Does Microwaving Food Destroy Its Vitamins?

Does Microwaving Food Destroy Its Vitamins?


[♪ INTRO] The microwave is a marvelous invention. It’s a quick, convenient way
to heat up plenty of foods, from frozen dinners to leftover soup. But that makes a lot of people
question how good it is for you: do microwaves change
the nutritional value of food? The short answer is: yes, they do. But so does any other method of cooking. And actually, cooking food in the microwave
gets rid of less of some nutrients than other methods like baking or boiling. When you preheat an oven, coils of wires heat
up and then transfer that energy to air molecules so they’re moving around more. That motion is heat energy. And when you stick a frozen pizza in, the air molecules bump into the food
and transfer heat from the outside in. Microwaves, on the other hand, cook food using
electromagnetic radiation. The waves are changing electric
and magnetic fields. So they especially affect molecules
like water that are polar, with different charges on different parts. When you’re microwaving your leftovers,
the polar molecules keep flipping around to line up with the changing fields, and heat up. The microwaves go through your whole burrito, so the center reheats at basically
the same time as the outside. But the air doesn’t really change
during the microwaving process, because those molecules are mostly nonpolar. When people are worried about
the nutrients in their food, they could mean all kinds of things. There are carbohydrates and proteins, or stuff
like vitamins, compounds that we have to eat, because our bodies can’t
make them independently. All of those chemicals
change when they’re microwaved. But they don’t change much differently than
they would with other cooking methods. For example, heat can change proteins in a
way that makes them easier to digest. There are some differences, though. Like, microwaves can heat up things much faster
than other appliances. That matters for the vitamins in your food, which break down more the
longer they’re exposed to heat. Vitamin C, for one, is particularly sensitive
to heat. So a faster cooking time means that more of
it sticks around. Some vitamins also tend to dissolve in water,
so if you’re boiling your veggies, those vitamins get pulled into the liquid. But microwaves avoid that problem too. A group of researchers in China took a closer
look at cooking broccoli in different ways, and measured its vitamin C content, along
with some other nutrients. They reported the results in 2009. Boiling the broccoli led to the loss of 33
percent of its vitamin C. Stir-frying took away 24 percent, while microwaving only led
to a loss of 16 percent. Steaming was actually the most efficient method,
and hardly any of the vitamin C went away. But the microwave was in second place and
not too shabby. So arguably the most convenient cooking tool
in your kitchen is also one of the best ways to keep at least some of the vitamins locked
in your food. And it makes popcorn, too! Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow,
and special thanks to Joanne K, who’s one of our patrons on Patreon, for asking! If you’d like to ask a question, join us
for our monthly Google Hangouts, or just help us keep posting science videos 7 days a week,
you can go to patreon.com/scishow. [♪ OUTRO]

100 thoughts on “Does Microwaving Food Destroy Its Vitamins?

  • So the device in your kitchen that scientifically illiterate Sprouts shoppers fear the most, is actually on their side?

  • I love your presentations and the content is scientifically sound. May I make a suggestion as someone who presents before a large audience too: find a way to balance your hand movements with your other hand and the rest of your body so that it becomes more natural and less distracting. Otherwise keep it up.

  • This specific information is great for me to present to my father. He is absolutely sure that to microwave broccoli (so thank you so so much for using that study about … broccoli!) is going to ruin the nutritional value of the food. To say it does not in the way he believes will be a nice way to wake him up in … like 2 hours.

  • Nope. I stop watching as soon as I see she's on the video. Sorry. Nothing personal. I just don't like how she narrates the videos. Do you really think they can't find someone else?

  • My parents wouldn't let me stand in front of a microwave because they thought it would lead to sterilization.

  • Microwaving does less damage than boiling however the fact that they are heated from the inside out is important because different things have their most important parts in different locations.
    Some nutrition breaks down with heat and might not break down in other forms of cooking because they are protected by insulation however with microwaves they have no insulation and so you have to be careful about how you position food on the plate and how long you expose them to X power level.

  • Is nutrition lost the longer you take to consume the food??? If you blend a bunch of veggies and fruit to make a smoothie does it lose its nutritional content the longer it sits in the refrigerator?

  • My bosses wife thinks she can 'hear' microwave radiation, especially from WiFi and Cell Phones. I told her to stick her head in the microwave oven to see if the sound went away since it's basically a Faraday cage. I was joking, but she didn't detect my sarcasm. She did it anyway, and the sound didn't go away. I'm pretty sure she's a little crazy, or she has a bad case of tinnitus.

  • The problem I encountered with microwaves (and certain other appliances) is "radiation". First is that people talk about "electromagnetic" and "ionising" radiations as if it's the same thing. And second is that they don't understand the concepts of interference, resonance, inverse square law, and amplitudes in general. The lady I know doesn't want a Wi-Fi station nowhere near her room because of radio waves. Who cares that it's 40.000 times less in intesity than microwave. Anyway, it's all a consequence of "I never liked Physics in school".

  • Didn't the mythbusters disprove the theory that microwaves cook food from the inside out but from the outside in?

  • I don't care if microwave saves a bit more nutrient; I'm not eating anymore overly soggy or overly stale pizza.

  • "microwaves go through your whole burrito, so the center reheats at basically the same time as the outside"… and I turned off the video. Not only does this completely mischaracterize and misunderstand how microwave radiation works, but anyone who has ever used a microwave can tell you that it isn't true. In a standard countertop microwave producing radiation in the 2.45 Ghz range, the food itself blocks the radiation after about 1cm of penetration and so the interior of any food thicker than 1cm is heated by conduction in exactly the same way baking or broiling food works.

  • For boiling it's called vegetable soup. You might aswell drink it anyway and add flavor and so on too it like if it was an actual soup.

  • I've seen stories that say when you boil water on a stove, let it cool, and then water a plant regularly with it, the plant is fine. But if you boil water in a microwave, let it cool, and water a plant regularly with it, the plant will die. Is this true/why? Can you film that experiment for an episode?

  • Oddly enough, microwave cooking always begins on the outside and only gradually works its way in. This is easily proved by actually microwaving something.

  • As so many people are suffering from scurvy it's interesting to know steaming broccoli is the best method.

  • Microwave are radiations? Isn't that bad? I'm more concern about radiation than the nutrients. Can pregnant women be around the microwave in the kitchen? Where I used to work, some coworkers had to sit near the microwaves ( 2 feet) everyday, is that okay?

  • Hey I think Jeff nippard 's channel copied you guys on this . Very similar topic featured the next day after this one was posted

  • Can you guys do another video in the future using more studies including a variety of foods? This video was informative but only looking at a study on broccoli and primarily it's vitamin C levels is not enough for me lol. Thanks

  • Isn't the liver capable of turning non carbohydrate materials into sugar as needed through gluconeogenesis?

  • I've had people tell me that they won't use a microwave because they're scared of the radiation it puts in your food, then they proceed to use their cell phones all day and night.

  • Huh it's pretty misleading to consider vitamins and nutrients in microwaving. Think about long term effects of short term radiation on your daily food.

  • who is funding this crap. Microwaves destroy your food. Do your own research you will be amazed what you find out.

  • Question: why do i sneeze when going in or out of a place with a very different temperature? Example: It's hot/cold outside and as soon as a few seconds out i sneeze

  • who the heck researched this episode, microwaves do not heat up the center of the food with the outside, thats partially common sense and was proven by the mythbusters years ago

  • Yeah sure they are better. That's why everything I stick in there turns into mush. Thanks but no thanks.

  • What about breastmilk? I know in Australia at least the official recommendations from the Australian Breastfeeding Association are to never microwave expressed breast milk as it destroys the nutrients, but if it is time dependent as stated in this video, then the alternative of heating the bottle in boiling water on the stove would have a worse outcome.

  • If you want to die from cancer, please keep using the microwave, and keep eating popcorn because that is super healthy! More hot pockets please!!

  • They're Lying to you Again.
    Microwaving destroys their "nano-tec" that they put in your air food & water.

    It also destroys the nano tech in your body if you stand close enough to the microwave. Yes it does damage the food & is slightly harmful to humans…

    But the main reason they want you to stop microwaving your food is so their nano tec can be used via their black box under lock & key at the utility & the smart meter on the side of your house that integrates the nano tech that settles in your brain to their Ai computer that reads, manipulates & controls this nano tech in your brain & body using RF on your ground & neutral wires in your house. They've turned your house into a giant lab using your 3-wire electrical system incorporating everything that is connected via cord & plug including cell phones tv's cpus even fridgerators dryers & dishwashers

  • Unfortunately the argument I have heard for why microwaves are so detrimental to health is not addressed at all in this video:( Maybe someone has some insight on this, the argument goes something like this:
    Microwaves heat water molecules. Water molecules are more often than not in cells. Heated water molecules in cells expand much faster than the cells and rupture cell walls, thus spilling out the nutrients within as free radicals. Free radical nutrients like glucose, without the fibrous cellular membrane, are often absorbed directly through liver rather than the more healthy metabolic processes of the intestines.

    All the science seemed pretty sound at face value so I have always kinda shied away from microwaves, would be nice to know whether or not this is actually a thing.

  • If microwaves act on water molecules then why does it take longer to heat liquids? Yes some of it has to do with specific heat and ability of water to absorb a lot of thermal energy for every degree it heats up, I'm sure, but if the microwaves act on water, water should still heat up faster than dry foods, no?

  • Sorry but you lost all credibility when you said our bodies can't make carbohydrates and you left out fats. Your body cannot create some fats, but it can create it's own glucose. Perhaps you're talking about fiber, but your body technically doesn't need fiber, even though it's extremely useful.

  • Hi, I’ve been saving leftover roasted chicken in the refrigerator then reheat it in microwave to eat after my hard workout, there is any side effect? Like microwave denature protein so my body can not absorb that much of protein or no effective as much as freshly roasted chicken! pls let me know 😭

  • While this information might technically be "facts", it is misleading. Vitamin C particularly, is easily destroyed by heat. So in order to prove that microwaves do not destroy nutrients, they specifically chose to test Vitamin C, and they compared it with high heat methods, such as boiling. This makes sense as to why steaming was #1. I would be interested in seeing results comparing a wider range of, not just vitamins, but minerals as well.
    I'm not here to change anyones mind about microwaves, but I'd like to encourage others to look more critically at the research that is done. This test was clearly manipulated in order to get desirable results, and prove that microwaves dont destroy nutrients.
    Just because 1 vitamin is less effected than other methods of cooking, doesnt make the microwave better than other methods of cooking.

  • I love this episode because I get to post it in response to all of the fake news on FB about the dangers of microwaving your food. 🤣

  • 0:38 Inaccuracies here. The majority of heat that food gets from an oven is by radiation rather than by conduction involving air particles. The same principle astronauts wear white suits to reflect the tremendous amount of heat by radiation from the sun in space.

  • You must be a freemason with the Illuminati spreading your propaganda, because cooking your food over an open fire I guarantee you is way better for you than zapping it.

  • My understanding was that microwaves cooked by essentially boiling the water in the food. Wouldn't that essentially be steaming that food with it's own water content?

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