe for the Elderly?
When it comes to air fryers, we feel questions of health and safety work hand in hand. So naturally, we decided to answer a frequent question about elders using them.
Put simply, even your great great grandma from the 1800s could make safe use of an air fryer. None of the buttons ever feel too convoluted. In most cases your either turning a dial or punching in a time. It’s that simple. Some digital fryers even up the ante by adding pre-set recipes. Thus, it doesn’t get much easier than that.
As an added bonus, safety-shut off switches are standard features. In other words, elder users are safe in case they get side tracked while using their air fryer.
So we’ve established the device is safe to use. But is the food really healthy for elders?
In simple terms, yes. Some studies even find that air fryers do a fantastic job of reducing calorie content. So while the flavour and appearance remains the same, the nutritional content improves. So this is the perfect tool for managing weight and any weight related issues.
Are Air Fryers Safe For Diabetics?
Again, air fryers work great with just about any specialty diet you can imagine. And vegan diets are no exception. But don’t take our word for it. Instead, note that even PETA’s site lists some recipes that are vegan friendly.
Even if you don’t support the listed group above, tasty meat-free/ meat by-product free recipes are always a quick Google search away. And trust us, some of these vegan air fryer recipes will treat your taste buds to a mouth-watering culinary experience like none other.
Are Air Fryers Paleo/ Keto/ Whole 30 Friendly?
Yep. Again, if there’s a speciality diety out there, we’d place our bets that there are also some delicious air fryer recipes to go with them. Keep in mind that potato substitutes are pretty easy. Also, you will never be required to add sugar, unhealthy starches, or anything that’s non-paleo to an air fryer.
Therefore, don’t hesitate to make some aromatic sweet potato hash browns. Or maybe your palette craves something sweet. In this case, you can’t go wrong with some fried apple cinnamon chips. Can a paleo recipe come any closer to a sugary desert than this?
One final note here also involves the oil you’ll use. We all know vegetable and corn oils are paleo and keto no-no’s. Thankfully, air fryers will accommodate to this quite well. So feel free to use your favourite extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil as a healthy substitute.
Does an Air Fryer Produce Any Harmful Components?
For the most part, air fryers won’t produce any harmful effects that you wouldn’t find in a traditional fryer. Perhaps the biggest downside involves the production of acrylamide. This chemical results from cooking foods high in carbs in high heats.
The scary part here is that acrylamide is often connected to ovarian and kidney cancers. But the actual relationship between the two remains mostly unknown.
Now for some good news: Air fryers will reduce the amount of acrylamide you’ll find in your favourite meals. Just note that this does not mean the chemical will be absent forever. It simply means that air fryers produce less of it than most other fryers on the market.
Are Air Fryers Bad for Birds?
Here’s an interesting point that’s easy to overlook. In short: if you own pet birds, an air fryer is potentially dangerous.
Here’s why. Air fryers often use teflon as their non-stick surface. When teflon reaches hot temperatures, it releases gases that become lethal to birds. The reason is that birds breathe with their entire bodies, not their lungs like mammals. So this means the gases from the teflon cover their air sacs and harm the bird.
So, keep in mind that the air fryer itself won’t harm your birds. But if the air fryer contains teflon, it can kill your pet birds. With that said, you can find some air fryers that contain no teflon!
Here’s the bottom line. If you own birds, always look for air fryers that use NO teflon in their design and non-stick surface.
All in all, air fryers will make your favourite fried foods healthy. There’s no denying that. And best of all, these foods still taste as delicious as ever. After testing countless air fryers, we can easily say that these make some downright tasty and delicious foods that are good for you! Who’d have ever thought that was possible?
So what’s not to love about air fryers? These cookers allow you to cook healthy foods while doing your body a favour or two. And there are no restrictions here either. Everything from diabetic to paleo diets are welcome!