Many of us know that fried foods are bad for our health. But that doesn’t stop us from enjoying them does it?
Samosas, baja, french fries, chilli bites (gato piment)... everyone’s got their favourite guilty pleasure. And we’ll always find a good excuse to indulge in them.
But, no matter how you justify it to yourself, the truth is that fried foods are bad for you.
Sure, eating them once in a while won’t have long term consequences. But make it a regular habit, and you’re putting your health at risk.
Here are a few reasons why fried foods are bad for your health and, a solution for those of you who want to enjoy the taste of fried foods and not suffer the consequences.
1. Nothing is more calorific than fried food
You won’t find anything more calorific than fried food.
It’s hard to know the exact amount of extra calories they contain - the frying method, type of and amount of oil all have an impact - so we can only work with estimates.
But even these estimates will give a health conscious person nightmares.
The fact is that frying most foods will increase their calorie count by at least 50%. And foods that readily soak in oil, like fries or battered vegetables, can see their calorie count double.
A good example are potatoes. One baked potato (100g) has about 90 calories, but the same amount of french fries (100g) contains over 250 calories.
The reason for this is that oil contains plenty of energy (calories). Unfortunately, it also has very low nutritional value, which means that you’re filling your body with things you don’t need and getting very little in return.
2. It impacts your ability to concentrate
Remember when I said that fried foods had plenty of energy?
Well, that energy doesn’t just stay there, your body needs to digest it.
And, for your body, digestion means work!
It’s a give and take process. The more energy your body needs to break down, the more energy it needs to spend on your gut and stomach to digest food.
As your body switches into digestion mode, it has less energy to use on other organs, like your brain. The effect is what we call “brain fog”.
While that might not be an issue on a lazy Sunday afternoon, it’s a different story at work when tasks like sending an email or reading a report become much harder to do.
So, if you ever find yourself struggling to work after a heavy lunch, or feeling some brain fog throughout the day after snacking on fried foods, you’ll know why.
3. It causes chronic inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s reaction to the things that harm it.
It involves the release of chemicals which help trigger your immune response when it is needed. Anything from a cut to a disease will cause such a response… and funnily enough, so will fried foods.
Fried foods trigger your body’s inflammatory response and, if taken often enough, will cause chronic inflammation. If you suffer from gout, rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory related diseases, it’s best that you steer clear from them.
Now, keep in mind that inflammation is a natural response of your body as it is part of its recovery process.
But fatty foods push your body’s inflammatory response into overload which can lead to a host of diseases… which leads to my next point.
4. It can lead to chronic diseases
You’ve heard this one perhaps 1000 times but it’s worth repeating. Fried foods can lead to increased risks of developing chronic diseases. The most notable is of course, heart disease, but there are many others associated with it too including cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Now, does this mean that you should avoid fried foods completely? No. I never tell clients to avoid certain foods but I do believe in moderation. Especially when it comes to fried foods.
What can I do to replace fried foods?
There are many ways to replace the taste of fried food but my favourites are air frying or baking.
Baking is the cheaper alternative (most of you have ovens at home) and can help you make tasty dishes like this one.
Air frying, replicates the taste of pan fried foods and has a much lower calorie count (approximately 70% less) and you can cook pretty much anything with them including fries, chicken and even pizza.
Air fryers (photo on the right) are readily available in most home and kitchen shops nowadays.
Learned something useful in this article? Then don’t hesitate to share it and spread the knowledge, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!