We all love the occasional big bowl of nachos (not the baked kind) or the drive-through fries, but we’ve been around long enough to know the bane of stuff that’s doused in oil. Which brings us to the question, is there a healthier way to do fried foods? We asked Rohan Mathew, our fitness expert from The Transformation to give us tips to work around our way to that pack of chips.
“The thing about fried foods is that they have a high glycemic index mix which means they’ll spike your blood sugar causing an insulin response that could lead to weight loss. And if you’re consuming excess amounts of oils coupled with carbs and simple sugars in your diet, it’s definitely going to contribute to your cholesterol levels,” he says.
“Having said that, it’s not as bad as it seems. For example, there was a point in the 60s when fats were demonized just like how carbs are today, and eggs were too at one point, but that’s not the right way to go about planning your diet – you need all of these nutrients but in limited amounts, and whether or not you’re inactive otherwise also plays a role,” explains Rohan.
Then there comes the issue of generalizing – studies now prove that all oils aren’t bad for you. “Generally, oils that have a high amount of Omega 6 fatty acids – usually vegetable oils – aren’t as healthy as Omega 3 oils which are mostly derived from fish, nuts and some plants – these are good fats. So it helps to know the difference,” he says. “However, what’s important when it comes to fried foods is the temperature of oil when it’s fried – if it’s too hot, it obviously burns the food, but if it’s too cold, the food soaks up the oil – so make sure that doesn’t happen.
While it’s established that healthier oil (think olive oil and coconut oil) in smaller quantities is alright, it gets slightly stricter if you’re trying to lose weight. “Because fried foods are usually small sized and very palatable, there’s a tendency to eat much more than you normally would. For this reason, I’d suggest to ideally use other methods of cooking like baking, steaming or grilling. Air frying, an appliance that cooks by circulating hot air at high speed to make the food crisp, is also an option because it only needs a small amount of oil,” he suggests.
So there you have it – be weary of your oil intake, but you don’t necessarily have to treat it as an enemy!