Dear Alice,

 I have a few questions about the use of oil and frying.

Why is frying in oil so unhealthy?

Eating fried foods (deep fried) is not a healthy choice. The high fat and calorie content in fried food increases risk for numerous health problems such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, and stroke. You don’t have to give up fried food, but you also don’t want to overdo it. Have fried potatoes once in a while and consider that your occasional cheat rather than a daily part of your diet. Order them with a salad rather than a burger to reduce the caloric load of your meal. Moderation and variety with any food is the key to a healthy lifestyle; it’s habitual consumption that could get you into trouble.

Are there any oils that are healthy to use?

When it comes to cooking oils, there are so many to choose from.

Flaxseed oil is a good source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), one of three omega-3 fatty acids. You need dietary omega-3 since your body cannot make those fatty acids on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of cancer.

Olive oil is a heart-healthy fat that that contains beneficial antioxidants and has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. It can raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and lower the amount of oxidized LDL cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream. Make sure to choose quality, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. It has many more nutrients and antioxidants than the refined type, and it tastes much better.

What would you suggest using instead for frying and baking instead of oil?

Oil substitutes can be used to eliminate excess fat, depending on the type of food being cooked. To sauté or pan-fry foods, try using a nonstick cooking spray in place of cooking oils. These sprays contribute only a small number of calories, depending on how long you spray for. In general, most cooking sprays provide about 15 calories per two-second spray. Cooking oil spray cans can be used with heart-healthy oils of your choosing, such as olive oil.

Unsweetened applesauce is a convenient substitute for cooking oils in baked goods such as brownies or cookies, providing no fat and fewer calories. Applesauce has a mild taste not readily detectable in the baked items. It can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio for oil. Each pre-packaged unsweetened applesauce cup is a half-cup, making for easy measuring in many recipes.

Any tips or suggestions as to how to prepare favorites such as breaded chicken cutlets or latkes without frying them?

It may take a little getting used to, but I’m confident that you will start to enjoy the non-greasy (but still delicious and far healthier) choice to bake your potatoes, proteins and other vegetables instead of deep frying them. You can even bake delicious breaded patties or veggies by lightly dipping them in egg whites or water and then coating them with whole-grain bread crumbs. Use non-stick silicone or parchment-lined baking sheets to achieve a crispy outer crust.

Hope this answers all your questions!

Best,
Alice


Alice Harrosh, is a nutrition counselor and manager at Nutrition by Tanya, with 10 locations plus a brand-new one in Queens. Alice knows that making healthy choices is not always easy, as she has been through the struggle herself. As an optimistic person, Alice’s favorite quote is: “It’s never too late to start eating better. If you have a bad morning, make it a better afternoon.” For more information on Nutrition by Tanya or the TAP (Tanya-approved products) food line, please visit www.nutritionbytanya.com  or call 844-Tanya-Diet (844-826-9234). For daily tips and inspiration, you may follow @nutritionbytanya on Instagram.

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