Microwave: 10 reasons to use it as little as possible

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Microwave oven, do you prefer to use it or avoid it? In recent decades, the spread of the microwave oven has changed the habits of people who have decided to choose this appliance to save time cooking food or simply to heat them quickly.

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Microwave oven, do you prefer to use it or avoid it? In recent decades, the spread of microwave oven has changed the habits of the people who have decided to choose this appliance to save time in cooking food or simply to heat them quickly.

La cooking food in the microwave è linked above all to the heating effect obtained from the interaction with matter of electromagnetic fields emitted in the microwave spectrum. When we cook food in a conventional oven, i.e. in an electric or gas oven, the heat is transmitted by radiation and conduction, in a direction that goes from the outermost layers to the innermost ones.

On the other hand, when we use the microwave, it can happen that the central part of the food, especially if there is water or lipids inside, heats up much faster than the outside. In this case, heating the food in the microwave could have the disadvantage of an uneven distribution of heat. The biggest advantage of the microwave however, it remains to allow you to cook and reheat food rather quickly.

Ma the microwave is really safe? Let's try to deepen the question in ten points.


Heating baby milk

It's risky heat baby milk in the microwave? It seems that the only potential risk of microwaving milk for infants is represented by danger of burns. Therefore, you should always pay close attention to the temperature that the milk has reached before offering it to small children. In particular, according to experts “we must avoid overheating the milk and keep in mind that the temperature of the milk inside the bottle increases unevenly. we must avoid overheating the milk and keep in mind that the temperature of the milk inside the bottle increases unevenly ". THU more information.

Is microwave cooking unnatural?

According to the doctor Hans Ulrich Hertel, Swiss nutritionist who graduated from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich: "Technologically generated microwaves are in contradiction with nature and therefore toxic: we are talking about an energy based on the principle of alternating current, while natural energies are based on direct current impulse ". Hertel spoke of carcinogenic effects related to microwave cooking, but his theories have often been opposed. In his opinion, however: "All scientific research that is not in line with the interests of industry or the war sector is not only not supported, but is suppressed as far as possible". To you, therefore, the judgment. THU more information.

Is the microwave carcinogenic?

Second what reported da Altroconsumo, who explored the topic of microwave safety: "Some studies show that electromagnetic waves with frequencies similar to those used in microwave ovens can have carcinogenic effects only if one is subjected to prolonged exposure or extremely high intensities, therefore not in case of use of the appliance ". Based on these statements, given that the microwave is only used for a short time, it cannot be dangerous. THU more information.

Risk of burns

Il risk of sunburn linked to the use of the microwave does not only concern its use to heat milk for babies. In fact, some models of microwaves equipped with a grill, as Altroconsumo points out, can achieve temperatures on the external surfaces which even reach 100 degrees. Also be careful when we take out containers that contain very hot food from the microwave.

A question of energy

Not all experts and researchers agree on the complete safety of microwave ovens and microwave cooking. According to a hypothesis proposed by natural medicine, in fact: “The introduction into the human body of molecules and energies to which it is not accustomed is likely to have negative rather than positive effects. Microwave cooked foods contain both molecules and energies that are not present in food cooked in the ways man has used since the discovery of fire. Microwaves, including those in microwave ovens, are produced by alternating currents and carry millions of polarity reversals per second in every molecule of the food they hit. The production of unnatural molecules is inevitable ”. Here more information.

The FDA Opinion on Microwaves and Health

According to the FDA, we still know very little about what happens to people who expose themselves to low microwave levels. No long-term, controlled studies involving large numbers of people have yet been conducted to really assess the impact of our exposure to microwaves. Animal studies have (unfortunately) been carried out but the results according to the FDA cannot be used to understand the effects of microwaves on humans. Many questions about the safety of using the microwave oven have not yet found adequate answers and therefore the FDA advises consumers to respect the common rules of common sense when using it. Here the complete opinion of the FDA.

Microwave and pacemaker

According to the FDA, in the past there was concern of a possible interference of the heart pacemaker with the microwave. The problem has now been largely solved because the new pacemakers have been designed to be shielded from such electrical interference. However, the FDA advises pacemaker wearers who have concerns in this regard to consult their physician.

Bisphenol A

I plastic containers that we use to reheat food in the microwave are they safe? One test conducted in 2008 in the United States revealed that some containers deemed safe for use in microwaves and labeled as 'microwave safe' actually resulted in the release of bisphenol A, known endocrine disruptor. The American Chemistry Council, however, disputed the test results, while food companies stated that the levels of bisphenol A detected are so low that they cannot be dangerous for the human body. But who can guarantee that the progressive accumulations of BPA in our bodies and in the bodies of children and babies are safe? According to Patricia Hunt, a professor at Washington State University, BPA is a substance that should never be present in the bodies of children and babies. Here more information.

Epidemic of obesity

The complex issue of microwave cooking has been correlated with the progressive increase in obesity over the past few decades. The microwave contributed to the spread of obesity? According to an article published in 2007 by the BBC, entitled “Did microwaves ‘spark’ obesity?”, the spread of the microwave should be evaluated among the possible causes of the obesity epidemic. The beginning of the obesity epidemic has been dated by experts between 1984 and 1987, a period in which the widespread use of the microwave began. The microwave has made food preparation faster and its use has been accompanied by the appearance in supermarkets of ready-to-eat foods, to be reheated in a short time. This could have led to an increase in poor quality foods included in the diet of the population and a consequent uncontrolled increase in body weight.

Microwave popcorn

A few years ago in the United States a rather thorny issue arose related to the industrial production of packaged popcorn intended for microwave cooking. In reality, the preparation of pan-fried popcorn is really quick, so why use the microwave at any cost? In any case, the question concerns the use of a substance called diacetile to give the popcorn to be cooked in the microwave the characteristic aroma of butter. Research conducted by the University of Minnesota has revealed that diacetyl has a structure similar to that of other substances considered responsible for the formation of brain plaques that lead to the onset of Alzheimer's disease. In the United States, doubts have also arisen about the presence of PFOA in microwave popcorn packaging. Then there is the problem of exposure to diacetyl of those who work in the food production industries. Here and here more information.

Read also: Popcorn: Microwaved ones are bad for your health

On the total safety of the microwave oven, as admitted by the FDA itself, there are therefore no real certainties yet. Usually use the microwave or prefer to avoid it and opt for other cooking methods?

Marta Albè

READ also:

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Cooking while saving: the guide to cooking food in an ecological way

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