Article written

  • on 07.10.2010
  • at 06:56 PM
  • by Jessy Troy

Are Microwaves Killing our Food?


microwave-killing-foodThere is great controversy surrounding the effect of microwaves on people and food. Between rumors that they cause cancer and destroy the nutrition of food, it can be difficult to sort propaganda from fact.

So what are microwaves, anyway?

A microwave is far more than simply a machine that heats food. They are, in fact, micro-waves. There are two types of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing.  Ionizing is the dangerous, nuclear sort. Non-ionizing includes micro and light waves. So how does a wave warm up food? It makes the food particles vibrate quickly, heating them. Cell phones also give off micro-waves.

The Controversy

Part of the controversy lies in the discovery of the microwave. It was not originally an oven; it was part of a device invented during World War II called a Magnetron vacuum tube. It was discovered that a candy bar in the researcher’s pocket had melted. The Magnetron was intended to improve radar to detect enemy submarines. It then instantly leads to the question: Should we really be using war machinery to make our popcorn?

There are claims that microwaves decrease the nutritional value of foods and can even harm you if you stand too close. An article by William P. Kopp in 1996 denounced the microwave as a cause of intestinal and stomach cancer. He also said that they reduced food’s “vital energy field” and humans’ “life energy fields.” This is just one of many examples where the entire context must be considered, while the cancer may have been believable as a lone fact, it loses credibility when energy fields come into play.

The Truth

It has been proven that foam or plastic wrap placed in a microwave can seep chemicals into food. Microwaves can often cook unevenly, so any raw foods with risk of bacteria should be checked to ensure they have cooked thoroughly. It has also been shown that heating up milk for infants can be dangerous because the bottle may stay cool even when the milk is scalding. Most of the dangers of microwaves involve unsafe cooking of food, not the micro-waves themselves.

In the end, as long as you use common sense while using your microwave, it is completely safe.

Kathryn Lisko is a student at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and is a regular contributor at – a website dedicated to nutrition and digestive health.

  • Ben

    Very interesting article! Cheers

  • Kosher

    I keep note on that, for sure share this blog with my friends.

  • Zoe

    Wow this really got me thinking, I use a microwave almost daily.. thanks for the info.

  • Chris York

    I'm throwing my microwave away. Thanks for all the tips.

  • silanes

    ahhh the microwave, what would we do without it?

  • Trevor Somerville

    Great article. I was actually just discussing microwaves the other day and planning to start reheating my food the old fashioned way for a change.

    I don't believe it's doing me any service health wise and we don't have all the answers, so it's possible in 20 years they may decide microwaves are no good.

    Either way I will make up the time it saves somewhere else.

    – Trevor S

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