It’s Time To Ditch The Microwave
Excerpted from Radical Metabolism by Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., C.N.S.
While experts disagree and evidence is not entirely conclusive, my view is that microwave ovens should be avoided whenever possible—we simply can’t trust them. Our ancestors used fire and put pots above it. While I do not expect anyone to start a bonfire for making supper, I do think the conventional oven, stove top, and toaster oven are more in keeping with traditional ways of cooking and provide a more natural source of heat than radiation.
There are five basic arguments against microwave ovens:
- Undercooked food
- Nutrient depletion
- Molecule deformation
- Chemical leaching
- Radiation leakage
According to the World Health Organization (WHO)5
Microwave energy does not penetrate well in thicker pieces of food, and may produce uneven cooking. This can lead to a health risk if parts of the food are not heated sufficiently to kill potentially dangerous microorganisms. Because of the potential for uneven distribution of cooking, food heated in a microwave oven should rest for several minutes after cooking is to allow the heat to distribute throughout the food.
The unevenness of microwave cooking is not disputed, but what microwaves do to the nutritional value of your food has long been a matter of debate. According to the WHO, food cooked in a microwave oven has the same nutrient value as food cooked in a conventional oven; however, many studies do not support their conclusion, so I’m adding it to our list of myths.
Microwave heating was shown to distort molecules and induce “protein unfolding” in one study.6, 7 Another study found nuking asparagus resulted in a significant reduction in vitamins, and zapping broccoli rendered 97 percent of the anti oxidants useless.8 Yet another study found more damage to human breast milk by microwaving than by any other method of heating.9 On top of nutrient destruction, microwaves can cause toxins to leach or “migrate” into your food from the containers they’re cooked in, including such chemicals as BPA, benzene, toluene, and xylene, to name just a few.
It’s not even completely safe to stand next to an operating microwave! The nonprofit independent organization Powerwatch reports that microwave radiation (radio frequency, or RF) leaks from the seal around microwave oven doors, as well as through the glass. Powerwatch says emissions change with normal use and recommends that these ovens be checked at least annually, as regulations are “outdated.”10 Given all the potential risks and evidence to date, there is really no reason to use a microwave oven
when so many better options exist.