From small countertop cookers to outdoor grills, infrared heat is the latest craze in fast, easy cooking. If you’re looking for a new, convenient way to prepare family meals, consider the advantages and disadvantages of infrared cooking.
Infrared heat has actually been around for years. It’s the same type of heat created by electromagnetic radiation in microwave ovens. The heat cooks food very quickly because it penetrates food molecules without heating up surrounding areas. Compared to conventional ovens that can take hours to cook a full meal, you can cook a family dinner with frozen chicken in less than 20 minutes. With clear glass or infrared inspection windows, you can keep an eye on your meal from start to finish.
Although infrared heat has been determined to be safe, it does have the ability to alter basic food components and cause negative health effects. Some health concerns include:
Destruction of Vitamin B12
Dairy products and meats provide the body with a lot of vitamin B12, but studies show that infrared heat destroys vitamin B12 in foods. Studies on health and nutrition report a vitamin B12 loss of up to 40 percent in heated milk and dairy products, as well as raw pork, beef, and chicken cooked in infrared cooking equipment.
Certain green vegetables like broccoli and cabbage contain an anti-carcinogenic plant substance called glucosinolate. Research shows that cooking these vegetables in a microwave or infrared cooker destroys as much as 60 percent of this beneficial plant substance. Although boiling and stir-frying these healthy veggies also causes glucosinolate loss, it is significantly less.
It’s a known fact that bacteria in food thrives in hot environments without proper refrigeration. Studies show that extremely fast cooking provided by infrared heat helps to harbor bacteria in certain foods including eggs, seafood, red meat, and poultry. Since food cooks so fast, certain bacteria may survive the cooking process, creating a higher risk of food-borne illness.
Although infrared cookers certainly make preparing meals easier and faster, they don’t provide the healthiest meals. Before you invest, it’s important to weight the convenience against the health concerns of your cooking equipment.