From its name, an air fryer cooks using air, and a little oil! It is a home gadget that gets food cooked by making hot air move around the food using the process of convection
What then is air frying?
As earlier mentioned, air frying cooks food using the process of convection. The air fryer contains heating element(s) and fan(s) to circulate hot air all over the food placed in the tray.
So, air fryers basically use air — hot circulated air in this case, to get food cooked quickly.
The Pros or Advantages of Using Air Fryers
Foods cooked with air fryers have reduced fat and calories. When you compare this with deep-fried foods, the oil content in an air-fried food is greatly reduced. You will agree that a high intake of fried foods can lead to obesity because of the high content of its fat and calories.
Weight Loss: Taking air-fried foods coupled with the discipline of reducing unhealthy oils can lead to weight loss.
Less risk of acrylamide (a toxic compound) formation. Acrylamide is a toxic compound that forms during deep-frying of foods. According to researchers, acrylamide probably has link to various types of cancer such as breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and oesophageal cancer.
Saves you oil: The traditional frying may consume cups of oil in frying but just a tablespoon of oil is all you need in air-frying. So, that saves your oil, doesn’t it?
Speed: It takes considerably less amount of time to air-fry. For example, cooking a crispy crunch takes an air- fryer less than half as much time is needed for the traditional oven.
Less energy consumption: Another cogent reason why you should make use of an air fryer is that it utilizes lower amount of energy when compared with the conventional oven or deep fryer. The heat generated by the air fryer moves out freely to the space available.
Less risk of experiencing burn: It can be very much safer using the well fitted air fryer for your food. Deep-frying foods, on the other hand, has to do with heating a big vessel filled with oil. This pretends danger and that implies the safety can be jeopardized. Although air fryers also get hot, one is safe as there is no risk of unknowingly splashing, spilling, or touching hot oil.
Fragrance and taste: The aroma and taste of an air-fried food can really be superb. It gives your food the sensation of crunchiness from the outside while leaving the inner part tender and juicy.
Texture: Whao! The texture of an air-fried food is something you want to look out for!
Versatility: Air fryers give multiple options to cook food like air-fry, steam, stir fry, bake, reheat, roast, broil, and also grill. Apart from this, it can also be used to cook chicken breasts, chicken thighs, grilled sandwiches, hot dogs, sausages, stir-fried meats, steaks and, shrimp and all types of fish meals. Even desserts and cakes can be me made in it. If your air fryer is bigger in size, roasting a beef or a pork is also possible. It is also possible to bake a small turkey or whole chicken! Indeed, air-fryers serve many more purposes.
Disadvantages of using Air-Fryers
Cooking using air-frying is no guarantee for good health! For a person to be healthy, you’ve got to take balance diet, and that, of course, includes vegetables and fruits, grains and lean protein. Moreover, you need to eat less of fried foods, whether air-fried or deep-fried.
Air-frying foods can result in other harmful compounds: Although we earlier established that air-frying has less risk of acrylamide formation associated with it, it still does have some level of it. Not only that, toxic compounds can also come out as a result of air-frying food such as meat. The National Cancer Institute has mentioned it that these compounds have links to cancer.
There was also another survey that was conducted for a number of different air-fryers. In these air-fryers, the instructions on them for cooking were followed. The food was fried at about two hundred degrees Celsius. The research revealed that carcinogen level in some of the air fried food were far more than the recommended safety standards amount by the regulatory body.
How to avoid carcinogenic tendencies in air-fried foods.
To avoid taking in carcinogenic ‘elements’ because of using an air fryer for cooking your food, the following precautions can be taken:
Never air-fry vegetables. If you do, you would have successfully destroyed its vitamins as well as folic acid if any, that might be present in it.
Processed foods, as well, should never be air-fried. This is because when we cook food by air frying, some oil is produced that is not healthy for consumption and can affect your health. Already, many processed foods have artificial preservatives which may not be too good for the body.
When air-frying, do not let your temperature be above 180-degrees Celsius. This is to avoid causing food burn which can allow residues of carcinogenic chemicals and other toxic compounds to ‘infiltrate’ your food.
Do not try using your air-fryer for more than twice a month.
A Recap And Conclusion
Going back to the question again as to whether air fryers can cause cancer or not, you are now better informed. Just like many technological products, air-fryers also have their own fair share of the pros and cons. Truly, the benefits are amazing BUT its tendencies to ‘generate’ cancer-causing ‘elements’ such as acrylamide and other toxic compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines leaves much to be feared rather than embraced. However, if you must use them, do make sure to follow the precautions given above.