Deep frying is commonly used for cooking at both home and fast food restaurants because it is a less expensive method of preparing a dish.
Besides the fact that fried foods cost less, they are also tasty and many people crave them, which is why all the fast food restaurants are still around today and thriving in revenue. Let’s face it. French fries and chicken strips are hard to say no to, but all this gastronomical enjoyment comes at a hefty price as fried foods contain a high amount of calories and trans fats which increase the likelihood of health problems.
Keep on reading to understand how having fried foods on a regular bases can take a toll on your health. No need to panic, as we’ll also share some safer snacking alternatives that are less harmful.
High in Calories
Relative to any other method of cooking, deep frying packs the highest amount of calories. So why does frying have the highest amount of calories as compared to other types of cooking?
It has to do with the preparation that takes place before the frying. The food item is coated with flour or batter. During the frying process, the food absorbs the fat from the oil and sheds water which adds to the calorie count. For example, a 100g baked potato contains approximately 93 calories and no fat content. The same potato when fried contains 17 grams of fat and 320 calories.
Even healthier foods are affected adversely when fried. For example, a 100g baked cod has 105 calories and 1 gram of fat. The same cod when fried packs about 232 calories and 12 grams of fat!
High in Trans Fat
Processed food makers usually hydrogenate fats in ingredients to increase shelf life. This process ruins the nutrition and quality of the food and hydrogenation also occurs in fried foods.
The process of frying chemically alters the composition of fats in foods, making it harder for your body to break it down. This has adverse effects on health. Trans fats have been linked to many diseases including cancer, obesity, and heart disease. Additionally, re-using oil to fry foods leads to an increase in trans fats.
It is easy to confuse trans fats that occur naturally in foods such as meat and dairy. However, contrary to the trans fats found in processed and fried foods, these do not have any negative implications on a person’s health.
Increases Risk of Disease
Several studies have found a link between adults consuming fried foods and the risk of developing a chronic disease.
Eating fried foods contributes to an increase in blood pressure, a decrease in good cholesterol, and an increase in the likelihood of obesity. All these factors aggravate the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack,
A study conducted on women eating fried fish found that one more serving of fried fish per week increased the chance of heart failure by 48% compared to those women who just consumed 1 to 3 servings in a month. However, consumption of the same amount of baked or steamed fish was linked with a lower risk.
Studies have concluded that a higher intake of fried foods has been associated with a significantly higher risk of a heart attack.
Fried foods have been associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
A study conducted on fast foods concluded that individuals consuming them more than twice in a single week were likely to develop a higher resistance to insulin relative to those who consumed fast food once a week.
People consuming fried foods between 4 to 6 times in a week faced almost 40% higher risk of having type 2 diabetes as compared to those who ate a single serving in a week. Furthermore, eating fast food more than seven servings per week increased the risk to 55%!
Fried food contains the highest amount of calories for the same amount of ingredients as compared to any other method of cooking.
Studies indicate that foods that are high in trans fat (like the majority of fried foods) play a vital role in weight gain, not just from the high amount of calories they contain but also because of their effect on hormones that regulate appetite and fat breakdown in the body.
A Safer Alternative
Eating fried food may not be bad if you use olive oil.
Experts have studied the diet patterns of the Spaniards who use extensive amounts of olive oil in their cooking. Their diet poses a lesser chance of developing heart disease.
However, the experts say that only olive oil is relatively safer and the results do not apply to the majority of oils found in the market, especially those used by fast-food chains.
Olive oil is much safer because it does not affect the trans fat composition of fried foods, leading to a lesser calorie intake than normally observed with fried foods.
Other safer methods include oven frying and air frying.
Oven-frying involves baking foods at extremely high temperatures which results in crispy snacks made with little to no oil.
Air frying involves “frying” foods in an air fryer that uses hot air to achieve the same result as frying with almost 80% less oil than conventional fryers.
It is extremely hard to alter or completely change your diet. However, for the sake of our health certain steps need to be taken in order to live a longer and healthier life.
By adopting the safer alternatives mentioned above, consumers can achieve the same taste as fried foods but at a lesser risk to their health.