If you pay attention to all the snacks we Indians consume, they are either filled with sugar or fried deep in oil. It has become part of our  lives. As such, veggies have become an optional choice, but the savories have become mandatory. Staying away from the home and the constant cravings for instant food increased the consumption of fried and outside food. Let us have a deeper glance into how this fried food impacts us.

Poori in a pan with oil

Puffed poori being fried in oil

All about oil

Oil is a hydrophobic substance rich in hydrocarbons. Oils are the fats (unsaturated) that remain liquid at room temperature and are plant or fish-based in origin. The fats that remain solid at room temperature are saturated and trans fat obtained from animals or cheese and by the process of hydrogenation, respectively. 

Popular fried foods – Poori, samosa, french fries, fried chicken, onion rings, etc. When food products are fried, the calorie count increases.

Why is it harmful?

Hydrogenated oil The crispness added by the trans fat-rich hydrogenated oil necessitates the food sellers to prefer it. But, this oil has larger quantities of bad cholesterol that leads to heart diseases.

(Not all the fat consumed is bad – the High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) like omega 3 and omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids try to reduce the harmful cholesterol like Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL).

Acrylamide danger The amino acid Asparagine will convert to acrylamide when exposed to high-temperature oil for a longer time (until food turns to dark brown color). The preliminary studies confirmed that it is a cancer-causing substance. Products like potatoes high in sugars, when fried, will definitely possess acrylamide.

Should not reuse When oil gets heated, it breaks down, and the composition of hydrocarbons changes. So, each time more and more oil is absorbed by the food increases calorie intake and bad cholesterol ((LDL).

Health issues associated with fried foods

  • Instant effect – Over-consumption of fried food will cause stomach pain. A delayed digestion process (as fats take time to break down) causes digestion problems, leading to diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating.

Overconsumption of fried food cause stomach pain

Person holding stomach out of pain

The microbial population of the stomach helps in the process of digestion by breaking down fiber, maintaining gut health, sending the proper immune response, and promoting good cholesterol (HDL). Increased consumption of fried food will mess up gut microbial populations that cause long-term major effects.

  • Obesity: It is a medical condition where the body accumulates fats. When our food consumption has a higher amount of calories (as seen in the case of fried foods) than we burn in the day, it gradually bundles up and turns into obesity. Not only is this condition a disease, it will lead to several other problems in the heart.

Myth Buster

It is usually believed that consuming oily foods lead to acne. But scientific studies proved there is no such relationship and also fried foods don’t contribute to a person’s oily skin; it purely depends on skin type and sebaceous glands.

Longer-term severe problems 

Heart-related Cardiac arrest happens when the fat/cholesterol is accumulated near the valves affecting the blood pressure. As fried foods have bad cholesterol, increased consumption of it leads to heart failure. Studies proved that continuous consumption increases a person’s chances of a heart attack.

Type 2 diabetes – It is a medical condition where the body’s function of breaking down sugar gets interrupted. 

French Fries

French Fries in Air Fryer

Can’t avoid it? Then, What should you do?

  1. Cook at home By frying the foods at home, it gives you greater control over the type of oil you use, its quantity and you can avoid or at least limit to minimum repetitions.
  2. Avoid deep-frying (dark brown color) If this is done, the chances of acrylamide–the cancer-causing substance–formation can be controlled. Also, soaking potatoes for 15-20 minutes before frying could reduce the formation of acrylamide.
  3. Choice of oil Opting for  oils with mono and polyunsaturated fats like olive, soybean, canola oils provides good cholesterol (HDL) required for the body (heart).
  4. Oven and Air frying The advancements and health consciousness of people helped the inventors to come up with this technology where the product gives you the taste and feel of deep fry but is actually air roasted.
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