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Why Is Deep Fat Frying Unhealthy?

Published by: Chef Matty Riedel • Updated: January 17, 2024

French fries. Fried Chicken. Potato chips. These are mouth-watering foods that everyone likes, nay loves. But no one is under the impression that fried foods are good for their health. So, is deep fat frying unhealthy for you?

Regardless, when we’re on temptation island, we’ve all wondered exactly how bad they are. Well, if that’s the question on your mind, your search for the answer is over.

Deep fat frying is the name of the method by which these foods are cooked. It is a process that we are all too familiar with. It’s basically submerging the food in oil that is extremely hot and taking it out before it burns.

This makes the food crispy on the outside while leaving it safe on the inside. It is quick and kills bacteria, but it is not painless, especially when you consider the health implications. Here’s what you should know about how bad they are.

Why Is Deep Fat Frying Unhealthy?

When we say the oil for deep frying is high, we’re looking at more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You need to be extra careful in terms of safety when deep-frying food because a little splashback can burn your skin and it might even start a fire.

That’s because oil is highly flammable. And if it comes into contact with water, the latter will evaporate into steam and leave a boil on the skin. That’s why it is recommended that you keep a fully functioning fire extinguisher in the kitchen. But that’s not the only problem. Here’s a list of your biggest headaches with deep fat frying.

High In Calorie Count

Is Deep Fat Frying Unhealthy

Deep frying any food means you pack in quite a lot of calories. This is in comparison to other cooking methods, but it’s unnecessary except for the sinful end result. Add to that, friend foods often have a coating of flour or batter that makes it worse. And then, you must remember that when these foods are fried in any kind of oil, they will give up water and pick up fat which adds to the calorie content.

Consider these examples.


  • 100 grams of baked potato has 0 fat but 93 calories.
  • 100 grams of french fries have 17 grams of fat and 319 calories.


  • 100 grams of baked cod has 1 gram of fat and 105 calories.
  • 100 grams of deep-fried fish has 12 grams of fat and 232 calories. 

Need we say more?

Usually High In Trans Fats

Is Deep Fat Frying Unhealthy

To make some fried foods, unsaturated fats go through something called hydrogenation. This is when fats are exposed to hydrogen gas in a high-pressure situation so that they are more stable and have a longer shelf life. But in this process, trans fats are created because the temperature of the oil is extremely high.

This causes changes to the fat content’s chemical structure, which in turn makes it difficult for the human body to break them down. If you’re not sure, this is not good for you.

Trans fats also increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart problems and cancer. This is a big possibility with all fried foods. These foods are also often cooked in seed or vegetable oils which already have trans fats in them.

When they are heated to suit deep fat frying techniques, the amount of trans fats in them goes through the roof. And it gets worse when the oil is reused which is a common practice in restaurants and fast food centres.

This is different from consuming naturally occurring trans fats that are present in dairy products and meat. So, don’t dismiss them summarily.

Bad For Heart Health

Is Deep Fat Frying Unhealthy

It doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together and figure out that deep-fried foods are bad for the heart. This is because there are good and bad cholesterol levels.

Fried foods are very low on the good cholesterol factor which causes high blood pressure and obesity. These are major factors when it comes to the risk of heart diseases.

Obviously, those who eat a lot of fried foods are more at risk than those who eat fruits and veggies.


Is Deep Fat Frying Unhealthy

Calories are not the only way of adding those extra pounds. But they are a big factor. So, it is no surprise that constantly consuming a lot more calories than you should can lead to obesity. This is more so among those who have a genetic predisposition to obesity.

Now, it’s not just that. Fried foods are known to have a lot of trans fats that change your appetite, affect your hormones and negatively impact the way fat is stored in the body. All of these are causes for obesity.

And even if you cut down on calories, trans fats add to your belly fat which means it’s not just about the math. Keeping tabs on quantity is good but the types of fat you ingest must also be a high priority. That’s why mono and polyunsaturated fats don’t cause weight gain.

But since fried food has a lot of trans fat, there’s no good news here.

Forms Acrylamide

Is Deep Fat Frying Unhealthy

And finally, here’s something that you probably did not know. When food is cooked at such high temperatures, it forms a chemical called acrylamide. This is true for baked food too and studies have shown that this chemical can cause cancer in animals.

This is because asparagine, which is an amino acid, reacts with the sugar in the food to create this chemical. Foods like potatoes are high in glucose and fructose and they are also a popular choice for deep-fried foods, which is a double whammy.

You can moderate this and it won’t turn out to be as dangerous, but if you have a history of cancer or heart problems, luck might not be on your side.

Wrapping Up

There are lots of fried foods which are impossible to resist. So, here’s what you can do. Ration your sinful eats. Figure out healthier ways of cooking that are just as tasteful.

Keep an eye on oil and try not to reuse it. Don’t heat the oil more than you need to. And most of all, try making fries at home so that it’s not all that bad. Obviously, these won’t save you entirely but they might just clean up the end result.

Chef and Restaurant Owner Matty Riedel
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