Is Infrared Cooking Healthy?

Similar to cooking with a microwave, infrared cooking uses electromagnetic energy, or EM, to heat your food. Infrared is a form of light energy, which is not part of the visible spectrum. With new models of infrared outdoor grills on the market, some are questioning the safety of these high-powered cooking devices. High-energy forms of EM radiation, such as X-rays may pose a cancer risk, but infrared broilers, barbecues and microwaves don't have enough power to alter or damage DNA.

Chicken kabobs on an infrared grill. (Image: Piyachok/iStock/Getty Images)

Infrared Cooking Safety Concerns

There is no link between infrared cooking and cancer, Gary Zeman, a certified health physicist in Berkeley, California, and spokesman for the Health Physics Society, told The Jamaica Gleaner in 2008. According to Zeman, the National Research Council found no link between such fields and cancer, after much investigation. Microwave cooking does not make food radioactive, change its protein structure or contaminate it in any way.

Precautions

Even though infrared cooking is safe, take proper precautions. Do not use your infrared grill or microwave oven if the hinge, seal or latch is damaged. Use caution when cooking with infrared due to the high heat produced. Be careful not to burn yourself and monitor children if they are nearby. If your cooking device is not working properly, don't ever try to fix an infrared or microwave yourself. Some inner parts can cause electric shock, even if unplugged.

Cooking With Infrared Grills

Grilling using an infrared grill is very close to the oldest cooking method, an open fire. Infrared grills use a tremendous amount of heat energy, which makes food cook extremely quickly. Because of the speed, an infrared grill can barbecue your corn, steak or potatoes much faster than a conventional grill.

Efficiency

With convection cooking, the air is heated around the food, and much of the moisture can dissipate. Infrared energy heats the food itself by quickly vibrating the molecules inside the food, this allows for more of the moisture to be retained inside the food.

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