Best weight loss cooking method? (I did an experiment)
Every so often I hear from someone who is doing a Spud Fit Challenge, following the rules properly but only losing weight very slowly or not at all. When we dig down into exactly what and how they are eating, it nearly always turns out that there are a lot of air fried chips involved. I love my air fried chips as much as the next person! They super healthy for many reasons and packed full of nutrition. I eat air fried chips and wedges fairly regularly and I enjoy them. Allow me to explain how they could be slowing things down for you.
One of the reasons potatoes are great for weight loss is that they are a low calorie density food. They’re very high in water content and also high in fibre, both of which contain zero calories. With cooking methods like boiling and steaming, the water content remains high and so the calorie density remains the same. However when you cut potatoes into small pieces and air fry them, you are drying them out as you cook them. Cutting into chips creates a lot more surface area for the water to escape from, so your spuds have a far lower water content by the time they’re cooked.
I decided to run a little experiment to test this theory, I think you’ll enjoy the video above! If you don’t want to watch, here are the numbers for you:
500 grams of raw potato contains 385 calories. I cooked 500 grams of raw potato in three different ways - boiled, baked or air fried chips.
Boiled left me with 497 grams of potato.
The baked potatoes weighed 430 grams.
While the air fried chips lost a lot more water content than I imagine they would, coming in at 259 grams.
In all 3 cases they still had 385 calories, so with the air fried chips we essentially doubled the calorie density of the meal.
There are three potential impacts that I can see.
1 - the air fried chips became a smaller meal, which would leave you feeling less satisfied and more hungry.
2 - because they're less filling, you would naturally want to eat more.
3 - not 100% due to calorie density on this one, but because they’re more tasty, crunchy and exciting to eat, that could also make you want to eat more.
Now let me be very clear, I am NOT saying that air fried chips are bad and that you should never eat them again if you want to lose weight. Air fried chips remain a healthy option that you should enjoy, especially if they are the difference between sticking with your healthy eating plan and diving face first into a family sized pizza!
What I am saying is that if you are having trouble losing weight then it might be worth having a closer look at how you eat your spuds. If you’re eating chip for every meal, perhaps you could try eating them only once a day instead and have some boiled, baked or mashed potatoes at your other meals. Perhaps chips could become an occasional treat for when you really feel like you need to change it up to help you stay on track. Don’t throw out your air fryer, just experiment with other way to cook that mean you’re eating a bit more water in you spuds.
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