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Are air-fried foods really healthier?

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 2, 2021 2:00:00 PM / by Singapore Heart Foundation

SHF Blog - Are air-fried foods really healthier (1200 x 630 px)

It is no question that the air fryer has become a staple household appliance, second only to a rice cooker. With promises to turn your favourite guilty snacks into healthier treats at unrivalled convenience, it begets the question: Are air-fried foods really healthier?

Air-fry or deep-fry?

The conventional method of deep-frying foods in oil adds more fat to your meal. Overconsumption of these deep-fried foods can result in increased cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, the air fryer circulates hot air around food to fry it quickly. Oil is not necessary to achieve the desired crisp texture. Its unique ability to reduce cooking time also helps minimise the destruction of nutrients in the food. Vegetables, notorious for losing their nutrients when overcooked, can also be air-fried.

Our verdict? Air-fry over deep-fry!


Can air-frying processed foods make them healthier?

Unfortunately not. Tossing processed foods such as nuggets and French fries into the air fryer does not automatically make them healthier. While you can eliminate oil, which contributes to fat intake, processed foods are generally higher in salt and fat, and that can increase your risk of chronic diseases, regardless of how they are fried.

3 tips to true air-fried goodness

1. Avoid cooking at high temperatures and for long durations.

This is to minimise the likelihood of burning your food. Shaking your food while air-frying is encouraged as it helps to promote even cooking.

2. Pre-heat air fryer for at least 3 minutes before cooking.

This ensures a shorter cooking time, reduces the duration that the food is exposed to heat, and helps retain nutrients. Vegetables would benefit more from this step because their vitamins are more vulnerable to heat. When air-frying vegetables, don’t forget to shake it.

3. Use fresh meats instead of processed foods.

If you’re craving deep-fried chicken, marinate fresh chicken with herbs and spices and air-fry it. Not only does air-fried chicken contain lesser calories and fat, but it would also be juicy and retain its crispy skin even without the addition of oil. For an even healthier alternative, remove chicken skin and choose a leaner cut.

Nutrient Analysis (Estimated)

  Deep-fried chicken drumstick Air-fried chicken drumstick
Calories 168 kcal 107 kcal
Total Fat 12.8 g 6.1 g
Saturated Fat 4.1 g 1.9 g

Cooking at home has never been easier with the help of an air fryer. Watch how we whip up a nutritious and delightful salmon entrée here.


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Topics: Food, Health

Singapore Heart Foundation

Written by Singapore Heart Foundation

Singapore Heart Foundation is a social service agency at the forefront of the battle against heart diseases in Singapore. Since its inception in 1970, the Foundation has grown into a well-established and reputable organisation with local and international links. Through strategic life-saving programmes under the three core pillars of prevention, resuscitation and rehabilitation, SHF fulfills its mission to promote heart health, prevent and reduce disability and death due to cardiovascular diseases and stroke. In addition, SHF also offers financial assistance to needy heart patients for emergency relief and medical treatment.

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