Get That Food Away From the Deep Fryer!

Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets
Photo by jetalone via Flickr

We all know that deep fried foods are bad for us, so why are they growing in popularity?  It seems that people all over the world are indulging in more and more greasy, deep fried foods.  Back in the day we had french fries, donuts, fried chicken, corn dogs and potato chips.  Now there are deep fried versions of zucchini, strawberries, turkey, pizza, candy bars, Oreos, Twinkies, cheesecake and even ice cream!  As if Oreos, Twinkies, cheesecake and ice cream are not unhealthy enough to begin with, we feel the need to deep fry them to make them even worse for us!

So, why are we treating ourselves to these artery-clogging delicacies?  I know that some people say that we only have one life to live, so we should live it up.  But that doesn’t make sense to me.  If you only have one life to live, do you really want it to be a short, unhealthy life that ends in a heart attack?

Why do we like deep fried foods?
Deep frying is a quick cooking technique in which foods are fried while submerged in hot oil, usually in a deep fryer.  Most people who indulge in deep fried foods, say they enjoy the flavor and the texture contrast. There is something about the food being crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside that is very pleasing to their palates.  But is that enjoyment, worth the cost to their health?

Why are deep fried foods bad for us?
Deep frying results in more total fat and calories than the equivalent non-fried foods.  This difference can increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancer and other medical problems. Here are two examples:

  1. Turkey: A 3.5oz/100g roasted, skinless, turkey breast has 140 calories and 3.5g of fat, while a deep fried turkey has 190 calories and 11g of fat.
  2. Potato: A large baked potato has 275 calories and 0.4g of fat, while french fries, have 539 calories and 28.8g of fat.

As you can see, there is a dramatic difference between fried and regular versions of the same food. So, if you are trying to adopt a healthier diet or are trying to lose weight, avoid deep fried foods whenever possible.

What if I can’t give up deep fried foods?
If you find the taste of deep fried food irresistible and don’t think that you can give it up, do not despair! I have a solution for you. Try oven frying instead. This method will give you that crispy texture that you have grown to love, with less fat and calories.  It takes slightly more prep time than deep frying, but it is well worth it.  Here are a few oven frying recipes from WebMD. That is right you can still eat your favorite fried foods, like chicken nuggets and fish sticks, but without getting all that extra fat.

If I deep fry anyway, what type of oil should I use?
You are determined to use that deep fryer, aren’t you?  Well, deep frying is a process that requires very high temperatures and requires an oil with a very high smoking point.  The smoking point is the temperature at which oil starts breaking down and emitting smoke, giving an unpleasant flavor to the food.  Not only that, the smoke from the oil can create carcinogens that should not be breathed or consumed.

So, while olive oil is a healthy oil for many purposes, it should not be used in deep frying, because it has a relatively low smoking point.  The healthiest choice for deep frying is probably canola oil because it has a high smoking point.  Plus it contains monounsaturated fats and omega-3 polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

The bottom line:
Deep frying really is as bad for you as everyone says, so if you can avoid it, do so. But oven frying can be a good substitute if you want a similarly tasty result.  And if you must use your deep fryer, use canola oil instead of peanut oil, butter or lard.  Remember, you may only live once, but you want that one life to be healthy and long!

Comments (10)

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  1. Klaatu says:

    Hey I like the way you write… If you wish to know about sum healthy and very simple Indian food, ask my wife, ie mail me… Wish you success in saving the world from deep fried food!;)

  2. Rosy says:

    Great post, Talli!!! I “ovenfry” once in a while – to make chicken tenders. Cool information!!! 🙂

  3. Great post and very informative information about why NOT to eat fried food and helpful alternatives! I will continue to check out your blog!

  4. […] July 2008 ← Get That Food Away From the Deep Fryer! […]

  5. Michael says:

    Thanks for the info. I do enjoy my fried food in moderation, but I am always happy to have a healthier alternative method to use.

  6. Maria Isabel says:

    We have changed our way of cooking. We don’t fry very often.

  7. […] Get That Food Away From the Deep Fryer Being Healthy for Busy Posted by root 4 hours ago (http://www.beinghealthy.tv) Deep frying results in more total fat and calories than the equivalent you are determined to use that deep fryer aren 39 t you leave a comment Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Get That Food Away From the Deep Fryer Being Healthy for Busy […]

  8. Deep Fryer says:

    Thanks for the info. I often oven fry my meals as a healthier alternative to deep frying. Do you have any recipes?

  9. Talli van Sunder says:

    @Deep Fryer We are planning on adding recipes to the website in the next few months. But we are going to do a website redesign first. 🙂

  10. Gustov says:

    To be a devil’s advocate, I have tried oven-frying methods, and while sufficient, they simply do not match the taste of deep-fried food. While it is all well and good to say deep-frying is bad for your health, so is a plethora of other vices people commonly have. I really don’t think ANYONE is under the illusion that fried food is healthy, just like nobody thinks cigarettes are healthy. But people still smoke because they enjoy what it gives (that nothing else can hope to emulate). fried food is the same; it tastes good and nothing yet can emulate the full extent of the juiciness and flavor, so it comes down to choice. It is a moot point to try to compare it to other methods. Leave it at this: healthy and less tasteful, or unhealthy and delicious (depending again on personal tastes). It is frustrating to see people continue to promote the fallacy that you can get the same taste from healthier methods. It simply is not true…

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