frequently asked question is tempura healthier than fried

Is Tempura Healthier Than Fried? A Comprehensive Answer to a Frequently Asked Question

Tempura and fried foods are popular dishes around the world. They are crispy, savory, and offer great taste. However, health concerns have always surrounded these deep-fried dishes, leading people to think about which one is healthier for their bodies.

In this article, we will answer the frequently asked question of whether tempura is healthier than fried foods. The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive explanation of the nutritional comparison between the two dishes through a breakdown of their macronutrients, micronutrients, caloric content, fat content comparison, cholesterol content comparison, sodium content comparison, antioxidant count and glycemic indexes.

The Basics of Tempura and Fried Foods

Before delving into the nutritional details of tempura and fried foods and should highlight their characteristics:

  • Tempura: A Japanese dish that involves coating seafood or vegetables with a batter made with wheat flour and egg before frying them in hot oil. The result yields a crispy texture.
  • Fried Foods: These are typically made by coating food with flour or breadcrumbs and cooking it in oil or deep frying it until crispy and golden.

Nutritional Comparison

The nutritional value of food depends on the nutrients present, and these nutrients can be divided into macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) and micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals). Here’s a breakdown of how tempura compares to fried foods in terms of nutrients:

  • Macronutrients:
  • NutrientsTempuraFried FoodsCarbohydrates (g)34.9 g per 100 g23.4 g per 100 gProtein (g)5.7 g per 100 g6.0 g per 100 gFat (g)6.5 g per 2 ounces12.1 g per 2 ounces

This comparison indicates that Tempura has higher carbohydrate content than fried foods, likely due to its use of wheat flour; fried foods are generally coated with breadcrumbs or cornmeal. On the other hand, fried foods have a higher fat content than tempura, mostly as they cook for longer in oil

  • Micronutrients:

The micronutrient values for tempura and fried foods are found below:

Nutrients (1 serving = 2 ounces)TempuraFried FoodsVitamin C (mg)8.72 mg0.3 mgVitamin E (Alpha Tocopherols) (mg) 0.26 mg0.03 mgVitamin K (mcg)14.8 mcg 0.5 mcgRiboflavin (mg)0.3 mg 0.8 mgNiacin(mg)1.32 mg2.94 mgFolate(mcg)45 mcg10 mcg

Tempura has higher micronutrient contents than fried foods overall, with more Vitamin c, E, and K present in Tempura compared to fried foods.

Caloric Content Comparison

The calorie count of a dish tells us how much energy it provides, therefore highlighting the importance of mindful eating and knowing the calories you’re consuming to avoid excessive calorie intake which may result in unwanted weight gain or other adverse health conditions such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Here is a comparison of the caloric contents for Tempura and Fried Foods:

  • Tempura: One standard serving size of Tempura contains about 170-200 calories.
  • Fried Foods: A serving of fried chicken or fish averages around 280-400 calories, depending on the recipe and cooking method.

This comparison suggests that tempura has lower caloric content than fried foods, which has higher calories due to longer cooking time and breading.

Fat Content Comparison

Fat is an important macronutrient that provides energy and is essential for many body functions. However, it is important to limit fat intake as a high fat diet may cause issues like obesity or heart disease. Let’s review the fat content comparison of tempura and fried foods:

  • Tempura: 1 serving of tempura contains roughly 6 grams of fat per 2 ounces
  • Fried Foods: Fried foods contain more total fat with some variants approaching 18-20 g per serving.

This comparison suggests that Tempura has lower fat contents than fried foods.

Cholesterol Content Comparison

Dietary cholesterol is found only in animal products such as eggs or meat. High intake of dietary cholesterol can increase levels of blood cholesterol which can result in clogged arteries and other cardiovascular problems. Let’s take a look at how much dietary cholesterol is present in tempura and fried foods:

  • Tempura: One standard serving size contains about 62 milligrams of cholesterol on average.
  • Fried Foods: Fried chicken or fish has the highest levels (around 80 mg) while doughnuts, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks, among other things, contain far less (between 5-50mg/serving).

This comparison suggests that tempura may have slightly less cholesterol content than certain types of fried foods.

Sodium Content Comparison

Sodium is an essential mineral for the human body but excessive amounts can contribute to hypertension, edema and other issues. Let’s take a look at the sodium content present in Tempura and Fried Foods:

  • Tempura: One serving contains about 300 milligrams of sodium.
  • Fried Foods: generally have higher sodium contents with most fast-food variants averaging anywhere between 300-500 milligrams per serving

While this comparison shows that there is potential for similar levels of sodium in tempura and fried foods, there is no definitive answer on which dish is healthier for individuals concerned with their salt intake.


If you find yourself often focusing on boosting immunity, diet and health decisions, considering foods with high antioxidant content might be helpful. Antioxidants are substance present in certain foods (such as some fruits and vegetables) that prevent free radical damage to cells.

This role helps the body fight against inflammation, oxidation, DNA damage & cell mutation, all of which can increase the risk of chronic diseases. Here are some of the antioxidants found in common food items:

  • Vitamin E (found in fish)
  • Lutein (found in avocado)
  • Selenium (Brazil nuts)

In some cases, such as with food allergies or intolerances associated with certain types of dietary supplement, directly taking supplements may be an effective way to get enough antioxidants to benefit your health.

Glycemic Indexes

The Glycemic Index (GI) values define how carbohydrates (sugar) are converted into glucose and is rated on a scale from 0 to 100 based on the speed at which glucose enters the bloodstream. Food with high GI values lead to a faster and higher spike in blood sugar levels which can increase the risk of diabetes, and other health complications.

Some foods that are low on the glycemic index include:

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Avocadoes

This comparison found tempura has a higher glycemic Index compared to fried foods likely due to its use of wheat flour. Therefore, it is important for people watching their blood sugar levels to eat mindfully.


In conclusion, both tempura and fried food have their individual nutritional properties that make them good or bad for health depending on individuals dietary needs and wants. While fried foods tend to contain more calories, fat and sodium than tempura, they are also rich in carbohydrates. On the other hand, tempura is generally lighter in terms of serving size, fat content and calorie count compared to fried foods yet still contains moderate amounts of cholesterol and sodium.

In light of these nutritional comparisons, individuals who are looking for healthier alternatives to tempura or fried food should consider introducing low-fat preparations methods like roasting or baking as they retain more nutritional values than deep-frying.

In conclusion, eating any type of food could pose some level of risk to one’s health if consumed excessively without mindful consumption. Learning about nutritional information can help everyone take a step towards more balanced diets resulting in healthier lifestyles.

Is tempura a healthier alternative to fried food?

Yes, tempura can be considered a healthier option compared to traditional fried foods. In tempura, the batter is made using flour and ice-cold water, making it lighter and less greasy.

What makes tempura healthy?

Tempura is considered healthy due to its cooking technique. The food is quickly deep-fried in oil, making it crunchy and crispy, but retaining most of its nutritional value. Additionally, since the batter is only lightly coated, it reduces the overall amount of oil usage.

Can you make healthy tempura at home?

Absolutely! Making your own tempura at home can ensure that you are using fresh ingredients and controlling the oil temperature and type of oil used. Additionally, you can experiment with different types of flours and vegetables for added nutrition.

What are some healthy options for tempura?

The beauty of tempura lies in its versatility. You can use a wide range of vegetables such as sweet potato, asparagus, zucchini, broccoli or cauliflower. Adding seafood like shrimp or fish to your selection will also provide a protein boost. Aim to balance the meal by serving with a side salad or other vegetable dish.

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