a) Fried food is not "bad." It needs to be eaten in moderation, like all high fat foods.
b) When properly fried, even deep fat fried foods don't absorb a ton of oil. Most peopel don't know how to fry properly, though.
c) All fat has the same amount of calories, so by frying in a healthy oil you aren't saving any calories. What you're doing is using an oil that's better for your heart and body than something full of transfats. This won't affect weight loss, but it can keep you healthier in general.
Be careful you don't miss the forest for the trees. IF your occasional pan fried chicken or eggplant still allows you to stay within your nutrient recommendations and you are still reaching your goals - there isn't a problem as long as you do not have a medical condition that would be worsened by the fat intake.
If you are over in your recommended fat intake, have a medical condition that will be worsened by the fat intake or are not reaching your goals - avoiding fried foods may be necessary.
Olive oil actually isn't great for frying because of the low smoke point, you can't heat it enough to get the crunchy coating, and thus more oil would soak in. Peanut oil is great to fry in, and I think sunflower oil is also OK with a high smoke point.
I'd also advise using a mesh rack over a baking sheet to drain on so whatver oil is there drains away from whatever the food is, instead of pooling on the paper towel beneath it.
2/22/10 10:00 A
Thanks, that is what I thought. If you quickly fry at hight temp and then drain on paper towel, I would not think it would be a bad thing to eat if using ww bread crumbs and olive or canola oil. Not every day, but once in awhile. Would love a nutritionists opinion on this one.
Ah ha! Here's a transcript of the episode - and the result is wayyyy at the bottom - 1-1/2 teaspoons in an order of fish and chips. The thing is you have to use the right oil at the right temperature for the right amount of time - I love food science!
I recall Alton Brown did a show on deep frying where he used good oil at the right temperature (i.e., HOT so the food isn't soaking in it), and he weighed the oil before and after frying, and the food only soaked up 1 tsp of oil. I'll have to see if I can find that anywhere...
I'll be the rebel here and say that I think pan frying in a full inch of good quality, healthy oil using whole wheat crumbs is not bad for you if you do it every couple weeks. Sauteeing in a Tbsp of oil just doesn't give the same feel or crust as a pan fry. I wouldn't do it every day, or even every week, but a few times a month I personally say there's no reason that can't fit into a healthy diet if it's something you enjoy - have a large salad with the eggplant or chicken instead of having pasta - balance it out in other ways. Eating healthy to me doesn't mean never letting something high fat into my body, but balancing my nutrition over the long term with portion control and using real foods close to their natural state. Fats are not necessarily the enemy, especially when good quality and used as close to the natural source as possible.
The issue is deep-frying, like French fries or a lot of food you can get at restaurants. I never deep fry ANYTHING at home, and if I'm going to pan-fry something, I try to only use 1-2 tsp of oil. Also, breading can soak up oil.
If you only use the teaspoon or 2 you might use in sauteing, then it's fine. It's the deep-fat frying in inches of oil that causes the food to absorb great amounts of oil, which you don't need.
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2/22/10 1:35 A
I don't think it really is bad... for instance I don't feel guilty a bit about eating those veggie chips, even though they're fried, because they are friend in healthy oil and have no saturated fat.
Same with Snyder brand tortilla chips. Just make sure you're not unbalancing your whole day towards fat by eating too many of a fried food.
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2/22/10 1:23 A
Yes, and in fact I've made eggplant Parmesan by baking the pieces in the oven... all you need then is a little cooking spray! I agree that cooking in a few tblspoons of oil is fine, but because fat is so high-calorie you just have to portion carefully and make sure you stay within your limits.
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2/22/10 12:56 A
So could I make a healthy eggplant parmesan by pan frying the eggplant in olive oil using ww bread crumbs?
"Fried" typically means dunked underneath the liquid level inside a big deep pan filled with oil. Frying anything in this manner will have it absorb far more than a safe daily level of even the healthiest fats.
Shallow pan-frying where you spray a light dusting of a healthy oil, or use a tablespoon or so, then cook the meat over that, like stir-frying, is definitely okay. This is the sauteeing you refer to. Doing this, or roasting in a tablespoon or so of oil, is not comparable to dunking something into a few cups worth of oil and heating it.
Deb, in New Zealand
2/21/10 11:18 P
I like fried eggplant and I like a fried boneless chicken breast once in awhile. Other thanthat I'm not of a fryer. If whole wheat bread crumbs are used and olive oil is used in a pan, why is that unhealthy? I have never understood this. How does this differ to sauteing in olive oil or roasting in olive oil?
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