Food Science/microwave cooking


It has been said that microwave cooking destroys the vitamins, etc.  Please advise if this is true.  I use microwave for most all cooking.

Hi Don,

Microwave cooking can be more hazardous than conventional cooking, but not from the microwave radiation, reduction in nutrients or from eating the food SAFELY cooked by the microwaves.

There are low levels of radiation leakage allowed for properly operating microwaves. Unless your oven's structural integrity has been compromised, causing microwave radiation to leak into your home while it's operating, this shouldn't ever be a problem, in itself. But adding this "low" level to other sources of electromagnetic waves and microwaves in your home (cell phones, wiring in your walls, any electro-motors, TVs, computers, cordless phones etc etc etc) of course isn't as safe as just the microwaves in isolation.

The other danger unique to microwave ovens is the containers you cook or reheat food in. Plastic containers, lids and plastic wrap are notorious for leaking substances into our food that are dangerous to our health.

The convenience of cooking and reheating is why microwaves are so popular. I use one myself, but don't ever cook in ANY plastic container or use any lids other than glass or types of dinnerware that I know, or am highly confident, do not contaminate the food with any substance.

There are many studies comparing microwaving, baking, boiling and frying and their effects on food nutrition. All methods of heating food destroys some nutrients. Recooking or reheating foods destroys more nutrients.

Whole organic foods, minimally processed or cooked, are the best way to eat. But for food you cook or reheat anyway, microwaving is generally as safe as any other method. (Baking is the safest and most nutritious way to cook food, boiling depletes or destroys the most nutrients, frying adds oils and contaminants).

Cautions for using the microwave;
1. The container you use (take that frozen dinner out of the container and cook in microwave-oven-safe glass). Never use plastic containers or lids, even plastic marked "Safe for Microwave Use". Don't even store food in plastic containers. Plastic lids for glass containers are safe for storage, but not for cooking.
2. Hot spots that occur (outer layer hotspots cause most of the leaching and creation of harmful contaminants from plastics). Hot spots will also reduce nutrition in those areas and uneven cooking with "cold spots" puts you at risk of bacterial poisoning in foods that are routinely contaminated and require thorough cooking.
3. You MUST have a turntable (better distribution of heating radiation, more even and safer cooking).
4. Read your owner's manual and search online (leaking radiation is a reflection on the manufacturer's workmanship and country-of-origin regulations and enforcement).
5. As in any cooking, don't overcook or have too many reheatings.
6. Different types of food (vegetable, meat, fish) will cook differently on different power settings. You will need a microwave cookbook and do some research on the foods you want to prepare for yourself or guests.
7. As with ANYTHING you cook by ANY method of cooking - Use organic foods that you can afford (you should buy at least one organic item on every shopping trip, and look for bargains, avoiding store-brand organics unless you have REASON to trust them) and minimal cooking (whole vegetables and fruits that are raw are generally best).

My apologies for the delay in answering your question,
I will gladly answer any follow-up questions you might have,

Take care,
Michael Polidori

Food Science

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Michael Polidori


I can answer questions about food safety issues and benefits vs risks issues related to the growing, environmental effects and health effects of conventional, organic and gene altered food (GE GMO genetically engineered), both plants and animals. I can answer questions related to the cause and treatment of nutritionally related disease (including immune related diseases) and nutritional problems related to healing physiological or nutritional injuries.


I have been studying food growing methods, regulatory rules and organic/conventional/biotechnological methods of producing foods since 1998. I have prepared materials for distribution concerning health safety issues, lack of regulation, environmental dangers and industry sponsored research of genetically engineered plants and animals. I have also created similar materials promoting the benefits of organic agriculture for not only direct health benefits but for dramatic reductions in pollution, indirectly benefitting our health. I have prepared research materials for and participated in Public Television talk and radio shows regarding the issues surrounding genetic engineering and organic foods and debated in college forums with mainstream scientific experts about the safety & regulatory issues of gene altered foods. 2000-2002 I managed booths at major North Carolina events interfacing with the public (including farmers) on organic vs GMO benefits and dangers. I understand regulatory practices, shortcomings & revolving jobs doors of the FDA, USDA and EPA and the industries they regulate. I have been involved in nutrition, health care, prescription drug, vaccine, disease, immune and wellness issues since 1997 reading and writing on the internet and in practical applications with myself, family and friends leading to paths of health, wellness and fitness.

North Carolina Citizens For Safe Food, Public Citizen, Organic Consumers Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Working Group, PSRAST.

No Degree, but some college in the sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Calculus, Astronomy and Physics). I have also taken several courses in Logic and Philosophy. I am involved in extensive research using mainstream websites (many of which I am on mailing lists for) such as - peer-reviewed publications (The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, others), PubMed database of research studies, National Institutes of Health, FDA, USDA, EPA, University Research libraries, hospital databases (John Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, others). I also regulary contact/correspond-with manufacturers/suppliers of food products, pharmaceuticals (including vaccines) and supplements with questions, recommendations, criticisms and complements. Every week, I learn something new!

©2017 All rights reserved.