When any one of us says to another: “I need to go nuke my food,” are we really doing bad things to ourselves? Are microwaves terrible things or simply another heating device?
Let’s start with the most gruesome science. What does microwaving do to you? We don’t have human studies because microwaving people isn’t allowed. But we do know what happens to mice exposed to two hours of microwaves over thirty days. I assume they didn’t get these microwaves all at once, but even so blood levels changed and inflammation rose. (study here) When you continue the irradiation for the entire life of the rat, you see increases in the immune system and eventually increased deaths in the rats. The article on that study makes a lot of connections to all of us being inundated with various forms of irradiation. (article here).
But does cooking with microwave ovens hurt the food and us? Analyses from the ’80s found no real differences. (study here , here, and 2012 here) Taste was similar in different meats, although the edges of meat are nicer in a conventional oven (crunchier- study here). Fatty acid concentrations in fish change depending on the species of fish, but microwaving did not consistently do worse than other cooking methods. (study here) Wild European plants actually increased their antioxidant levels after microwaving, which was superior to boiling. (study here) A number of common vegetables fared better being microwaved or baked rather than fried or boiled. (study here) Compared to grilling, microwaving chunks of beef before putting them on the grill reduced the amounts of carcinogenic compounds (study here).
The reality is that microwaving isn’t that great for food until you start comparing it to grilling, frying, deep fat frying, and boiling. In all those circumstances, microwaving is a superior cooking method for retaining nutrients. Compared to baking and steaming, not so much.
But the real take home is that you can probably safely heat your water for tea in a microwave (as safely as taking your hot water out of an aluminum heating station). Anyone who knows differently needs to do some human or mouse trials showing just how bad microwaving is for you, because what I found was that it was comparable and sometimes superior.
- The Risks of Microwave Cooking (drjacobhoban.wordpress.com)
- Why Did Russia Ban The Use Of Microwave Ovens? (asheepnomore.net)
- Well: Ask Well: Does Boiling or Baking Vegetables Destroy Their Vitamins? (well.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Ten Reasons not to Use Your Microwave Oven Based on Swiss, Russian and German clinical studies (veganjewels.wordpress.com)
- Nuke `em: Microwave ovens might soon charge mobile phones, gadgets – GMA News (newestgadgetsinfo.com)
- Little girl in Sussex, performs microwave test on water.. Results are unsettling! (lunaticoutpost.com)
- Breed-Specific Hematological Phenotypes in the Dog: A Natural Resource for the Genetic Dissection of Hematological Parameters in a Mammalian Species (plosone.org)
- Russians Ban Microwave Ovens – 1976 (rawlivingfoods.typepad.com)
- The Case Against Microwaves (sorendreier.com)
- What happens when you microwave a round of .50 BMG? (VIDEO) (guns.com)