The nutritional adequacy of microwave heated food

Since the discussion above has shown that chemical, biological, microbiological, radiological and toxicological implications for microwave heated food give no cause for concern, it should be expected that there are no particular nutritional problems associated with the procedure. Any difference in the nutritional value of microwaved food compared with food treated by conventional means must be attributed to the different heating regimes. Microwaves bring the advantage of fast heating throughout the food with a lower temperature burden because of reduced cooking time. As a consequence, the loss in heat-sensitive vitamins is minimised. In addition, the extent of chemical reactions, such as the Maillard reaction, may be reduced and the retention of nutrients be enhanced. In microwave heating, less water is needed so that less extraction of valuable nutrients including minerals occurs. The quantification of such advantageous effects is largely dependent on the way the appliance or industrial facility is set up. However, in industrial applications the amount of water may be tailored to achieve the optimal effect between heating, microorganism reduction and retention of nutrients.

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