A few months ago, I typed “does air fryer cause cancer” into Google when my family and I were looking to buy an air fryer for the house. People love air fryers because they are marketed as a healthy alternative to deep-fried foods because they have less fat and fewer calories.
We were intrigued, but I wanted to take a deeper look at any possible health problems or concerns related to the use of air fryers before taking the plunge.
My extensive research concluded with the following:
Using an air fryer may cause cancer, although it is less likely than deep-frying or eating deep-fried dishes. But, it’s important to use it safely and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to minimize the risk of exposure to harmful compounds produced by cooking at high temperatures. The potential risks of using an air fryer need to be balanced against its potential benefits, such as healthier cooking with less oil.
You’re going to want to keep reading this blog post to find out more about the health risks and tips to minimize any potential concerns. I’ll take a look at the evidence and evaluate whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
Continue reading below or use the quick links below to jump to the section you’re most interested in reading, and once and for all, squash the “does air fryer cause cancer” debate . . .
If you’re interested in finding out which air fryers don’t cause cancer, I wrote an informative blog post on this topic that you’re going to want to read.
Quick Navigation Links
- Benefits Of Using Air Fryers
- Tips For Minimizing Risks When Using An Air Fryer
- What’s an Air Fryer?
- How Air Frying and Air Fryers Work
- Why Traditional Cooking Methods Carry More Potential Health Risks Than Adverse Effects Of Air Fryers
- Editor’s Final Thoughts And Last Words
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Are air fryers toxic?
- Does air fryer cause cancer?
- Can air fryers still produce harmful compounds when cooking?
- Is it safe to use an air fryer?
- What are the potential benefits of using an air fryer?
- Should I consider the environmental impact of using an air fryer?
- Is there such a thing as air fryer radiation?
- Are there any studies on the link between air fryers and cancer?
- Is there a link between air fryers and breast cancer?
- How can I minimize the health risks of using an air fryer?
- What are the benefits and risks of using an air fryer?
- What is an air fryer?
- Can air fryers be used to cook a variety of foods?
- Are there alternatives to cooking with an air fryer?
Benefits Of Using Air Fryers
Foods that are air-fried may be better for you in more ways than foods that are deep-fried. They have less fat, calories, and even some chemicals that could be harmful that are found in fried foods.
If you want to lose weight or cut down on fat, using an air fryer instead of a deep fryer might be a good idea. Also, since an air fryer uses less oil than a deep fryer, it may be easier to buy higher-quality but more expensive oils, like avocado oil as a healthier alternative.
Keep in mind, though, that just because it may be healthier than deep-frying doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your health as a whole.
See the entire list of benefits below so that you can determine whether or not air frying is right for you and your family.
Possible Weight Loss
Deep-fried foods are not only higher in fat, but they also have more calories, which could make you gain weight. One large review of many studies found that eating more fried foods was linked to a higher risk of becoming obese.
If you want to lose weight, you might want to try switching from deep-fried foods to foods that are air-fried. Foods that are air-fried have less fat than those that are deep-fried, using an air fryer may be a simple way to cut calories and help you keep your weight in check.
Reduce Fat Content
Foods that are deep-fried tend to have more fat than foods that are cooked using other conventional cooking methods. For instance, a fried chicken breast has more fat than one whole roasted chicken.
Some air fryer brands advertise that if you use an air fryer instead of a deep fryer, you can cut the fat content of food by up to 80%. The main reason for this is that air fryers use a lot less oil to cook with than regular deep fryers. Many deep-fried recipes call for as much as 3 cups (750 mL) of oil. On the flip side, air-fried foods only need about 1 tablespoon (15 mL).
Using an air fryer can cut the total amount of fat in a dish by a whopping amount.
Studies that looked at the differences between deep-fried and air-fried french fries found that air-fried fries have much less fat and are less crispy. The one thing they had in common is that air-fried fries have the same color and moisture as deep-fried fries.
Decreased Formation Of Harmful Compounds And Chemicals
Fried food is not only higher in fat and calories, but they can create compounds like acrylamide that could be harmful.
The formation of acrylamide typically happens in foods high in carbohydrates when the cooking temperature is high, like when they are deep-fried.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer says that the chemical acrylamide is a “probable human carcinogen.” And, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, acrylamide is “likely to cause cancer in humans.”
This means that some research already suggests that acrylamide does carry some cancer risk.
Using an air fryer instead of deep frying food may help reduce the amount of acrylamide in your food.
But it’s still very important to keep in mind that air-frying can still create other dangerous compounds.
Aldehydes, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are examples of chemical compounds that can be made when food is cooked at high temperatures and may increase the risk of cancer. For this reason, you might see an air fryer cancer warning when you do your research and shop around for a new air fryer among all the models of air fryers.
Additional research is needed to find out how air-frying might affect how these chemical substances are made.
Tips For Minimizing Risks When Using An Air Fryer
There are a few important things you can do to minimize the potential risks associated with using an air fryer. The top tips for reducing the risk of health issues when air frying your favorite foods are listed below.
Follow The Manufacturer’s Instructions
One of the most important things is to make sure that you are using the appliance correctly. This means following the air fryer manufacturers instructions on how to use the air fryer and cooking food at the right temperature and time.
Clean Your Air Fryer Regularly
Wait at least 30 minutes after cooking with your air fryer, if not longer. Simply remove all the components such as the pan, basket and tray. Clean them with soapy lukewarm water and a sponge. Next, wipe down the air fryer and heating element with a damp cloth or non-abrasive sponge.
Air Fry In Conjunction With Other Cooking Methods
It’s also a good idea to use an air fryer alongside other cooking methods, rather than exclusively. This can help reduce the overall amount of time that you are exposed to high-heat cooking.
Choose The Right Cooking Oil
In addition to these precautions, it’s important to choose the right type of oil when using an air fryer. Choosing the right type of oil can help to reduce the risk of harmful chemical production during the cooking process.
Some oils are more stable at high temperatures and are less likely to produce harmful chemicals when heated. Canola oil and avocado oil are both good options for use in an air fryer, as they have a high smoke point and are less prone to breaking down at high temperatures.
What’s an Air Fryer?
An air fryer is a small kitchen appliance that uses hot air to cook food. In recent years, air fryers have become more popular because they can make crispy foods and “fried-like” and use only a little oil. They also make cleanup much easier since there’s no need for a deep fryer or much oil. Most of the time, air fryers cook faster than other methods, which saves time in the kitchen.
While air fryers can be a convenient and healthier option for cooking certain foods, there are also concerns about their potential health risks, which are covered in detail above.
How Air Frying and Air Fryers Work
An air fryer cooks food by circulating air at high speeds around the food that is placed in a basket or tray within the appliance. The hot air cooks the food evenly and quickly, producing results that are similar to those of a deep fryer. This method of cooking is known as “rapid air technology.”
The Maillard reaction is a chemical process that results from this type of cooking. It happens when an amino acid and a reducing sugar interact while being heated, changing the taste and color of food.
This cooking process is similar to that of a convection oven and can be used to cook a variety of foods, including french fries, pizza, chicken wings, chicken nuggets, meats such as fish and beef, vegetables, and even desserts.
Why Traditional Cooking Methods Carry More Potential Health Risks Than Adverse Effects Of Air Fryers
I’ve partially covered this above but now we’ll take a deeper look into the differences between some conventional cooking methods and air frying.
One of the main concerns about air fryers is the potential for the release of harmful chemicals. When food is cooked at high temperatures, it can release chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of cancer in animal studies.
There is also some concern about the potential for the release of acrylamide, a chemical that is produced when certain foods are cooked at high temperatures (acrylamide content or acrylamide levels are highest at high temperatures). This is also known as acrylamide formation.
Even though using an air fryer may potentially increase the risk of cancer, it’s important to think about how and why this could happen. For example, if you are using an air fryer to cook processed meats that are high in saturated fat, this could potentially increase the risk of cancer. This is because high-fat diets have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and processed meats contain high levels of saturated fat.
On the other hand, if you are using an air fryer to cook lean proteins, such as chicken or fish, and vegetables, the risks may be lower. This is because these types of foods are generally lower in fat and have a lower risk of producing harmful chemicals when cooked.
Of course, this is unrelated to using an air fryer and has more to do with the raw meat and food you choose to cook in your air fryer.
It’s also important to note that the risks associated with these chemicals may depend on the specific cooking method and the type of food being cooked. For example, research has shown that the levels of PAHs and HCAs in grilled meats can be significantly higher than in meats that are cooked using other methods. Similarly, the levels of acrylamide in fried foods can be much higher than in foods that are baked or roasted.
Chances are that some of the conventional methods you are using to cook your food are more likely to cause cancer than your new air fryer.
On the other hand, some traditional ways of cooking, like boiling and steaming, are healthier than deep frying, including air frying.
Editor’s Final Thoughts And Last Words
An air fryer is a healthier way to cook food as compared to deep frying. You can use it to fry meats, potatoes, broccoli, fruit, yams, tofu, or eggs, among other healthy foods.
Using an air fryer instead of deep frying can reduce the amount of fat, calories, and compounds that could be harmful in your food, and ultimately your health.
Although air fryers could increase the risk of cancer, the chances of this happening are likely to be small and may depend on how the appliance is used. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use your air fryer and also use other healthy ways to cook to reduce any possible risks.
It’s also worth noting that the overall evidence on the potential health risks of using an air fryer is still limited. More research is needed to fully understand the potential risks and benefits of this cooking method. Before making a decision about whether or not to use an air fryer, it’s important to use caution and consider all the pros and cons.
Overall, while the use of an air fryer may carry some potential risks, it can also be a convenient and healthier option for cooking certain foods. As with any appliance or cooking method, it’s important to follow proper safety guidelines to minimize any potential risks.
My honest and final opinion of the “does air fryer cause cancer” debate is this:
I would strongly consider using an air fryer for your home since the benefits of air fryers far outweigh the risks at this time. If you’re going to buy an air fryer, buy one that doesn’t have non-stick materials and check for the Prop 65 warning, cancer risk or cancer warning labels.
Don’t let the “potential” link between air fryers and cancer steer you away from using an air fryer for cooking, especially since it’s healthier than other traditional forms of cooking (e.g. using a deep fryer, etc.).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are air fryers toxic?
No, air fryers keep the food’s healthy nutrients while lowering the amount of acrylamide, a chemical that can cause cancer. Only when food is cooked for a long time at high temperatures do cancerous compounds occur. Food cooked with air fryers often takes less time to cook, and during that time, acrylamide cannot be produced. While food prepared in an air fryer is not inherently toxic, cooking with high heat can create harmful chemicals in food, including acrylamide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to cancer in animal studies.
Does air fryer cause cancer?
It is not accurate to say that air fryers cause different types of cancer or chronic diseases. There is currently no conclusive evidence suggesting that air fryers cause cancer. However, cooking with an air fryer involves heating food at high temperatures, which can create harmful substances that may contribute to cancer development. Even though cooking at high temperatures or over direct flames can make harmful compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs), the risk factor of being exposed to these compounds by using an air fryer is generally thought to be low. However, it’s important to use cooking appliances safely and follow the instructions from the manufacturer to reduce the chance of being exposed to harmful chemicals.
Can air fryers still produce harmful compounds when cooking?
It is possible for air fryers to produce harmful compounds when cooking at high temperatures, just as any cooking method that involves high heat has the potential to produce these compounds. Although, the risk of exposure to these compounds from using an air fryer is generally considered to be low.
Is it safe to use an air fryer?
When used safely and according to the manufacturer’s instructions, air fryers can be a safe and convenient way to cook food. As with any cooking appliance, it is important to follow basic safety guidelines and use the appliance correctly to minimize the risk of accidents or injuries. When the proper safety precautions are taken, you will greatly minimize your exposure. However, exposure to potentially harmful chemicals released during cooking at high temperatures may pose health risks over time as mentioned previously.
What are the potential benefits of using an air fryer?
Some possible benefits of using an air fryer include the ability to cook food in a healthier way by using less oil, the convenience of being able to cook food quickly and efficiently, and the ability to achieve crispy and tasty results without deep-frying.
Should I consider the environmental impact of using an air fryer?
Yes, it is important to think about how using any appliance, like an air fryer, affects the environment. Air fryers can use a significant amount of energy, so it is important to consider the energy efficiency of the appliance and try to use it in an energy-conscious way. Additionally, it is important to dispose of any appliances, including air fryers, in an environmentally responsible manner when they are no longer in use.
Is there such a thing as air fryer radiation?
Air fryers don’t give off radiation like microwave ovens do, which use electromagnetic radiation. Air fryers make food crunchy and give it a crispy texture with little or no oil by moving hot air around it. Only radiated heat, which is not the same as radiation. But what makes radiated heat different from radiation? Air fryers only dry the outside of your food quickly by circulating the heat they put out. You can easily tell the difference between food cooked in a microwave and food cooked in an air fryer because of the two ways they are cooked.
Are there any studies on the link between air fryers and cancer?
While there have been some studies on the production of harmful substances when cooking with air fryers at high temperatures, there is currently no conclusive evidence linking the use of air fryers to cancer development in humans. Therefore, the popular consensus is that air fryers do not cause cancer.
Is there a link between air fryers and breast cancer?
There is currently no established evidence linking the use of air fryers to breast cancer or any other form of cancer (e.g. prostate cancer, etc.). However, certain chemicals that may increase cancer risk can be released when cooking with an air fryer at high temperatures.
How can I minimize the health risks of using an air fryer?
To minimize the health risks of cooking with an air fryer, it is recommended to use it in a well-ventilated area, avoid overcrowding the cooking basket, reduce the cooking time and use lower temperatures whenever possible. It is also important to clean the appliance regularly to prevent the buildup of harmful chemicals.
What are the benefits and risks of using an air fryer?
The benefits of using an air fryer include healthier cooking options than deep-frying, less oil consumption, and quick and even cooking. The risks include the production of potentially harmful chemicals when cooking food at high temperatures.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that uses hot air to cook food, similar to a convection oven. It works by circulating hot air around the food, allowing it to cook evenly and with less oil than traditional deep-frying methods. They basically use a heating element and a fan to move hot air around the food, cooking it at high temperatures without the need for hot oil in some cases, resulting in crispy and evenly cooked dishes.
Can air fryers be used to cook a variety of foods?
Yes, air fryers can be used to cook a wide variety of foods, including meats, vegetables and even desserts. They offer a healthier alternative to deep-frying and can produce delicious and crispy dishes with less oil than traditional methods.
Are there alternatives to cooking with an air fryer?
Yes, there are several alternatives to cooking with an air fryer, including baking, grilling and boiling. These methods can be healthier and result in similar or even better-tasting dishes than those prepared in an air fryer.
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