Do air fryers cause cancer?

by Véronique Raymond

Nobody wants to purchase an appliance for their home which comprises their health or is potentially dangerous to their surroundings.

It’s therefore important to find kitchen appliances which function efficiently as well as safely in your home. With ever changing health trends, an abundance of information online to filter through and health research constantly evolving, it can be difficult to stay up to date with what is actually beneficial or harmful for your health.

We want to clarify a few facts as well as debunk any myths regarding the safety of air-fryers. So why do people ask if air fryers cause cancer and is this a misconception?

Firstly, it’s important to understand how air-fryers work.

How do air fryers work?

Air fryers are powered by a fan which essentially blows air at high temperatures inside the air fryer which causes a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction.

The hot air creates a crispy and crunchy texture to your food, emulating the texture of deep-frying.

Yet there’s a twist – air fryers work by applying only a few tablespoons of oil or in some cases, no oil at all!

This has been welcomed unanimously among health communities and professionals who have recognized the health benefits of using less oil in food.

Finally, you can achieve weight loss and a balanced diet by indulging in crispy chicken, potatoes, french fries and potato chips by using an air fryer!

Now we can enjoy fried food without the grease and detrimental impact to your health causing illnesses such as obesity and diabetes.

How powerful are air fryers?

Air-fryers are undoubtedly powerful and quick at cooking food due to their smaller size.

However, you should always check the instructions included in the box to understand what temperature to cook your recipes at, as well as checking the temperature of the food before removing it from the air fryer so you can be assured that it is cooked thoroughly.

Air fryers essentially do a similar job to a conventional oven, however, with an air fryer, the air is heated and blown around a smaller surface area, creating a more intense reaction to create the crispy texture.

Depending on the recipe, you will need to adjust the cooking time and temperature to thoroughly cook the food and don’t forget to check on it half way to shake the ingredients cooking inside the basket.

Air fryers offer a range of cooking temperatures depending on the model of the air fryer so we recommend checking in advance what temperature you should be cooking your recipes at.

When should you use a microwave rather than an air fryer?

A microwave has a completely different function to an air fryer.

If you want to warm up dishes, a microwave is the best appliance for this while an air fryer will cook your food.

Just as you always remove any plastic before placing food in the microwave, make sure you do the same when using an air fryer.

Research strongly suggests that reducing exposure to chemicals and toxic compounds leaked by heating plastic with food can reduce the risk of getting cancer.

Do air fryers emit radiation?

Microwaves emit electromagnetic radiation which rapidly heats food.

However, it is safer to use a microwave to reheat food as its purpose intended rather than cook foods.

Just like an airfryer, if you overcook food, it can change a dish’s texture and taste.

Some people are skeptical about the effects of electromagnetic radiation which is emitted from a microwave; however, there is no scientific evidence to prove that microwaves make food radioactive or cause cancer.

Air-fryers use a different method to heat up air in the appliance therefore, do not emit any radiation.

However, you should try to avoid reheating fried food at high temperatures in an air-fryer so it doesn’t become soggy, overcooked or lose any nutritional value.

Evidently, losing nutrients or vitamins in your food isn’t harmful to your health and can be balanced with vitamin supplements.

If you are concerned about retaining vitamins and nutrients in your food, we recommend steaming vegetables.

How do you know when the food is cooked?

You should visibly notice that the food is crispy and is a golden-brown color when it is cooked.

However, it is vital, particularly with white meat, to check that the interior is thoroughly cooked to avoid food poisoning by using a thermometer or simply cutting the meat in half to check it is well cooked.

Research suggests that eating raw or undercooked meat can cause food poisoning due to the bacteria.

While more research needs to be conducted to know if regular consumption of uncooked meat is carcinogenic, we do know that eating undercooked food causes negative effects on your health and should be avoided.

Of course, eating well cooked meat is recommended to avoid any food borne illness.

If you do find your consumption of meat increases after purchasing an air fryer, there are studies which suggest eating a high volume of raw, processed or red meat may increase your chance of having cancer.

Can cooking at high temperatures cause cancer?

Cooking at high temperatures has raised concerns among health professionals.

Dangerous chemicals such as Aldehydes, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons can be formed while cooking at high temperatures and may be associated with a higher risk of cancer.

However, high temperature appliances don’t only involve air fryers, but other appliances such as conventional ovens, convectional ovens and microwaves.

Acrylamide forms from sugars and an amino acid (asparagine) during certain types of high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting, and baking.

Therefore, air fryers don’t pose any greater risk or exposure to harmful compounds than other appliances which cook food at high temperatures.

Can overheating oil cause cancer?

If you are using oil to cook ingredients in an air fryer, it is essential to use oils with a high smoke point to avoid burning or losing any nutritional value to your meals.

Eating deep-fried foods involves an excessive amount of oil in the cooking method which, in turn, has been proven to have negative consequences to a person’s health, leading to illnesses such as obesity and diabetes.

Since fast food chains regularly deep fry food, health communities advise eating this in moderation and to be mindful of your recommended daily calories.

Research also shows that carcinogenic compounds can be formed in fried food through deep frying which use high amounts of oil which may be linked to an increase in cancer risk.

Re-using oils and overcooking food for a long period of time has been proven to increase these toxic compounds which does raise concern.

The advantage of using an air fryer is that the quantity of oil is drastically reduced in comparison to deep frying.

You can even choose to use no oil at all which means there is less chance of harmful compounds to be formed during the cooking process.

How do I avoid acrylamide in my air fryer or reduce the acrylamide content?

Generally, acrylamide is more likely to accumulate when cooking is done for longer periods or at higher temperatures.

Therefore, checking that you don’t overcook food and the temperature has been adjusted for the ingredients that you’re cooking are great precautions to make.

Are there any other safety guidelines while using an air fryer?

In terms of safety guidelines, we recommend reading the instruction pamphlet which is included with your machine upon purchase.

An air-fryer is simple to use and also safe to use if used correctly and if instructions are followed.

We do recommend keeping any kitchen appliance which functions at high temperatures away from children.

When removing the lid or basket from the air-fryer, keep a safe distance away from the appliance to avoid any hot oil from spitting out and potentially causing burns to the skin.

If you are taking the basket out of the appliance, we also recommend wearing thermal resistant mittens to save you from burning your hands.

 

Overall, air fryers as well as the air frying cooking method is a safe and healthier alternative to deep frying.

Pay attention to not overcook food or oil due to research linked to high temperatures and carcinogens.

However, this doesn’t only apply to air fryers but any appliances which cook foods at high temperatures.

Therefore, using an air fryer does not raise any more concerns or increase chances of developing cancer than any other kitchen appliance.

Integrating a balanced diet into your lifestyle and taking necessary precautions for example, thoroughly cooking meats, reducing meat consumption and avoiding any plastic melting in your food are good practices to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

There are many recommendations provided by health professionals online, however, we suggest consulting your doctor if you want to drastically change your diet or if you have further concerns concerning cooking methods that may be harmful to your health.

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