i'm of the opinion that using a microwave destroys the whole point of buying good-quality healthy food, due to the major loss of nutrients. (a double whammy especially when our food is being grown in such nutrient-depleted soils already!) there are a host of other ways to cook that don't necessitate as much nutrient loss.
so whenever i hear of a paleo using a microwave, i'm baffled.
how do you justify using a microwave, despite the health concerns? Any thoughts? I'm open to hearing different perspectives. Maybe microwaves aren't nearly as bad as they're made out to be? Personally, i would use it to disinfect a dishcloth or heat up water for non-food related things, but never something that will go in my body. not even for tea.
There are many concerns with microwave ovens, among them:
* Carcinogenic toxins could be leached from plastic or paper plates or covers and mix with your food. * The food temperature may become extremely hot, at temperatures high enough to cause burns or steam buildup that could explode--this is especially problematic for baby bottles, and is one of the reasons why baby bottles should never be heated in the microwave (microwaving can also break down the disease-fighting ability of breast milk). * Vegetables and other food lose valuable, cancer-fighting nutrients when cooked in the microwave. * The chemical structure of foods changes when microwaved, with unknown consequences.
There have been very few studies done to determine what kinds of changes occur in foods that are microwaved, but rest assured the changes are significant.
Consider the 1991 lawsuit involving a woman who had hip surgery and died because the blood used in her blood transfusion was warmed in a microwave. Blood is routinely warmed before transfusions, but not by microwave. The microwave altered the blood and it killed the woman.
Microwave cooking vibrates the molecules in your food to levels they were never designed to experience. This tends to damage the highly perishable nutrients so they are unable to nourish you the way they were designed to.
A study published in the November 2003 issue of The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that broccoli "zapped" in the microwave with a little water lost up to 97 percent of the beneficial antioxidant chemicals it contains. By comparison, steamed broccoli lost 11 percent or fewer of its antioxidants.
Besides the loss of nutrients, microwaving forms new compounds (radiolytic compounds) that are unknown to humans and nature. It‘s not yet known exactly what these compounds do in the human body. It will likely be a difficult thing to sort out, especially when there are previously unknown compounds being introduced to humans from a variety of sources such as new food products (i.e., olestra) and genetically modified foods.
Perhaps the most concrete evidence of the dangers of microwaves comes from Dr. Hans Hertel, a Swiss food scientist, who carried out a small but high-quality study on the effects of microwaved food on humans. His conclusions were clear and alarming: microwave cooking significantly altered the food‘s nutrients enough so that changes occurred in the particpants‘ blood--changes that suggested deterioration. The changes included:
* Increased cholesterol levels * More leukocytes, or white blood cells, which can suggest poisoning * Decreased numbers of red blood cells * Production of radiolytic compounds (compounds unknown in nature) * Decreased hemoglobin levels, which could indicate anemic tendencies
Of the four concerns mentioned, three are questionable factors.
Leaching of toxins from plastic and other containers is less a function of the microwave and more a function of the container. If we heat foods in containers made of questionable compounds in the oven or stove, the same issues persist.
Extremely hot food temperatures? How many people have burned themselves on things heated on the stove or in the oven more often than from the microwave? Our guess is a lot more.
Admittedly, we should question the structural changes of foods heated in a microwave, but if the consequences of such changes are unknown, then we can't really say they're negative yet, can we?
In the end, the real concern here is over decreased nutritional elements, but that goes for things like boiling veggies instead of steaming them, also.
That all said, we admit that our microwaving has become much less frequent over the years. We boil water in it occasionally for a recipe when our stove-top is crowded, but eat leftovers cold more often.
Our microwave also doubles as a toaster oven, which is a neat feature, and we'll probably start using that more often.
All of you are wimps! Why, I don't use a microwave OR stove. I build a fire and dance around it.
Re: Mercola Mercola uses his MD to act like a PhD. The truth is, to get an MD you need barely any training in statistics or nutrition. His newsletters are full of sensationalist interpretations of studies, often those which are preliminary or inapplicable in vivo. Oh, but that's OK, because he sells just the right expensive supplement for all the problems he writes about. Total dreck. BTW I work with scientists and none of them believe microwaves are dangerous. There is TONS of evidence that frying and searing are and I do know scientists that steam or microwave all their food. It's just technophobia to demonize microwaves. I fry/sear a lot less since I've read the scientific literature on it. It's too bad since its so delicious :(
I don't use a microwave much for cooking as I like to cook and for many foods the results are not as good as for other methods. Heating stuff up and cooking sweet potatoes are the exceptions. I managed fine without one untill I was 25.
Don't confuse countering pseudoscience and scaremongering with defending microwave use.
I was going to attempt to counter some of the missinformation quoted in the article you link too however I really can't be bothered. It appears that Mercola has collected together scraps of microwave nonsense from all the around the web in one article. If you want to know why it is incorrect or misinterpreted you can look it up for yourself.
"but the dangers of microwaves are well-known" Yes if by "well-known" you mean endlessly repeated scare stories and conspiracy theroies around the internet.
Mercola is a quack because he uses his Dr title to spread missinformation and sell products. Like any good quack he inlcudes just enough truth to draw people in. However his website is a complete den of iniquity for anyone who actually cares about truth, accuracy and science in the areas of human health.
If you don't want to use a microwave then don't, there is no reason to if you don't want to.
Just please don't avoid them out of fear.
i don't even own one because
i do have to say though, that I think toaster ovens are great and wonderful things. Why heat up my whole oven just to bake 4 eggs over ham? I am also considering getting an induction plate, since they're pretty cool and I'm interested.
I haven't owned a microwave in almost a decade - there's nothing they're needed for that a toaster oven can't do just as well. Microwaved food is just icky in texture and taste.
I also hate the culture of food that's sprung up around the microwave: food that you wouldn't eat unless you have one, like pizza pops, or microwave rice in a bag, or those abysmal lunch entree thingies marketed at office workers. Horrible, horrible stuff that no one should be eating.
I use a microwave at work to heat up my leftovers. It's all we have at my office, so it's what I use. I do 10-30 sec intervals so that I can stop when my food is warm. I am heating up delicious leftovers from the night before and not pizzapops or the like. And I enjoy my food warm. I don't notice a decline in the quality of my leftovers as long as I watch the time that it spends in the microwave. I don't microwave at home often - unless the little guy is getting super antsy for food - and let me tell you telling a 21 month old to wait for his food is an excercise in futility - so I gotta do what I gotta do.
I'm not going to feel bad about it. It's how I make do with what I've got.
Yeah, no. Not buying it. I only use the microwave to reheat and to cook eggs but have no issues or concerns doing either. I've never seen any credible science that supports Mercola's claims. Show me that and I may reconsider but otherwise these claims just make no sense to me. (Well, I'll give ya the don't reheat in plastic one. That one I believe is true but that's a function of crappy plastic and no of microwave technology.)