Frying food virtually without oil, so that it has (almost) the same taste and appearance as traditional frying, but without the health hazards of it. This is the promise of the technology behind the air fryersthe “air fryers”, which were once more fashionable., but the “news” that this method of cooking would generate carcinogenic substances has, unfortunately, cooled its popularity.
Let’s start by making this very clear: the air fryers make no more cancer than any other way of cooking food. In some cases, you can even do less.
For those who don’t know: the story began to circulate on the internet — having gained the biggest impact earlier this year — the story that foods cooked in this way would generate a high value of acrylamide, a potentially carcinogenic amide that forms (naturally, say) in foods rich in fructose and glucose, and in others, such as potatoes, when subjected to high temperatures. Now like the air fryers not only do they expose these foods to these temperatures, they do it for longer than normal frying, because of the way they work (we’ll go there), they would supposedly produce more acrylamide.
From the outset, it should be clarified that the issue of acrylamide does not arise only in relation to air fryers. All foods rich in sugars, as long as they are well cooked, have higher values of this amide.
Then the reasoning behind the argument that “air frying” produces more acrylamide won’t even really make sense. In reality, a air fryer is a convection oven, which circulates the air and cooks the food. At the end of cooking, it is sprayed with (very little) oil, so that it has a fried appearance and a crunchy texture.
That is, food is cooked in the oven, which is always healthier than frying in oils at high temperatures, according to all doctors and nutritionists. It’s the site VeryWellHeath specialist even cites a 2020 scientific study that concluded that, in the case of chicken, the technique of air frying creates LESS acrylamides than the regular grid, as well as substantially reduces the generation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in food, a family of highly toxic compounds.
In the case of potatoes, there is even a medical study that concluded that the technique produces 90% LESS acrylamide than normal frying, because, although the food spends more time cooking, this happens at lower temperatures (90º vs. 120º or more in the case of oil).
One more detail: the technique of air frying it also prevents the oil from reheating, which is practically inevitable in frying and which is linked to various cancers, including breast, lung and colon cancers. So don’t hesitate, if you really want to eat fried foods, opt for this method.
What model to buy?
There are many and varied machines available on the market that basically do the same thing. As with microwave ovens, they vary in size (capacity) and available controls.
So, at the time of your choice, you should, first of all, think about the size of the family — if the household is only for two people, a smaller model is perfect, if you have three or four children….
Then there is the level of sophistication of the interface you want The simpler, the cheaper the machine. The most “evolved” have, of course, a app mobile phone to accompany. Let’s start with one of these.
Monitor everything on mobile
Philips calls it Essential Connected and, had this Airfryer XL HD9280/90 not been priced at 220 euros (El Corte Inglés), we would say that it was a “must have” purchase for any average family. The 6.2 liter oven (1.2 kg in weight) is enough for a family of 5 or 6 people.
The experience of having been one of the first brands to develop this type of technology, the fact that you can control every moment of cooking via your mobile phone and the possibility of downloading app new recipes — with step-by-step instructions — are added value that must be taken into account.
Furthermore, the system rapid air guarantees faster cooking and the utensils are all machine washable, which is not always the case. All of this pays off, in fact….
One of the fastest on the market
Voted by the BBC’s team of experts as one of the fastest machines on the market, the Ninja Air Fryer Max has a 5.2 liter oven and six cooking functions. “The tray even adapts to baking cakes”, writes the British pubic channel. It costs 150 euros on Amazon and it is frankly difficult to find fault with it.
Best for “chicken on skewers”
We turned to the BBC experts for this choice. The Tower Xpress Pro T17039 Vortx 5-in-1 costs 112 euros (Amazon.co.uk) and was the highest rated of the tests in the category with “rotisserie“.
Plus you can do all the other stuff other ovens do (hence the “five in one…) Vortx air circulation technology promises 30% faster results than most the market has to offer. At least the cheapest ones…
Connected and affordable
Not being the fastest is the biggest criticism that can be leveled at Xiaomi’s Mi Smart Air Fryer. It’s connected, so you can even get everything ready and start cooking before leaving work, via your cell phone. The 3.5 liter oven is perfectly enough for two people. The price is now on sale: 80 euros (at the brand’s store). You can hardly get so much technology for so little elsewhere.
In conclusion, “air frying” is actually baking in the oven with a little oil on top to give you the illusion of delicious fried food, so it can only be healthier. Now, as many nutritionists and doctors say, never forget one thing: if you cook foods with a lot of fat, the cooking will not magically transform them into healthy things. It all depends on what (and how much) you decide to eat.