Hidden Dangers When Microwaving Foods

Hidden Dangers When Microwaving Foods

When cooking and reheating foods quickly, most people will turn to the microwave to get the job done.  Homes today have built-in microwave ovens.  They come in all sizes and colors.  Reheating food by microwaving is fast, convenient, uses less energy, recommended by food manufacturers.  But as I often share in my posts, there is always a catch to today’s modern conveniences–and microwaving food is no exception.  There are hidden dangers when microwaving foods that you should know about.

What are the hidden dangers when microwaving foods?

It’s agreed that using a microwave can be incredibly convenient, but the safety of this appliance is questionable. The decision to use a microwave or not is ultimately up to you. Microwaving foods cause changes the molecular structure of food as it’s heated.  It also causes plastic containers and food wrappings to release toxic cancer-causing chemicals, also known as carcinogens.[1]

Consider the following when choosing whether or not to use a microwave:

  • The molecular friction that microwaves employ to heat food kills vitamins and phytonutrients. One particular study proved that cooking vegetables in the microwave destroys 97% of their nutrients.
  • Microwaving meat also produces the carcinogen d-nitrosodiethanolamine.
  • Glucosides and galactosides convert into carcinogenic compounds when frozen fruit is thawed.
  • Even plant foods convert alkaloids into carcinogens and hazardous free radicals.
  • Microwaving may destroy nutritional content of food while maintaining calories, leading to rampant deficiencies in many macro and micro nutrients.2
  • It’s been proven that plastic releases endocrine disrupters when heated, possibly causing infertility, birth defects, and cancer. (3)
  • It can be especially dangerous to cook fat and sugary foods at high temperatures in plastic.  As moisture builds when heating foods, chemicals from the plastics leach into the foods.  Sugars and oils cause plastics to pit plastic containers, releasing chemicals into food.
  • Eastern theory says that microwaving disrupts the natural harmony of water molecules in food, leading to a disordered molecular pattern and disturbed internal balance.

Some believe that microwaves increase the risk of liver problems, depression, kidney failure, cancer, and heart disease. The double sword of toxic chemical release and nutrient deficiency caused by microwaves is unnerving. Weigh out your own personal pros and cons wisely.

The bottom line is that microwaves may contribute to the widespread epidemic of overfed, under-nourished people.  You now know that microwaving changes the molecular structure of food.   You also know that whether you cook or reheat foods, microwaving releases carcinogens and other endocrine disruptors into the body.  With this new knowledge, what changes will you make?

Some quick alternatives to microwaving include:

  • Use a toaster oven to cook or reheat dishes.
  • Heat food in a pot or pan with a little olive oil and/or water to prevent sticking and thickening.
  • For those of you who use an InstaPot, consider steaming your leftovers.
  • Store leftovers in glass or ceramic containers to pop into a toaster oven.
  • Remove leftovers from the fridge, allowing them to warm for 15 minutes prior to reheating.
  • Use a crockpot to cook and reheat foods.  Wrap sandwiches in foil to keep moist.  Bake potatoes in a few hours.  The options are endless.
  • Reduce your consumption of frozen boxed meals.
  • Take foods to work that don’t require reheating like cold salads, vegetables and hummus, rice dishes, etc.

If you do use a microwave, consider:

  • Heat food in glass or ceramic dishes covered with a napkin or inverted dish.
  • Learn what foods pose the most dangers when microwaved.
  • Check dishes to ensure they are labeled “microwave safe.”
  • Always remove frozen entres from their packaging and heat in ceramic or glass dishes.
  • Reheat foods at lower power levels and stir often for more even heating.
  • Slowly work toward using the stovetop, crockpot and toaster oven.

When you think about it, there are many dishes that can actually be eaten cold or warm.  Get creative and when considering your meal planning, think about your reheating options and how you will manage serving leftovers to your family.

If you know of other hacks to safely cooking or reheating dishes, please share below.  My hope is to update this post with your creative ideas as they roll in.  In the meantime, happy, healthy eating!


[1] “The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking” from www.health-science.com by Anthony Wayne and Lawrence Newell.
[2] “Microwave Ovens Destroy the Nutritional Value of Your Food” from www.naturalnews.com by Mike Adams. 2007
[3] “Does Plastic in Microwave Pose Health Problems” from The Wall Street Journal. 1998


Cathy lives in Roanoke, Virginia and specializes in supporting families who desire to change their relationship with health–the way they eat, feel and live.  She is a certified Health Coach & Educator with a strong passion for supporting each client in their journey to feeling stronger, healthier, and more energetic.  Cathy presents workshops online and locally and regularly talks about real food, fitness, natural living, and all things ADHD.  

Cathy is the creator of the Holistic Wellness Academy, an online training platform that will soon provide other wellness advocates a place to share their expertise with their clients so they too can learn how to eat smart, move more, feel better and live longer.

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