So, we’ve recently started to use the oven a lot more for cooking. Particularly for things like chips, and things that go with those chips i.e. sausages. Our deep fat fryer is a little old, and a little icky, as it’s a giant pain in the behind to change the oil.
Added to that, the fact that both myself and Peter are losing the weight we gained during and after University – slowly, but surely – to something at least a bit more healthy. Neither of us is honestly bothered about reaching our ‘ideal’ weight, at least not in BMI terms, which isn’t the most fantastic indicator in the first place. Why? Muscle is weight as well. Both myself and Peter have reasonable leg muscles from walking all our lives (neither of us comes from car driven families), and Peter at least (who cycles a lot more than me) is developing cycle-y thigh muscles, yeah. We have healthier diets, though we still love unhealthy food, and we cycle more.
But I was curious to find out which cooking methods are better, and which are worse. The general consensus is that oven cooking is healthier versus frying. But better how? And what about boiling and steaming?
I’ve come across many websites filled with conventional wisdom, and some that seem to be full of made-up nonsense. I did finally come across a wonderful study, titled “Comparative study of frying to other cooking techniques influence on the nutritive value” by A. Bognár. You can see the cached online browser version here, or download it as a PDF. It’s a good read if you like reading academic papers.
I did want to sum up a few of its points that were interesting about cooking methods, so I’ll just paraphrase:
- Boiling and steaming both reduce the fat, yes, but they also reduces the protein, vitamins and minerals in all food to the highest extent. Yes, even steaming. (We were surprised. We like steaming)
- Frying involves very little loss of protein, vitamins or minerals.
- All frying types of most products does increase the fat content to varying degrees.
- The highest fat uptake is actually from shallow frying (though deep frying is next).
- Breaded products have a much higher fat increase than non-breaded using the same cooking method.
- Non-breaded high fat meat, however, does lose fat in cooking, even in frying.
- There is a saturation limit anyway, on how much fat something can absorb.
So, it was very interesting, and I hope you take a look.