Who doesn’t love a bagful of deep fried potato fingers? What’s not to love?
It’s quickly made, easily consumed and incredible to taste. While fried foods persist to be stapled snacks for the world, they tend to cause more harm than anticipated.
How Does Frying Cook the Food?
When you put your julienned potatoes into a pan of hot oil, the surface heat generated by the oil quickly seals the surface and locks the moisture within. Due to the effective conduction of heat, the surface stays crispy and the insides are cooked perfectly.
The Unhealthy Factor
So where’s the problem, you might ask? While there’s nothing more divine than digging into a batch of sinfully fried potato chips, there are some health factors that take a toss during the process.
1. Calorie Content
When you fry something in oil, you increase its calorie count. Given that it improves the taste exponentially, it also maximises one’s calorie consumption. Calories are the prime suppliers of energy in the body. Consumed excessively only results in fat deposition. Studies show that using methods alternative to frying, can keep one from consuming 650 calories less every day. While an oven potato will contain 220 calories, the calorie quotient soars to a whopping 697 calories when deep fried!
2. Cholesterol Risks
If one does choose to turn a blind eye to the soaring calorie count, one surely cannot ignore the fact that the processed fats used to prolong the shelf life of these foods are the largest dietary contributors to heart diseases. These fats are difficult to break down and end up lining the arterial walls of the circulatory system. This, in turn, makes one increasingly susceptible to coronary blockages and a sudden stroke.
3. Smoke Point
Fresh oil causes markedly less damage than rancid or overheated oil. This is because oils function optimally, with their temperatures under their respective burning points. When oil gets over-heated it starts to emit a thin wisp of smoke. Cooking your food in this oil will only reduce the body’s ability to assimilate the nutrients locked within. Using vegetable olive and canola oils is, thus, an extremely healthy alternative, mostly because of their low smoke points. This means that these oils tend to overheat at temperatures higher than the usual.
4. Cancer Risks
Did you know that when you overcook your food in extremely hot oil, it tends to produce a carcinogen compound called acrylamide? This occurs due to the repeated usage of the same rancid oil to fry food. Physically, it ends up hindering the breakdown of nutrients and generates free radicals in the body. These free radicals rev up organic oxidation and give way to a host of ailments.
The key lies in consuming such foods in moderation. There is no way to reduce the calorie content, even by switching to healthier oils. At the end of the day, a healthy diet enriched with all the essential nutrients will help usher a healthy lifestyle.