NAPLES - Great news for all connoisseurs of French fries - that is, practically everyone: if it’s done correctly, frying is not bad for your health.
Researchers at the Federico II University of Naples and from the nearby "Dolce & Salato" professional cooking school, have conducted a study that shows that frying isn’t bad, if certain measures are followed.
“Frying is bad for us? Absolutely not!” declares Professor Vincenzo Fogliano, who oversaw the study with Italian chef Giuseppe Daddio, who runs the cooking school. “If it’s fried in the correct way, a potato chip or a montanara (Neapolitan fried pizza) can be an excellent nutritional product.”
The study was conducted in two phases: During the first, the capacity of absorption of the oil by different foods was measured during the frying, where it was found that zucchini and eggplant absorbed 30% of the oil, whereas potatoes or pizzas only absorbed 5% -- the same amount as found in a bowl of spaghetti with oil and garlic.
“A fundamental rule,” explains Fogliano, “is that starch plays an important part in sealing the food being fried, and reducing the oil absorption. The starch in potatoes with large grains and rich in amylopectin is particularly effective. Attention must be paid to frozen, pre-fried products or to becoming accustomed to finishing off foods by frying them, when they have already been pre-fried. In these cases, the quantity of oil absorbed increases significantly.”
In the second phase, the experiments carried out in the kitchen proved the theory: to avoid the absorption of the frying oil in foods, products should not be pre-fried, frozen or re-fried. By avoiding these procedures, in fact, fries and pizzas would only absorb small amounts of oil.
“I have to say that the evidence, in fact, demonstrates the theories. Molecular gastronomy is a fascinating world that allows us to not only know more about the primary materials, but to deepen our knowlegde of cooking methods and chemical reactions, in the pot, on the plate and in our bodies," adds Daddio.
Got a craving for fries now? Well, you have the green light along with the recipe to eat without guilt.