Does eating vegetables really "count" if they're deep fried?

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Vegetables are delicious. Particularly when they're covered in batter, drenched in grease and served extra crispy with dipping sauce. 

Oh, is that not even a vegetable anymore? For those who are more tempted by tempura broccoli than raw broccoli slaw, an important question arises: Does eating your vegetables really count if they're deep fried? A fried zucchini stick is still zucchini, right? 

"When we eat vegetables, it is best to eat them in their natural form," Dr. Monica Aggarwal, a cardiologist at Baltimore's Mercy Medical Center said in an email. "When we deep fry them, the vegetable is coated with heavy oils and this distorts the essence of the vegetable. Oils are filled with fats that make us gain weight and build heart plaque."  Heart plaque can clog your arteries and lead to heart attacks, stroke and heart disease down the line. 


But do the mystical, magical powers of vegetables at least balance out the bad facets of frying? Not quite. 

"We cannot eat something good with something bad and believe we are eating healthy food," Aggarwal said. "It doesn't work like that. We lose the benefit of the primary vegetable." Guess garnishing an ice cream sundae with a piece of kale wouldn't really do so much.

If raw vegetables are really not your thing, Aggarwal suggested steaming them to soften them but "still keep most of the potency." Another option would be lightly sautéing your veggies, while using a cooking spray to minimize fat intake, she recommended. (You could also try air frying, which reduces the amount of oil used to crisp up your recipe.)


Next time you go for the onion rings over the mozzarella sticks, don't think you're doing yourself any favors.