Grilled vs Fried Food: Which is Better for You?


Grilled vs fried food - which is better?

It is important to know whether grilled food or fried food is better because the food we eat affects our health.

Many articles offer comprehensive discussions about the positive and negative effects of grilling and frying food. However, reading those is time consuming, so we are presenting you with the most important facts about grilling and frying to help you decide between the two options.

What is wrong with fried food?

Fried food has a bad reputation because of its high fat content. It is associated with diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart failure, hypertension, and obesity.

The problem with frying food is that food absorbs a lot of fat when fried. Eating fried food increases the cholesterol in the body.

Too much cholesterol in the body clogs the arteries, disrupts blood flow, and increases blood pressure. When blood pressure increases, it can damage different body organs and may lead to heart disease and diabetes.

You also consume more calories when you eat fried food. This may lead to weight gain and obesity.

What is wrong with grilled food?

Grilled vegetables are safe for consumption. However, grilled meat could increase the potential for cancer.

Grilling exposes meat to high temperatures and causes it to produce heterocyclic amines (HCA). These chemicals are dangerous because of their cancer-causing properties.

Grilling also causes the fat from the meat to drip and create smoke that is full of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Once the smoke comes into contact with the meat, these hydrocarbons attach themselves to the meat making it carcinogenic.

The good news with the grilled vs fried food controversy?

If you think of how eating grilled or fried food can adversely affect your health, it is impossible to choose who the winner of the grilling vs. frying debate is.

The good news is, there are ways to reduce the health risks associated with both.

Fried food is bad because of the amount of oil absorbed by the food during the frying process. Some people may argue that not all fried food are the same because different frying methods use different amounts of oil.

For example, both pan-frying and deep-frying use a great amount of oil as they require submerging the food in hot oil. Stir-frying on the other hand uses only a small amount of oil to cook food in high heat.

Therefore, some people choose to avoid deep fried foods and eat stir-fried food occasionally. However, the fact still remains that all fried food is high in fat because it has absorbed oil during the cooking process.

Grilling meat has a bad reputation because it can create cancer-causing chemicals. The good news is, there are ways to make grilling healthier.

One way is to cut the meat into bite-size pieces. This will shorten the cooking time and exposure time of the meat to the smoke.

It also helps to marinate the meat because this can decrease HCA formation due to the antioxidants found in the herbs and spices used to make the marinade.

Grilled vegetables are not carcinogenic because they do not produce cancer-causing chemicals when exposed to high heat. However, they absorb oil when fried.

So which is better - grilling vs frying food?

Both grilled and friend food pose health risks.

Grilled meat can be cancer-causing because of the chemical reactions that happen when meat is cooked in high heat for long periods of time.

Fried food is bad for the health especially when eaten often and in great amounts. The fat on fried food increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems.

To answer the question which is better, grilled vs. fried food, it is important to take note that frying food will always increase the fat content of the food while there are ways to reduce the cancer-causing chemicals in grilled meat.

​(Some additional ways to reduce HCA and PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) formation in cooked meats can be found on the National Cancer Institute website.)​

When you are asked to take sides in the grilled vs. fried food debate, you can easily say grilled food is better, when done correctly. You could also consider broiling, which is another healthier choice to frying.