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March 18, 2009

Are Microwave Ovens Safe?

By Worker Bee
131 Comments

MicrowaveTo Nuke or Not to Nuke?

The verb itself suggests the unleashing of atomic destruction, but we wondered, “Is there a grain of truth behind the slang?” What’s the real story behind these boxes of convenience sitting in so many of our kitchens? Are microwaves a benign bastion of modern handiness or, as some claim, a sinister contributor to our physiological (at least nutritional) undoing?

It’s likely that we find ourselves in a variety of camps on this issue. Some of us swear them off. Others unapologetically swear by them to get through the normal course of a busy day. And then there are those of us in the dithering middle who routinely stare at each plate of leftovers or bowl of frozen vegetables, sometimes reaching for the pots and pans and other times giving into convenience but always questioning whether we’re paying for it.

Should we be plagued by these pangs of conscience? Are we emitting dangerous radiation into our homes or killing off the nutritional value of our unsuspecting food? Are we making a mountain out of a molehill? What should we believe? Is there enough evidence to really tell either way?

We definitely know this much. Grok didn’t have a microwave. But, then again, he didn’t have a jet shower, Bose stereo system, or Hammacher Schlemmer thumper massager. (Trade-offs, you know…) As much as we love Grok and think his era has been unduly disparaged, we aren’t arguing that he had the best life possible or that anything he didn’t have isn’t worth having. Nonetheless, while it’s a naturalistic fallacy to assume that everything post-Paleo is an abomination, it’s both fair and reasonable to question the safety of today’s customary appliances.

Here’s what we found. First, to the question of transforming your home into a radiation zone… There is, not surprisingly, disagreement about this point. However, occasional home use of a fully functional microwave appliance is generally considered safe. Microwaves do, make no mistake, emit radiation, and the FDA has established what it considers “safe” levels for microwaves: over the machine’s “lifetime” the allowable level is “5 milliwatts of microwave radiation per square centimeter…approximately 2 inches from the oven surface.” Guidelines from the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) suggest overall radiation limits of 1 milliwatt per square centimeter “averaged over 6 minutes (0.1 h) period.” Unless you’re using your microwave on a perpetual basis, there’s little reason to worry.) Because the radiation diminishes quickly over distance, standing further away from the microwave during operation cuts your exposure even more significantly. (That instinct to not press your face against the glass door while your lunch was cooking turns out to be right after all…) Additionally, the FDA requires two interlock systems that effectively offer backup security as well as a monitoring system that shuts the microwave down if one of the systems isn’t working or if the door is opened during operation. Common sense adds that you might want to make sure the microwave seal isn’t compromised by built up tomato sauce or other grime. (Hmmm…anyone?) And, of course, it’s a good idea to replace an old, dilapidated microwave even if it’s a great conversation piece. Safety versus vintage flare…

And now for the more common question. What about the nutrients? (We should mention quickly that microwaving of food isn’t the same as food irradiation, which involves a higher level of energy and is considered much more damaging in terms of “complex chemical changes … in food components.”) But how do nutrients fare behind the closed, latched, double interlock system door? Well, it varies. As we’ve reported in the past, cooking of any kind can sometimes reduce the nutritional value of food and occasionally enhance it. Slow and low are typically the way to go with cooking, as we’ve said. A pretty much universal concept for our friends, fruits and veggies: steaming or cooking/microwaving with small bits of water trumps boiling or deep frying. When it comes to microwaving itself, studies suggest some mixed reviews for individual vegetables or nutrients but indicate, overall, that microwaving generally preserves nutrient levels.  One study using Brassica vegetables found that microwaving resulted in comparable nutrient (glucosinolates, a possible cancer preventative compound) loss when compared to steaming or stir frying.  (Actually, shredding the vegetable ahead of time had more impact on nutritional value than the cooking method.) However, another study using broccoli suggests that antioxidants can be significantly depleted.  (Antioxidants, particularly water soluble vitamins, appear to be most at risk while minerals tend to be generally preserved in microwave preparation.) Yet another study review showed that microwaving with low power settings offered “equal or better retention of nutrients … as compared with conventional, reheated foods for thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folacin, and ascorbic acid.” University of Illinois research also showed that microwave blanching (brief exposure to high heat used for pre-freezing preparation to lengthen storage ability of frozen produce) was as or more successful in retaining nutritional value than conventional blanching methods. (Nonetheless, blanching does diminish nutrient levels.)

But how could microwaving actually preserve more nutrients in many cases? Not only do we generally use less liquid when cooking in the microwave, cooking times are typically shorter than those for conventional cooking. (As a side note, new ceramic cookware designed for microwave use shows promise to cut cook times further still, which can mean even greater nutrient preservation.)

Our best advice: nuke wisely. If the convenience of a microwave keeps you committed to PB eating, use it as you need to. (We’re all for leftovers, freezing fresh produce to save money, etc.) Nonetheless, thinking outside the micro box is likely a good idea as well. Invest in some small pans for single servings or small cooking jobs. (If it takes up less space in the dishwasher/sink, it seems like less of a chore.) And, of course, avoid heating (and especially reheating) whenever you can to retain the most nutrition. Heat only the ingredients you must to make a dish palatable, and keep water use, time and temp (power level) as low as possible. (Bonus: it helps you avoid those nasty steam burns from handling overheated dishes.)

Have your own reasons for yea or nay on nuking? Let us know what you think and any tricks you’ve found useful to avoid or minimize microwaving.

limonada Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Should I Stop Eating Flax Seed?

8 Ways to Reduce Your Chemical Load

What’s Wrong with Juicing?

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103 Comments on "Are Microwave Ovens Safe?"

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Ailu
Ailu
7 years 8 months ago
A few months ago, of my buddies suddenly got rid of her microwave, and I asked her why. She said she had learned microwaves “destroy enzymes in our food”. I thought she had fallen for the usual myths & baloney out there, so I decided to do some research to show her they were safe. Well, I gotta tell you, I am pretty shocked by what I found. For instance, in 1992, a Swiss Dr. by the name of Hertel conducted a study that proved eating foods that have been microwaved *chemically alters the blood of a person to a… Read more »
Emery
Emery
7 years 2 months ago

I’m not saying that this Dr Hertel does not exist, nor do I personally nuke anything but cold coffee or sometimes water…. however Strasbourg is not in Austria, and to my knowledge in 1998 Switzerland was not a member of the European Union!

Joe Deven
6 years 9 months ago

“however Strasbourg is not in Austria”

Emery, a recheck of your map or Google search, will indeed show that – Strasbourg is in Austria.

Kiwi-Ian
Kiwi-Ian
5 years 10 months ago

Joe, sorry, Strassburg Austria has a population of 2,200, Strassburg Germany has a population of 5,500, Strasbourg France has nearly half a million and is the seat of the European Court of Human Rights – the court that heard Hertel’s case. So many anti MW sites state Strassburg (or Strasburg or Strasbourg, it depends on whether you speak German)which is easily verified as being WRONG that one has to consider doubting the more difficult stuff.

Funbun
Funbun
5 years 10 months ago
Hold on before you get scared! You have to note that Dr. Hertel’s research still has not been published nor peer-reviewed. If no other researcher can even bother replicating or verifying his evidence, how can one assume that he was correct? Heck, there is evidence that even opposes Dr. Hertel’s findings. Potential carcinogens found in Jim Felton’s study of microwaving meats were actually eliminated, as opposed to grilled or fried meats. For all we know, Dr. Hertel might have even used plastic containers to contain the foods that he tested. This is only one experiment. How the heck are we… Read more »
BEE
7 years 8 months ago
I grew up without a microwave. My mom (a self-proclaimed hippie, and one of my biggest idols) always thought that since they were so new to the earth we didn’t know their affect on humans and would eventually find out that they were detrimental to our health (mostly due to radiation). Although it would appear there’s no real evidence of this, she was on to something- she knew it wasn’t natural to be zapping our food. I love this article and will show it to everyone I can, but I also think it should’ve included something about taste. Most people… Read more »
Mark Sisson
7 years 8 months ago

Great point, BEE. There are other reasons to not use a microwave. How much longer does it take to heat up something on the range? In many cases the difference is only a minute or two, and the taste factor certainly can play a deciding role.

Adam Steer - Better Is Better
7 years 8 months ago

We put ours in the basement so that it is a real pain in the butt if we want to use it. I figure that is one of those “better safe than sorry” items. About the only thing we ever use it for – on rare occasions at that – is for microwave popcorn.

Cheers,
Adam

Marc Feel Good Eating
7 years 8 months ago

I never really used a microwave….
why you ask? I like warming left overs in a pan with butter 😉

Marc

madMUHHH
madMUHHH
7 years 8 months ago
Woah, it’s like you can read my mind, Mark. Yesterday I was thinking about how to cut some costs and voilà! your depression diet article turns up. Because I bought some brussels-sprouts yesterday (for the very first time in my life!) and I decided to cook quite a big amount of them this evening, I wondered if I should keep some of them for the next day and whether it would be smarter to reheat it in a pan or the microwave (even though I barely use the microwave at all). And now this article is showing up. Well I… Read more »
Russell
Russell
7 years 8 months ago

Tonight for dinner, I microwaved some left-over chicken and veggies, and steamed some broccoli. The microwaved food was delicious, and so was the broccoli. But, the scary thing that my wife and I have found is that 1/2 the time we use our microwave there is a car on our street whose alarm goes off. And this has happened enough that we’re sure our microwave is putting out something that is causing the car alarm to go off.

Still, I microwave, but never stand too close!

nonegiven
nonegiven
7 years 8 months ago

I heat almost everything on defrost because it gets hard around the edges, otherwise. I had to get new one at Walmart last summer. I figure it has to be safer than the old one because that one was cobbled together from parts of three broken ones. It is the handiest thing for boiling water but some things do taste better heated in the oven. Being without one for several days was very inconvenient.

Rodnay
Rodnay
7 years 8 months ago
Great topic! I have always wondered about microwaves, especially after a rep from a coconut oil company was shocked when I told her I put my oil in the microwave whenever I needed it in liquid form. She gave no evidence as back-up but suggested I use a very low energy if I felt the need to continue. On a related note, I just purchased a convection toaster oven after reading about them via one of your weekend links. It is a real time and energy saver over my old oven. Does anyone know if re-heating makes sense in a… Read more »
Brandon Barker
Brandon Barker
3 years 10 months ago
See the response by microwaveguru at http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=316981 The high heat level is likely why this could be a bad approach. Still, for leftovers, I think it is hard to argue with the microwave sometimes. I’ll copy his response below: Before I answer let me tell you that I am a microwave scientist and have worked microwaves and microwave ovens for nearly 50 years – I also teach this stuff. 1. microwaves heating oil: while a much poorer microwave absorber than water, oils still do absorb microwave energy and heat, especially if the quantity of oil is large – say 4… Read more »
Leah
Leah
3 years 5 months ago

It’s super easy to melt coconut oil by putting the container into some hot or boiling water. It only takes a few minutes.

Ruth
7 years 8 months ago

We do not have a microwave. I do not trust microwaves.

On the rare occasion that I eat out, I can taste it when they nuke a cup of coffee. It is NOT the same.

I respect that there is scientific data that suggests that microwaves preserve the nutritional content of food, but in my humble opinion, there is too much that we don’t know about radiation and what it does to our bodies.

Rachel
Rachel
7 years 8 months ago
Why not just use a toaster oven? That’s what I do in my house and what my parents do. No worry about radiation and the food doesn’t turn to muck. If my fiance is hankering for popcorn, I make it in a pot on the stove (it has a glass lid) and I put real butter on it instead of the junk oils that are packaged with microwave meals. So, when do we start trusting what the FDA says anyway? I was reading an article on Mercola.com talking about how a lady had a blood transfusion and the blood was… Read more »
Son of Grok
7 years 8 months ago

I have often wondered about this myself. I cook in the oven and on the stove but reheat almost exclusively in the microwave. Its just so fast, easy and convenient…. which wait a second… that should tell me something is wrong right there! lol

The SoG

Jerry
Jerry
7 years 8 months ago
I think it can be debatable as to whether or not a microwave is safe for the home, but I finally stopped using mine over a month ago and really don’t miss it that much. I have a toaster/convection oven that has really replaced my microwave in a lot of ways. And with my stove and regular oven, and pressure cooker, there’s just no need for the microwave. Sure, it’s convenient and it does take me a bit more time sometimes to re-heat things, but to me the extra time is worth it. I just have a bad feeling about… Read more »
Robert M.
Robert M.
7 years 8 months ago
A little remedial science lesson seems to be in order here. Microwaves are electromagnetic radiation/photons, the same as radio waves, infrared, visible light, x-rays, etc. Microwave is just the name we give to photons in a certain range of (very low) energies. Photons in the visible spectrum have far more energy per photon — enough in some cases to effect chemical bonds. This is why we package some foods in dark brown bottles. Microwaves have a very small quanta of energy and a single microwave is completely harmless. When you have a very high flux of microwaves they cause significant… Read more »
anon
anon
7 years 6 months ago
Robert says “A little remedial science lesson seems to be in order here. Microwaves are electromagnetic radiation/photons, the same as radio waves, infrared, visible light, x-rays, etc. Microwave is just the name we give to photons in a certain range of (very low) energies.” I see, thank you Robert for your expert science lesson. Since Robert has informed us of this science, this now justifies any microwave energy – even if we leave our microwave doors open and purposely stand right near the microwave. After all, companies have done extensive research and stated that microwaves do emit dangerous waves when… Read more »
anand srivastava
anand srivastava
6 years 8 months ago
Well, I guess its pretty old, but I think I need to say something about it. The problem with microwave is the intensity of the light. Its not with the light per say. So when you lower the power, you should ideally lower the intensity. But most microwaves actually just cook for smaller time. I am not sure how to debunk this because while Robert was talking about science, this message only talks about perception. Well Perceptions can be misleading. It is perceptions that get you Low Fat high carb diets. Its not the science. Science simply says that lower… Read more »
heatseeker
heatseeker
5 years 10 months ago

Robert was making a perfectly valid point, that the often hysterical use of the label “radiation” can be misleading. He’s perfectly correct in everything he describes. Your post, on the other hand, not only shows your own ignorance on the subject of basic 8th grade science, it’s needlessly snippy.

Jake
Jake
5 years 10 months ago

There is no need be rude and sarcastic to Robert. He is correct about microwaves. Are microwaves dangerous? Sure. If you were to run them, as you suggest with the door open and stand right in front. Or if you over heat your food and eat it right away, you might burned.

Traditional, stoves, ovens and even open fires like Grok used are also very dangerous when not used correctly.

Kiwi-Ian
Kiwi-Ian
5 years 10 months ago
Absolutely. Many of the “dangers” of microwave ovens apply to all types of heating. How many people here would put a plastic container onto a stove to heat up? How many would keep the oven door open while they roast something, or stick their head in to see how things are going? How many would touch a hotplate to see what that does? How many put a naked flame up to their ear? Has anyone tried using a blow torch to heat up blood and if not why not? A bit of common sense please. Microwaves are not totally harmless,… Read more »
Seb
Seb
4 years 8 months ago
I’ve got to chip in here Robert with some facts. Microwave refers to a band of frequency not the size or amount of energy. Also the microwave does not heat things like the sun, a microwave oven typically uses 2 equal strength ‘microwaves’ projected at each other, since energy can not be created nor destroyed and the 2 waves cancel each other out the energy transfers into heat in the food instead, to the water to be precise, Which is usually on the inside of the food not the outside, Its convection heating that cooks from the outside. Also a… Read more »
Sally
Sally
7 years 8 months ago

I don’t have a microwave at home but I do use one at work to reheat leftovers for lunch.

Mark,
I have a question about xylitol. Usually I avoid artificial sweeteners and I’m not much of a gum-chewer but recently I’ve heard from a few sources that xylitol is anti-bacterial and chewing gum with xylitol after meals is good for your teeth when brushing is not an option. I know Grok didn’t have come, but what are your thoughts on consuming small amounts of artificial sweeteners for the sake of dental hygiene?
Thanks!

wayne
wayne
7 years 8 months ago
It is true that much money is spent for health information, but it is also quite true that so far no will find the cure for terrible diseases and quickly became generalized in our body, it calls on the authorities to better distribution of this money because it is spending so far in vain, I have friends who suffer from cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s, and so far we can not find any solution to the disease, only the medicines in oxycontin to control their pain, but until you take the same? actually there will be some day, the cure? Please have… Read more »
Spring Girl
7 years 8 months ago

I’m definetly a fence sitter on this issue. But there comes a point where I would question the debate on radiation. After all, most people use mobile phones right? And that involves putting a device that emits radiation up to your HEAD.

Mobiles are as convenient as microwaves, should we stop using them also?

anon
anon
7 years 6 months ago
“I’m definetly a fence sitter on this issue. But there comes a point where I would question the debate on radiation. After all, most people use mobile phones right?” Hello – I am also a fence sitter on the microwave issue. Just because people use cell phones, does not magically make microwaves and cell phones safe. Smoking was considered safe and only Adolf Hitler started the stop smoking trend. Yes that is right, people thought smoking was healthy and even good for you at one time – what is the problem with some energy added flames entering the lungs? it… Read more »
Jerry
Jerry
7 years 8 months ago
Spring Girl, this is just my opinion but I don’t necessarily feel cell phones are completely safe either. I do use a cell phone, but I try to limit my use on it and I do have some concerns about the radiation that is so close to your head, even if it’s only a small amount. So should we stop using cell phones? You know, over time we might find out that yes we should, or we might find out that they are completely safe. I don’t think anyone has the absolute correct answer yet no matter what they claim.
anon
anon
7 years 6 months ago
“Spring Girl, this is just my opinion but I don’t necessarily feel cell phones are completely safe either. I do use a cell phone, but I try to limit my use on” Same here. You would be amazed at how often you will find a pay phone when you have an emergency. I live in a Rural town and even on my way to other far away towns I rarely ever use a cell phone UNLESS it is for emergency. I keep some prepaid minutes in my phone (about 10 dollars worth) but hate refilling it because I rarely ever… Read more »
Ailu
Ailu
7 years 8 months ago

I agree. If there was a simple, safer option to a radiation-emitting cell phone, I would switch. But there is a simple, safer option to a microwave almost always readily available – the stove. I always try to go the safer route, when I can.

Eric
Eric
7 years 8 months ago
So the only person close on this is Robert M. above. A microwave uses 2.4 GHz electromagnetic waves to heat food. Sound familiar? It should because that’s exactly the same frequency as the WiFi you’re probably using to read this right now, or the bluetooth headset that you use to talk on your phone. There’s a good reason for that as well. It’s one of the few radio frequency bands that is free to use without a license from the FCC. So why 2.4 GHz? Well, 2.4 GHz happens to be the resonant frequency of water. So the reason a… Read more »
anon
anon
7 years 6 months ago
“So the only person close on this is Robert M. above. A microwave uses 2.4 GHz electromagnetic waves to heat food. Sound familiar? It should because that’s exactly the same frequency as the WiFi you’re probably using to read this right now” No, actually a lot of people use wires. Using WiFi in a house is completely useless since a comfy computer is at an office desk with a proper chair. Using a laptop on your bed, just because you can – is naive. Using one out in the garden is also naive, since you should be gardening – not… Read more »
anand srivastava
anand srivastava
6 years 8 months ago

Do you really hate science? You are against the people who are talking about science here. The others just have opinions.

Opinions are nice to have, but they must be backed by the science.

And these two people did not even give their opinions. Just the science.

Barbarian
Barbarian
11 months 6 days ago
errr…. sorry to point out the obvious, but the whole existence of this website, advice and posts is because of the internet, and the internet and computers evolved using SCIENCE. In Grok’s time, when fire was first used to cook food, others around the “inventor” may have perceived him/her as some sort of “witch doctor/scientist”, and would have been hesitant to use this new “fire” for cooking. The real threat at the moment is the proliferation of mobile phones and stronger and stronger Wi-Fi. I avoid talking on mobile phones as much as possible, and keep conversations brief as possible… Read more »
Lauren B
7 years 8 months ago
What Eric and Robert said are dead on. I was talking to my Chemistry professor (who is, incidentally, a microwave chemist!) about this. The water molecules are simply moving around more in order to heat food from the inside out, as Eric put it. Even if you stand close to your microwave, the radiation shouldn’t be able to escape since it is so targeted. I use my microwave for making hot “chocolate,” and cooking soaked grains on low power. It’s a lifesaver! My Chem professor did say to get a Bluetooth, though. These cell phones could pose a real threat… Read more »
anon
anon
7 years 6 months ago
“My Chem professor did say to get a Bluetooth, though. These cell phones could pose a real threat to our health down the line!” The same Chem professor in a few years may be saying that “well, the microwave ovens actually are unsafe because now they have proven it leaves the water molecule in an unstable ionic state temporarily when it goes through the blood, similar to electrolysis”. And this may not be the case – but it may be the case too. Better safe than sorry. Research Hertel’s work and let us get to the bottom of this. Did… Read more »
anand srivastava
anand srivastava
6 years 8 months ago

Do you think Water is as complex as blood? Do you think food that you are going to heat in microwave, you are going to put directly in your veins.

Please have some logic, can you?

It is one think to be cautious, another to be panicky.

Don’t Panic. Our digestive system is designed to handle molecules that have been altered. Heck we have lived so far with so many poisons in our diet.

Abe
Abe
7 years 8 months ago

One thing I haven’t seen anyone mention yet is to avoid microwaving plastic. The list of problems associated with plastics (BPA, phthalates, VOCs, etc…) is long, and growing longer all the time. There is evidence that heating plastics causes chemicals to leach out of them into whatever is nearby – in this case your food. If you’re going to nuke, at least use an inert container.

cheeseslave
7 years 8 months ago

Microwaving is gross. I hate what it does to food. It destroys the texture.

I suppose if you are warming up a dry chicken breast or frozen pot pie, it doesn’t matter because the food you’re eating doesn’t taste so great to begin with.

But for most home-cooked food, microwaving ruins it in my opinion. I only use the oven, the toaster oven, or the stove to warm food.

I agree with Marc — warm up the leftovers in a pan with butter!

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
5 years 10 months ago

I totally agree. When I started eating Real Food, I had to learn how to Really Cook. Dangerous or not, microwaves have no place in anything I cook. Even if they did, I wouldn’t use them. I enjoy the process of cooking, having things in the oven or bubbling on the stove. If I need to warm up my salmon, I just stick it on a plate with some butter and give it a few minutes. I’m not in a hurry. Even baked sweet potatoes cook fast in the toaster oven when you stick a potato nail in them.

David
David
7 years 8 months ago

For whatever it’s worth, here’s an article on microwaving from The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ISW/is_2001_June/ai_75178712

I have a cheap microwave that I use for disinfecting sponges, but I don’t use it beyond that, and never really feel the need anyway.

Helen
Helen
7 years 8 months ago

Three years ago we moved our microwave oven into the garage. We never use it now ourselves.

Sometimes when the whole family is here, they will reheat leftovers in the microwave.

I have more counter space now for my juicer!

Helen

ItsTheWooo
7 years 8 months ago
There is no such thing as “altering the blood to a near cancerous state”. That line is pure altie hogwash, so at this point I become highly skeptical of anything else this mercola-like quack may have to say. For all of you worried about radiation… you should realize radiation also comes from your computer monitors, televisions, it’s pretty much unavoidable. THe fear of microwaves is almost identical to the fear of artificial sweeteners. It seems “too good to be true” and it has scary words in it (microwave – sounds like a nuclear power plant! aspartame, sucralose, chlorine – poison!)… Read more »
anon
anon
7 years 6 months ago
“THe fear of microwaves is almost identical to the fear of artificial sweeteners. It seems “too good to be true” and it has scary words in it (microwave – sounds like a nuclear power plant! aspartame, sucralose, chlorine – poison!)” Actually it has been proven that many artificial sweeteners are carcinogenic when taken in large amounts (such as a 2L bottle of Diet Pepsi or Coke). In small amounts they are not so harmful and therefore humans are not affected as much – similar to how if I swallow a bit of gasoline each day it will not kill me… Read more »
Jake
Jake
5 years 10 months ago

I’m not saying that it’s great for health to eat large quantities, or any quantities really, of Diet Pepsi or Coke.

But do you really have scientific evidence that eating a 2L bottle of Diet Pepsi or Coke is carcinogenic, as you state in your post? Because that’s alarming considering the vast majority of people who consume the stuff.

Trav
2 years 11 months ago

Is diet coke healthy? No.

Is it completely neutral? No.

What is left?

What do you intuitively know is the answer?

Ailu
Ailu
7 years 8 months ago

Hey, I’m no scientist, that’s just the best explanation for what I understood from the results of the Hertel study. Flaming or ridiculing me doesn’t benefit anyone or anything but your own ego. Everyone needs to make up their own mind, based on their own research – rather than be ridiculed into conformity by strong willed people. Information regarding the Hertel study, as well as his case before the ECHR, are readily available online for all who wish to investigate it. That’s where I will leave it.

Chris
Chris
7 years 8 months ago

artificial sweeteners can indeed be poisonous(read Excitotoxins by neurosurgeon R Blaylock) and microwaved food tastes nasty

Trinkwasser
Trinkwasser
7 years 8 months ago

My ex got to keep the microwave. I’m not sure which I miss less.

I only used it for reheating, didn’t like the flavour it seemed to impart when using it for proper cooking.

Sam
Sam
7 years 7 months ago

My paternal grandmother, who died at age 96, always hated the idea of microwaves; she wouldn’t allow one in her house. She thought it was odd and unnatural to be able to heat food that fast… she also didn’t know anything about enzymes or molecular changes, but she knew microwaves made food taste terrible.

I’ve come to agree with her entirely. There have been numerous studies showing that eating microwaved food has a deleterious effect on animal (including human) health. The food just tastes bad, too… that’s important.

anon
anon
7 years 6 months ago
Dr. Hertel should be studied and I wonder if he had any ulterior motives? I am currently sitting on the fence on the microwave issue. I stopped using one for 20 years until I could find more evidence that this Hertel person was just a lying scumbag. Hertel, does not seem to be that type though. Now I am currently using a microwave during this time of life after 20 years of not having one – I wonder what I should do? Did Hertel have any ulterior motives? Was he trying to gain publicity? Or was he truly finding evidence… Read more »
trevor
trevor
6 years 11 months ago

It’s very sickening to read comments like anon’s. There are ways to disagree without the attacks and disrespect. I would like to read the thoughts and comments without the vitriol.

jack
jack
7 years 6 months ago

lmao, at the anon poster who doesn’t understand science and keeps comparing a microwave to an atomic bomb.

An atomic bomb is dangerous because 1. it is an incredibly powerful explosion capable of destruction of the immediate area, and 2. the radiation it emits is gamma rays, the most harmful form of ionizing radiation.

Microwave radiation is not ionizing, as correctly pointed out, it is less energetic than even visible light.

Comparing microwaves to the radiation emitted by an atomic bomb is ignorant and is an example of the popular misconception of the term “radiation”.

Sally
Sally
7 years 4 months ago

Who has the last laugh? He/she who lives the longest!

Therefore the logic is simple, let those that feel the need to preach the safety of microwaved food eat this bastardisation of nature until their hearts are content! (Or stop working due to arterio and atherosclerosis amongst a myriad of other complications).

Simple!

Will
Will
7 years 3 months ago

It is interesting that “who lives the longest” is brought into the discussion. Dr. Percy Lebaron Spencer is the man widely accredited for developing the modern microwave and he lived to the age of 76 and the bulk of his work was done before safety precautions were inhibited for microwave use. Which means he received large amount of microwave exposure. I’m just saying if using a microwave allows me to live into my 70’s I’ll be just fine.

kristy
7 years 2 months ago

This is an interesting subject and I enjoyed reading the different comments. My views on microwaves are the same as my views on unfermented soy. My doctor swears unfermented soy is a perfect protein and good for you. I think it is indigestible at best or downright harmful at worst. He is a chemist and is sure that he is right. I just look at this way: He may be right. It MAY do him no harm to drink soy milk. BUT, I GUARANTEE that it will do me no harm to avoid it.

k
k
7 years 22 days ago

that is an extrememly good point to end this long and indecisive string of comments that I have read while trying to decide whether or not to keep the microwave my dad bought me.

Louise
6 years 6 months ago

If the MW is used on low and on an occasional basis and if you consider all of the precautions listed in the comments here you should be fine to use it.

Jack
6 years 11 months ago
MICROWAVED FOOD CAUSES CANCER: One single meal heated in a microwave oven does not kill us, but after a prolonged intake such micro waved food will cause so many blockages in the body that it will start to rebel. One day the world will wake up to the fact that microwaves do cause cancer, and are even worse than cigarettes. Microwaved food causes a slow death. In the beginning, superficially, we save a little time in heating up our morning coffee in the microwave oven – but the time we `save´ we are cutting off our own lives. There is… Read more »
Dave, RN
Dave, RN
5 years 10 months ago

” In 1991 a patient in a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, died of anaphylaxis after receiving a blood transfusion for which the blood had been warmed in a micro wave oven. Apparently the microwave irradiation had altered the blood causing the patient´s death. In that very same year the New England Medical Center in Boston stated that the structural and functional integrity of erythrocytes (red blood cells) remained unaltered by microwaving. But then what killed the patient?”

I’m wondering if this patient go the wrong blood type. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction.

Sharisa
Sharisa
3 years 7 months ago

Baby formula or breastmilk should not be warmed up in the microwave because you can get a hot spot in the middle that can burn the baby’s mouth/throat

Barbarian
Barbarian
11 months 6 days ago
The blood transfusion patient died as a result of all the red blood cells being “killed” in the frozen blood. The microwaving is hazardous to “live” cells and will cause them to explode at a cellular level as it boils them from the inside out. Not a problem if your eating them – a big problem if your injecting them into your blood stream though. The large quantity of sudden “dead cells” in the blood triggers an overdrive of the immune system, generally leading to an anaphylaxis type reaction. You could inject yogurt in your blood stream and get a… Read more »
lady_daraine
lady_daraine
6 years 11 months ago
Hey anon – don’t you think your little asinine crusade is ridiculous? Stop your hate mongering. Using science to explain why a microwave is not harmful is exactly that – science. Whether you agree with it or not does not give you the excuse to be a jerk. If you had any valid points, they are drowned out by your vitriolic crap. Have a little respect for other people’s opinions. You seriously sound like you think someone you know what killed by a microwave. What did it do – grow legs and arms and slaughter your baby? This website is… Read more »
Rob
Rob
6 years 10 months ago
The quick answer is no. Microwaving food isn’t safe, any extra-natural radiation isn’t safe. Genetically modified fruits and vegetables, and sugar (Aspartame, etc) are also not safe, the broken DNA has a negative effect. Any argument in favor of microwaving food and genetically modifying it is just someone lying to themselves and trying to rationalize their lifestyle. I eat microwaved foods sometimes, but make sure I get proper nutrition from other sources. For the record, one of the key players in getting the FDA to finally approve aspartame (after years of rejection) left the FDA and worked for the company… Read more »
Josh
Josh
6 years 10 months ago

Wow, no more zoodles for me.. 😐
I don’t usually eat that much microwaved food anyways and i hope to keep it that way now..

Anita
Anita
6 years 9 months ago

I’m another non-microwave-user.
I have a glass bowl Turbo oven, (which I love) & can use it for reheating most types of leftovers.
I also remember reading Mercola said he sometimes leaves leftovers on the bench at room temp. to ‘warm up’ for lunch.

Jake
Jake
5 years 10 months ago

Wow. Mercola. A brilliant source of reputable knowledge if there ever was one. Not.

This thread is depressing. Lots of people believing that the evil microwave will somehow change your food into poison with zero evidence to support that.

Ben
Ben
6 years 9 months ago

You get more cancer causing radiation from the radioactive decay of Carbon 14, Potassium 40 and other naturally occurring isotopes that are in you body than you can ever get from a microwave oven. Thats right you are radioactive. And so was Grok.

Ben
Ben
6 years 9 months ago
Microwave ovens heat by exciting water and other polar molecules (like fats). But the intensity of the EM waves is contained, that screen on the door is 10 times smaller than the microwave (which has a wavelength of about 12 cm. The screen acts like an antenna. The microwaves cause a current which is then sent to the ground prong on the plug. Just like the radio waves make a current in your car antenna and it goes to your speakers to make sound. Lastly…in terms of energy microwaves are much less energetic than infrared waves. Cooking by broiling is… Read more »
anand srivastava
anand srivastava
6 years 8 months ago
Also to add to the last comment. Fire is actually ionization of air. This air has very highly excited electrons. They fall back giving off infrared. This is why you see fire as red. When it is more energetic like on a bunsen burner, you get blue light. The blue light also means that there will be some ultraviolet, which is actually harmful to us. So when you are cooking over fire, you are using infrared, which is much more energetic than microwave. To repeat, the only problem with microwave ovens is the high power they provide. Microwave itself is… Read more »
Kiwi-Ian
Kiwi-Ian
6 years 7 months ago
Just a few comments on an interesting discussion. First some geography. Strasbourg, the seat of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), is in FRANCE, not Austria. It is NOT a European Union court but a Council of Europe court and Switzerland is a member of the CoE (but not the EU). Second, Hertel’s paper was never published in a peer reviewed science journal. The Swiss found him liable for anti competitive actions by stating that people must not buy microwave ovens and throw away any they have, the article (in the Journal Franz Weber) showed a picture of Death… Read more »
Desdemona
Desdemona
6 years 3 months ago

Great post! Some people seem to treat topics of interest like a religion (sorry if it offends), they will believe anything that is said as long as it’s what they want to hear. They will avoid science and ignore the facts if it means they have to drop their belief. (note: this last statement is not about religion, just pseudo science!).

I am always very careful when I read sites about nutrition to make sure it’s someone who can back up what they say by good science or facts not just what sounds nice.

Jake
Jake
5 years 10 months ago

Thank you for bringing some sanity to this discussion.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years 8 months ago

Kiwi-lan, it’s nice to see someone actually paid attention in science class. Even though the idea that microwaving food is bad for you is not supported by facts, it still can taste bad.

I am in complete agreement with you.

Louise
6 years 6 months ago

This was a fascinating discussion… I have been thinking about the safety of the MW recently and I now am considering cutting back on my use of this oven device. However, a bigger concern should be our use of the CELL PHONES AND COMPUTERS and so on … there are so many things in our environment that are harmful to us – even the tanning beds that so many girls/women like to use – these cause cancer also … anyway thanks for sharing …

NUKER
NUKER
6 years 6 months ago

I work with radiation, you guys need to do more research on radiation. Did you know…..
you get 1700mr of radiation just being alive from the sun(lovely grok sun)
you get 1mr of radiation from a banana, when you eat it(poor monkeys)
so from the microwave/cellphone/computer, you will not get even 1mr if you we sitting on using and looking at all three for the day, radiation is a natural part of this thing we call life and we would not survive without it, hope this shines some light on this so called dark subject.
GROK on

Actual Nuke Worker
Actual Nuke Worker
6 years 6 months ago
Hey NUKER I really hope we don’t work for the same company because your Nuclear knowledge isn’t very accurate. According to the Department of Energy, the average American receives about 360mr per year. The 1700mr you were talking about is mentioned by the same DOE report but is specific to a group of people living in the Northeast region of Washington State, and it’s mostly from Radon in the rocks and soil. As an actual Nuclear worker, the government allows me to absorb up to 5000mr per year of just ‘work related’ radiation and still not come remotely close to… Read more »
Nuker
Nuker
6 years 5 months ago
So Actual Nuker Worker, I am a actual nuclear worker, but in Canada, where we have more stringent rules and regulations and the number one nuclear reactor in the world (candu reactor)and the place that makes all you radioactive isotopes for medical treatment. As per our CNSC(Canadian nuclear safety commission) we are allowed 2500mr a year, but only 10000mr over 5 years. And as per the Canadian nuclear research, which not to moch the American. As per them an average person that works outside, flys at least once per year and lives at an average altitude of 2500 ASL will… Read more »
David
David
6 years 3 months ago

I have always thought that Microwave ovens aren’t good for you but not because of absorbing radiation from it. (Just stand back from the door and microwave leakage testers are cheap) My concern is the free radicals microwaving creates.

My Microwave does convection also so I use that as much as I can.

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