Fans of fried potatoes have an old dream – that their favorite beer appetizer is not as harmful as various specialized nutrition publications claim; if it turns out that it would also be healthy, that would be the height of happiness. And suddenly it turns out that this is quite possible.
Here are the explanations of Clarissa Hiwatashi Fujiwara, nutritionist in the nutrition department at ABESO (Brazilian Association for the Study of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome).
Yes, it is possible to combine the much-loved French fries with a healthy diet. It is true that fried food is associated with increased risks of heart disease, such as heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis, and also cancer; but, if cooked properly, it can be included in a balanced diet. French fries can be part of the context of healthy eating, as long as one follows the principle of moderation. There is nothing wrong with eating a portion of fries on the weekend or in a specific situation.
See below 7 points to pay attention to when frying potatoes – this way you will learn how to cook them perfectly: both tasty and healthy.
1. The pan. The pan you use makes all the difference in the nutritional value of your potatoes. It is ideal to use a tall pan with a thick bottom – such as stainless steel or iron. It will ensure that the heat is evenly distributed without drenching the food in oil. Avoid oil fryers!
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2. The oil. One of the main reasons why French fries are considered extremely harmful is that any oil, once heated above a certain temperature, undergoes transformations in its chemical composition and releases a toxic substance called acrolein. It is this that causes the increased risks of heart disease and cancer.
This applies even to olive oil, which otherwise contributes many benefits to the body. In addition, olive oil releases acrolein when it reaches its smoke point (the limit temperature of any oil) – and this point is much lower than that of other oils. This is why soybean, corn, sunflower and canola oils are much more suitable for deep frying than olive oil.
3. The temperature. The ideal temperature for frying food is between 180°C and 190°C – however olive oil breaks down before that, while other oils can withstand temperatures above 200°C. The champion in this regard is soybean oil, which breaks down at 230°C. Two tips are worth noting here: first, buy a cooking thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil; second, avoid adding more oil during cooking – because it’s important to heat everything at once. Otherwise, the temperature will be uneven, which will cause the potatoes to absorb oil without frying, be less crispy and take longer to cook. Ideally, they should be dry and crispy.
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4. Slicing. Cut the potatoes into smaller, even pieces. This way they will fry more evenly and you will not increase the cooking time. Using a proper knife also helps.
5. The immersion. Do not put all the potatoes in at once. This leads to a drop in oil temperature and softening. Cook them in batches to maintain the temperature.
6. Potatoes. Do not buy ready-made frozen potatoes! This industrialized version is fried twice (once during production before they are frozen, and then you fry them). Thus, they absorb more saturated fats – the most harmful and associated with health problems. Frozen ones also contain a significant amount of preservatives. Homemade potatoes remain the best option.
7. The way of cooking. You can also vary the cooking method. Cooked in an air fryer (which does not use oil), baked or even cooked in the microwave, they are just as delicious as fried.
Attention! The article is informative and does not include medical advice. Always seek a medical specialist for the issues discussed in it!