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Did Microwaves Kick-Start the Obesity Epidemic?

According to professor Jane Wardle, the rapid rise in obesity rates could be related to the widespread ownership of microwave ovens.

Obesity rates started to rise soon after 1984, at about the same time as the microwave became a common household item.

This argument was proposed as one of three theories outlined during a debate on the subject at UK's Cheltenham Science Festival. Professor Tim Lang argued that the introduction of the supermarket was the cause.

Meanwhile, professor Ken Fox posited that the obesity epidemic can actually be traced back to 1945, when technology began to replace physical effort in work and leisure.

In 1980, 8 percent of women and 6 percent of men were classified as obese; by 2004, this had increased to 24 percent of men and women. Dr. David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, said that all three theories could be contributing factors, and that there was no single cause.

BBC News June 6, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

So what do microwaves have to do with obesity?

  • They allow you to prepare meals much faster
  • They spawned the creation of instant microwaveable "ready meals"
  • They were introduced just as food became cheaper

However, while microwaves may be associated with obesity, they are clearly not the cause. As much as I would like to report another large negative for microwaves, it is clear that they are not responsible for the obesity epidemic.

No, that is far more likely related to the fact that the number one source of calories in the United States is the high fructose corn syrup in soda, along with the epidemic of inactivity that causes desensitization of insulin receptors.

Most Americans are simply exchanging convenience for their long-term health. Yes, it tastes good and can save money and time by eating convenience foods, but the price you pay will be decreased time on this planet and loads of unnecessary suffering from chronic disease and premature disability.

I completely understand that microwaves clearly can be tempting devices for those looking to save some time in the kitchen. But aside from perhaps making it too easy to access heated-up junk food, microwaves can turn even healthy food into a
nutritional nightmare by:

  • Causing your food to lose valuable, cancer-fighting nutrients
  • Releasing carcinogenic toxins from paper plates or plastic covers into your food
  • Changing the chemical structure of your food, with unknown consequences

I haven't had a microwave in my kitchen for over 20 years. When I do cook my food (I eat a significant portion of it raw), it may take a bit longer to make a meal, but the knowledge that my food is nutritious (and still in its intended chemical structure) is well worth it.

For an easy alternative to microwave cooking please be sure and view Lucy Locke's recent video. You can also read How to Cook Whole Food From Scratch -- and Keep Your Day Job for additional insights.

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