Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fried Food

I did not grow up in a house where we consumed a lot of fried food. In fact, we NEVER fried food. Ever. The only time I ate fried food was the occasional fast food run. I didn't even know how to fry something until I started working in the restaurant industry. Have you ever wondered just exactly WHY fried food is so bad for you? Here are the typical ingredients: egg wash, flour, meat or vegetable, oil. These are all ingredients I eat everyday. What does frying do that makes their end product so horrendous? You know I consume more olive oil than any other human on the planet, so why does dipping something in egg and flour followed by hot oil make it so horrible? The first obvious thought is the large amount of oil the food absorbs when it is fried. Well, today I did a little experiment. I poured 2 cups of vegetable oil into a pan and heated it on the stove. I dipped red onion slices (about half of one onion) in an egg wash (one egg), wheat flour, and then fried them. After I was done, there was about a cup and a half of oil left over. When I put the onion rings on a paper towel, it had to have soaked up at least a tablespoon of oil. So, that's really not THAT much oil that I ended up consuming, is it? I used so little flour and egg, that I know the calories weren't adding up there. So, why would these onion rings be SO bad for me? By the way, they were delicious. I made a cracked black pepper and garlic ketchup to dip them in- awesome!

As I was enjoying my plate of yummy horrible-ness I did a little research. Here are some articles I found:

•According to Aromatherapy for Women, by Maggie Tisserand, "heating oil for frying changes the molecular structure of the essential fatty acids and allows them to become 'oxidized'. These molecules are known as 'free radicals' and damage the surface of body cells". They are also significantly worse for cholesterol – and your waistline! The other problem, besides free radical damage, is trans fats. With a few exceptions – such as peanut oil – when oils are heated to that degree, trans fats are formed. A perfect example of these problems… set out a bowl of your favorite cooking oil, then fry something as normal, on high heat of course, and then set out a bowl of the same oil, post-frying. Once they fully cool, the uncooked oil will remain liquid, but the oil that has been fried in will at least partially solidify. This is not from food residue in the oil; it is a change in the basic structure of the oil itself. It will thicken the same way in your body — that is happening in your arteries! Most foods that you would deep-fry can instead be breaded and then baked. Corn flakes and cracker-based breading will give you a similar satisfying crunch since you don't have the crisping involved in the high heat and oil to cook the breading.(from

• It can make you obese. A Spanish study found that people who ate the most calories in fried food had a positive correlation with obesity. OK, maybe you're not shocked by this finding, but fried food is loaded with calories and fat. The breading on fried food soaks up the grease. It's kinda like drinking oil straight from the vat. Which you would never do. (from

•If you want to make your own fried food, and you are a meticulous person, it can actually be healthy. It ain't easy though. Just don't bread the food, use clean peanut oil heated up to 365 degrees Fahrenheit slowly (no smoking), cook only a few pieces of food for the right amount of time, then drain on a rack. (from

So, I guess fried food doesn't necessarily have to be the worst thing on the planet to consume. After all, there is this: Study: Fried foods not always bad for you, which claims it is the TYPE of oil you use that matters. I obviously, prefer olive oil, so I'm good, right? No, I won't get ahead of myself, but I will be more conscious of how to go about indulging in a plate of fried goodness

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