After answering this article, I did some research on microwaving killing vitamins and nutrients in food.
I very quickly learned that this is a touchy subject, even among nutritionists, and nobody (at least, nobody I saw) seems to have a "this is the science behind it and here is a definite answer" answer. Some articles claim "there is no hard evidence" while others point to studies from Stanford and other respected institutions that back the "yes" answer.
Some quick articles with conflicting information, if you're only going to read one please read the first and last as they seem the most reputable to me:
- The Straight Dope: Scientists are not sure yet, but it's likely in some cases
- Microwaving can be like boiling, which kills nutrients
- Microwaving is the best way of cooking for preserving nutrients
- Microwaving hurts broccoli, but is good for potatoes
- Harvard: Microwaving may preserve nutrients, like Vitamin C
As an interesting note, the "use less water" idea, which most of us take as common sense when cooking vegetables, may also be under scrutiny. From the Harvard article above:
But this is nutrition, and nothing in nutrition is simple. Italian researchers published results in 2008 of an experiment comparing three cooking methods — boiling, steaming, and frying — and the effect they had on the nutritional content of broccoli, carrots, and zucchini. Boiling carrots actually increased their carotenoid content, while steaming and frying reduced it. Carotenoids are compounds like lutein, which may be good for the eyes, and beta carotene. One possible explanation is that it takes longer for vegetables to get tender when they’re steamed, so the extra cooking time results in more degradation of some nutrients and longer exposure to oxygen and light.
So, my questions are: Is microwaving known to kill nutrients in foods? Is there a way to minimize this effect? Can any nutritionists weigh in here with their experience, and ideally, the science behind their answers? This has been a very confusing research path full of conflicting information, so all answers are appreciated.