Ever since microwaves were invented, there have been so many assumptions and myths that people still believe to this day. Here are some common myths and the facts behind it which will help you take out the fear of these handy small appliances and their effects.
Myth: Microwaves induce cancer.
This myth has been there ever since there was a circulation of an e-mail which stated that using a microwave could give you cancer.
Fact: Microwaves use radio frequency (RF) radiation. This radiation lies in the low energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum. This type of radiation is found around us all the time, irrespective of whether we use a microwave or not. RF radiations do not produce any X-Rays or Gamma Rays which can cause threat to human health. The RF radiations are safely contained in the microwave unit which prevents leakage of any kind. The worst case scenario of any cases of leakage would be skin burn, which can only happen if the microwave has been tampered with or damaged in some way. RF radiations are non-ionizing and hence do not contain enough energy to cause cancer by directly changing the DNA.
Myth: Microwaved foods are hazardous.
Some people believe that microwaved foods are radioactive and contain chemicals that might have got into the food through the container they are being heated in.
Fact: Well, microwaving your food does not make it radioactive in any way. It’s important to make it clear that microwaves do not use radioactive material to heat the food, they use electromagnetic waves and hence it’s not possible for it to make the food radioactive. The waves emitted by microwaves make the molecules of food oscillate about their mean position due to which the food gets heated up.
Coming on to the part where containers might leave their traces in the food. There is a high chance that the chemicals in the container might leak into your food if it is not microwave safe. Hence microwave safe containers are recommended. Make sure that the containers are lead, phthalates and BPA free and you are good to go.
Myth: Microwaves cook the food thoroughly.
Many people often think microwaves are suitable for ‘cooking’ their food. You might be surprised to hear this, but microwaves do not help in the ‘cooking’ of food.
Fact: Microwaves have the ability to penetrate food to a depth of about 1.5 inches. It is not possible for these waves to reach the center of really thick parts of the food hence preventing it from getting cooked fully. This can be dangerous when talking about meat. If meat products are not cooked thoroughly it can lead to food poisoning and various other diseases. Microwaves should be preferred when re-heating of food needs to be done. Avoid cooking raw meat in a microwave. Instead you can use your traditional gas stove or an induction cooktop.
Myth: Boiling a cup of water in a microwave is safe.
Yes, you heard that right, it’s not safe to boil a glass of water! Many people use microwaves for boiling a cup of water for various reasons, but, is it okay?
Fact: Boiling a cup of water in a microwave can cause an explosion. Let us understand the science behind it. When you use a microwave to boil a cup of water in a ceramic or a glass container, bubbling of water does not take place. Bubbling of water helps cooling down the high temperature of water and when this does not happen, the water can carry an enormous amount of energy with it.
The energy is so high that if you drop any material or even shake the container, it can cause an explosion. Serious skin burns can be caused if the water makes contact with our skin. To prevent this from happening, let the cup of water heat only for a minimal amount of period, do not boil. Placing a wooden spoon or stick could also prevent it from getting over heated.
Myth: Microwaves are not energy efficient.
This is one of the major reasons why some people refrain from getting a microwave in their kitchen. It is a common misconception that microwaves are not the most energy efficient appliance.
Fact: Microwaves are energy efficient. Microwaves are focused at heating the food, unlike stoves which heat the container first and then the contents inside it. By using microwaves, 80% of the energy required to re-heat food can be saved when compared to an oven or a stove. Deciding the energy efficiency depends on a lot of factors, like the type of food prepared and duration for which it is being used. Hence if microwaves are used the right way, it can help cutting down electricity and gas bills.
If you have not compromised on the price and chosen the best microwave keeping in mind the brand and durability of product, you need not worry about the myths because these are spread with an intent to hit the market of microwaves. As long as you do not depend on microwaves for all your cooking needs, it is totally fine to occasionally use these small appliances to cook your food.