General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Is fried food bad for you?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9105 points ) March 8th, 2010

Is there anything about the frying process, besides extra fat, that might be harmful?

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24 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well not only does it have the fat that you mention which guarantees heart disease (almost always if that’s all you eat) but it also has a lot of calories which can make you obese. Fried food also exacerbates existing health conditions – it is harder, for example, to achieve a normal sugar level if you’re a diabetic eating fried food. And seeing how most fried food is friend meat and chicken and stuff, let’s not even get started on what’s bad about processed meat and chicken.

Cruiser's avatar

Frying food in hot oil can be dangerous too. Every year now a couple dozen garages go up in flames from people deep frying Turkeys at Thanksgiving.

Ltryptophan's avatar

So just the fat then? @Simone_De_Beauvoir you mention the calories, but soda has calories. So is there something bad about fried food for a normal diet that doesn’t have much fried food in it? Saying processed meats doesn’t count, because that’s just processed meats, that has nothing to do with the frying of them. So does the fry process cause intestinal issues, or tear up the lining of your stomach, or what…. Is eating fried foods in moderation, maybe a fried chicken sandwich once a week, really a bad idea if your diet is well below the recommended daily fat allowances?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Ltryptophan Sure, everything is better in moderation – I’d say once a month. Other than the fat and the calories, there is nothing else that’s bad. Mind you, there is no actual nutritional value so nothing good either.

addicted2porn's avatar

Once I find the article again I’ll post a link or just retype it on here, but it was from the March issue of Muscle and Fitness and it explained how frying food makes it bad for you when done improperly. Overall, surprisingly interesting.

mrrich724's avatar

A good chef knows that frying food appropriately, will not be that detrimental to cooking it any other way.

Prepare the food at room temperature, and make sure to only begin frying when the oil is hot. If you begin frying when the oil is not hot enough, the food will absorb alot more oil than necessary.

But if you begin frying when the oil is hot, it will sear and crips the outside, while the heat cooks the inside. Take a nice fat chicken breast for example. When you get fried chicken, do you cut it open and have oil drip out? No.

The worst part of it all for your health is the breading, so if you can stay away from too much breading (perhaps just a light coat of flour?), you should be just fine!

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Like french fries and such? That process of frying can bring out certain mutagens such as acrylamide in foods, which is a cancer causing agent.

DrBill's avatar

…Then again there are a few of us who are required to eat fatty, high calorie, high sodium, high carb foods.

My doctor once told me to go home, eat some deep fried junk food and put lots of salt on it. (it might sound to some like a wonderful diet, but take my word for it, it is harder than it sounds)

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@DrBill I can definitely see that getting old in a hurry.

davidbetterman's avatar

Depends on what you fry in. Olive Oil is the best oil for frying, but be sure to use low heat and don’t burn the oil or food. That is when you get your carcinogens.

snowberry's avatar

According to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, grilled, fried or broiled meats and cheeses contain a series of toxins linked to such disorders as diabetes, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease. The toxins, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), are also created even when food is sterilized. According to Dr. Helen Vlassara, the director of Mount Sinai’s Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging, AGEs “give our food desirable tastes and smells [but] consuming high amounts of grilled, broiled or fried food means consuming significant amounts of AGEs, and AGEs in excess are toxic. People should be given information about AGE intake and be advised to consider their intake in the same way they would think about their trans fats and salt intake.”
http://www.wellsphere.com/healthy-eating-article/grilled-broiled-and-fried-foods-might-contain-harmful-toxins/706

mrrich724's avatar

@davidbetterman

only use olive oil when pan frying, not deep frying. It does not have as high a heat capacity as, say, vegetable oil, and it will burn easier.

debs's avatar

Foods fried in vegetable oils high in omega-6 fatty acids are bad for you, as are any oils broken down past their smoke points. Traditional fats like (grass-fed) animal fat, butter, olive oil and coconut oil are not bad for you. Most commercially-avaiable food is fried in vegetable oils.

Some info I put together on oils is here: http://www.gofrolic.org/gofrolic/food_blog/Entries/2008/12/28_Cooking_Oil_101.html

When frying something yourself, choose a fat or oil with a low omega-6 fatty acid content and as high a smoke point as you need.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@debs thanks a whole lot!

debs's avatar

You’re welcome! Vegetable oils get away with an innocent reputation, but in the last forty years or so, if you chart the curve of the obesity epidemic with the curve of dietary trends, two match almost exactly: the rise of vegetable oils, and the rise of corn-based sweeteners.

In that same time, meat consumption and animal fat consumption, two things usually blamed, have gone down.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@debs That’s not entirely correct – consumption of chicken and beef has gone up if you take a crude (100 years total) look – when we look closely, meat consumption data is more complex with increase for certain demographics and decreases for others (and this one is for data within the past 20 years) : link

debs's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That’s interesting, they differ from USDA data (I’m going with the spreadsheets of annual USDA individual data here: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FoodConsumption/FoodGuideSpreadsheets.htm)

Looks like this study relies on NHANES; I’ll have a look at that when I get a chance. I’d certainly believe the variation within demographics, but I can’t imagine it’s so different from what the USDA data are to contribute to the obesity epidemic, whereas the rise in grain-based oils, sweeteners and animal feeds seems both correlated closely and potentially etiologically linked.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@debs The first link I posted was USDA data, I just linked out to get the pic for you Oils, sweeteners and animal feeds do, of course, contribute.

debs's avatar

Ah, I see. It’s true, poultry has gone up. I’m primarily interested in the changes since 1970, since so many trends in ill health started in the last three decades of the twentieth century. And in that time, beef (shown in your data) and red meat (in the full data set) have both gone down. And now that I look at data for total meat consumption, it has gone up very slightly—a quarter ounce per person per day, or seven pounds per year.

The full meat data set is here:
http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FoodConsumption/spreadsheets/foodloss/Meat.xls

The full added fats and oils one is here:
http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FoodConsumption/spreadsheets/foodloss/fat.xls

The full sweeteners one is here:
http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FoodConsumption/spreadsheets/foodloss/sugar.xls

I will say I don’t think USDA data collection is perfect, but it’s a starting place.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@debs I don’t support the USDA and don’t really trust their data

Dollyy's avatar

ya its bad for health ..

AshlynM's avatar

Yes, fried foods are bad for you if you eat them every day. Just don’t make it a habit and you’ll be fine. Moderation is key.

snowberry's avatar

Neither do I @Simone_De_Beauvoir. If the FDA says it’s true, I tend to think otherwise, and if they say it’s bad for you, sometimes I think it’s worth a second look!.

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