The Coast News Group
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ColumnsLifestyles of the Fit and Healthy

Fried food: Adding calories and fat to your dish

Most people are well aware that fried foods are not good for your waistline or health. Yet, turning down French fries is an act of willpower and strength. The bottom line is that fried foods are high in fat, calories, and usually salt.

As a result, consumption of these foods has been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. A piece of chicken loses its nutritional quality when cooked in hydrogenated oil to be fried.

This type of oil is high in trans fats. The crunch and taste are great, but trans fats are known to raise bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL).

Even worse, it is not uncommon for people and restaurants to re-use this hydrogenated oil. With each use, more oil becomes absorbed in the food. Preparing food this way is fast and inexpensive.

Popular picks include fish, fries, cheese sticks, chicken strips, and street fairs will fry just about anything now. Before being fried, many of these foods are coated in a flour batter. Once placed in the fryer, they lose water and absorb fat. This type of fat is not easy for the body to break down and process. Now the calorie content has risen.

A common example is that one baked potato (about 100 grams), has roughly 100 calories and no fat. Compare that to 100 grams of French fries, and you have about 320 calories and 17 grams of fat. Quite the difference.

Besides additional fat and calories, fried foods also contain acrylamide which is a toxic substance that results from cooking at high temperature (which is needed for frying). This substance has been linked to cancer.

If fried foods are on your menu, coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil are better options. Pick these saturated and monounsaturated choices. They don’t break down in such high temperature.

Coconut oil is the most resistant to heat. Polyunsatured fats are the type to steer clear of because they do break down and contain acrylamide. These include the following oils: sesame, corn, canola, sunflower, and grape seed. Oven frying and air frying are also better alternatives.

Be aware of fried choices and limit your run-ins with them. Between chips, fries, and meats, you may be consuming more than you think when the week is totaled up.

The Lifestyle of the FIT & Healthy lets the flavor lie in the food, not the frying batter. No one said life has to be plain, but don’t fry your health with food that is only momentarily satisfying and detrimental to your health long-term.