Friday, July 3, 2009

How Does Frying Food Increase Calories?

Does the act of frying itself increase calories, or just the amount of oil absorbed by the food? If I pan fry potato slices in 1 Tablespoon of oil which has 125 calories/tablespoon, and after frying get 1/2 of the oil back, have increased the calorie count of dish by 63 calories, 125 calories, or more?
Thanks, John N.

Dear John,

Yes, only the calories from the oil absorbed are what increases the calories in your food. That's why pan frying is preferred to deep frying--less oil equals less fat and calories that will end up on your plate! If there's oil left in the pan, that's fewer calories in your food. If you blot the food off on a paper towel, there will be more potential calories left on the paper towel and even less in your food.

Your calculations are correct: absorbing half of the tablespoon of oil will only add 63 calories to your potatoes! (By the way, oven "frying" them by lightly coating them with vegetable spray will probably add even fewer calories to them).

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