Are Microwave Ovens Harmful?

Any new, profitable, enjoyable, or revolutionary technical invention is suspicious for the majority of us. The microwave oven, having been present only a few decades, is a relatively new invention, and still raising questions and debates today. 

The history of the microwave oven

Percey Spencer, while helping to build one of Raytheon’s radar stations, discovered by chance that microwave radiation is also suitable for heating food. He was just working on the radar when he sensed that the chocolate in his bag was starting to melt. His colleagues also experienced similar things. Spencer was commissioned to investigate the phenomena, and he realized that the microwave rays emitted by the radar had melted the chocolate. 

The first dish made with this method was popcorn. This was followed by an egg that exploded in the eyes of the scientists conducting the experiment. In North America, to this day, popcorn is the most popular dish made in the microwave. ​​In 1946, Raytheon patented the first microwave oven, and In 1947, the first piece was built, which was 1.8 meters high and weighed 340 kg. This monster was water-cooled, with a power of 3,000 W, which is three times the power of the machines used today. In 1954, they began selling products with reduced 1,600 watts by then, at a price of $ 2,000-3,000. The first ovens available to everyone were launched in 1965 for $ 495.

The first microwave ovens were used on airplanes. In the 1970s, when the machines’ price dropped significantly, the number of microwave ovens in households increased a lot: 40,000 appliances found owners in the U.S., and by 1975 this number had reached one million. Today, it is present in the majority of U.S. households.

The first skeptic and our growing concern 

According to publications, ​​the Swiss food researcher Hans Hertel’s unpublished, scientific sort of experiment launched the antimicrobial movement. Hertel gave eight people microwaved raw milk and legumes for eight weeks. He lived on a strict macrobiotic diet himself, which gives us a glimpse of his personality. He took blood from these individuals before and after consuming microwaved foods and found all kinds of blurry and bad lesions when comparing blood samples. Hertel claimed that microwave radiation destroys the structure of cooked food.

​​Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Unsplash

Individuals have been supporting the anti-micro campaign based on their gut feeling, and what feels authentic. This is especially true of science in our modern times, you can also see the same division among people accepting or opposing the coronavirus vaccine. True, if you look at the growing number of harmful, or even fatal side effects, and the profit-hungry pharmaceutical companies, it does give a good reason for concern. Similar worries are present due to the growing number of fatal diseases in the Western world because of our lifestyle. 

All of us are seeking what’s causing the high number of cancerous cases. The best source today is scientific knowledge without this we can only guess. This applies to each device in your vicinity with possible harmful radiation, mobile phones, 5G, Wi-Fi, and so on. If you think about the fact that the number of mobile phones can be double of the population in an averagely developed country, and that many of us are exposed to its radiation 24/7, reading this hopefully makes you more cautious to use it sparingly, at least try not always having it closeby. 

Whom to listen to and what research shows

Not even big companies like Monsanto are able to interfere with the publications of individual, small researchers. It is always best if you are informed on both the big names and authentic individual specialists such as doctors and nutritionists. 

In one study, rats were fed micronized foods for thirteen weeks, but no adverse effects were detected. Even when the food was reheated. Thirteen weeks in a rat’s life is like six years of human life, so this study was a lot more thorough than Hertel’s eight-week study, and the rats were subjected to very versatile experiments. Another research measured the levels of carcinogenic nitrosamines produced during the frying of preserved meats, and even when overcooking bacon in the micro, half as many harmful substances were produced as in conventional frying. They got the same results for carcinogenic heterocyclic amino acids and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (benzopyrene) produced during baking.

The oven’s effect on proteins is no worse than conventional cooking. In terms of preserving mineral content, there appears to be no difference between the two cooking methods. Another study found that meats retain their phosphorus and potassium content better in the micro. As cooking time is shorter in the microwave there should also be less vitamin loss.

How to use the oven well

If you use the microwave well, it is advantageous to cook in a shorter time at a lower temperature according to research. However, the disadvantage of this is that it destroys the various harmful microorganisms less. None of the scientific studies on the micro have shown any adverse effects, and most studies report benefits. The worst that can happen is the change of the food’s color, taste, and unequal warming. 

Photo by Vladyslav Cherkasenko on Unsplash

It is best, if you try to avoid using the microwave for cooking, and use it sparingly to heat or reheat foods. If you are afraid of the radiation of the micro, simply step back while the device is on. The radiation effect decreases in proportion to the distance; even half a meter distance counts below the healthy limit.

Of course, we shouldn’t fully throw away beliefs about the use of the microwave oven, thinking they are just rumours lacking science, and in the end, it turns out that the micro is really harmful.

Among the concerns about the microwave oven is the deliberate concealment of its harmful effects because of the interest of the industry. Of course, this can happen, but a good question to ask is, do manufacturers of microwave ovens represent as much economic power as the pharmaceutical industry or the military industry?

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