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Does Microwaving Food Destroy Its Vitamins?

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Many people avoid using microwave ovens, fearing how it changes the molecular structure of your food, but studies have some evidence that may surprise you. Hosted by: Olivia Gordon Head to https://scishowfinds.com/ for hand selected artifacts of the universe! ---------- Support SciShow by becoming a patron on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/scishow ---------- Dooblydoo thanks go to the following Patreon supporters: Lazarus G, Sam Lutfi, Nicholas Smith, D.A. Noe, سلطان الخليفي, Piya Shedden, KatieMarie Magnone, Scott Satovsky Jr, Charles Southerland, Patrick D. Ashmore, Tim Curwick, charles george, Kevin Bealer, Chris Peters ---------- Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow Tumblr: http://scishow.tumblr.com Instagram: http://instagram.com/thescishow ---------- Sources: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/microwave-cooking-and-nutrition https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/doees-reheating-leftovers-kill-vitamins https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814604001517 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722699/ https://www.quora.com/Why-doesnt-a-microwave-heat-the-air-inside-it http://www.vitamins-nutrition.org/vitamins/body-produce-vitamins.html https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408397609527213 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cooking-nutrient-content#section4 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398209527340#.UlcNh2RVBdo https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bring-science-homes-soap-microwave/ Images: http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/image/stock-photo-steaming-broccoli-in-strainer/128956210 http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/image/stock-photo-the-microwave-oven-is-warm-burger-with-cheese/492741172
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Text Comments (1415)
mayo8511 (3 days ago)
You don't NEED to to eat carbohydrates and your body CAN make its own if needed.
Polo Solo (3 days ago)
This is too one-sided. I would like to hear the pros AND cons of microwaving.
Existenceisillusion (3 days ago)
"heat energy"? So heat is a type of energy?
Commander Strax (4 days ago)
I understand all of this BUT why does a bowl of soup heat up in the center and you need to stir it? I could never wrap my head around that and this video confirms, at least for me, that there is a bug in the physics part of this reality.
OZGUR KARATAS (5 days ago)
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.
Jeroen Jager (7 days ago)
People microwave left over soup? Huh, good to know.
Mel Tee (7 days ago)
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.
Salvatore Simone (7 days ago)
Isn't the liver capable of turning non carbohydrate materials into sugar as needed through gluconeogenesis?
JT (7 days ago)
palacsintaman (8 days ago)
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
G (8 days ago)
Hey I think Jeff nippard 's channel copied you guys on this . Very similar topic featured the next day after this one was posted
Ana quinteros (8 days ago)
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?
INERT (8 days ago)
Your voice reminds me of leftover soup.
Varnic98 (9 days ago)
I hate your voice tbh
John Smith (9 days ago)
As so many people are suffering from scurvy it's interesting to know steaming broccoli is the best method.
Craig Mullen (9 days ago)
Wait wait wait let me grab my tin hat
Jesus Chavez (10 days ago)
I’m still not using he microwave lol
Kevin O'Brien (10 days ago)
Oddly enough, microwave cooking always begins on the outside and only gradually works its way in. This is easily proved by actually microwaving something.
quique6676 (10 days ago)
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?
quique6676 (10 days ago)
Nevermind lol...some quick googling answered that! Not real!
Amira betts (10 days ago)
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.
PhantomPhoton (10 days ago)
"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.
scienceandmind (10 days ago)
could there be a reason certain flavors change (specially in pork and chicken)?
Panduh 13ear (10 days ago)
I don't care if microwave saves a bit more nutrient; I'm not eating anymore overly soggy or overly stale pizza.
Panduh 13ear (9 days ago)
Actually, I don't think we've ever bought frozen pizza; it's usually take-outs or sometimes homemade.
renge9909 (10 days ago)
Well.... it's frozen pizza. You're probably not getting much in the way of nutrients in the first place lol.
kaleb Crossley (10 days ago)
This chick sucks !!! Get rid of her !
tuxis (11 days ago)
Wtf, carbohydrates are not a compound that we have to eat. You could live just fine without it if you so chose...
renge9909 (10 days ago)
In the short term, maybe. I know ketosis is the big fad of the moment. But there's probably a good reason the body prefers carbs to ketones.
How much nutritional value do gremlins lose when fully cooked?
deadly phoenix (11 days ago)
well, that still doesn't answer which is actually healthier?
Daniella (11 days ago)
Are the radiation waves from the microwave dangerous if you stand too close?
Nolan Thiessen (11 days ago)
No. Microwave ovens are designed to block microwave radiation. There is a legal allowable amount of radiation that can leak, but it's far lower than is dangerous.
Jaky Mo (11 days ago)
So you want to tell me that microwaving food is healthier? My life... is... a LIE!!!
Captain Raz (11 days ago)
So, its actually the opposite of what people say? Cool.
Steve C (11 days ago)
thank science. I was really worried my favorite cooking method was gonna be bad...
#1 Tako (11 days ago)
Didn't the mythbusters disprove the theory that microwaves cook food from the inside out but from the outside in?
pippo spano (12 days ago)
there are so many people screaming their heads off about mw ovens being so amazingly safe and convenient, and describing people who don't want to use them as clueless laughable morons, it starts to sound suspicious. the mere fact that i have no ways to check how much radiation actually leaks out of those things, each time i use them, is a powerful deal breaker for me. also i am not acccustomed to eating junk crap like frozen pizza and processed foods and don't want the taste and texture of my excellent stuff being ruined. then to each one his own.
Nolan Thiessen (11 days ago)
There was a Reddit post just yesterday where a person used a pretty expensive RF detector to look at his microwave. https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/8xu89b/why_my_microwave_makes_me_lose_wifi_connection/ In the comments he said that he measured the emitted microwaves to be -60dB, which is equivalent to 0.000000001W of radiation. That's a TINY amount.
renge9909 (12 days ago)
Skepticism can be healthy. I believe there are ways to measure radiation leakage using DIY methods, but I've not had a chance to try them out. I mostly use the microwave to boil water. Don't really feel like waiting for the stove to make it boil when I'm just making a cup of tea for myself, you know? I just wouldn't press myself up against the glass or anything. Though if you're worried about the microwave, there's reason to be concerned about cell phones too, as well as routers.
Nisha Dr R (12 days ago)
I am worried of the radiation that enters the food...does it effect us who eat it?
Nolan Thiessen (12 days ago)
No it does not. Once the microwave are absorbed by the water they are transformed into heat. There is nothing bad left behind.
svvitchio (12 days ago)
I thank you kind madam, for validating my lazyiness.
Emilee SO (12 days ago)
I wish I could tell my dad this so we could get a microwave.... but he doesn't believe in science
mobspeak (12 days ago)
What is this?
Ronnie Halonen (12 days ago)
Oh, no.... :/
Jan Gambler (12 days ago)
Alright, time to microwave some broccoli as movie snack.
Ray Gromer (12 days ago)
Also, don't put metal in the science oven.
Armuotas (12 days ago)
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".
Sergio Bobillier (12 days ago)
Thanks for keep getting rid of false myths about the micro-wave ovens.
Jadin Andrews (12 days ago)
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.
HappyChildrenTV (12 days ago)
Good to know that microwave is not a bad radiation device like some people tell you.
That Kro Kro Bird (12 days ago)
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?
Nolan Thiessen (12 days ago)
Yes. That's why frozen veggies are actually usually more nutritious than store bought. Frozen veggies are frozen ASAP after picking whereas the veggies in the produce section have been slowly dying for days or weeks.
TheOriginalMakaaka (12 days ago)
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.
Ross Ebner (12 days ago)
My parents wouldn't let me stand in front of a microwave because they thought it would lead to sterilization.
RogerWazup007 (12 days ago)
What does it mean she says that waves are changing electric and magnetic fields?
Drake Dragon (12 days ago)
Time to make popcorn.
Medokn (12 days ago)
Who toucha my spaghett
The D (13 days ago)
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?
Social Experiment (13 days ago)
sooo what about the other things? iron? protein? all the other vitamins?
Jason (13 days ago)
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.
Strawberry Avalanche (13 days ago)
Olivia is super cute gosh dang
Krishna Shukla (13 days ago)
is she a he?
demiurgo (13 days ago)
You have improved, girl.
I steam my veggies. #SteamTeam
Bailey Rodgers (13 days ago)
I hate how microwaves makes food soggy though
davewave1982 (13 days ago)
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.
John Smith (13 days ago)
So the device in your kitchen that scientifically illiterate Sprouts shoppers fear the most, is actually on their side?
SgtSupaman (13 days ago)
Can't touch the outside of my food without burning myself while the inside is still frozen solid...but the center is reheating the same as the outside, huh?
Corn Kopp (13 days ago)
You boil it, then use the water to make broth
ResiDoom (13 days ago)
And actually.....>.<
holly grace (13 days ago)
Ridiculously educating, I liked this episode!
Kyle Bridenstine (13 days ago)
Get rid of that disgusting thing on your nose.
AmazingSpots of cities (13 days ago)
This is biased to the max !!!!!! microwaved food are often cooked already . so they lost the vitamins in that process and using microwave to warm it up . it will lose it even more.
Nolan Thiessen (12 days ago)
In science we usually try to keep everything the same except one variable. In this case that is method of heating. This has nothing to do with pre-heating factors. Obviously if a food is precooked or it is a different kind of food that will have an impact on the nutrition. That's not what this video is looking at. It is simply looking at - if you have one thing to heat up, what method is best, and are there harms to the microwave.
Carlos Maldonado (13 days ago)
I think a frozen burrito would disagree with this findings but ok good to know 👍🏻
Rudy Ortiz (13 days ago)
Is it me or does Olivia look sun burned
Maximus Meridius (13 days ago)
Haven't used a microwave in 3 years. Not a single time.
Maximus Meridius (12 days ago)
Amy Carter Just don't like it, it's easier without it to be honest.
Amy Carter (13 days ago)
how come
Ollie Williams (13 days ago)
This made me so hungry
popertop (13 days ago)
Another great thing about microwaving broccoli, is you can use a bowl and an ounce or two of water and a covering (like a paper plate or other microwave-safe cover) to steam it. About 3 mins of steaming will still leave plenty of nutrients, though you should also be eating raw vegetables as well for their nutrient content
Carlos Paz (13 days ago)
Get prettier.
Nolan Thiessen (12 days ago)
Get kinder.
User17 (13 days ago)
Ehm, but how do you cook broccoli in a microwave?
Nolan Thiessen (12 days ago)
I use a little water in a bowl, put in broccoli, and cover. Put on for 3(ish) mins. Tada - perfectly steamed broccoli.
Lyfiz Payne (13 days ago)
AHA! microwaves ARE good for you! Not for your electronics, though.
TheBobBrom (13 days ago)
Ok but why does it make food taste blander
TheBobBrom (11 days ago)
Nolan Thiessen Probably the Mailard reactions I don't know if you've ever put kidneys in the microwave but even if they're fresh they zap the flavour right out of them.
Nolan Thiessen (12 days ago)
Probably because we use microwaves to reheat food that has already been cooked or has been sitting for days - meaning a lot of chemicals have broken down already or bacteria have started growing. That, and other cooking methods usually create Maillard Reactions which are delicious.
Devin Cory (13 days ago)
My mom is VERY against microwaves for this exact reason. I should send this to her.
lordelliott42 (13 days ago)
1:01 "...the center reheats at basically the same time as the outside." Lies. :)
Draco04 (13 days ago)
Cup of noodles get a bad name but they are the cornerstone to a nutritional breakfast. Lol
DontMockMySmock (13 days ago)
Microwaves do NOT heat food evenly on both the outside and inside, as you suggest here. That's clearly false to anyone who's cooked a thing in the microwave and had it be colder on the inside. Like, for example, if you're defrosting meat on high power, it's still frozen on the inside when it starts cooking on the outside, so you have to go slow on low power (to give the heat time to move inwards) and break it apart as much as possible. This all happens because the microwaves are absorbed on the surface before they can get to the middle of the food. Physicists talk about a material's "skin depth" to a certain frequency of light, which IIRC for most foods in a microwave is like 1/2 to 1 centimeter or so. (Don't quote me on that, though.)
the Insane Artist (13 days ago)
Glad to know my 1980s microwave cookbooks are still good. :)
wizbit66 (13 days ago)
Why don't i want a tattoo, do i need to reassess my life? I don't have a microwave either **sigh**
Patrick (13 days ago)
But why does microwaved food taste so bad? It really changes the taste and texture...
mohamed salah oshi (13 days ago)
The only thing missing about her appearance is a *mostach*. Sorry I just couldn't prevent my imagination to put it on her face.
Tony Bones (13 days ago)
While in culinary school, one of my chef's had a daughter who did an experiment with water for college. She used different types of water (purified, spring, tap, etc) to water plants. One of the types was water that was microwaved, left to cool, then used to feed the plant. At the end of the study, all of them were about the same, except the one that received microwaved water. That one died.
renge9909 (13 days ago)
Coincidentally, the title of the Mythbusters episode I mentioned is "DO Try This At Home", so yeah, doing it yourself is probably the easiest way because I doubt there will ever be any sort of published study on microwaving water. I imagine it's a foregone conclusion in the minds of serious researchers who understand the basic mechanism behind microwaved water.... which is basically heated water. Most of the microwaving studies is more on nutritional loss in foods compared to other cooking methods, as this video indicates.
Tony Bones (13 days ago)
renge9909 I'd be interested in seeing a published study, or maybe I'll do it myself. I never understood how it worked. But I'm willing to change my mind based on evidence.
renge9909 (13 days ago)
Yeah, a lot of people have some variation of this claim down in the comments. From the sheer amount of folks repeating this, I think it's just hearsay, a common hoax spread around and around until there's a dozen different versions of it. However, the only verifiable source I've found is actually in the show Mythbusters, episode 212, when they water a plant for one week using tap water, stove top boiled water, and microwaved water. All three plants did just fine.
Animinations (13 days ago)
Gordon Ramsay doesn't approve of your ways
Dakine (13 days ago)
Um...why are my burritos always cold in the center and scalding hot in the ends? Think this lady just read her facts and did no field research
kevin Duerden (13 days ago)
Clint Richardson (13 days ago)
It modifies proteins. Just watch an egg cook.
Jeremy Heminger (13 days ago)
Olivia's arms remind me of muppet arms. They stay more or less at a constant right angle and they swing as thought they are pivoting on sticks.
Jeremy Heminger (12 days ago)
The D meh. I disagree. I like her. She simply has several quirks. Regardless, it doesn't distract from learning.
The D (12 days ago)
Can't agree more. I can't even watch her episodes anymore. What's the point of sci-show if you can't learn anything because the presenter is so distracting?
Fiyaaah (13 days ago)
Follow up: Why does it taste so much worse though?
_ Grundel _ (13 days ago)
Please fix the lighting Hank, she looks like Alice Cooper still...
David C (13 days ago)
How do faulty microwaves cause car alarms to go off?
bluedasher74 (13 days ago)
If the Mona Lisa and Mayim Bialik had a love child, it would look like this chick.
Dallas Carroll (13 days ago)
Olivia 😍
Benjamin Alexander (13 days ago)
I think this misrepresents the way ovens work. They work mostly through radiant energy, not through conduction of heat from air to food. You can tell this directly by putting your hand in the oven. The side of your hand toward the heating elements gets much hotter than the side facing away from the element, even though both sides are immersed in the hot air. This also explains why tinfoil works so well to prevent overbrowning of crusts or poultry skin. Convection currents, in convection ovens, help to correct this, but still the radiant energy dominates. My source is "Modernist Cooking" vol 2, by Nathan Myhrvhold.
zztop3000 (13 days ago)
You're wet under your nose, wipe you nose before going on camera, GOSH!
marcus (13 days ago)
Is this science? I purpose real science experiment everyone can try: boil up so water with the microwave and give the water to a plant, and give normal water to another similare one. Then come back with the results and say again microwave is nothing dangerous for the body.
Nolan Thiessen (12 days ago)
I've done that. It does nothing different from normal water.
renge9909 (13 days ago)
Mythbusters: Episode 212 - "DO try this at home". Plant given microwaved water for a week, grew just fine compared to tap water and stove top boiled water. Something tells me you've never actually tried this yourself.
I77AGIC (13 days ago)
fake news paid for by big micro!
TheFrozenfish (13 days ago)
Gordon Ramsey disliked the video.
Almino Melo (13 days ago)
What about freezing food? Do they keep nutrients?

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