CLEVELAND – Air fryers are taking kitchen countertops by storm.
An air fryer is basically a smaller, faster version of a convection oven. The devices circulate high heat and make foods crispy – similar to frying.
But there’s one major difference between traditional frying and air frying, according to Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, of Cleveland Clinic.
“It’s not frying by any means, so there’s some benefits there,” she said. “Number one, in deep frying we actually have the food sitting in the oil and being cooked that way. There’s no sitting in oil in air frying, so that helps bring down calories and bring down fats.”
One study comparing deep-fried and air-fried French fries shows air fried products have significantly less oil and fat.
For those looking to lose weight, Kirkpatrick said swapping a deep-fryer for an air-fryer may be a good way to help cut calories – however, what you choose to cook in your air fryer is key.
Cooking whole foods like beans, sweet potatoes, wild salmon and other types of fish in an air fryer is a healthy way to go.
But she warns an air fryer won’t change a processed product already high in sodium, fat and additives.
“The most important thing you can do is figure out what you’re going to put in the fryer,” said Kirkpatrick. “If you open up that drawer and put in a highly processed onion ring, it’s still a highly processed onion ring. You’re just going to save calories and fat by not deep frying it.”