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What's Wrong with Microwaves?

  1. Nov 21, 2003 #1
    By "microwaves", I mean microwave ovens. My brother has recently read a paper that pointed out all kinds of reasons why microwaved food is bad for you, but he can't find the paper, and I'm just not convinced that there should be any problem here.

    Does anyone here know about this?

    BTW, he said that it's really because it "alters the food" (another friend of mine said the same thing), but doesn't heat always "alter" food? The food in a microwave oven is being bombarded by microwaves, which excites the particles...excitation of particles=heat, so what's the problem?

    Any info on this is appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2003 #2

    iansmith

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  4. Nov 21, 2003 #3

    Monique

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    As I understand the workings: I wouldn't say the food is 'bombared' with microwaves. You can bombard something with particles, but a microwave are just radiowaves (2.5 GHz), the fact that microwaves are so efficient in heating food is that they are only absorbed by water, fats and sugars (I think that is because of the free H-atoms which get excited) the absorbed energy is directly converted to motion = heat.

    I don't see any problem in microwave heating, I guess heating my convection of heat is far more dangerous in the creation of carcinogens.
     
  5. Nov 21, 2003 #4

    Njorl

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    The scorched meat from conventional cooking is far more dangerous than anything you get from cooking with microwaves. But it tastes soooo much better than microwaved food that I don't care.

    I think part of the problem is that microwaves are convenient, relatively new, and not readily understood by most people. Many people consider anything like this inherently dangerous, and most likely of satanic origin.

    Njorl
     
  6. Nov 21, 2003 #5
    It's because microwaves are SCARY RADIATION!!! And as we all know, radiation causes CANCER and HIDEOUS MUTATIONS!!

    (Somebody ought to explain to people the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation ... and don't even get me started on the "nuclear magnetic resonance" --> "magnetic resonance imaging" rebranding...)
     
  7. Nov 21, 2003 #6
    it's pseudoscientific urban legend claptrap. That's why your brother can't find the paper. (It's always somebody's brother with urban legends, isn't it?).

    When you cook something in a convential oven you're bombarding the particles with infrared radiation. Thereby altering it.

    Your instincts are correct.
     
  8. Nov 24, 2003 #7
    Thanks for all the help, everyone. I suspected I was right, but I like to have some conformation :wink:.
     
  9. Nov 24, 2003 #8

    chroot

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    One of my friend's mothers (who is a bonafide new-age religious zealot kook) once watched us microwave some snacks with disdain. She sat us down and patiently explained to us that microwave ovens are evil, and that they cook food by opening a trans-dimensional gateway to Hell, and it is the heat from Hell that cooks the food.

    No joke.

    - Warren
     
  10. Nov 24, 2003 #9
    You can't be serious! LMBO!!

    Whew, that's rich! LOL!!
     
  11. Nov 24, 2003 #10

    chroot

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    No joke. Her reasoning?

    A normal oven is hot when you open it up. The air inside is hot. This is "normal."

    The air in a microwave oven is not necessarily hot. Sometimes, the food is cooked so quickly that very little heat is conducted or radiated to the air. When you open a microwave oven, you are not greeted with a blast of hot air. This is "evil." What force can heat the food but not the air besides the work of Satan?

    - Warren
     
  12. Nov 24, 2003 #11
    *Holding gut*, stop, please! I'm tearing up...this is too much.
     
  13. Nov 24, 2003 #12

    russ_watters

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    To summarize, this urban legend was created and marketed with great success by a single reporter who to this day makes heaps of cash selling the idea that microwaves (among other things such as electricity) are "bad."

    Besides the obvious (never put your cat in the microwave - trust me on this one) there is nothing "bad" about microwave ovens.

    -----
    Warren, thats the funniest thing I've heard in WEEKS.
     
  14. Nov 24, 2003 #13

    Njorl

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    This is great! I figure since the eighth Bolgia of Dante's inferno is a frozen plain that GE will soon be able to open metaphysical gateways to that! Then I'll be able to instantly freeze stuff too! I can't wait.

    Njorl
     
  15. Nov 24, 2003 #14

    chroot

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  16. Nov 24, 2003 #15
    Naturally russ, I disagree, there is something bad about microwave ovens, they don't work in a tent without electricity!
     
  17. Nov 24, 2003 #16

    Monique

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    You could fly a kite in bad weather? :wink:
     
  18. Nov 24, 2003 #17
    Heck, last time it was enough that I remembered to remove my foot from the tent pole at the end of my bedroll whilst the lightening struck fiercely all about me
    .........YAHOOOOOOO!
     
  19. Nov 25, 2003 #18
    Nutrients?

    I have one more, related, question: It is often claimed, by anti-microwave people, that there is a lack of nutrients in microwaved food. Is this true? Do microwave ovens remove (somehow) the nutritional value of food?
     
  20. Nov 25, 2003 #19

    Monique

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    I absolutely don't think so. Nutrients are lost when boiling vegetables in water, where do nutrients go in a microwave??

    Unless you are talking about those ready-made microwave meals, don't eat those!
     
  21. Nov 25, 2003 #20

    Njorl

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    Re: Nutrients?

    I would be surprised. I suppose it is possible, but I think it would be the opposite. Think of the alternatives. If you boil vegetables in water, you definately do lose some water soluable vitamins. I would think that stir-frying, even lightly would be more damaging than microwaves because of the very high temperatures. All common sense arguements seem to me to indicate that microwaving is the safest and healthiest way to cook. I happen to think it makes food taste worse, but until I see hard data*, I will consider it safe.

    Njorl

    * Or, more realistically, until I hear from a respected news source that they talked to someone respectable who heard from someone knowledgeable about hard data that was obtained scientifically, I'll consider it safe.
     
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