Air fryers are taking kitchen countertops by storm.
The devices circulate high heat and make foods crispy -- similar to frying.
But is "Air frying" really a healthier choice?
For many families on-the-go, meal prep needs to be quick.
And air fryers work fast, creating that crispy-fried goodness you're craving, with only super-heated air.
There's one major difference between traditional frying and air frying, according to registered Dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick says, "It's not frying by any means and so, there's some benefits there. Number one, in frying we actually have the food, kind of, sitting in the oil and being cooked that way. There's no sitting in oil in this. So, that helps bring down calories and bring down fats."
An air fryer is basically a smaller, faster version of a convection oven.
When compared to deep frying, air frying can significantly reduce overall calorie and fat intake.
One study compared deep-fried french fries with air fried ones and it found the air fried product has significantly less oil and fat.
But what you choose to cook in your air fryer is key.
Kirkpatrick encourages people to cook whole foods, like beans, sweet potatoes, wild salmon, and other types of fish, in an air fryer.
But she warns that an air fryer won't change a processed product that's already high in sodium, fat, and additives.
"The most important thing you can do is figure out what you're going to put in that. So, if you open up that drawer, putting in a highly processed onion ring, it's still a highly processed onion ring, you're just going to save calories and fat by not deep frying it," Kirkpatrick says.
If you're looking to lose weight, Kirkpatrick says swapping a deep-fryer for an air-fryer may be a good way to help cut calories.
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