There is a lot of consciousness among people about the ill-effects of eating fried foods, thanks to the many health articles and studies, berating the process of deep frying as extremely unhealthy and toxic.
But the question is, why is frying foods bad for you? What happens to the foods during the process of frying that makes it worse than other cooking process like broiling, boiling, sautéing, stir frying, baking etc?
Let’s find out:
#1. Frying Foods Increases its Fat Content
There was study conducted at Drexel University, to determine which process of cooking produced the maximum amount of fat content in the food.
The processes tried were grilling, sautéing and deep frying.
Not surprisingly, the process of grilling produced the least amount of fat while the process of deep frying produce the maximum. It becomes worse when you fry foods with a batter around them, as it tends to soak in more oil or cooking fats.
Most restaurants tend to fry the foods in butter, margarine or hydrogenated vegetable oils that contain trans-fats. Frying foods in butter tends to increase the content of saturated fats in the food.
For example, if you fry a chicken breast in butter, you are adding onto the saturated fats already presenting the chicken; since butter is rich in saturated fats, it’s best to take it in moderation.
Potato French fries are usually fried in hydrogenated vegetable oils and so they are laced with trans-fats which can lead to several health issues.
Foods that are fried in vegetable oils like corn, safflower, soybean or canola are also found to be unsuitable because these oils are susceptible to heat induced damage during the frying process.
The polyunsaturated fat chains contained in these oils tend to become rancid when exposed to high heat and can create free radicals in the body, leading to inflammation and other unhealthy reactions.
Frying foods is bad for you if you are looking to reduce weight. The process of frying induces more calories to the food by hiking its fat content. Whether you are frying meats or vegetables, the fact remains that you are inordinately increasing the calories of the food.
Eating stir fried, boiled or grilled foods is a much healthier option, as there is very little heat induced damage and no real hike in the fat/calorie content.
#2. Frying Foods Can Induce Toxic Compounds
It has been found that several fried foods contain traces of a toxic chemical called Acrylamide which can induce cancer formation in the body.
A high level of this chemical is found in deep fried foods like French fries, processed meats and even roasted coffee powder process at temperatures higher than 120 degree Celsius.
Is there a Healthy Way to Fry Foods?
It has been found that deep frying foods in virgin coconuts oil is much less harmful that hydrogenated vegetable oils.
The virgin coconut oil remains stable even at high temperatures, maintaining the structure of its saturated fats.
Another alternative is olive oil. Frying foods in olive oil is a relatively healthy option. Olive oil does not contain saturated fats, and is a source of beneficial fatty acids, Omega3s and Omega6, found in its monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.