Carotecnews comment: (April 27, 2023, note: Tom Valentine, Carotec Co-Founder, published the original version in 1992 in Search for Health, his self-published magazine. He updated the article in 2004 in True Health, a print newsletter published by Carotec.
The “crime” of this article is that a truly caring scientist was fined into bankruptcy and driven out of his country for publishing the dangers of microwave technology. We have a much sicker world now than in 1992. Electromagnetic pollution is ubiquitous with cellular telephones, WI-FI and the like. We are proud to post this “ahead of its time” article in 2023. Feel free to share it with friends and family.)
In the March 2004 issue of Environmental Nutrition, which is an establishment newsletter, the reader is told about the virtues of cabbage as follows:” … (Cabbage) ranks high on the list of cancer-fighting foods, along with cruciferous cousins like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale. Cabbage is packed with phytonutrients, including glucosinolates, which convert to cancer-blocking compounds like sulforaphane and isothiocyanates, plus flavonoids like quercetin … “
Then this authoritative newsletter tells the reader the following about cooking cabbage to get the most nutritional value: “To minimize loses of glucosinolates as well as vitamin C when cooking cabbage, add just a few teaspoons of water to a cabbage wedge and microwave it rather than submerging it in boiling water.”
How good is that advice? If you have followed True Health’s information since 1992, you know that we say microwave cooking is an absolute no-no. Interestingly, new data has quietly entered the picture. Last year researchers in Spain investigated the effects of cooking on the important nutrient compounds of broccoli (a relative of cabbage) and published their results in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 83:1511-1516, online 2003.
The upshot of the detailed study was summarized in the abstract of the paper as follows:
“Clear disadvantages were detected when broccoli was microwaved, namely high losses of flavonoids (97% lost) synaptic acid derivatives (74% lost) and caffeoylquinic acid derivatives (87% lost) … On the other hand, steaming had minimal effects in terms of loss on both the bioflavonoid and hydroxyl cinnamoyl derivative contents.”
This research found that microwaving was worse than boiling.
All the long technical names for the nutrients signify phenolic compounds, which are the essence of many herbal extracts and substances in vegetables that provide antioxidant and other healthful nutritional values. So, losing these nutrients virtually denatures the food.
What makes this study significant is not that it allows us to pan the bad advice in a major establishment newsletter, but that this study has escaped the “suppression” of such research. Any scientific evidence that might tend to set microwave cooking apart from other cooking and force some honest human clinical studies is apparently forbidden.
We now reprint our original report on microwave cooking which has been both reprinted and plagiarized all over the internet during the past decade. Once again, True Health brings you the “real McCoy” from our initial issue of our predecessor Search for Health.
(Editor’s note: While visiting Germany and Switzerland in the spring of 1992, Tom Valentine had an opportunity to meet with Dr. Hans Hertel, the only scientist to conduct a carefully crafted human experiment to test the effects of eating foods cooked in a microwave oven as compared to the effects of eating the same foods cooked conventionally. Millions of Americans eat foods cooked in microwave ovens every day. Most people do not want to hear about Dr. Hertel’s experiment because it condemns convenient microwave cooking. The electrical appliance establishment in Switzerland did not like his findings and although the news was suppressed the industry lobbied the Swiss courts until they put him on trial. Dr. Hertel was found guilty of “interfering with commerce.” For his good–faith scientific effort, the scientist was fined a large sum of money. He no longer lives and works in Switzerland. This story is now a classic in the annals of genuine health science versus agenda-driven science, it is written in the first person by Tom Valentine.)
No clinical studies had been done on what microwaved food might do to human metabolism. In fact, there has only been one serious study of the effects of microwaved nutrients on the physiology of the eaters and that’s the eventual point of this feature. The study caused a minor tempest in Switzerland where the “establishment” did not like the results one bit. But, we get ahead of ourselves. Back in May of 1989, after we had first moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, I heard on the car radio a short announcement that bolted me upright in the driver’s seat. The announcement, sponsored by Young Families, the Minnesota Extension Service of the University of Minnesota said: “Although microwaves heat food quickly, they are not recommended for heating a baby’s bottle.” The bottle may seem cool to the touch, but the liquid inside may become extremely hot and could bum the baby’s mouth and throat. Also, the buildup of steam in a closed container such as a baby bottle could cause it to explode. “Heating the bottle in a microwave can cause slight changes in the milk. In infant formulas, there may be a loss of some vitamins. In expressed breast milk some protective properties may be destroyed (emphasis mine).
“Warming a bottle by holding it under tap water or by setting it in a bowl of warm water, then testing it on your wrist before feeding, may take a few minutes longer, but it is much safer.”
What was that? My reasoning on the spot went as follows: If an established institution like the University of Minnesota can warn about the loss of particular nutrient qualities in microwaved baby formula or mother’s milk, then somebody must know something about microwaving they are not telling everybody. Then, in early 1991 word leaked out about a lawsuit in Oklahoma where a woman named Norma Levitt underwent normal, non-life-threatening hip surgery only to be killed by a simple blood transfusion when a nurse “warmed the blood for the transfusion in a microwave oven!“
Logic tells us that if heating or cooking are all there is to it, then it doesn’t matter what mode of heating technology one uses. However, it is quite apparent that there is more to “heating” with microwaves than we’ve been led to believe.
Blood for transfusions is routinely warmed. But not in microwave ovens! In the case of Mrs. Levitt, microwaving altered the blood, and it killed her.
Does it not, therefore, follow that this form of heating does, indeed, do “something different” to the substances it heats? Well, then, is it not prudent to determine what that “something different” might do to humans ingesting the food substances heated or cooked in a microwave? A funny thing happened on the way to the bank with all that microwave oven revenue-nobody thought about the obvious. Well, nobody who had any clout thought about it. Only “health nuts” that are constantly aware of the value of quality nutrition, and the widespread “denaturing” of our sustenance, and their opinions carry little weight in our supermarket world.
Enter Hans Hertel, a scientist whose well-conceived clinical trial microwave experiment helped encourage me to make a detailed investigative trip to Germany and Switzerland in 1992. Dr. Hertel lived in the tiny town of Wattenwil, near Basel, Switzerland.
He is a scientist who is alarmed at the lack of purity and naturalness in the many pursuits of modern mankind. He worked as a food scientist for many years with one of the many major Swiss food companies that do business on a global scale. A few years ago, he was fired from his job for questioning certain processing procedures that denatured the food.
“The world needs our help,” Hertel told me as we shared a fine meal at a resort hotel in the tiny alpine village of Todtmoos, Germany. “We, the scientists, carry the main responsibility for the present unacceptable conditions. It is, therefore, our job to correct the situation and bring the remedy to the world. I am striving to bring man and techniques back into harmony with nature. We can have wonderful technologies without violating nature.”
Hertel is an intense fellow–driven by personal knowledge of violations of nature by corporate man and his state-supported monopolies on science, technology, and education. At the same time, as we talked, his intensity shattered and transformed into a warm smile when he spoke of the way things could be if mankind’s immense talent were to work with nature and not against it. Dr. Hertel is the first scientist to conceive and carry out a quality clinical study on the effects of microwaved nutrients on the blood and physiology of human beings.
This small, but well-controlled study, pointed a firm finger of degenerative force at microwave ovens and the food produced in them. The conclusion was clear: microwave cooking changed the nutrients so that changes took place in the participants’ blood that was not healthy changes but were changes that could cause deterioration in the human systems.
Working with Dr. Bernard H. Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute for Biochemistry, Hertel not only conceived of the study and carried it out; he was one of the eight participants.
“To control as many variables as possible, we selected eight individuals who were strictly macrobiotic diet participants from the Macrobiotic Institute at Kientel, Switzerland,” Hertel explained. “We were all housed in the same hotel environment for eight weeks. There was no smoking, no alcohol and no sex.”
One can readily see that this study of individuals on a macrobiotic diet protocol makes sense from the perspective of controlling the many variables. After all, how could you talk about subtle changes in a human’s blood from eating microwaved food if smoking, booze, junk food, pollution, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and everything else in the common environment were also present?
“We had one American, one Canadian and six Europeans in the group. I was the oldest at 64 years, the others were in their 20’s and 30’s,” Dr. Hertel added.
In intervals of two to five days, the volunteers in the study received one of the food variants on an empty stomach. The food variants were: (1) raw milk from a biofarm (organic farm); (2) the same milk conventionally cooked; (3) the same raw milk cooked in a microwave oven; (4) pasteurized milk from Intermilk Berne; (5) raw vegetables from an organic farm; (6) the same vegetables cooked convention ally; (7) the same vegetables frozen and defrosted in the microwave oven; and (8) the same vegetables cooked in the microwave oven.
Once the volunteers were isolated at the resort hotel the test began. Blood samples were taken from every volunteer immediately before eating. Then blood samples were taken in defined intervals after eating from the above-numbered milk or vegetable preparations.
Significant changes were discovered in the blood of the volunteers in the sampling from intervals following the foods cooked in the microwave oven. These changes included a decrease in all hemoglobin values and cholesterol values, especially the HDL (good cholesterol) and its ratio to LDL (bad cholesterol). Lymphocytes (white blood cells) showed a more distinct shortterm decrease following the intake of microwaved food than after the intake of all the other variants. Each of the indicators pointed in a direction away from robust health and toward degeneration; a degeneration, Dr. Hertel stressed, that paralleled the kind of physiological degeneration that is typical of the beginnings of chronic and metabolic diseases such as the two biggest killers of all—cancer and heart disease.
Dr. Hertel also noted something else of scientific interest. In addition to the signs of degeneration, there was a highly significant association between the amount of microwave energy in the test foods and the luminous power of luminescent bacteria exposed to serum from test persons who ate that food. This led Dr. Hertel to conclude that such technically derived energies may, indeed, be passed along to man inductively via eating microwaved food. Can such a transfer of unnatural energies be healthful? Dr. Hertel insists that it cannot be health-giving.
“This energy transfer process is based on physical principles and has already been confirmed in the literature,” Hertel explained. The apparent additional energy exhibited by the luminescent bacteria observed in this study was merely an extra confirmation that the transfer occurs.
“There is extensive scientific literature concerning the hazardous effects of direct microwave radiation on living systems,” Hertel continued. “It is astonishing, therefore, to realize how little effort has been taken to replace this detrimental technique of micro waves with technology more in accordance with nature.
“Technically produced microwaves are based on the principle of alternating current. Atoms, molecules, and cells hit by this hard electromagnetic radiation are forced to reverse polarity 1-100 billion times a second. There are no atoms, molecules or cells of any organic system able to withstand such a violent, destructive power for any extended period of time, not even in the low energy range of milliwatts.
“Of all the natural substances—which are polar—the oxygen of water molecules reacts most sensitively. This is how microwave cooking heat is generated-friction from this violence in water molecules. Structures of molecules are torn apart, and molecules are forcefully deformed, called structural isomerism, and thus become impaired in quality.
“This is contrary to conventional heating of food where heat transfers by convection from without to within. Cooking by microwaves begins within the cells and molecules where water is present and where the energy is transformed into frictional heat.
The question naturally arises: what about microwaves from the sun, aren’t they harmful?
Hertel responded: “The microwaves from the sun are based on principles of pulsed direct current, not man-made alternating current. These rays create no frictional heat in organic substance.”
In addition to the violent frictional heat effects, called thermic effects, there are also non-thermic effects, which have hardly ever been taken into account by microwave cooking proponents, Hertel added.
“These non-thermic effects are not presently measurable, but we do know that they can also deform the structures of molecules and have qualitative consequences. For example, the weakening of cell membranes by microwaves is used in the field of gene-altering technology. Because of the force involved, the cells are actually broken, thereby neutralizing the electrical potentials, the very life of the cells, between the outer and inner side of the cell membranes. Impaired cells become easy prey for viruses, fungi and other microorganisms. The natural repair mechanisms are suppressed and cells are forced to adapt to a state of energy emergency-they switch from aerobic to anaerobic respiration. Instead of water and carbon dioxide, the cell poisons hydrogen peroxide and carbon monoxide are produced.”
Dr. Hertel had touched on an aspect of life and health, which has long been an object of keen interest for me. At Search for Health, we have pointed out for years that this reversal of healthy cell energy processes (from respiration to fermentation) may occur for several reasons; and whenever our cells revert from a “robust oxidation” to an unhealthy fermentation, we are ripe for all kinds of disease and
Now, the same violent friction and non-thermic deformations that can occur in our bodies when we are subjected to radar or microwaves happen to the molecules in the food cooked in a microwave oven. In fact, when anyone microwaves food, the oven exerts a power input of about 1000 watts or more. This radiation results in the destruction and deformation of molecules of food; and results in the formation of new compounds (called radiolytic compounds) unknown to man and nature.
Today’s established science and technology argues forcefully that microwaved food and irradiated foods, do not have any significantly higher “radiolytic compounds” than broiled, baked, or other conventionally cooked foods.
But, microwaving does produce more of these deformed, unnatural compounds. Curiously, neither established food science nor our ever-protective government have conducted any tests of the effects that eating the various kinds of microwaved foods may have on the blood of the eaters.
Hertel and his group did test it, and the indication is clear that something is amiss and larger studies should be funded. The apparently toxic effects of microwave cooking are another in a long list of unnatural additives to our daily diets. However, the establishment did not take kindly to Dr. Hertel’s important research, as you will see-but first, more on the study:
“The first drawing of blood samples took place on an empty stomach at 7:45 each morning,” Dr. Hertel explained. “The second drawing of blood took place 15 minutes after the food intake and the third drawing, two hours later.”
From each sample, 50 milliliters of blood were used for the chemistry and five ml for the hematology and the luminescence. The hematological examinations took place immediately after drawing the samples. Erythrocytes (red blood cells), hemoglobin, mean hemoglobin concentration, mean hemoglobin content, leukocytes and lymphocytes were measured. The chemical analysis consisted of iron, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The results of erythrocyte, hemoglobin, hematocrit and leukocyte determinations were consistently at the “lower limits of normal” in those who were tested following the eating of the microwaved samples.
“These results show anemic tendencies. The situation became even more pronounced during the second month of the study,” Hertel added. “And with those decreasing blood values there was a corresponding increase of negative cholesterol values.”
We can only imagine the pronounced negative changes that might occur in the bloodstream of people who consume various microwaved foods day in and day out. But, no matter it isn’t important, our establishment tells us so.
Hertel admits that stress factors, from getting punctured for the blood samples so often each day for example, cannot be absolutely ruled out, but the established baselines for each individual became the “zero values” marker and only change from the zero values were statistically determined.
With only one round of test substances completed, the different effects between conventionally prepared food and microwaved food were marginal-although noticed as definite “tendencies.” But, as the test continued, the differences in the blood markers became “statistically significant.” The changes noted are generally considered to be physiological signs of stress on the body.
For example, red blood cells tended to decrease after eating vegetables from the microwave oven.
Hemoglobin and both of the mean concentration and content of hemoglobin markers also tended to decrease significantly after eating the microwaved substances.
“Leukocytosis,” Dr. Hertel explained, “which cannot be accounted for by normal daily deviations, such as following the intake of food, is taken seriously by hematologists. Leukocyte (white cell) response is especially sensitive to stress. They are often signs of pathogenic effects on the living system, such as poisoning and cell damage. The increase of leukocytes following ingestion of microwaved foods was more pronounced than with all the other variants. It appears that these marked increases were caused entirely by ingesting the microwaved substances.”
The cholesterol markers were very interesting, Hertel stressed: “Common scientific belief states that cholesterol values usually alter slowly over longer periods of time. In this study, the markers increased rapidly after the consumption of microwaved vegetables.” However, with milk, the cholesterol values remained the same and even decreased significantly with the raw milk.”
Since we are advocates of drinking only raw milk, if one is going to drink it at all, we appreciated hearing that bit of news. Hertel believes that his study tends to confirm other recent scientific data that suggest cholesterol may rapidly increase in the blood secondary to acute stress.
“Also,” he added, “blood cholesterol levels are less influenced by the cholesterol content of food than by stress factors. Such stress-causing factors can apparently arise in foods which contain virtually no cholesterol-the microwaved vegetables.“
Eating good raw butter won’t raise cholesterol levels in a healthy person, but consuming organic vegetables cooked in the microwave will raise cholesterol levels in an unhealthy way. That’s news.
It is plain to see that this individually financed and conducted study has enough meat in it to make anyone with a modicum of common sense sit up and take notice. Food from the microwave oven caused abnormal changes, representing stress, to occur in the blood of all the test individuals.
But the same foods cooked conventionally did not generate abnormal changes.
Additionally, in this unique and innovative trial, biological individuality, a key variable that makes a mockery of many allegedly scientific studies, was well accounted for by the established baselines.
So, how has the brilliant world of modern technology, medicine and “protect the public” government reacted to this impressive effort?
Predictably, I’d say.
No sooner had Dr. Hertel and Dr. Blanc announced their results than the hammer of authority slammed down on them. The Swiss Association of Dealers for Electro apparatuses for Households and Industry, known simply as FEA, struck swiftly. They forced the President of the Court of Seftigen, Kanton Bern, to issue a “gag order” against Drs. Hertel and Blanc. The attack was so ferocious that Dr. Blanc quickly recanted his support-but it was too late; he had already put into writing his views on the validity of the studies where he concurred with the opinion that microwaved food caused blood abnormalities.
Dr. Hertel stood his ground against the juggernaut only to be ultimately convicted for “interfering with commerce,” and fined an appalling amount of cash after losing his appeals. He thus joins the ranks of other persecuted innovators who dared challenge the entrenched dogma that serves an institutionalized monopoly.
In March 1992, the court handed down this decision based upon the complaint of the FEA (translated from German):
1. Request from the plaintiff (FEA) to prohibit the defendant (Dr. Hans Hertel) from declaring that food prepared in the microwave oven shall be dangerous to health and lead to changes in the blood of consumers giving reference to pathologic troubles as also indicative for the beginning of a cancerous process. The defendant shall be prohibited from repeating such a statement in publications and in public talks by punishment laid down in the law.
“2. The jurisdiction of the judge is given according to law.
“3. The active legitimacy of the plaintiff is given according to the law.
“4. The passive-legitimacy of the defendant is given by the fact that he is the author of the polemic (published study) in question, especially since the present new and revised law allows to exclude the necessity of a competitive situation, therefore delinquents may also be persons who are not co-competitors, but may damage the competing position of others by mere declarations.”
(Apparently, Swiss corporations have lobbied in a law that nails “delinquents” who criticize or otherwise disparage products and might do damage to commerce by such remarks-and, believe it or not, there are those who would support this unconstitutional behavior in the U.S.)
“5. Considering the relevant situation, it is referred to 3 publications; the public renunciation (sic) of the so called co-author Prof. Bernard Blanc, the expertise of Prof. Teuber (expert witness from the FEA) about the above-mentioned publication, the opinion of the public health authorities with regard to the present stage of research with microwave ovens as well as to repeated statements from the side of the defendant about the danger of such ovens.
“6. It is not considered important whether or not the polemic of the defendant meets the approval of the public, because all that is necessary is that a possibility exists that such a statement could find approval with people not being experts themselves. Also, advertising involving fear is not allowed and is always disqualified by the law. The necessity for fast interference is in no case more advised than in the processes of competition. Basically, the defendant has the right to defend himself against such accusations. This right, however, can be denied in cases of pressing danger with regard to impairing the rights of the plaintiff when this is requested.”
(Wow! In Switzerland, Dr. Hertel has no rights to his views whatsoever. And there are many unthinking Americans who favor a “global” government apparatus based upon this European model. No thanks.)
“Conclusion: On grounds of this pending request of the plaintiff, the court arrives at the conclusion that because of special presuppositions as in this case, a definite disadvantage for the plaintiff does exist, which may not easily be repaired, and therefore must be considered to be of immediate danger. The case thus warrants the request of the plaintiff to be justified, even without hearing the defendant. Also, it is not known when the defendant will bring further statements to the public. “The judge is also of the opinion that because the publications are made up to appear as scientific and therefore especially reliable looking, they may cause additional bad disadvantages. It must be added that there does obviously not exist a just reason for this publication because there is no public interest for pseudo-scientific unproved declarations. Finally, these ordered measures do not prove to be disproportionate.
“The defendant is prohibited, under punishment of up to F5000, or up to one year in prison, to declare that food prepared in microwave ovens is dangerous to health and leads to pathologic troubles as also indicative for the beginning of a cancerous process.
“The plaintiff pays the costs.” Signed President of the Court of Seftigen Kraemer.” You bet the plaintiff should have paid the cost! However, in a later decision, Dr. Hertel was slammed with court costs and his brave new science cost him more than $60,000 in fines. Now, if you can’t imagine this kind of kangaroo decision coming from a court in the US, you have not been paying attention to the intrusions of administrative law into individual freedoms in our alleged land of the free.
Dr. Hertel continued to defy the courts for three years and loudly demanded a fair hearing on the truth of his claims. He told me, in 1992, with a defiant glint in his eyes: “They have not been able to intimidate me into silence, and I will not accept their conditions. I have appeared at large seminars in Germany and the study results have been well received. Also, I think the authorities are aware that scientists at Ceiba-Geigy (a world-class pharmaceutical company headquartered in Switzerland) have vowed to support me.”
Alas, the support he needed was not forthcoming and Dr. Hertel lost all his appeals and a great deal of cash. He remains personally unbowed but has been unable to put a dent in the monolithic mindset of the European establishment. In October 1994, I forwarded a letter from a reader to Dr. Hertel. The inquirer, who lived in South Africa, explained his health situation and asked a question: “Seven months ago my platelet count suddenly dropped from 235,000 per cu/mm to 3,000. The doctors in Johannesburg do not know what caused this to happen. My wife does a small amount of cooking or defrosting in a microwave oven.
“Has Dr. Hertel done any research into the effect that microwaves may have upon the platelets in humans? What about leukemia?”
In defiance of the vicious authority, Dr. Hertel responded as follows:
“During the tests done on human beings with microwaved food, the platelets increased at first in all test persons. It is quite common that almost any stress situation causes an immediate mobilization of platelets from the spleen and marrow. However, when the stress endures, the number of platelets begins to drop rapidly. This was the case with you, and this is common, too.
“Microwaved food causes cancer. You are well aware of that. Cancer always begins with the depolarization of atoms, molecules and cells, which leads in time to the destruction of the immune system. The first symptoms show in the blood. They may, however, differ from person to person, depending upon each one’s physiological condition. The use, even the sporadic use, of the microwave oven by your wife may have indeed caused the drop in the platelets count in your blood. However, other causes may be involved as well.
“I always marvel at people who know that microwaves are hazardous to life, but still use them. That goes for you, too. So why do you ask this question? Is it because you are still looking for arguments to continue using the microwave? These are hard facts, aren’t they? But I have already answered dozens of such letters from mothers using microwave ovens to heat baby food for their babies who had already contracted leukemia but the mothers were still not prepared to refrain from using these deadly ovens because they are so practical and convenient, as they claim.
“If you, dear friend, love your body and your life, then stop it also, even if you don’t get an answer to all the questions you may have. To tell you this, I have just paid for a lost court case against the Swiss Electro-Lobby 68,000 Swiss Francs out of my pocket.”
As you can see, Dr. Hertel remains defiantly bitter. Now, all he needs is for some self-righteous bureaucrat to run this letter to the Swiss inquisitors and demand his head for defying authority on behalf of good sense, life and health, which surely must be criminal behavior. As those powerful special interests in Switzerland, who desire to sell microwave ovens by the millions, continue to suppress open debate on this vital issue to modern civilization. Meanwhile, new microwave developments have blossomed in the United States.
In the journal Pediatrics (Vol. 89, No.4, April 1992), there appeared an article titled: “Effects of Microwave Radiation on Anti-infective Factors in Human Milk.” Richard Quan MD from Dallas, Texas was the lead name of the study team. John A. Kerner MD, from Stanford, was also on the research team and he was quoted in a summary article of the research that appeared in the April 25, 1992 issue of
Recalling the earlier radio ad by the University of Minnesota, and to get the full flavor of what may lie ahead for the dubious but convenient process of microwaving food, here is that summary article:
“Women who work outside the home can express and store breast milk for feedings when they are away. But parents and caregivers should be careful how they warm this milk. A new study shows that microwaving human milk even at a low setting can destroy some of its important disease-fighting capabilities.
“Breast milk can be refrigerated safely for a few days or frozen for up to a month; however, studies have shown that heating the milk well above body temperature—37° C—can break down not only its antibodies to infectious agents, but also its lysozymes, or bacteria-digesting enzymes. So, when pediatrician John A. Kerner Jr. witnessed neonatal nurses routinely thawing or reheating breast milk with the microwave oven in their lounge, he became concerned. “In the April Pediatrics (Part I), he and his Stanford University co-workers reported finding that compared to unheated breast milk, microwaved milk lost lysozyme activity, lost antibodies and fostered the growth of more potentially pathogenic bacteria. Milk heated at a high setting (72° to 98° C) lost 96 percent of its immunoglobulin-A antibodies, agents that fend off invading microbes.
“What really surprised him, Kerner says, was finding some loss of anti-infective properties in the milk microwaved at a low setting and to a mean of just 33.5° C. Adverse changes at such low temperatures suggest ‘microwaving itself may in fact cause some injury to the milk above and beyond the heating,’ he said.” (Emphasis ours).
The Science News article then provided opposing points of view:
Randall M. Goldblum of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston was quoted as follows:
“I don’t see any compelling evidence that the microwaves did any harm. It was the heating.”
To support this point of view, which is so important to “commerce” the article also quoted another scientist. Madeleine Sigman-Grant, of Pennsylvania State University in University Park. She said:
“Lysozyme and antibody degradation in the coolest samples may simply reflect the development of small hot spots potentially 60° C or above during microwaving. And that’s to be expected because microwave heating is inherently uneven and quite unpredictable when volumes less than 4 milliliters are involved, as they were in Kerner’s study.”
That last statement may be considered “scientific” by the peer-reviewed crowd in charge of today’s agenda, but to me, it made no sense at all. If there are “hot spots” in a small sample, there are surely “hot spots” in meal-sized samples just as there are in infant formula bottles that should not be warmed in the microwave.
How in the world can the fact that microwave cooking is “inherently uneven and quite unpredictable” make challenges to its safety go away? This is a classic non sequitur and it seems to have been accepted by the scientific publication as valid.
Then, as if to cover the doctor who didn’t see any “compelling evidence”, the Science News story added: “Goldblum considers the use of a microwave to thaw milk an especially bad idea since it is likely to boil some of the milk before all has even liquefied.”
Again, is this a “healthy” or “unhealthy” aspect of microwaving? How does it relate to all the changes in human blood discovered by Dr. Hertel’s trials?
Obviously, this is not “science” in the “scientific” sense.
Incidentally, Stanford University Medical Center no longer microwaves any breast milk. And Dr. Sigman-Grant believes that’s appropriate, because of the small volumes of milk that hospitals typically serve newborns-especially premature infants.”
Does that mean it is okay for larger volumes of milk?
There is certainly a lot of microwaved food for thought in that article and the way it was presented by a popular scientific magazine.
Isn’t it interesting that these “scientists,” whose opinions weigh heavily in our courts of law, have so many illogical “beliefs” to express rather than proven fact. How about the facts?
Search for Health called Dr. Quan, and, in a phone interview, he said that he believed the results of this research “warranted further detailed study of the effects of microwave cooking on nutrients.”
You bet it warrants further detailed study-the kind of study carried out by Dr. Hertel.
The summary sentence in the abstract of the original research paper is very clear:
“Microwaving appears to be contraindicated at high temperatures, and questions regarding its safety exist even at low temperatures.” (Emphasis ours).
The final statement of the study conclusion reads: “This preliminary study suggests that microwaving human milk could be detrimental. Further studies are needed to determine whether and how microwaving could safely be done.” I asked Dr. Quan if further studies are scheduled. They were not at that time and are not scheduled as of May 1995.
Let’s apply a little simple reasoning here. If there are so many indications that the effects of microwaves on foods can degrade the foods far above the known breakdowns of standard cooking, is it not reasonable to conduct exhaustive studies on living, breathing human beings to determine if it’s possible that eating microwaved foods continuously, as many people do, can be significantly detrimental to individual health?
There have been studies published in medical journals that indicate there is a clear and significant health advantage for babies who are nursed by their mothers over babies who are fed formulae. None of the studies, however, mention how the formulae had been warmed for the subject infants. Could microwave warming have been a factor the experts overlooked?
Manmade infant formulae are decidedly inferior to healthy mothers’ milk, and heating with microwaves makes a bad idea worse.
Yet, microwave ovens pervade our world, blithely.