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Frying Foods without Oil - Science Insider

FRIED TASTE, FAR LESS OIL: Submerging a piece of food under oil or another fat has always been a feature of frying. A food scientist figured out how to use non-visible light to provide the same taste and texture. Fried foods like French fries, chicken nuggets, and other popular items are often fried in oil at a factory, then re-fried at a restaurant or home kitchen, with a second immersion in oil. The radiant fryer shines electromagnetic radiation at the food, which heats it. This radiation lies in the infrared part of the spectrum and is felt as heat. Infrared waves lie just beyond the range of light visible to humans, with smaller wavelengths than microwaves and radio waves.

GOOD FATS VS. BAD FATS: Fats should account for no more than 30 percent of the total calories we consume, but good health also depends on whether those are "good" fats or "bad" fats. Mono-unsaturated fats like olive oil and canola oil are considered good because they can help lower cholesterol. Saturated (animal) fats are thought of as bad because they clog the arteries. A third type of fat is made when corn oil or other fats that are usually liquid at room temperature are solidified through heating. This type of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, called trans fatty acid, is a main ingredient in vegetable shortening and margarine. It is the unhealthiest kind of fat. In the body, the enzymes responsible for processing fats have trouble breaking down trans fatty acids and spend so much time trying to do so that it interferes with the processing of essential fatty acids that the body needs.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Kevin M. Keener, PhD, PE
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2009
(765) 494-6648

Under the Microscope


Fried by Light

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