8 Intriguing Myths & Facts about Microwave Ovens

13 Nov , 2018

In modern times, nearly everyone owns a microwave oven. It has undoubtedly become an integral part of our daily lives and serves as an absolute necessity in every kitchen. There’s no denying the fact that these new aged ovens have made lives easier by speeding up the process of cooking & reheating food as compared to other traditional cooking methods.

Before going into the detailed debate about the myths & facts of microwave ovens, it is important to understand how they actually work.

How Do Microwaves Work?

Microwave ovens cook & heat food using waves of energy that are alike radio waves but shorter in wavelength. These waves are extraordinarily selective, primarily affecting water and other molecules that are electrically disproportionate—one end positively charged and the other negatively. Microwaves cause molecules to vibrate thus quickly building up thermal energy. Normally, microwave ovens produce micro wavelength radiation of 2450 Mega Hertz (MHz) or 2.45 Giga Hertz (GHz).

Microwave ovens have been heating frozen foods & leftovers for decades. These handy kitchen appliances have been serving their purpose quite efficiently but there are some myths surrounding it, leaving people confused about whether they are safe to use or not. As per the prevailing consensus among health experts and the general public, microwave ovens are overwhelmingly safe when used as directed. However, it’s also true that there are some legitimate questions about the safety of this appliance which are unanswered & addressed less on public media. 

So, delete those spam emails, hide those social media posts & get rid of all the false information you have as today we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the myths, facts and misconceptions about microwave ovens.

1)     Microwaves Ovens Were Accidentally Discovered

Status: Fact

No one ever thought of cooking food with microwaves until the 1940s. This amazing phenomenon of microwave ovens got discovered when a self-taught engineer Percy Spencer was constructing radar apparatus in a lab for Raytheon and noticed that a chocolate bar in his pocket had started to melt. He had been building magnetrons and eventually realized that microwaves can be routed at food to heat it up rapidly. His successful tests included popping popcorn and exploding an egg.

 

2)      Microwave Ovens Cook Food from the Outside

Status: Fact

Microwaves work only on the outer layers of food, heating it by stimulating the water molecules there. The inner areas of food are warmed as heat transfers from the outer layers towards it.

 

3)     Metals Get Hazardously Hot in Microwaves

Status: Myth

Metals reflect microwaves, whereas ceramics, plastic and glass allow them to pass through. Metals don't appreciably heat up in a microwave oven, however, small pieces of metal, such as foils or the tines of a fork, may act as an antenna causing the waves to arc off them, forming dramatic sparks.

 

4)     Microwave Ovens Offer Energy Efficient Cooking

Status: Fact

Cooking efficiency is dependent on a number of factors namely your local supply of electricity, gas or other fuel. A microwave oven uses less energy to heat food than any other conventional way because it works faster and energy is focused more on the food.

Also Read: - Ultimate Guide for Choosing the Best Microwave Oven

 

5)     Oils cannot be heated in a Microwave

Status: Fact


Oils don’t heat well in microwaves because their molecules lack the polarity found in water or other relevant substances. Frozen butter is also hard to melt in a microwave because the greater part of the substance is oil and the portion of water present is in the form of ice which keeps the molecules packed up in crystal form, making oscillation tough.

 

6)     Heating Plastics in a Microwave Oven Can Be Highly Dangerous

Status: Fact

One should avoid putting any plastics in the microwave oven. Studies have proven that plastics release "toxic doses" of Bisphenol A when heated in a microwave oven. The amounts of detected compounds may cause neurological and developmental damage. It is advised to only use microwave safe products to carry out such operations. It is better to stick to glass or ceramics instead.

 

7)     Boiling a Cup of Water in a Microwave Can Cause It to Explode

Status: Fact

When plain water is heated in a microwave oven for too long, it can prevent bubbles from forming, which usually cool it down. This can cause the water to become superheated & when it is disturbed, the heat releases violently, bursting forth boiling water out of the cup.

To avoid this to happen, place a wooden spoon or stick in it. Never ever think of putting a metal utensil in the container as it will cause it to spark.  

 

8)     Microwaving Food Dangers the Nutrients

Status: Myth

One should not be overly concerned about microwaves messing with the nutrients. David Katz, MD, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center says "There is no specific harm of microwaving with regard to nutrient levels".

 

Also Read: - 4 DIY Methods for a Squeaky Clean Oven

 

Verdict

Don’t believe any piece of information that comes to you, microwaves are extremely safe to use if they are used & serviced as prescribed.

Now that you know that your favorite kitchen appliance is safe to use, browse our diverse microwave oven collection to enjoy a safe and energy efficient cooking experience.

If you have more to share or want more of the truths about microwave ovens revealed, don’t hesitate to comment in the section below.