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Q & A: Does microwave cooking make dangerous chemicals?

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Most recent answer: 08/03/2013
Q:
I've heard an opinion that the use of microwave oven to heat food is potentially dangerous because it may unpredictably change the chemical composition of the food ingredients creating byproducts dangerous for human health. Is there any scientific basis to this claim? From physics standpoint is there any chance that the chemical reactions in food material caused by microwave heating can affect food in any different ways than heating from conventional heat sources? Thanks
- mike (age 57)
loveland, oh
A:

All forms of cooking can make some carcinogens. Grilling and other methods with open flames are notorious for making lots of carcinogens. High-temperature frying, especially of meat, is also bad. So unfortunately some of the tastiest cooking methods are the worst in this regard. Microwave cooking is quite gentle. That bland, sort of boiled, flavor that microwaved foods often have is a reminder that the reactions that make carcinogens are generally absent. Other than maybe steaming or boiling, it's hard to think of any cooking method that makes fewer dangerous chemicals.

Mike W.


(published on 08/03/2013)

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