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Air fryers have been all the rage lately. They promise to give you the same crispy, delicious foods that you love without all of the added fat and calories.
But is air frying as healthy as it seems? Some recent studies suggest that air fryers might cause different diseases. Now the question is, can air fryers cause cancer? And the answer is,
There is a possibility that air fryers can cause cancer if you don’t understand how to use and maintain them. Most of the time, the food choices and the preparation method enhance the chances of carcinogens developing in your air fryer. It can lead the cancer-causing substances to enter your body and result in cancer.
Cancer-causing substances that could form may be Acrylamide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons when the oil used in the air fryer is reheated or reused.
You might have heard about claims made by advertisers that Air fryers are a more healthy option than deep frying. But medical experts are skeptical of possible health risks with this new form of cooking.
This article will dive deeper to learn whether you must go ahead with the Air fryers and how to avoid the cancer risks associated with the air fryers.
How Can Air Fryers Cause Cancer?
The repeated reheating of oil in your air fryer causes the formation of cancer-causing substances like acrylamide (chemicals that are classified as group 2A carcinogens) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines as a result of cooking meat at high temperatures in the air fryers.
Starchy food such as potatoes and bread may also result in the development of acrylamide when cooked at high temperatures.
Acrylamide and other cancer-producing substances make significant changes in your cells and can result in breast, lungs, prostate, and colon cancer.
These cancer-producing substances can enter your body either through the food cooked in preheated oil or inhalation of fumes.
Additionally, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Air fryers can cause cancers like endometrial, ovarian, and esophageal cancer.
The Hong Kong food council has come up with a study that shows that Air fryers can cause cancer by high acrylamide formation in French fries prepared in all Air fryers. And they had levels higher than the EU benchmark.
LEARN MORE: Air Fryer Wattage (And Why Does It Matter?)
Other Health Concerns of Using Air Fryer Apart From Cancer
Food poisoning is a big problem with the air fryers. According to a 2019 study done to determine the possibility of food poisoning with the air fryers.
The study used a cocktail of salmonella in frozen breaded chicken strips cooked in a deep fryer and an air fryer. You can also prepare it in a toaster and a conventional oven.
It has been found that deep frying was the most effective way of keeping away the bacteria. At the same time, the air dryer and toaster performed poorly.
Cholesterol oxidation product
When you cook fish at a high temperature in an air fryer, it may lead to cholesterol oxidation products (COPs). These products are risk factors for many cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.
But according to some studies, you can avoid that by adding some mixtures of spices to the fish before you cook the fish. This would considerably reduce the development of COPs.
A mix of parsley and chives would be the best choice of spices.
How to Avoid Cancer Risks Related to Air Frying
These are some tips you must keep in your mind when cooking in air fryers to cancer risks.
Avoid cooking at very high heat
As Nicholas Lee, a personal health authority in Philips ASEAN Pacific, the right temperature to prepare your fries or frozen food is 180 degrees Celsius or a little lower.
If you are wondering how to cook fresh potatoes, go with 160 degrees Celsius for the first half and the next half duration. Use 180 degrees Celsius. This will decrease the quantity of acrylamide formation.
Avoid it by soaking your potatoes
Soaking your potatoes is one of the ways to avoid cancer risks in air fryers.
“If you soak the potatoes in water for some time before cooking, it will remove a lot of starch and sugar content that influences acrylamide formation,” says Nicholas Lee.
Preheating french fries can avoid cancer risks with Air Frying
Another study claims that if you preheat your French fries before you go for Air frying, it may help avoid cancer risk. Preheating your French fries with a solution of citric acid, glycine, and calcium lactate would help reduce the cancer risk.
Avoid Storing your food in the fridge right before Air Frying
Your grandmother was always right, not freezing the potatoes and food in the fridge. Try to keep them at average temperatures to avoid acrylamide formation. Storing potatoes in the refrigerator enhances the quantity of acrylamide in your food.
Avoid cancer Risk by cleaning the oil build-up in the Air Fryer
Suppose you are not cleaning your grease and oil droplets post-cooking fatty foods. In that case, it may lead to reheating the leftover oil next time, resulting in the development of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
So make sure you clean your air fryer more often and let no oil droplets sit over there to avoid any carcinogenic substance from building there.
LEARN MORE: How To Stop Air Fryer From Beeping?
Benefits of Using Air Fryer for Frying
Much research and observations show that air frying can be better for you if only you know how to avoid health/cancer risks with Air Frying.
These are some of the health benefits:
Air frying requires less oil to cook the food. This reduces the regular intake of unhealthy oils that are often loaded with fatty acids, saturated fats, and trans fats.
Air frying causes you to consume fewer fats and calories. Ultimately, you lose weight and are at a lower risk of catching obesity, often a potential risk factor for many chronic diseases and cancer.
With Air fryers, you get the same level of crispiness and taste as deep-frying by removing high fat and high-calorie oils from the cooking process. You just need a tablespoon of cooking oil, and you are done.
However, with deep frying, you need multiple cups of oils to perfect the same level of crispiness.
Eventually, you enjoy your good with fewer oils, fats, and calories. Higher saturated fat and calorie consumption lead to the accumulation of fats in the arteries, risking your heart health.
You get a similar level of crispiness and taste with Air fryers with added health benefits. Air fryers make use of heated air that has fine oil droplets. This air soaks up the moisture out of the food.
And the result is you find the cooked food with the same crisp and taste with considerably lower fat levels.
Can reduce the risk of formation of acrylamide
Air fryers can cook with minimum oils, so the chances of reheating are thin. The risk of reheating further reduces if you clean up your air fryer of any leftover oil.
The less the reheating, the fewer the chances of the amount of acrylamide formation.
Air fryers can be safer than deep fryers
Handling an Air fryer is safer than a large container with piping hot oil. These containers filled to the brim with scalding oil have a chance of spilling, splashing, and foaming. You may accidentally touch the hot oil as well or get yourself burnt.
However, in any case, you must use an Air fryer machine only after going through all the manual instructions to ensure safety.
LEARN MORE: How to Clean an Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid Quickly & Easily
There is a possibility that Air fryers can cause cancer, and we have discussed the ways to avoid it. Air fryers do not cause cancer by their design and material, but the methods and choices of food we select to cook in them may present the chances of formation of carcinogens.
To avoid the cancer risk, you must remember a few things:
- Wipeout all leftover oil.
- Don’t cook at excessive-high temperatures.
- No frozen, starchy, or processed food in Air fryers