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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 (1127)
Yohen Sevtstein (3 days ago)
Imagine using a solar cooker... very healthy. Microwaves are the perfect method of cooking with light.
Crimson Twins (13 days ago)
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!!
merchantscape (22 days ago)
"And it makes popcorn, too", wow when did you became so cute?
Miss Kobi (1 month ago)
I think you're forgetting to mention the radiation it emits (and you consume) that is life threatening. No thanks
Nolan Thiessen (1 month ago)
You do not consume the radiation. That's not how it works.
Carle9 (1 month ago)
If microwaves are so safe, then why does microwaved water kill house plants?
Nolan Thiessen (1 month ago)
It doesn't. That's a lie.
Steven (1 month ago)
I would place a 100$ bet that this girl is a hardcore Bernie Bro.
IdlePit (1 month ago)
Thanks blew my face off looks for the heating coils in my oven.... Turns out it's a gas cooker
darksabath94 (1 month ago)
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.
Nolan Thiessen (1 month ago)
Microwaves heat food very quickly and slightly unevenly. So you can get some milk that's 80C and some that's 20C. Mixing brings the average to what you want it. Slower warming using hot water allows it to heat slower than it can mix so it is a more uniform heating. That means that no parts of the milk get hot enough to denature the protein.
renge9909 (1 month ago)
Correct.... but I believe that's why people tend to warm breast milk, like running it under warm water, or immersing it in lightly heated water. You don't directly boil or microwave it, but you can use a separate container of water to mildly heat it.
Jintaro Kensei (1 month ago)
Yeah sure they are better. That's why everything I stick in there turns into mush. Thanks but no thanks.
InHumano XY (1 month ago)
Olivia Gordon my sweet Olivia, beautiful as always!
king james488 (1 month ago)
I don't like the idea of irradiating my food.
Nolan Thiessen (1 month ago)
Smart. Wouldn't want those pesky little photons touching your food.
king james488 (1 month ago)
maybe I eat in the dark.
Nolan Thiessen (1 month ago)
Your food is 'irradiated' all the time by light hitting it.
Dopamine (1 month ago)
Of course the least palatable version is the healthiest...
notsew00 (1 month ago)
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
MrChocoJon (1 month ago)
And it makes popcorn too <3 😄
akupehsluarketatAR (2 months ago)
Roses are red Violets are blue When your food turns bad Microwave!
Erick Gomez (2 months ago)
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
Tanerman300 (2 months ago)
Ok, I have a question on this.... Does it change the molecular structure of nutrients?
Pixl Rainbow (1 month ago)
Tanerman300 heat changes the molecular structure of nutrients. Don't burn your food, and don't overcook it.
Pika Kenny (2 months ago)
who is funding this crap. Microwaves destroy your food. Do your own research you will be amazed what you find out.
Nolan Thiessen (1 month ago)
The first link makes a LOT of claims without any evidence to back it up. They do cite a few studies but always for tangential claims that have nothing to do with their main argument. Claims like "These dangerous compounds harm the body in many ways" offer absolutely no firm claim or evidence. Then they say that only their product can somehow re-calibrate the EMF in your house to be more harmonious(?). Seriously, the vehicle adapter is literally just a $100 12V USB adapter that I can get for $1. Really? Geopathic stress zones? Get outa here. The second link goes directly against your claims. As per their conclusion: "However, to date, with the exception of high-power microwave radiation, which has widely established hazardous effects, the biological effects of microwaves remain controversial. In epidemiology, there is no conclusive evidence showing that microwaves have carcinogenic effects. Concurrently, the discovery that microwaves have positive biological effects has presented new challenges for research and applications in this field." The third link cites a study that found there are lethal effects of high levels of microwaves. But those levels were far above the mandated standards. Almost like the government standards are based in science... Fourth link has literally one 'reference' where they say 'what we write is for entertainment purposes and not health claims'. Okay, yes. You can make a microwave weapon. But he physics of exposure and the necessary energy required to weaponize it makes it such that you can't really create a weapon in practice. It's just completely different from a microwave oven. I could make a bomb out of sodium and water. But you need both to live. The last link is just absurd. I thought you would at least link me to some semi-scientific sources rather than this drivel.
Pika Kenny (1 month ago)
https://www.safespaceprotection.com/news-and-info/microwave-oven-dangers/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5607572/ http://magdahavas.com/pick-of-the-week-9-0-95-and-2-45-ghz-most-lethal-microwave-frequencies/ https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/why-you-should-never-microwave-your-food/amp/ https://www.nature.com/news/microwave-weapons-wasted-energy-1.11396 https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/are-microwaves-safe/ just a few for you
Nolan Thiessen (1 month ago)
Please provide a citation.
mayo8511 (2 months ago)
You don't NEED to to eat carbohydrates and your body CAN make its own if needed.
Polo Solo (2 months ago)
This is too one-sided. I would like to hear the pros AND cons of microwaving.
Nolan Thiessen (1 month ago)
They did say the cons - it lowers the nutritional value of food a little bit.
Existenceisillusion (2 months ago)
"heat energy"? So heat is a type of energy?
OZGUR KARATAS (2 months 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.
Nolan Thiessen (1 month ago)
The changing of nutrients is literally the only negative effect of microwaving food. There is no 'long term effects' on the body. You're literally just heating up the food.
Jeroen Jager (2 months ago)
People microwave left over soup? Huh, good to know.
Mel Tee (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
Isn't the liver capable of turning non carbohydrate materials into sugar as needed through gluconeogenesis?
JT (2 months ago)
palacsintaman (2 months 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 (2 months 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 (2 months 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?
Nolan Thiessen (1 month ago)
Microwaves are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. They are on the low energy side. Visible light is also 'radiation'.
Pixl Rainbow (1 month ago)
Ana quinteros "radiation" comes from the word "radiate" which means to spread out from a central point. The english word was made long before we discovered radioactive materials. It's referring to the fact that microwaves are waves and they spread out from a source. It has nothing to do with radioactivity or the harmful nature of gamma rays. We just happen to call gamma rays radiation because they are also waves that spread out from a source.
INERT (2 months ago)
Your voice reminds me of leftover soup.
Varnic98 (2 months ago)
I hate your voice tbh
John Smith (2 months ago)
As so many people are suffering from scurvy it's interesting to know steaming broccoli is the best method.
Craig Mullen (2 months ago)
Wait wait wait let me grab my tin hat
Jesus Chavez (2 months ago)
I’m still not using he microwave lol
Kevin O'Brien (2 months 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 (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
Nevermind lol...some quick googling answered that! Not real!
Amira betts (2 months 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 (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
could there be a reason certain flavors change (specially in pork and chicken)?
Panduh 13ear (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
Actually, I don't think we've ever bought frozen pizza; it's usually take-outs or sometimes homemade.
renge9909 (2 months ago)
Well.... it's frozen pizza. You're probably not getting much in the way of nutrients in the first place lol.
kaleb Crossley (2 months ago)
This chick sucks !!! Get rid of her !
tuxis (2 months ago)
Wtf, carbohydrates are not a compound that we have to eat. You could live just fine without it if you so chose...
renge9909 (2 months 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.
Tired_David - Twitch.tv (2 months ago)
How much nutritional value do gremlins lose when fully cooked?
deadly phoenix (2 months ago)
well, that still doesn't answer which is actually healthier?
Daniella (2 months ago)
Are the radiation waves from the microwave dangerous if you stand too close?
Pixl Rainbow (1 month ago)
Daniella no unless the mesh on your microwave door has a big hole in it
Nolan Thiessen (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
So you want to tell me that microwaving food is healthier? My life... is... a LIE!!!
Jaky Mo (1 month ago)
Pixl Rainbow true true
Pixl Rainbow (1 month ago)
Jaky Mo microwaving food can be healthier if you put healthier ingredients in the food
Captain Raz (2 months ago)
So, its actually the opposite of what people say? Cool.
Steve C (2 months ago)
thank science. I was really worried my favorite cooking method was gonna be bad...
#1 Tako (2 months ago)
Didn't the mythbusters disprove the theory that microwaves cook food from the inside out but from the outside in?
pippo spano (2 months 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.
Pixl Rainbow (1 month ago)
pippo spano just point the damn microwave in the opposite direction and the leaking radiation is no longer a problem
Nolan Thiessen (2 months 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 (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
I am worried of the radiation that enters the food...does it effect us who eat it?
Pixl Rainbow (1 month ago)
Nisha Dr R the term "radiation" literally just means that energy was moved across space without the need for a medium. It has nothing to do with "radioactive".
Nolan Thiessen (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
I thank you kind madam, for validating my lazyiness.
Emilee SO (2 months ago)
I wish I could tell my dad this so we could get a microwave.... but he doesn't believe in science
mobspeak (2 months ago)
What is this?
Ronnie Halonen (2 months ago)
Oh, no.... :/
Jan Gambler (2 months ago)
Alright, time to microwave some broccoli as movie snack.
Ray Gromer (2 months ago)
Also, don't put metal in the science oven.
Armuotas (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
Thanks for keep getting rid of false myths about the micro-wave ovens.
Jadin Andrews (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
Good to know that microwave is not a bad radiation device like some people tell you.
That Kro Kro Bird (2 months 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 (2 months 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 (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
My parents wouldn't let me stand in front of a microwave because they thought it would lead to sterilization.
RogerWazup007 (2 months ago)
What does it mean she says that waves are changing electric and magnetic fields?
RogerWazup007 (1 month ago)
Ah, thanks.
Pixl Rainbow (1 month ago)
RogerWazup007 imagine a pool of water. When there is a disturbance, waves spread out from the source. If you look at the cross section of the wave, you will see that there are sections which are lower than the natural water level and sections which are higher. These sections move forward through the water surface, and if you were you put a floater you would see that it would move up and down on the spot as the waves passed under it. EM waves consist of wave of magnetic field perpendicular to a wave of electric field. The "dips" in the waves being regions of field in one polarity and the "peaks" being regions which have a field in the opposite polarity, and the "height/depth" of any point on the wave being the strength of the field. When you pick a stationary point and look at the EM waves passing through it, you would see the field strength and polarity going up and down like a floater moves up and down on a water surface with ripples.
Drake Dragon (2 months ago)
Time to make popcorn.
Medokn (2 months ago)
Who toucha my spaghett
The D (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
sooo what about the other things? iron? protein? all the other vitamins?
Jason (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
Olivia is super cute gosh dang
Krishna Shukla (2 months ago)
is she a he?
demiurgo (2 months ago)
You have improved, girl.
Follow many Favorite few (2 months ago)
I steam my veggies. #SteamTeam
Bailey Rodgers (2 months ago)
I hate how microwaves makes food soggy though
Pixl Rainbow (1 month ago)
Bailey Rodgers it's not the microwave beams, it's actually that the microwave oven is sealed for safety reasons (you don't want a that energy to get out where it could wreck electronics and people) and steam can't get out so it condenses on the food.
davewave1982 (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
So the device in your kitchen that scientifically illiterate Sprouts shoppers fear the most, is actually on their side?
SgtSupaman (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
You boil it, then use the water to make broth
ResiDoom (2 months ago)
And actually.....>.<
holly grace (2 months ago)
Ridiculously educating, I liked this episode!
Kyle Bridenstine (2 months ago)
Get rid of that disgusting thing on your nose.
AmazingSpots of cities (2 months 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.
Pixl Rainbow (1 month ago)
AmazingSpots of cities you know you can cook raw foods in a microwave, it's just hard to come up with recipes that can utilize the microwave properly
Nolan Thiessen (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
I think a frozen burrito would disagree with this findings but ok good to know 👍🏻
Rudy Ortiz (2 months ago)
Is it me or does Olivia look sun burned
Maximus Meridius (2 months ago)
Haven't used a microwave in 3 years. Not a single time.
Maximus Meridius (2 months ago)
Amy Carter Just don't like it, it's easier without it to be honest.
Amy Carter (2 months ago)
how come
Ollie Williams (2 months ago)
This made me so hungry
popertop (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
Get prettier.
Nolan Thiessen (2 months ago)
Get kinder.
User17 (2 months ago)
Ehm, but how do you cook broccoli in a microwave?
Nolan Thiessen (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
AHA! microwaves ARE good for you! Not for your electronics, though.
TheBobBrom (2 months ago)
Ok but why does it make food taste blander
TheBobBrom (2 months 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 (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
My mom is VERY against microwaves for this exact reason. I should send this to her.
lordelliott42 (2 months ago)
1:01 "...the center reheats at basically the same time as the outside." Lies. :)
Draco04 (2 months ago)
Cup of noodles get a bad name but they are the cornerstone to a nutritional breakfast. Lol
DontMockMySmock (2 months 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.)
greebleClown (2 months ago)
Glad to know my 1980s microwave cookbooks are still good. :)
wizbit66 (2 months ago)
Why don't i want a tattoo, do i need to reassess my life? I don't have a microwave either **sigh**
Patrick (2 months ago)
But why does microwaved food taste so bad? It really changes the taste and texture...
Pixl Rainbow (1 month ago)
Patrick because the recipe is not suitable for microwaves. You don't boil chicken nuggets in a pot, do you?
mohamed salah oshi (2 months 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.

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