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Is an Air Fryer a Healthier Way to Fry?

Are air-fryers too good to be true? Are they worth the price tag?

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,

Regina writes:

"I was thinking about getting an air fryer and wanted to see what you thought them. I realize fried foods aren't the healthiest things on the planet, but I thought this might be a good alternative when I crave a French fry!"

Convection fryers, such as the Phillips Air Fryer or the T-Fal Actifry, use swirling hot air to create the crispy, browned texture that you get from deep-fried foods, but with only a fraction of the oil. Not only do you consume much less oil (and calories), but you aren't left with a quart or two of used oil to throw away. 

At the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo I recently attended, researchers from Miami University presented results of a study comparing conventional deep-fried French fries to convection-fried and oven-baked (which is how I generally do it). Both the oven-baked and convection-fried potatoes contained (and used) much less oil than the deep-fried ones. To my surprise, however, the convection fries contained only half as much oil as the oven-baked—just 1 Tablespoon per batch.

When it comes to French fries, these appliances definitely offer a better option than heading to the drive thru. However, they're not cheap and I don't know about you, but I don't have space in my kitchen for an appliance that only gets used occasionally. (I also don't need an excuse—or justification—to eat fries more often.)

I think I'll stick to oven-baked fries! But if money and space aren't a problem, this might be fun to have. Just promise me that you won't be eating those convection-fried potatoes instead of your vegetables!

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