01/27/2016 11:25 am ET

Dubious New Study Suggests Deep-Frying Vegetables Makes Them Healthier

Can this be true?

What if we were to tell you that deep-frying vegetables actually makes them healthier? Would you jump for joy (like we did) or would you be a little skeptical? Because that's what some people are saying -- but it's not exactly giving us the full picture.

A recent study from the University of Granada in Spain has released data stating that deep-frying vegetables such as eggplant, potato, tomato and pumpkin in olive oil can actually make them healthier -- at least by one measure -- than if you boil them in water. (It should be noted that this is coming from a country where almost every single food is fried in olive oil.) But how? 

The study measured the phenolic compounds -- a non-nutritive antioxidant which has been linked to the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases -- of the vegetables before and after cooking and found that those fried in olive oil had more phenolic compounds than even the raw veggies. Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with phenols and happens to transfer them to the veggies during the frying process. But here's the important question: are they actually healthier because of it?

If you think that antioxidants are the most important measurement in what makes food healthy, then sure. (It should be noted that some believe high levels of antioxidants may actually be harmful to the body.) But if you look at the whole picture, like caloric intake and fat content for example, then probably not. Even the researcher, Cristina Samaniego Sánchez admitted that while frying in EVOO increased the amount of phenols more than any other cooking method, it did also increase the calorie density of the food. So, there's that.

If you're someone who likes to throw caution to the wind -- or you're just looking for any ol' excuse to fry things -- here are some really awesome recipes for you. But please, fry on in moderation.


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