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Nov 3, 2009 06:21 PM

Why is frying food unhealthy?

Does anyone know why frying food is less healthy than broiling or baking?

Well obviously deep frying chicken in a batch of oil is bad for you. But let's say you fry salmon in a couple tablespoons of olive oil vs. baking the salmon in foil with a couple tbspoons of olive oil.

Why is one technique considered less healthy than the other?

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  1. I don't even buy your assertion that deep-fried food is by definition "bad for you."

    1 Reply
    1. The only jfood can think of is you eat more of it since it is so much better....Nah!!!! Yum.

      1. If we try to use the oven for this, does this also considered unhealthy?

        1 Reply
        1. re: janetvelasquez80l

          you mean to reheat or warm the fried food!!!?

        2. For me the reason I think a lot of fried food -- especially fast food or restaurant food -- is unhealthy is because the oil has often been overheated or heated too long and the oil breaks down into "undesireable" components we don't really want in our diet.

          "Healthy" fried food is possible, primarily when you do it at home and use the right oils and temperature. But even at that, it can add calories! But hey, we can't limit our diet to tap water, can we? '-)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Caroline1

            This is what I've understood to be the case, too. The undesirable component of most concern is trans fats, when the oil has been used beyond the point where it should. I'd also like to add that there are restaurants who are more responsible than others with frying food. They are few and far between, but I've eaten at a few. It's a special pleasure to enjoy food fried in olive or rice bran oil, which have a delicacy and flavor you don't often find. I'm of the mind that fried food is a treat, not an every day indulgence.

            1. re: amyzan

              I'll have to look more into this, but off the top of my head, I thought that trans fat came from the process of partially hydrogenating oil. Overheating/overusing oil does produce undesirable compounds, but I'm not sure trans fat is one of them. ...

              1. re: 4Snisl

                You're right. Overheating or using oil too long does not produce trans fats, BUT....! Cooking food in that contains trans fats such as battered foods in which hydrogenated shortening or margarine is an ingredient will leach trans fats into your cooking oil, and then into any foods that are subsequently cooked in that oil. I don't buy anything with the word "hydrogenated" anywhere on the label!

          2. To address this I think you need to be a bit more precise. While the term "fry" in popular usage can include that type of cooking which uses only a bit of oil in the bottom of a pan, in industry and most food journalism usage that is "sauteing," or sometimes "pan frying;" the term "frying" refers specifically to what at home is called deep frying.

            So, sauteing isn't usually so bad. To follow your example, doing a piece of salmon by "pan frying" in a little olive oil oil probably isn't much, if at all, less healthy than baking the salmon.

            Deep frying on the other hand, the process referred to as "frying" in industry jargon, often is indeed worse for you, but as others have noted, it ain't necessarily so. It can be reasonably OK if the coating is correct, the oil is correct and fresh enough, and the temperature is correct. Unfortunately, in the real world one or more of these criteria is typically violated.