View Full Version : Microwaves and Protein Breakdown

11-08-2004, 10:20 PM
While I was thinking of the most quick and delicious way to cook a chicken breast [ Which I'm still wondering about ], the idea of simply mix it with some sauce and just microwave it. Sounds simple enough all right.

Then that reminded me of something someone told me about a while back. I found a website that commented on the negatives of microwaves, but I'm kinda lazy to finish reading it or continue my search. But anyhoo, this is what is quotes:

"Effects on Microwaved Foods---
Proteins: Active-protein, biomolecular compounds are destabilized."

at: http://www.create-your-healthy-home.com/microwave-ovens.htm

It says a lotta other stuff like creating cancer causing mutigens and all that crap, but I'm not on a journey to ban microwaves or anything for (for they aid greatly in the battle against time) but for our purposes here, we'll focus on this one quote.

Now if this statement is true, and that the protein would be broken down and rendered useless, anything we microwave to eat would have no proteins in the end. Which defeats the purpose of eating chicken for its high protein counts.

Comments or Corrections Welcomed.

11-09-2004, 01:58 AM
i know of one person on here who cooks everything in the microwave... he seems to be doing just fine in the growing department :)

11-09-2004, 10:18 AM
im no physicist but dont microwaves work by the microwaves simply heating up water molecules within the food?

in what way does this effect the nutrients? ill check the link anyway.

11-09-2004, 02:49 PM
Yeah, in short microwaves work by making mostly water molecules vibrate and heat up due to 'friction'.

Internal structures in food can breakdown somewhat due to microwaves, for example microwave a slice of bread for a minute or two and then try to eat it.

However there is no evidence based on data over 20+ years that microwaves make common foods unhealthy or reduce their nutritional values.

Vapour Trails
11-09-2004, 06:21 PM
God I just read that whole thing...what a crock.

"In most research, the foods were exposed to microwave propagation at an energy potential of 100 kilowatts per cubic centimeter per second to the point considered acceptable for sanitary normal ingestion."

100 kilowatts? Thats only 100 times stronger than your average microwave!

"Merely Entering the Energy Fields of the Food causes such harmful side-effects that the Soviets outlawed all much microwave apparatus in 1976. Here are the effects observed in humans having ‘direct’ exposure to microwaves, that is, without their having consumed the Irradiated [microwaved] food substances."

So merely being in the room with microwaved foods causes harm? Puh-leaze!

I'm a scientist by trade and half of that made absolutely no sense to me. What the hell is a vital energy field? Or a life energy field for that matter? Sounds like pseudo-science to me.

It should be also noted that boiling vegetables destroys much of the vitamin content.

11-09-2004, 09:33 PM
Yuppers and dont forget to mention the part about using your microwave oven for mind control.
I probably overstated that.

11-09-2004, 11:27 PM
" All Food Damaged: It greatly accelerates the structural disintegration of all foods tested."

Which means... oh god, I don't even want to think about it... it could mean the food we are about to eat easier to digest.

11-09-2004, 11:35 PM
Hey guys, did you see that duck I was hunting go by?

11-09-2004, 11:46 PM
Thanks for those who commented.


From my understanding [which could undoubtly be incorrect] the microwave heats up the food by polarizing and depolarizing the two sides of the microwave. This creates a constant shift in the water molecules and ultimately heats everything up.

Now from biology class, we've learned proteins are chemically designed as long strands. Unlike lipids, which are actually small balls [right?]. Therefore when the microwave begins the cycle to shift the polarization, that really vibrates all the molecules. When the protein molecules starts vibrating, in theory, it should break apart the peptide bonds between the different protein molecules. Even though, I don't think the microwave is strong enough to destroy the proteins on the atomic level.

Now if anyone was actually not lazy enough and read that, every statement I made was a question.

Corrections or Sites Appreciated

11-10-2004, 12:50 AM
Thanks for those who commented.

Corrections or Sites Appreciated

I'll go as far as to say that microwave heating breakdowns foods LESS than surface heating. Surface heating is when you use a regular oven, skillet, pan, etc. This is because very high surface temperatures cause breakdown at the outer layers of the food being heated. So microwave heating is slightly healthier than traditional heating. Hows that for a twist...

To answer your questions:
Microwaves in an oven cycle (change fields) at a rate of 2.5 GHz. At this frequency the waves penetrate food well and are absorbed by dipolar molecules. Water is strongly dipolar, some fats and sugars weakly dipolar, and the more complex proteins are not dipolar.
So proteins do not absorb microwaves and will only heat up due to water, sugars or fat around them absorbing the waves and heating up. This heating will no more break up protein than traditional heating methods.

So :micro: away! Its good for you . but keep your pets and smileys away.

TMI footnote on why water is dipolar
"The water molecule forms an angle, with hydrogen atoms at the tips and oxygen at the vertex. Since oxygen has a higher electronegativity than hydrogen, the side of the molecule with the oxygen atom has a partial negative charge, relative to the hydrogen side. A molecule with such a charge difference is called a dipole.

.H...H.. <--- a water molecule

And heres one technical site Food Product Design: Understanding Microwave Reactions and Interactions (http://www.foodproductdesign.com/archive/1993/0493DE.html)

11-11-2004, 08:07 PM
Hmm.. your theory makes perfect sense.