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What Happens To Food In The Microwave And Is It Safe?

What Happens To Food In The Microwave And Is It Safe?

Almost all over the world, microwave ovens are used as a convenient way to cook, thaw or reheat the food. However, there are many people who are really concerned about the effect of the microwaves on their health and safety of their foods.

How do microwave oven cooks our food?

Technically speaking, the magnetron inside the oven converts ordinary electric power from a wall socket into very short radio waves .They are transmitted by the oven’s magnetron at a frequency of about 2450 Megahertz. At that frequency, power is readily absorbed by water, fats and sugars, resulting in very fast vibration and high temperatures that cook the food.

David E. Hintenlang, associate professor of nuclear and radiological engineering at the University of Florida explains that “Microwave ovens cook food by generating intermolecular friction between the molecules of the food. The microwaves cause water molecules to vibrate; the increased friction between the molecules results in heat.”

Here are some facts worth noting:

Food is cooked unevenly

Food Safety and Inspection Service of United States Department of Agriculture explains in detail how microwaved food can be unsafe if not cooked properly. “Bacteria will be destroyed during microwave cooking, however there are chances that the food is cooked unevenly just as in frying or grilling, thereby allowing the bacteria and other micro-organisms to thrive in those cold spots.

Protein molecule may turn harmful

Protein foods seem particularly susceptible to damage (denaturation) by microwave heating, because of their complex molecular structure. This structure can be changed under the influence of microwave energy, so that a beneficial protein molecule in the food becomes a harmful one.

Food becomes less nutritious than what it is actually

The most surprising fact while using microwave oven is the food looses its actual nutritious content while its been cooked. As the water molecules are lost while the food is cooking, along with water , most of the vital nutrients also tend to dissolve. This can create nutritional deficiencies that may become severe over time.

Toxic plastic molecules when cooked

Cooking food in plastic containers in the microwave oven is not recommended because toxic plastic molecules such as caracinogenic toxins from the containers can leach into the food which may affect the chemical composition of the cooked food. Further studies are underway to determine the full extent of these toxic dangers and they have not yet been proven to be statistically significant.

Chemicals may turn dangerous in due course of time

As microwaving changes the molecular structure of food, those chemical changes are passed along to our body when we eat the microwaved food. Results show that excess consumption of microwaved food causes

  • Decrease in hemoglobin values
  • Decrease in HDL Cholesterol (the good kind)
  • Decrease in lymphocytes and leukocytes (white blood cells, the ones that kill germs)


Because food is heated so quickly in a microwave, overheating can result in tongue and mouth burns.

For those of us who are health conscious, it may be advisable to avoid using microwave ovens as much as possible, and heat our food in some other way!

4 Responses to “What Happens To Food In The Microwave And Is It Safe?”

  1. Peter Henry says:

    Microwave ovens are pretty dangerous in my opinion. They are handy, but their influence on food, and eventually on humans is awful. I try to use my microwave oven as rare as possible, and never warm the food of my children in it.

  2. Jim Ellis says:

    Any type of cooking, whether frying, grilling, baking/roasting, or microwaving alters the nutritional value of food and overcooking by any means (especially by grilling) may generate toxins. Proper microwaving DECREASES nutritional losses and the risk of toxin production compared to frying, grilling, and baking, which rely on the Maillard reaction discovered over 100 years ago. See any reputable source on the Maillard reaction. Frying, grilling, and baking all denature the proteins in food. Frying, grilling, and baking all remove water from food. Pyrolysis in over-browned or burned food might produce carcinogens. Food cooked improperly by frying, grilling, or baking could be cooked unevenly (e.g., a rare steak), allowing bacteria to thrive, or heated too much, resulting in skin burns. The only worthwhile info in this post is that food should not be microwaved in plastic that is not microwave-safe. In other words, if you just follow the directions that came with your microwave, then you will decrease the health risks of cooking techniques used for thousands of years. Sounds pretty awesome to me. Maybe microwaves are one of the reasons we are living longer.

    • Melinda says:

      Jim Ellis: Although the Maillard reaction MAY be something cooking relies on for desired effect, it is also the RESULT of the cooking. Why don’t you do your research (as I have) and look into the NUMEROUS articles on the DANGERS of microwave cooking, and the SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that abounds about the results of it? There IS more good information in this article, besides just what you mentioned. You really look like an idiot for your comments here for not doing your homework ahead of time about the DANGERS of microwave cooking!

  3. Mike M says:

    What about fat molecules? Are they changed or denatured into something toxic? I saw a site that claimed that fats took on extra hydrogen under the influence of a magnetron guided microwave. It didn’t say where the hydrogen came from (the air?) And even without added atoms there’s the concern that they could be denatured and made toxic. I tried to find out who put them under a microscope and was Australian health ministers, who didn’t really want to share the info with me.

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