By Lee Breslouer / huffpost

Fried food is delicious, but it comes with baggage ― studies have shown that it can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Ever since air fryers have been elevated to “must-have home appliance” status, it’s been easier than ever to eat veggies, fish and meat that taste like they’ve been deep fried.

But are we fooling ourselves? Is air frying actually healthy? We spoke to registered dietitians from around the country to find out.

Let’s not minimize the miracle that is air frying: It’s having your (funnel) cake and eating it too. “Air fryers are one of the best ways to get the same texture and taste of fried foods without the unhealthiness that comes along with them,” registered dietician nutritionist (RDN) Bansari Acharya said. “It preserves the nutrients in the food items, as it doesn’t expose it to hot oils. It also reduces the amount of trans and saturated fats in foods, reducing the risk for heart disease.”

When compared to deep frying, air frying is clearly the healthier option. That’s because deep frying involves submerging food into a vat of oil, while air frying simply uses heat and a powerful fan to efficiently and evenly cook the food in your fryer. It requires zero oil, though some can be helpful. “Since [food prepared in an air fryer] requires minimal cooking oils, [the food] has a lot less fat than traditional frying methods,” RDN Morgyn Clair told HuffPost. “The healthiest way to air fry is to use minimal excess oils. Use just enough so your food doesn’t stick.

Convection heat can actually increase the bioavailability of nutrients in sweet potatoes
Convection heat can actually increase the bioavailability of nutrients in sweet potatoes

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