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Exposing Microwave Myths: 10 Myths You Must Know

There are many microwave myths that have been spread that are either partly true or wholly false. We've compiled ten of the most common myths to debunk and explain them.

Exposing Microwave Myths

Whether using a convertible vent or recirculating microwave, these myths don't hold any water when you look deeper into them.

In this guide, we will explain why these myths when heating food through microwave ovens aren't true and what's actually happening.

10 Microwave Myths Exposed

10 Microwave Myths Exposed
© Homesthetics - Monica Hewitt

Here are ten microwave oven myths that you'll hear that aren't true and what's happening when you use your microwave oven.

Myth 1. Microwaved Food Has Less Nutritional Value

Myth 1. Microwaved Food Has Less Nutritional Value

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One of the most common myths about microwave cooking is that it destroys the nutritional value of your food compared to other cooking methods. This isn't true.

Microwave cooking has the same effects on food cooked through any other cooking method because the changes in your food happen due to the release of thermal energy.

This is commonly known as heat. The one thing that can fail to preserve nutrients is overheating the food, which isn't unique to microwave ovens.

Myth 2. Microwaves Change Water

Myth 2. Microwaves Change Water

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You may have heard of a myth that microwaving water gives it a different chemical structure than regular water and is dangerous for your health.

To set the record straight, microwaved water molecules don't change when heated inside a microwave oven. In fact, they don't boil and bubble up the same way as if it was in a pot.

Unlike conventional stoves, microwaves don't release heat and energy from the water. It doesn't bubble over and change into a gas. Instead, it just rises in temperature.

Myth 3. A Microwave Oven Makes Food Radioactive

Myth 3. A Microwave Oven Makes Food Radioactive
© Homesthetics - Moumita Das

You may have heard microwaves work by using microwave radiation to heat food. Upon hearing that it uses radioactive waves, you might think of nuclear weapons and power plants.

This has made people believe that radiation from the microwave oven will make food radioactive and unsafe for consumption.

However, microwave ovens use low-energy radiation or non-ionizing radiation. Non-ionizing radiation works similarly to cellphone waves. They only target the water molecules in food.

Myth 4. Microwaved Food Will Have Cold Spots

Myth 4. Microwaved Food Will Have Cold Spots
© Homesthetics - Moumita Das

This is a partially true myth, although it can be easily corrected. Whether microwaving food will have cold areas depends on what you're microwaving.

While many microwaved foods come in prepackaged plastic containers specifically meant for it, you're often going to be placing cold food in glass containers to heat them up.

If you don't distribute the food evenly across microwave-safe containers, you'll end up with hot outer areas compared to the inner part.

This is because microwaves cook through radiation waves. These microwaves won't be able to reach the inner areas. Therefore, you should spread the food evenly for better results.

Myth 5. Microwave Cooking Dries Out Food

Another myth you may have heard is that cooking food using microwave energy will always dry it out, making it lack any liquids and not taste the same.

This is another misleading myth. When food is heated too much using any cooking process, it will always dry out. Microwaving has this issue too, but it can easily be prevented.

While heating food using microwave ovens, check the manual for the proper temperature and time settings to heat up different foods.

This won't only cook your meals properly - it will be energy efficient as you don't always need to run your microwave at full blast.

Myth 6. Microwaved Meals Are Bad for You

Myth 6. Microwaved Meals Are Bad for You

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Another of the popular microwave myths is that the radiation used when microwaves penetrate food makes microwaves dangerous and unsafe to use.

First, the non-ionizing radiation used in a microwave oven doesn't affect the nutrients in your meals like gamma rays and x-rays do.

There's no dangerous radiation leaking from the microwave oven even after using it because they're designed to keep it in and disperse it after usage.

Myth 7. Never Use Any Plastic Containers in Microwave Ovens

Myth 7. Never Use Any Plastic Containers in Microwave Ovens
© Homesthetics - Moumita Das

While some plastics aren't suitable for use in microwave ovens, there are microwave-safe containers that are made of plastic.

The thing to look out for is the microwave-safe label that you can see on the container. Check this before you heat or cook anything using plastic.

You should avoid using plastic wrap, plastic trays, or plastic containers that aren't labeled as microwave-safe containers. This is linked to an increased risk of cancer.

If you want to be safe, you can use glass or ceramic containers, which are more suitable for microwaving food because they're mostly microwave-safe.

Myth 8. Microwaves Zap the Flavor From Your Food

Although microwaves don't prevent you from getting more nutrients or more vitamins from your food, misusing microwaves might not be the best for flavor.

However, this applies to all cooking methods. You wouldn't use microwaves for cooking steak the same way you wouldn't use a conventional electric stove to get grill sears on that same steak.

There are many foods that, when fully cooked using microwaves, are better than other cooking methods. Casseroles, cheesy broccoli risotto, and fluffy sweet potatoes are great options.

Myth 9. Microwaving Costs More Than a Conventional Stove

Unlike what most people say, microwaves actually need less power and electricity to run compared to conventional gas or electric stoves.

According to the EPA, a microwave oven uses up to 80% less power to cook or heat food than conventional stoves.

To put this into a more concrete figure, it would cost around 1.8 cents on your electricity bill to microwave soup compared to 7.1 cents on conventional gas or electric stoves.

Myth 10. Don’t Use a Microwave if You Have a Pacemaker

Myth 10. Don’t Use a Microwave if You Have a Pacemaker
© Homesthetics - Moumita Das

This is one of the myths that has some truth to it but still ends up mainly being false or lacking context.

While the electromagnetic waves produced by microwaves can disrupt a pacemaker, you must be within 6 inches of a running microwave to feel its effects.

As long as you stay outside that 6-inch range or the range indicated in your pacemaker's manual or by your doctor, you should be ok.

Warning: Other kitchen appliances might not have the same safety range. Check your pacemaker's manual or with your doctor to see which appliances are safe to use.

Microwave Myths FAQs

  • Now that you know more about how microwaves work, you might still have other questions about microwaves. We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions below.

  • Which Is Healthier, Microwave Ovens or Gas Ovens?

    If you avoid using non-microwave-safe plastic containers in your microwave, then microwaves can be healthier than a gas stove.

    In some studies from Healthline, it was found that when cooked using microwaves, some fatty foods produced less harmful compounds like nitrosamines compared to a gas stove.

    Additionally, the food doesn’t get as hot when you cook using microwaves. This helps preserve nutrients compared to losing nutrients in higher heat.

  • Is It Safe to Stand in Front of a Microwave?

    If there’s one microwave myth you should stop believing, it’s that radiation can reach you when you stand in front of a microwave.

    These microwave ovens are made with materials that seal in the microwaves. They don’t allow any waves to get out – the safety of which is also tested by the FDA.

    In fact, cellphone radio waves utilize similar technology to microwaves when they transmit data. You don’t see people avoiding using phones entirely because of this.

  • Can You Use Metal in Microwaves?

    It’s not advisable to use metal in microwaves if they’re thin and crumpled up, like aluminum foil. Using these metals can cause arcing and static electricity.

    However, if they are thicker and labeled safe for microwave use, go ahead.

  • Are Microwave Ovens Only Made to Cook or Heat Junk Foods?

    Aside from the usual TV dinners and junk food you associate with cooking or heating using a microwave oven, there are other options for good food.

    Flash-frozen vegetables are placed in microwave-safe containers, which are meant to be used in a microwave oven. This method preserves the fresh taste, nutrients, and crisp texture.

    Other staples like rice and legumes heat up well in microwaves. They often serve as the carbohydrate base for many meals.

  • Microwave Myth Conclusion
    © Homesthetics - Monica Hewitt


    Microwave ovens are modern machines that are safe to use. Whether you get a small microwave or a large one, you're getting one of the most useful kitchen appliances.

    Just remember that microwaves don't like plastic that isn't explicitly labeled as safe for microwaves or thinner metals like aluminum foil.

    The microwaves themselves are safe. You shouldn't worry about radioactive waves, materials getting into the food or other microwave myths that we've just debunked

    Enjoy using your microwave, and remember to check the owner's manual if you're ever confused or unsure if anything is safe to heat in the microwave.