Question:

We cannot do without fries at home, they are just so delicious and especially for the children there is no force that can reject them not to want some. That’s why I’m asking for an advice how to prepare them as healthy as possible. I read that a short pre-treatment in a microwave or blanching to a slight softening reduce the harms from frying after that, is it so? And which sorts – mealier and drier, or juicier, and which oils are appropriate? In general, what technology to use?

Answer:

Healthy and fried are two incompatible terms in healthy nutrition. For sure French fries are a real test for our senses, but a real danger lies behind the tempting appearance and taste.

Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, vitamins from the group B and C, potassium and contain only 80 kcal per 100 g. Potato sorts differ in the amount of starch. The potatoes with high starch content are cooked quickly, and those with low content are more suitable for baking and frying.

What happens when we fry the potatoes?

Under the influence of the high temperature and oil, not only their caloricity increases from 3 to 8 times, but acrylamide is produced in them – a substance that causes cancer diseases. Its high concentration is due to the amino acid asparagine which turns into acrylamide through heat treatment – frying at temperatures from 120 to 190oC.

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The fried food contains many redundant harmful fats and has a negative effect on the stomach. The regular use of fatty and fried foods, besides making us gaining weight, is responsible for a number of gastric diseases such as gastritis, ulcers, reflux, colitis, etc. When reaching higher temperatures during frying processes of lipid peroxidation occur – saturation with oxygen of the unsaturated bonds in the fatty acids chains happens. Under the influence of the high temperature and the intensity of the process molecules with high energy are released, known as free radicals, which adversely affect the physiological processes in the cells.

Sometimes this effect is so intense that it can damage the genetic material of the cell and lead to mutation. That is why the use of fryers is recommended in order to prevent fat overheating. The device itself can maintain a temperature around 190oC, and this is the limit at which the processes of lipid peroxidation are not to a degree endangering the human health.

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The diet of a man, leading a healthy lifestyle, certainly does not include fried foods. There are enough other alternative methods for food preparation which besides healthy can be also very tasty. Stewed vegetables, cooked or steamed meals, in addition to being tasty and rich in vitamins, are definitely a better food than French fries, especially for young children. The rational nutrition, as a part of the healthy lifestyle, is educated. Eating habits develop in early childhood and attitudes to taste for certain foods are raised.

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Creating a healthy eating pattern at an early age is a basis for reducing the risk of a number of chronic diseases in the future: cardiovascular, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.

As a last resort, you can always apply the following solution – boil the potatoes on steam and fry them in special ceramic pan for 30-40 seconds, thus a compromise variant is achieved for the culinary result and the healthy properties of the food.

I also give several recommendations to reduce the harmful impact of frying:

1)  Fry as short as possible and do not allow burns or crusts.
2)  Do not use the same oil again. There are fats, specially stabilized and adapted for long-term use in a fryer. The use of corn and sunflower oil for frying is also not healthy because the intake of omega-6 fatty acids is increased, which are thermally unstable. These acids are easily oxidized and form lipid radicals that increase the risk of cardiovascular and cancer diseases. When choosing frying fat, refer to oils and fats rich in saturated fatty acids with high thermal resistance. These are the fat and the coconut butter. In addition to long-term use, these fats also have the advantage of forming less free radicals. You can use grape seeds oil, and why not the purified cow oil – Ghi – it doesn’t change its properties and structure during heat treatment. It is important, of course, the oil not to burn.
3)  Combine fried food with lots of fresh vegetables – they contain cellulose that binds to the toxic substances and takes them out of the organism

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