When you're rushed for time, hungry and just too exhausted to even think about cooking, who hasn't grabbed for a quick and easy microwave meal? But experts have revealed that they are worse for our health than we originally thought.
And a recent National Food survey showed that there has been a rise, and reliance, on people eating microwave meals since the 1970s.
One of the health risks is down to the plastic trays that the meals are stored in. These plastic containers release carcinogenic toxins, Rick Hay, anti-ageing food and fitness nutritionist, told the Daily Mail. 'These toxins enter the food, then as you consume the food, they enter your body,' he says.
'The extra toxins put extra pressure on your digestive system and on your immune system, too. They can have a detrimental effect on fertility, hormone balance, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, mood and libido also.
'Obviously the more you use the microwave the higher your exposure to these potentially harmful chemicals.'
Woah! A four-minute lasagna can do that?!
However, Lily Soutter, nutritionist and weight loss expert, believes that the biggest worry is the lack of nutritional content and selection of additives that have been added to microwave meals.
'Many of the fruit and vegetables found in ready meals are pre-chopped and packaged. Studies have shown that pre-prepared fruit and vegetable can contain up 50 per cent less vitamin C when in comparison to those which are loose and unprepared.'
Additives, such as sugar, salt, saturated fats, chemicals, preservatives, stabilisers and E colourings are also added to these meals – which can cause weight gain and cholesterol problems.
'These are used to increase the shelf life and a cheap way of adding flavour. It's rare to find a meal microwave meal containing organic or free-range foods. The ingredients used tend to be cheap with poor nutritional values,' says Lily.
As well as this, when microwaving meals, even if they have vegetables in them, some of the nutritional content is lost. The healthiest way to cook fruit and vegetables is to oil them, using as little water as possible and not to overcook them.
Time to switch to cooking from scratch then…