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Air fried food has a plethora of health benefits over traditional deep frying. For starters, it helps substantially decrease the total fat and calories of your favorite “fried” food fare! However, despite benefits like this for the health-conscious air fryer user, air-fried cooking still has a few cautions foodies need to be aware of that are often overlooked, like acrylamide.
Acrylamide isn’t exactly something you want to develop when air frying. It’s been linked to cancer, and it forms when carbohydrates, like our favorite air fried spuds, are cooked at high temps. But don’t panic – you can reduce the amount formed in your air-fried foods by doing this one thing before cooking!
What is acrylamide?
Acrylamide is a compound that forms when high temperature cooking starchy foods like potatoes or when coffee beans are roasted. Traditional cooking methods like roasting, frying and baking.
Despite what you may have heard, acrylamide does not come from packaging or the environment, but from natural sugars and the amino acid known as asparagine found in a variety of foods, like potatoes.
While acrylamide may sound scary (and truthfully, it’s not great), I’ve got some good news for you. You can still have that same affection for your favorite kitchen appliance as you did before! Acrylamide amounts can be reduced when you follow these easy kitchen tips.
How to reduce acrylamide when air frying foods
Research has shown that air frying foods may result in a 75 to 90 percent reduction in the production of acrylamide compounds in comparison to deep-fat frying. While this study did use a variety of “pre-soaking solutions” including things like citric acid and sodium chloride, the results showed the items in the air fryer didn’t necessarily need a special pre-treatment solution. Sure, there’s definitely need for further research here, but it’s promising to see these initial results.
With that said, you can follow these tips provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help reduce the amount of acrylamide formed.
First, start by soaking your starchy vegetables before popping them in the air fryer. Grab your pre-cut, starchy vegetables (think potatoes, squash, beets and other root vegetables), and soak them for a minimum of 15 minutes or longer in filtered water before preparing them for your recipe. This helps reduce the percentage of acrylamide formed. Check out this simple example to learn more!
Second, be aware of cooking time. You want to cook starchy foods until golden brown and not charred to a crisp. Keep an eye on your air-fried foods and pull them out before they get too dark!
Lastly, store your potatoes in a dark, cool spot like a pantry cupboard versus the refrigerator. This can help reduce the amount of acrylamide that forms during cooking.
Remember, your air fryer is a wonderful way to make a variety of foods, not just your standard fast-food fare! Think outside the brown and enjoy a variety of non-starchy foods as well from your air fryer to provide variety and balance in your diet.
For more air fryer tips and tricks, keep reading: