Is Using an Oven Healthy? Find out why?

According to Wikipedia, an oven is “a thermally insulated chamber used for heating, baking, or drying a substance, and most commonly used for cooking”. Ovens come in different kinds and sizes and have been around for centuries, making our lives more comfortable.

Ovens have been around since the 17th century. The first recorded oven was in France in pre-1700s made from bricks and tiles like those that are used to make pizza in movies. A German invented the first cast-iron oven, called Five-plate or Jamb stoves, in 1728. The earliest ovens are open and release smoke, unlike the modern ovens we have now.

After the first cast-iron oven, Francois de Cuvillies manufactured the first enclosed oven he called Castrol stoves. 

At the end of 1700s Benjamin Thompson, also known as Count Rumford, invented an iron stove that allows the user to adjust the temperature of every stovetop which paves the way for the modern ovens.

In the 1800s, James Sharp patented the first gas oven. However, gas ovens were not popular until the 1920s. Following the invention of gas ovens, Thomas Ahearn produced the first electric oven in 1892. The electric oven was first used in Windsor Hotel in Ottawa.

The first microwave oven was produced in 1954 when Percy Lebaron Spencer, an engineer, discovered that microwaves cook food faster than the application of heat could.

What are ovens used for?

Ovens are generally used for baking, roasting, grilling, and toasting food. There are different types of ovens that you could find, differing in heat source and sizes but have similar functions.

We typically use microwave ovens for reheating food but it can also function for other types of cooking. They are not ideal for grilling, toasting, or any cooking method that results in browning the food. Conventional ovens are used for baking while convection ovens are ideal for roasting and grilling. Convection ovens also make the food attain a crisp texture.

Is using an oven healthy?

It is. Contrary to popular belief, ovens do not emit harmful chemical or waves could cause health risks. Most people believe that the energy transfer in the oven can cause adverse health effects especially microwave ovens. The cooking methods that use ovens impose health risk, not the oven itself.


The convection oven, as the name suggests, transfer heat through convection while conventional ovens transfer heat through a convention. Microwave ovens, on the other hand, are also safe to use as microwaves simply produce energy to cook food. In the process of heat transfer, leaching of any harmful chemicals or toxins is unlikely to happen.

What type of oven is good for the health?

Microwave ovens have been popular for decades since it emerged in the market. This type of oven cooks food using waves of energy shorter than radio waves, or what we call microwaves. Microwaves cause the molecules in the food to vibrate and lead to the build-up of thermal energy. There is no harm in microwaving food. It is one of the healthiest cooking methods along with steaming and pressure-cooking.

On the other hand, conventional ovens allow the electric current to flow through the metallic elements and produce heat to cook the food. Unlike microwave ovens, this type of oven heats the entire space. The heat in conventional ovens comes from the bottom, working up but distributes air unevenly.

Convection ovens use hot, dry air in cooking and built-in fans distribute the air in the oven. Furthermore, convection ovens produce lower temperatures and distribute heat evenly compared to conventional ovens. Cooking is faster in convection ovens, too.

Gas ovens are the most popular since 1920. It provides greater moisture compared to its electrical counterpart despite its inadequate ability for browning food.

Is OTG oven-good for health?

OTG is an abbreviation for Oven, Toaster, and Griller. As the name suggests, this type of oven is ideal for baking, grilling, and toasting. OTG ovens are small, portable ovens similar to microwave ovens wherein the heat source of OTG ovens comes from the coils placed at the top and bottom of the oven, converting electric energy into heat to cook food. Using an OTG oven does not impose any harmful risks for human health.

Baking in OTG ovens uses both top and bottom coils while grilling in OTG ovens uses the top coil alone. Cooking in an OTG oven takes longer compared to other ovens because heating the coils takes a long time, which makes OTG ovens less efficient.

Why is baking healthy?

Heat destroys nutrients but the trick here is to choose the right cooking method for the food to keep a high amount of nutrients as possible. 

Baking uses dry heat at high temperature so does that mean is it unhealthy? 

Despite using high temperature, baking accounts to only 10 to 47 percent of nutrient loss. Furthermore, baking increases the digestibility of grains and legumes and requires little to no added oil, which makes it healthier than other dry-heat methods

Is baked meat healthy?

Meat is a good source of protein and typically the main ingredient of numerous dishes in any cuisine around the world. Picking the right cooking method helps in retaining most of the nutrients in food. Each cooking method affects the quality and nutritional value of meat.

It is important to cook meat to break down the connective tissue and tough fibers and make it easier to chew and digest. Breaking down the connective tissue and tough fiber also increases the ability of the body to absorb nutrients. Furthermore, cooking meat can also kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning, illness, and worse, death. In addition, the cooking time and the cooking method can affect the antioxidant capacity of meat.

Baking is a cooking method that uses dry heat. Cooking for a long period at high temperature reduces the number of B vitamins in food. The B vitamins are absorbed in the dripping juices of the meat, which is why people serve the juices with the meat.

Cooking methods that require high temperature for long periods are unhealthy. Harmful compounds may form in this type of environment that can increase the risk of certain diseases.

Which is healthier, baking or frying?

Frying is associated with high calorie and fat content that can increase the risk of heart diseases and even cancer. Moreover, frying is a cooking method that uses fat to cook food at a high temperature. The different types of frying are pan-frying, stir-frying, and deep-frying.

You should consume deep-fried foods as little as possible since they offer little or no nutritional value and absorb too much fat that puts you at risk of certain diseases like cancer. Deep-frying can cause a carcinogen, called acrylamide, to form. High temperature causes the starch to convert to carcinogens. Furthermore, frying at high temperatures also leads to oxidation of oils, which can be dangerous for the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Aside from that, it also leads to obesity, therefore, increasing the risk of illnesses such as diabetes and stroke.

Baking, on the other hand, cuts down your intake of calories and fats. It does not require adding oil to cook food, thus, reducing the risk of health problems. Baking also retains a significant amount of nutrients and adds a depth of flavor. This cooking method promotes a healthy lifestyle and helps in managing weight compared to frying.

Which cooking method is the healthiest?

Roasting and baking are cooking methods that use dry heat. They differ from most heat methods where water or any liquid is added to the food in cooking. Roasting refers to cooking food in a roasting pan. The food is placed on a rack to keep it above from the juices that drip during cooking. Roasting can also be done in oven rotisserie wherein you cook the meat on a slow-turning spit. This method is usually used to roast a whole chicken, turkeys, and even pigs. 

Baking, on the other hand, uses a baking dish that can be covered or open, depending on the dish you are preparing. Baking is generally used for poultry or fish rather than red meat. Roasting and baking lead to minimal loss of vitamin C. The temperature for roasting and baking is 300 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 149 to 218 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the type and cut of meat. However, these methods are healthier compared to other dry-heat cooking methods such as deep-frying that uses excess oil, which increases the calorie and fat count in the food. Baking or oven roasting does not usually require adding additional fat.

Long cooking times at high temperature decreases B vitamins up to 40%. Aside from roasting and baking, grilling and broiling are also dry-heat cooking methods that use high temperature to cook food. Grilling Is a method that places the heat source directly below your food such as an open grill or barbecue. The temperature reaches from 375 degrees up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the heat source for broiling comes from above such as the broiler in the oven. These cooking methods are two of the unhealthiest cooking methods since they lead to the production of harmful toxins. When fat coming from the meat drips onto the grill or cooking surface, carcinogens and other toxic compounds form and leaches into the meat.

Frying is a cooking method is often associated with high-fat content that causes an imbalance of cholesterol levels that lead to a higher risk of heart diseases and stroke. Frying refers to the method of cooking food with fat. Unlike the dry heat methods mentioned above, cooking time for frying is relatively short even in high temperature. Using healthy oils does the trick in making this method healthy.

According to studies, microwaving retains glucosinolate, a compound with cancer-fighting properties, better than other cooking mostly found in broccoli. Microwaving uses little water as possible to heat the food and requires no added oil, which makes it one of the healthiest cooking methods.

Cooking methods that use lesser water and lower temperatures are the healthiest.

Steaming is considered as the healthiest cooking method since it uses little water over low heat, minimizing nutrient loss as possible. Steaming allows food to stew in their juices, which helps them retain the nutrients.

Pressure-cooking is a moist heat cooking method that enables food to cook quickly with less energy by sealing the steam inside the pot. Cholesterol is less oxidized when food is pressure-cooked. Pressure-cooking also minimizes nutrient loss and even retain a high amount of nutrients in the food.

What are the pros and cons of baking?

Baking has been around since the ancient times where baked dishes were first recorded. 

People in ancient history soak grass leaves and grains in water and mash them to form a thick paste and cook them on top of hot, flat stones. However, baking became popular when bread was the most common baked goods during the Roman Empire.

Cons

  1. Baking takes time. A stretch of patience is needed when baking since it takes hours for food to be completely cooked. The type of oven also affects the cooking time of the food. OTG ovens take a long time to cook food while microwave ovens cook food quickly.
  2. Baking takes a lot of practice, especially for pastries and bread. You have to know the right consistency of the ingredients to produce the best dish. You can simply open the oven and test the taste every minute.

 

Pros

  1. Baking promotes a healthy lifestyle. It requires no added oil, therefore, helping people manage their weight and at the same time reducing the risk of life-threatening illnesses. Moreover, it also keeps most nutrients intact, minimizing nutrient loss.
  2. Baking adds depth of flavor in food because it allows food to caramelize.
  3. Baking is not only healthy for humans but also good for the environments since it has lesser emissions of toxic by-products like smoke.
  4. Baking makes food visually appealing and produces mouthwatering aromas.

 

References:

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