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Revealing the myths about microwaving food

Updated Tuesday 26 March 2024 13:20
Revealing the myths about microwaving food
Even though the microwave oven seems undeniably convenient, there are certain myths people tend to believe.

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Microwaves are high frequency radio waves and are a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, just like visible light. Microwaves are reflected by metals, but some plastics and glass allow them to pass through.

Microwave ovens are similar to conventional ovens but use magnetrons to produce an electromagnetic field that has a microwave frequency of 2450 megaHertz. These microwaves penetrate deep into the food, causing the molecules to vibrate and heat up. Microwaving food has now become quite a trend.


Instead of spending tedious hours cooking over a flame, it seems easier to place some processed food in the microwave, set the timer, and wait for the beep. You can even add some fresh ingredients to a microwaveable dish, place it in the microwave, and avoid many of the hassles of traditional cooking.

Even though the microwave oven seems undeniably convenient, there are certain myths about microwaving foods that people tend to believe.

Myth: Microwave ovens deplete the nutritional value of foods

The fact: The nutritional value of any food is depleted when heat acts on it. Since microwaving food is quicker, you can preserve more nutrition by microwaving food rather than cooking it in the conventional way. Even when you boil vegetables, the nutrients tend to leach out into the water. Since microwaving food uses less water, more nutrients are retained.

Myth: Microwaves alter the chemical composition of foods

The fact: When food is subjected to microwaves, the ions in the food get polarized due to which the food molecules rotate. This rotation causes a friction that heats up the food. There is no other hazardous change made and the microwaves do not alter the composition of food any more than conventional cooking methods do. Contrary to popular belief, the chemical compositions of milk and water are unaffected by microwaves.

Myth: Microwaves tear apart molecules, forming radiolytic compounds

The fact: Microwaves are low energy electromagnetic waves. They do not have enough energy to tear apart molecules to form radiolytic compounds. So, cooking foods in microwaves will not make your food radioactive.

Myth: Consuming microwaved food causes cancer

The fact: Do not use plastic containers and do not directly cook or heat foods that come in sealed packages, such as microwaveable popcorn, in a microwave oven. These containers leach chemicals into your foods that cause your food to be carcinogenic. Microwaveable glass containers that are available are much safer and should be used for all your cooking and heating purposes.

Myth: Eating microwaved foods alter the production of hormones in people

The fact: Eating microwaved foods for an extended period of time does not impact your hormones in any way. There is no research that supports the claim of microwaved foods altering your hormones.

Microwaving food is a healthier, easier, and quicker way of cooking foods, but make sure to follow the instruction manual and to use the microwave oven safely.

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