4

votes

Is using a microwave harmful to the foods being cooked in it?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 10, 2010 at 7:35 AM

I have toyed with the idea of buying a microwave for heating up food (stock etc) and cooking veg and fish. But I have read that it alters the nature of food and makes it, in effect, toxic. Is this just a prejudice against progress, or is there truth in the notion that heating using a microwave is a violent and destructive way of cooking?

2c8c421cf0e0c462654c7dc37f8b9711

(2729)

on August 05, 2011
at 02:24 PM

I've softened lard in the microwave. That's pure fat.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on May 11, 2010
at 10:26 AM

That article is just complete nonsense. It's all scare stories, conspiracy theories and urban myths. The references seem to be either opinion pieces or irreleveant papers.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on May 11, 2010
at 07:09 AM

This article is exactly the sort of worry I had - but is it scientifically based, or just someones prejudices?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 10, 2010
at 08:10 PM

Yeah, I didn't want to be bothered lookup up some non-polar stuff that would be in food products :)

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 10, 2010
at 06:34 PM

Microwaves will heat any mobile polar molecule, not just water. Other mobile polar molecules--such as ethanol and acetic acid--are, of course, less common in foods than water is. Saturated fats are non-polar molecules, so they don't cook well by themselves.

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4 Answers

5
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 10, 2010
at 02:56 PM

Microwaves work by heating up water molecules and boiling them. It's not uranium in there.

It's actually interesting - take a glob of pure tallow, put it in a bowl, and microwave it. Nothing happens. It doesn't even get warm. Microwaves only work on water.

Additionally, microwaves use non-ionizing radation, which isn't harmful at all

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on May 10, 2010
at 06:34 PM

Microwaves will heat any mobile polar molecule, not just water. Other mobile polar molecules--such as ethanol and acetic acid--are, of course, less common in foods than water is. Saturated fats are non-polar molecules, so they don't cook well by themselves.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 10, 2010
at 08:10 PM

Yeah, I didn't want to be bothered lookup up some non-polar stuff that would be in food products :)

2c8c421cf0e0c462654c7dc37f8b9711

(2729)

on August 05, 2011
at 02:24 PM

I've softened lard in the microwave. That's pure fat.

4
Bebc8909d95205d0f266c839304c7d3c

on May 10, 2010
at 04:46 PM

Microwave ovens just heat up water, which heats the surrounding food. It seems different than "traditional" cooking because it doesn't sear or caramelize anything, but that's just because the energy is directed exclusively towards the water contained in the food instead of everything in the oven. That being said, every type of cooking "alters the nature of the food." That's why we cook it!

1
F82f7d4dafb6d0ffc4c2ee2a85420786

(484)

on May 11, 2010
at 02:45 AM

It's important to think about what you heat up the food in as well. Avoid plastic, of course. Although some expensive stuff (Tupperware makes a dedicated microwave range) is safe and designed not to leach chemicals - it's apparently 'invisible' to the waves.

0
3eafb88d6a6d762fcfa8ed4eb0576260

on May 10, 2010
at 05:29 PM

I haven't read through this article in its entirety yet, but it seems like it may be worth considering:

http://www.mercola.com/article/microwave/hazards.htm

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on May 11, 2010
at 07:09 AM

This article is exactly the sort of worry I had - but is it scientifically based, or just someones prejudices?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on May 11, 2010
at 10:26 AM

That article is just complete nonsense. It's all scare stories, conspiracy theories and urban myths. The references seem to be either opinion pieces or irreleveant papers.

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