Are Microwaves Safe?

In this week’s vlog, I answer an impassioned viewer question about the safety of microwaves.


  1. In Australia


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  2. Kelly

    Thank you for this vlog post today! I truly love your middle of the road approach to this topic, and the practical side of the debate. Great points!

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  3. Renka

    Everyone thinks THEY are right! Just because one person has an opinion doesn’t make those who don’t share it, wrong.

    ‘Scientific studies’ can ‘prove’ whatever their writers/researchers want them to and just because something is on the internet doesn’t make it true.

    The answer is simple – if you think microwaves are dangerous and kill/ruin/whatever food – don’t use them. If you are happy using yours – carry on.

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  4. Beverly B.

    Susan, I agree with your comment about keeping our eye on the ball. Everything is relative. Eating microwaved broccoli is still way healthier than eating Twinkies or potato chips, so unless you’ve eliminated ALL the processed and artificial foods from your life, I wouldn’t worry too much about the danger from microwaves. Love your vlog, by the way!

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  5. Ilia

    Living organisms are mainly water. In the study of frozen water the structure changes by what was directly shown to the water, which supports the idea of microwaves having an effect on living organisms.

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  6. Beth

    Thank you for this great explanation Susan. I have studied both radio waves (for ham radio) and radiology/radiography for my job and am sure I receive much more scatter radiation at work than I do from my microwave. I have been taught to always stay 6 ft from any radiation source, so I do not linger next to the microwave when in use. I was also told not to leave my radiation detecting badge next to the microwave because it will give a reading. Since microwaves vary, an experiment can be done with a simple x-ray film left next to a microwave with a smaller than the film hard solid object like metal or a sea shell between the film and the microwave with the lead sheet in the film on the opposite side from the object and the microwave. If the film is clear after developing after a month, nothing has been exposed to detectable radiation.

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  7. Jarka

    Love you Susan! Despite not agreeing with you on the microwaves and last week’s vlog on ketogenic diet. But hey, we are all learning here. Trying to find what really works for our bodies. Most (of the health) principles we’d agree on, as they obviously work. There will always be differences in opinions (which is a good thing); as long as we don’t beat each other up and respect where the other person is on their journey, we’ll be at peace. xxx

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  8. barbara

    Many years ago I owned a microwave. Then something happened….and I threw it away. I defrosted fresh meat from the freezer for my cat in the microwave. My cat sniffed the meat, and left it and decided to fast for that day. The next day I gave her frozen meat from the same batch that i had defrosted slowly in the fridge. She devoured it. I tried the experiment with the microwave again, two or three days in a row, and even though my cat was hungry…she never ate the defrosted meat from the microwave. I decided to trust nature, and I threw it away. I recently participated in the Truth about cancer symposium, and some doctors said not to use a microwave. I think that the microwave has become a convenient and quick way to prepare food, very much like the ready processed food we are trying to stay away from in BLE.

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  9. Constance Stamas

    This was a great explanation, Susan. I never really new what microwaves were either, and was sort of afraid of them. Now I understand the principal. So… That leaves airplaines. Can you explain how they stay in the air? LOL!

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  10. Vivian

    I absolutely LOVE the reassuring “wink” at the end of this vlog . . .

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  11. Carol

    My older microwave oven gets minimal use, too, but not because I’m worried about radiation or issues related to it being unsafe. I prefer foot cooked over heat. I usually slow heat everything and as a result it tastes better and stays warm or hot longer.

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  12. Kat

    I can’t believe we are still debating this. Read the real science not the pseudo science made up to speak to people’s fears. Susan discusses it quite succinctly.

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  13. Yolanda E Breidenbaugh

    Thank you so much! I feel better now.

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  14. barb

    I have not read all the comments.

    I have often wondered if the concern with microwave ovens was more their ability to over cook food quickly. That over cooking and the subsequent loss of nutrients as the result of over cooking to be more of a concern than the waves themselves. I have overcooked food in the microwave and the resulting texture of the food is highly undesirable. The amount of time between cooked properly and over cooked is a matter of seconds. Even without a texture change what effect does the high heat have on the nutrient levels of the food?

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  15. Courtney

    So – here’s the thing. I am a single Mom with 4 kids, two of them are teenagers. Our microwave broke two weeks ago, gone, dead, gave up the ghost – only solution is to get a new one. Me – being the health conscious person I am, who has jumped on the healthy everything band wagon, maybe even being overly psycho about it, had heard and studied all about the microwaves and how it radiates you and kills your food – decided that we were NOT going to buy a new microwave. WE are going cook all our own food on our stove and skillets and crock pots from now on. If I could capture for you what my last two weeks has looked like – it would be this: First – Teenagers whining and complaining that they can’t eat because we have no microwave. Me taking fifteen minutes to show them how to cook their food. Fifteen minutes totally wasted because they don’t want to cook their food and like I have time to cook every single snack when my teenage boy is hungry oh, like every 30 minutes. Moral of that story – Teenagers ate nothing but cereal and granola bars, when they USED to heat up healthy dinner leftovers all afternoon. Second – Me – realizing that to heat up my delicious and healthy soups, stews, grilled chicken and veggies that I have so neatly and proportionally controlled stacked in my fridge – NOW has to find a pan to transfer it into, turn on the gas on my oven range which then leads me to turn on the fan because – um, isn’t inhaling gas not a good thing? – then my food being watched over for waaaaaay more than one minute until it heats up to just the right temperature – oh but then it got burned on the bottom, because I have to go chase after my four year old who is screaming at me from the toilet – and, oh yeah, ovens keep cooking unlike a microwave that turns itself off – forgot that part. Setting food on fire, or wiping my kids bum – me then neglecting my children ….After a few days of this my bright line eating became smoothies, raw veggies and fruit. Nice, good, but I then feel I might kill someone for a homecooked heated casserole any day now. Third – Can we even talk about how my dishes multiplied?….so many FREAKIN’ dishes when you have to cook your own food!!! For someone like me who is kicking food addiction in the pants, a 10 on the susceptibility scale…at this point I am driving to the nearest store for a Reese’s peanut butter cup – OK?? Moral of that part of the story is – a microwave is one of the most convenient appliances on the planet for a single Mom who is trying get her health back in check. We got a new microwave. Now we are eating healthy again…well, really, we are just eating again, because that lacked for awhile…and I am not up all hours doing dishes at the end of the day, which means I can go to sleep earlier – which is also good for my health. Hallelujah for this vlog!! You have completely validated me. Bless you.

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  16. Fatima

    Thanks for that info on microwave. I live a healthy lifestyle and do use the microwave occasionally to heat some food. I’ve stopped heating my milk in there though. Yes .. Let’s all keep our eyes on the ball

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  17. Shariffa

    What about green juice. Kale, broccoli,zucchini and a pear with some seeds for breakfast.

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  18. Guy Hibbins

    Microwaves are actually a very low energy form of electromagnetic radiation. The quantum energy of microwaves are actually lower energy than heat energy and much lower than light energy. Once sufficient microwaves are absorbed by a molecule they are released as heat. (Note that the quantum energy (E) of electromagnetic waves is directly proportional to their frequency (f) E=hf where h is Planck’s constant.) The microwave quantum energy is not sufficient to cause ionization of molecules and thus damage DNA directly, although anything which will heat up food enough to cook it will kill it. Even if cooking did not kill the cells in the food the concentrated acid in your stomach certainly would. The exception is microorganisms such as bacteria which need to be raised to a certain temperature for a certain time in order to kill them.

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  19. Jenna C Reed Livingston

    Fascinating–thank you for covering this topic.

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  20. Pat Graves

    Just a point of timeline interest ~ not in any way pro or con toward microwave useage. In the spring semester of the 1960 ~ 1961 school year, my freshman year of college, I changed my major to nutrition. in the one nutrition course I took a representative from Salt River Project (our local utility company) appeared as a guest speaker. She demonstrated a microwave, then a “new” technology. The reason I recall this so vividly is because she made strawberry jam in the microwave. At the time it was a major favorite of mine. This was some time before the 70’s and I’m not even sure they were on the market yet. Thanks for listening to my story. Remember it is NOT a pro/con argument!

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  21. Bart Van Ransbeeck

    so its very important observation , to see that even by eating well and healthy and bio , if your cells are inverted polarity they won’t absorb the good nutrients!!!! so the protocol of measurements with the lecherantenna is amazing , they first find on your body the place where you sleep in the bedroom , they could tell me exactly , also that the land around my house is going down both sides , where they are water channels underground and which direction i sleep , then they test the value of the organs and search for 1 negativ , so the lecher antenna only beats ones so thats the sign that the organ is under high stress , then look for the points from the organ on the brain spots , and corresponding spots in the neck , because they don’t want to put magnets directly on the brainspots , to strog!!!, one can see the attraction from these neckspots , magnets glue immediatly because of polarity….when you combine this method with the acmos lecher antenna method of naccachian in paris , where they do a protocol to clear negativ memories , then the effects are permenant….i saw young schizofrenic diagnosed fellow getting completely normal after 1 hour bilan balancoing and correcting, i myself could clear a fellow of 30 years old from his psycosys with voice hearing ; just one session, he got out of the psychiatry, i also cured a chronic thyroid dysfunction , with the help of soluna spagyric , just found the resonance with the lecher antenna, will do self some tsting with antenna to see if it changes energy vibrational quality of foods after microwave exposure

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  22. Bart Van Ransbeeck

    it would be interesting to test foods and liquids after microwave exposure with the lecher antenna, like docters from innovative medicine do, dr Szulc in NY , and here in belgium dr Driscart who used for years diagnosing with lecher antenna , and the main thing he could see is that radar waves and other waves can do severe damage , in the way that those toxic waves ar ereverting polarity of cells!!!!cells atract minarals and antioxidants when correctly polarised by electromagnetic osmose, but when cells are reverse polarised the attract freeradicals like in the case of cancer the helicobacter phylori or the fasciolopsys busquii…clostridium…and they start the havoc in the cells , distroying the mitochondria and the atp energy system, dr Driscart could cure so many cancers cases just by putting small magnets on the points from the organ in the neck zone , even instant painrelief was clear , but for the longrun , avoiding of exposure to the toxic radiations and waves like wifi and cellphone antennas was needed for permanent relief

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  23. Hermien Zwiers

    I would never eat microwave food if possible. Too much solid research to show it’s not ok. Ty Bollinger and Ocean Robbins, two of my heroes, would agree , I believe.

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  24. Eric

    I think one big problem with microwave ovens isn’t the oven itself but the container you heat the food in. I’m fearful of microwaving some kind of plastic container to heat something up and then end up with some chemical getting into the food

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  25. Miss K

    For all those who do not wish to use microwave’s l have a suggestion. Having been in the alternative health business for over 30 years l have used kinesiology to check clients in from of their microwaves. Since there is usually a weakness in front of a microwave that is plugged in, try using a power cord to plugin your microwave and leave it switched off! Then when you or someone else wishes to use it, turn it on, use it and turn it back off. it saves electricy too since they always on. In our tests not all foods are affected by microwaves. But l do usually suggest not storing foods, nutrition or meds on top of or around microwaves because of the prolonged exposure. Using a microwave to warm something up is one thing but leaving food in any kind of oven for weeks months years would likely affect the nutritional value of a food. Try storing pots, pans or dishes around them in cupboard space instead. Happy eating

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  26. Paul Bilodeau

    Check out Dr. Mercola’s articles on microwaves…he’s against using them for foods.

    At least make sure you don’t use plastic containers or saran to cover a dish being heated/reheated as microwaves
    will cause some ugly chemicals to be released into one’s food.

    Heat your water in the microwave and then use the hot water to make your oatmeal!!


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  27. Joni

    Susan , you are beautiful and your take on microwaves is ok for me, as I like the idea that we all make up our own mind. It sure did stir up zillions of comments personally I do not use a microwave oven , do. It even own one but I am not so paranoid that I will not eat the zapped food when I am visiting. I am vegan and eat much raw but also cooked slightly. Another aside, as I said on top, you are beautiful and I always admired the fact that you dressed modestly. Lately, on this wonderful new site, I am noticing more cleavage showing and you sure do not need that to promote BLE. But like everything else, we each need to make our own descisions both of our eating , our honesty, or not, and live by our own , not the rest of the worlds. Keep on bringing us BLE. God bless .

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  28. Helen

    I have heard multiple sources suggest not microwaveing in plastic containers or plastic bags and not microwaving dairy.

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  29. Susie

    Ok if you even THINK that microwaves are even close to being safe try this. Put your cell phone in it…close the door and call your phone….guess what…. it rings…so how does this happen???
    You must not have a pacemaker when being close to a microwave…
    I could go on for hours….

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    1. Sheila P.

      My husband has had a pacemaker for 12 years. He uses the microwave on a daily basis. No problems at all.

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  30. Cynthia Robiso

    it is SOOOO Bad for you!!! So many actual tests done… here is one example:

    I have known for years that the problem with microwaved anything is not the radiation people used to worry about, It’s how it corrupts the DNA in the food so the body can not recognize it. So the body wraps it in fat cells to protect itself from the dead food or it eliminates it fast.. Think of all the Mothers heating up milk in these “Safe” appliances. But the makers say it’s safe.. Never mind then, keep using them. Ask your Doctor I am sure they will say it’s safe too. Proof is in the pictures of living plants dying. Remember You are also Living. Take Care.

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    1. Kat

      I recommend reading the end of the article where they discuss why the story was not scientific and cannot be duplicated.

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  31. Anne from Maine

    Thank you, Susan! I loved watching/listening to this VLog!
    Microwave use is one of those topics I waffled about for decades – I can see at least two sides of the issue and always have, and you covered both.
    Where I eventually came to stand goes only for me personally. My poor body has been so inundated with
    artificials, harmfuls, potential harmfuls and most of it by my own hand. I am 65 and have been addicted to sugar since prior to age 5.
    I remember my first excessive binge on Valentine’s Day in Kindergarten and the bulk of that binge included sugar, white flour, and red food coloring. I barely made it to the bathroom at home after getting off the bus to vomit forcefully and spontaneously from the huge portions I’d ingested.
    The clean eating of my early years was simply our way of life – for the next 45 years I mostly have not eaten a clean diet.
    So let’s be generous and say that for at least 50 years I ingested willingly tons of sugar, flour, food dyes, MSg, other chemicals and additives in later years.
    I grew up in a small village with homemade and farm fresh foods – however my passion was the sugars and the flours and the candy bars I began sneaking at a young age. We had well water and non-pasteurized, non-homogenized milk from our cows, and fresh eggs and all meats from grass fed chemical free animals and poultry. So I had a pretty clean food upbringing yes?
    However my sugar binges were daily – and as the years went by more and more processed foods included more and more chemicals and allergens as I have food allergies too. When I was laboring in a factory and got paid Fridays every Friday night included Tuna sandwiches with lots of mayo and store bought pickles on white breads – Doritos, soda, candy and a six pack of beer.
    Over my later lifetime – after age 17 – I’ve gone through lots of medical and surgical procedures, including radiation, chemotherapy, and ongoing prescripion meds. I smoked a pack a day for aabout ten yrs. I’ve owned and driven cars. I used to swim in chlorine pools. And prior to adulthood I was frequently ill and took antibiotics at least 4 times a year. I am a recovering alcoholic – more poison.
    My sugar addiction made me very ill and obese and many chronic complaints – asthma, chronic candidida, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, GERD, Hypertension, Hyperglygemia, arthritis, myriad of itchy skin rashes due both to allergies and fungal infections, major recurring depressive episodes, PTSD, anxiety, fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, and probably many more.
    My point is in order to stay abstinent from sugar and white flour I need my food preparation to be as simple as possible because my chronic depressive symptoms of inertia and low energy make it very difficult to do the daily work of food fetching, food prep, cleanup etc.
    Once I vowed I would never eat any but fresh vegetables – Now I resort quite often to frozen ones. I weekly purchase and enjoy a small rotiserried chicken from my grocery store. I used to Brita all my water. The filters are too expensive. Those are just a few examples.
    So depression and low income are obstacles to my eating healthy.
    Thus for myself I do use my microwave daily, gratefully, thankfully – because I must prep my food in quantity once or twice a week when I have help – and the microwave is a life saver if only in keeping me sugar and flour free.
    Do I believe the radiation might be harmful for me? Yes I do.
    I can’t imagine how many XRays I’ved had in my life – plus medical radiation treatments twice for life threatening conditions, Breast Cancer and Acoustic Neuroma Schwannoma. I certainly do not want radiation I don’t need – for example I would never ever go in a tanning booth.
    So I think for me it is a matter of choosing the option that would make for the best quality of life.
    I apologize for the rambling nature of my response but it is late, I’m tired and I just can’t seem to get my thoughts better organized at the moment – and if I wait until tomorrow this likely would not get written.
    None of us are getting out of here alive AND none of us are going to have a pure, organic, chem-free life due to all the pollution with which we are surrounded, no matter how much efforst we expend. That reminds me of the time I saw a Naturalist Doctor that ordered me to go on a Macrobiotic Diet – which I did – and very purely, too. I roll my eyes to remember nearly coming to blows with the lady whom I rented from – my cooking all those beans and grains, etc cost her 4x has much natural gas for her oven as she would usually buy.
    So today I eat very well, my health is greatly improved, and yes I use my microwave daily.

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  32. Catriona

    Hi Susan, great topic. I am a microwave oven user if I’m only heating a small quantity, ie sweet or regular potato for my husband, if. I’m having a salad. I’m far more concerned with the energy (hydro) used to heat a standard oven, to cook small amounts of food. With all the worries about climate change, whether it’s driven by humans or whether it’s natures way of adjusting the planet, I’d rather protect the planet anyway I can.

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  33. Simon Wooliscroft

    If your microwave oven is used properly and is not leaking microwave radiation, there is no evidence that it is nay better or worse than a normal oven or gas hob etc. It does not affect food quality, so we keep our eyes on the ball and what out main goal is. Never use it for anything other than cooking or heating food. Do not dry your pet in it. One woman tried that and her cat died.

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  34. Uli

    You are great!! This is so good…answers my? .? Thank you…

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  35. JD

    Raytheon filed a patent for the microwave oven in 1945. It is as American as Apple Pie.

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  36. JD

    Raytheon filed the patent for the microwave oven in 1945. It is as American as Apple Pie.

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  37. Roland Thurston

    Good info. I’d like to know more specifically the way to stay away from sweets and especially chocolate .

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    1. PENNE

      Roland, did you ever find your answer? Mine was giving up sugar in all forms (flour and chocolate, too) in the first Bright Line Eating Bootcamp I attended in 2015. Took three days to get it all out of my system, but once the withdrawal period ended (took me about three days,) it has been smooth sailing ever since — over 550 days now! Spring Bootcamp is starting soon. PM me at FB/LuckyPenne for more info, if you’re interested. Cheers ~

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  38. Argailla

    A lot of the health issues, I have heard and read about, are more of what you heat your food in. If it’s not glass or ceramic, there is potential for the toxins and chemicals of plastics, cellophane , cardboard and papers that leach into the food.
    Even plastics that claim to be “microwave ” safe, is not safe for your food. Microwave Safe means the container will hold up during the process. That is all.
    Now if you make your own food and microwave in glass, ceramic dish, I don’t believe there is much of an issue.

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  39. Cat

    I SO love the way you bring the voice of scientific reason to the highly emotional topics of FOOD

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  40. Kelly

    As someone who has done a science degree, I know that scientific studies are not always correct. The accuracy of results depend on WHO is conducting the study & WHY. Often big corporations fund studies because they want specific results in order to keep selling their products. The design of the study & the numbers can be fudged to achieve the result you want. Often independent studies yield the most reliable results. People too often put ‘science’ on a pedestal because they don’t understand how it can be easily manipulated.

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    1. Diane

      I put a lot of faith in what Ty Bollinger says in The Truth About Cancer (having had cancer myself) he definitely says never use a microwave, the molecular structure of the food is changed and our bodies cannot process it properly. You can get lucky, and smoke for years and not get cancer, you can use a microwave for years and not get cancer, but why take the risk?

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    2. Diane

      yours is the best post on here Kelly. You are so right. e.g. chemotherapy is rubbish, (and has been proved to actually cause cancer, there is even such a warning on the labels, about it being a carcinogen,) but big pharma fund the medical schools, so medical schools push the chemo. Doesn’t make it correct.

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  41. Emily in MT

    Keeping it in perspective, this from “A cell phone produces about the same frequency of electromagnetic radiation as a microwave oven, but you probably don’t hold a microwave oven to the side of your head for hours at a time”.

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  42. Gina

    Susan, you are so pretty!

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  43. Tamara

    This seems to be becoming a great forum for discussion of any and all opinions! Polarized opinions seem to come from those not open to others ideas and experiences and often the subconscious need to be right. The universe is very malleable. I appreciate hearing everyone’s thoughts – and for me, always utilize my own intuition/knowing as key after reading/researching the info.

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  44. Lavina

    Thanks for doing this on microwaves Susan. I really appreciate your practical honesty. We don’t have to know it all to be it all! You seem to have that proper perspective.

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  45. Jaane

    I just love your weekly vlog and look forward to it. I appreciate the explanation about microwaves. It just makes sense to me. I appreciate you keeping us posted on important issues as we walk the path of our Bright Line Eating.

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  46. Beverly Burton

    All cancers patients are told not to use that oven. Please do some more research.

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    1. Jeanne

      Well, I am a cancer survivor and was never given that advice. I bascially followed a similar food plan outlined by BLE and tolerated both my chemo and radiation very well. 3 + years cancer free. Just be careful about making statements such as “all”.

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  47. Margaret

    Thank you for your presentation about microwave ovens. I use an electric kettle to boil water, only use my microwave to cook vegetables or reheat leftover potatoes. I have heard that one should wait 2 mins. to allow the molecules in liquids to stop dancing about! Don’t know if this is true or not. I do appreciate your lively presentations and your apparent passion for what you are doing. Bless you!

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  48. Betty

    Loved your comments about MWs. Thank you for sharing. It amazes me that there is so much misinformation from self-appointed experts on this issue. I love my microwave, and will continue to enjoy it every day. It seems incredulous to me that we sit in front of a computer monitor, or a gaming console, or a TV screen, with no thought to the radiation they emit, while we wonder about microwaves.

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  49. De Ann

    All cooking/heating of foods destroys the digestive enzymes contained in the food, be it conventional or microwave. Having said that, one can take digestive enzymes to replace those lost in the cooking process and certainly eat a healthy amount of raw vegetables and fruits. A meal of all cooked foods would require more digestives than one of all raw. A balance between raw and cooked is a good approach .
    Science isn’t always right and we see that in the way things are unfolding now as the ability to see deeper into things has evolved and rules have changed, How ever,
    as you have pointed out, each person has the right to choose their battles and in the arena of staying healthy through control of our eating habits and learning that we can control those desires in a healthy way and still eat tasty fulfilling foods is what Bright Line Eating is all about.
    We all have issues and while we are not in control of all that happens in our environment we do have control over how we react to the things that happen to us.
    Thank you for leading the way in an upbeat, ,joyful, common sense and honest way.

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  50. Vicky Benjamin

    Ignorance about MW radiation is bliss. Kindly unsubscribe me.

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  51. Ro

    I like that my food maintains the heat better from a conventional oven rather than the microwave.

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  52. Vicky Benjamin

    The whole subject of MW ovens has been sanitized by industry – find the original study of Hertl and Blanc before they had a gag order!!
    I am amazed at your comments. All MW radiations is extremely dangerous.

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  53. John S

    For a deeper dive into the science of the effects of various cooking methods on the nutrient values of vegetables, I recommend Dr Greger’s summary of research, at The specific video on this topic is
    It’s 3-1/2 minutes long and well worth the time to watch it.

    Spoiler, the following is provided for those interested parties not watching the video. Major surprise to me in the conclusions
    The effects of each method of cooking vary somewhat by vegetable.
    Bell pepper’s anti-oxidants get clobbered by any kind of cooking – best to eat raw. Most others are not highly affected.
    Carrots and celery provide more anti-oxidants if cooked than if eaten raw.
    Worst methods:
    frying, if you’re adding oil
    boiling and steaming – unless you drink the water afterward, because it ends up with some of the nutrients. However, the amount is on average 14%.
    Method gentlest on nutrients: microwaving
    Bottom line: with the exception of red peppers, and deep frying, the best method is whatever one will result in your eating more vegetables and less of something else.

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  54. Katrina Summers

    I am only on Day 10 of BLE, and I just read the “Bright Line Eating When You’re Busy” bonus material last night and I was thinking – what about those of us who don’t have a microwave?! Let me tell you why I don’t have one. When I moved into my house 12 years ago I had one that moved from our apartment with us. It died. My brother bought me a new one for Christmas – it died. A few days later, my daughter (around 5 or 6 at the time) came into the kitchen and asked what I was doing. I was making dinner with three burners going: pasta, sauce, veggies… when I explained what I had in each pot she excited replied, “Wow! You can do everything with the stove that you can do with the microwave!” And I thought, you know what, she’s right. So for me not having a microwave is more about slowing down. If I don’t have time to wait for water to boil, then I don’t have time for oatmeal (or I can eat it raw.) I use the microwave at work if I need to heat my lunch, but I do not feel a need to buy one for home, much to my family’s dismay.

    On the upside, this has made going to a hotel or staying over with family an extra special occasion when the same daughter who asked the question and made me think about it gets to have her favorite microwave popcorn.

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    1. Mary

      I would be careful of the bagged microwave popcorn.Those are supposed to have bad oils used in them.
      Just get a microwave popper and make your own or get an air popper. They are pretty effective.

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  55. Lisa

    Thanks for your insight. We’re getting our HAM licenses and learned about wavelengths, including microwaves, in our book. I love my microwave. I’m glad you addressed this topic. What about plastic in the microwave? How do you feel about that? I try to use only glass or ceramic.

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  56. Brian

    Okay … so the one oversight in your EXCELLENT explanation of the electromagnetic spectrum, microwaves and the way they heat food by exciting the water molecules (not to mention their use for WiFi, Bluetooth, cell phones, satellite signals, radar, etc.), is the fact that conventional heating/cooking is done with … heat … which is INFRARED radiation … which is on just the OTHER side of the visible spectrum from microwaves.

    Yeah, the heat from that fire that cooked early homo erectus’ food, and that comes from your stovetop and oven and popcorn popper and the wood-burning oven that crisps the crust and browns the toppings so nicely at your favourite pizza place? Infrared radiation. The direct heat that totally and irreversibly denatures the molecular structure of food molecules? Infrared radiation. The heat that alters and effectively partially ‘pre-digests’ the complex, difficult to break down proteins that become MUCH easier for our bodies to digest and extract nutrition from? Infrared radiation.

    You can heat or cook your food be selectively exciting the water molecules with a narrow band of microwaves and let the energy of excitement heat your food from the inside (Ever wondered why the plate your food sits on doesn’t get hot? There’s no water in the ceramic!), or you can indiscriminately heat everything, food, cooking vessel and all from the outside with infrared radiation.

    So, pick your radiation wavelength … and keep your eye on the ball!

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    1. Audrey

      Well said, Brian.!

      Reply ·
  57. Cathy

    Thank you for that.. I have loved my microwave for may years and have few health issues. My concern is in what companies put in our food.. I love quaker oats for breakfast and now I here that is not safe that there is something harmful added to them?? Are quaker oats safe?

    Reply ·
  58. Hyacintha

    Wahahahahaahaha!! <3
    I enjoyed your Vlog!! Thank you for answering my question so thoroughly

    It was an eye opener for me to see how someone could see this subject differently.
    I believe we all have some cognitive dissonance when we believe in something or another. This might be an interesting link to view it from the other side.

    And you can do your own experiment. Take two plants, say Basil for instance. Now water one with fresh water from the tap and the other with cooled off, pre-heated water from the microwave. And just watch what happens.
    And I promise I will never address the topic on microwaves again!!
    All very inspiring.

    Reply ·
    1. Jalene Lyon

      You’re great! My girlfriend told me years ago she met the inventor of the original microwave oven and he told her to never us one. I then scaled waaaaayyy back on using a microwave and I know she has Never used one since that very meeting. I am now going to pin her down specifically on her conversation.

      Reply ·
  59. Pat Shultis

    Years ago when microwaves were new and everyone was concerned about them … a friend of mine went on a retreat where there were some Buddhist Monks. One of the monks was fascinated by the microwave… and he told my friend that the energy of the microwaved food was “good”… So, I decided then that they were okay… I use them as needed,not exclusively and am grateful for their ability to make things go smoothly in my life.
    PS…the water molecule demo was great!

    Reply ·

    I totally agree. What is the real issue! Focus.
    Thanx for your videos. Can’t wait for your book. God bless

    Reply ·
  61. jeff adams

    I have done the microwave water with plants several times as an experiment to show the people in our classes (Reverse Diabetes in 7-Weeks) here in Savannah GA. I used tap water heated to boiling in the microwave and than cooled to room temp., hot water out of the tap then cooled to room temp., cold water out of the tap, tap water boiled on the stove in a pan and then cooled to room temp., ALL grew plants just fine, including from seeds to full plants. It is a little effort to do, (keeping everything separate etc.) but anyone can do it anywhere.

    Reply ·
  62. Michael

    “keeping your eye on the ball” is well taken.

    A word about use of research studies – please when you quote research note the source of the research and who funded it. A researcher who compiles various studies as it appears to be the one you cited, has a fair amount of latitude about which research they select to include in their compilation. They generally select from those studies that make their case and their case generally has a lot to do with who is funding the study. So it’s more important in each instance to cite where you got the information – who you are quoting from (the source) and who funded the research.

    And one more comment – I was an engineer in the early part of my career and a microwave specialist for some of that time. Your explanation of microwaves was very good and accurate and well done. It is true that microwave frequencies can excite water molecules and that is the primary mechanism for heating of food and liquids. It’s the extent of excitation that really relates to all of the questions about impact. Can you over-excite water and change it’s composition? Studies say “yes” and most of us know you can over-heat food and ruin it’s nutritional value – both in a conventional oven or stove and certainly the same with microwaves. But that happens when the extent of “heating” or “excitation” is too long and/or too strong? Microwaves have an interesting effect not found in traditional cooking or heating of food. Microwaves can excite molecules almost uniformly from inside to outside the food. Instead of acting just on the outside layer, microwaves can immediately have effect on the molecules throughout the target. So therefore it is much easier to over-excite food subjected to microwaves because you are “heating” that food from the inside out and the process can go much more quickly than expected. What we know to be true just from our own experience is overheating anything can change its molecular structure – for instance from soft to crispy. So for microwave as well as conventional cooking, we want to ensure that we use these devices minimally and eat our food as close to raw as we can accept.

    Reply ·
  63. Gretchen

    How lucky are your kids?! You are an exceptional teacher. So thankful I get to be one of your students. Thank you for your weekly Vlogs.l
    Literal life changers.

    Reply ·
  64. Raj

    Yeah but microwaves make food taste like …. Heh. Whatever, go ahead. Do what you wanna.

    Reply ·
  65. patrice

    Food Coma…yeah….I do use food as a tanquilizer. Need to manage my nervous energy. Eat to calm down to be able to stay put instead of bouncing off the walls.

    Reply ·
  66. Bill Harris

    Unfortunately, most people have little or no (usually no) scientific education these days. This makes them easily prey to those spreading junk science explanations. That microwaves are dangerous is certainly junk science. There are MANY similar scares out there. The most widespread is about the supposed danger of GMO foods. When people don’t understand science and don’t keep up on what’s going on in the world of science, and don’t even understand empericism and the scientific method, they are easily convinced by alarmists who also have no scientific education. They evaluate issues emotionally, or based on what this or that person said. If that other person also lacks a scientific education, their opening isn’t valuable. Neither is testimonial “evidence”. Often those spreading junk science ideas use scientific-sounding terms, which causes those who have no science background (and don’t see that they are misusing these terms, to think that they must know what they’re talking about. Please, educate yourself. Learn to distinguish between the junk and what is real. Kudos to Susan for describing the actual science in this instance.

    Reply ·
  67. Jo

    Great answer Susan. ????

    Reply ·
  68. Kristi

    Susan, I love you. You did a great job as an “explainer.” As a chemist, I would have fallen into the trap of explaining many ridiculous scientific models! For your audience, I suggest going with evidence-based science. I stopped using my microwave for a long time, and I still stand back when I do use it. Nonetheless, as you correctly stated, at this time we have no reason to believe microwaves compromise our food quality.

    Reply ·
  69. Mary

    A study published in the November 2003 issue of The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture5 found that broccoli “zapped” in the microwave with a little water lost up to 97 percent of its beneficial antioxidants. By comparison, steamed broccoli lost 11 percent or fewer of its antioxidants. There were also reductions in phenolic compounds and glucosinolates, but mineral levels remained intact.
    A 1999 Scandinavian study of the cooking of asparagus spears found that microwaving caused a reduction in vitamin C6.
    In a study of garlic, as little as 60 seconds of microwave heating was enough to inactivate its allinase, garlic’s principle active ingredient against cancer7.
    A Japanese study by Watanabe showed that just 6 minutes of microwave heating turned 30-40 percent of the B12 in milk into an inert (dead) form8. This study has been cited by Dr. Andrew Weil as evidence supporting his concerns about the effects of microwaving. Dr. Weil wrote:
    “There may be dangers associated with microwaving food… there is a question as to whether microwaving alters protein chemistry in ways that might be harmful.”

    Reply ·
    1. Jordan

      heating milk for JUST 6 minutes? Was it 3 gallons of milk?
      Heating an amount of milk that could fit in a microwave for 6 minutes would destroy it because it was simply overcooked.
      It would have boiled over and be all over the microwave.
      And the garlic. How much garlic?
      One clove of garlic at 60 seconds would render it shriveled, inedible and useless anyway.

      Amount means a great deal in the microwave.

      Reply ·
    2. Julie

      Thanks for this Mary. It’s what I believe to be true too x

      Reply ·
  70. Margaret Becker

    Please, people, just because something is on the internet doesn’t make it true. Use critical thinking as Susan has done.

    Reply ·
  71. Libbie

    Thank you thank you thank you for bringing such a balanced view to this question. I am “high on the susceptibility scale” for questionable information found on blogs, so you sharing your opinion, and the sensible comments from others helps un-demonize the microwave for me. I will still avoid it, to tell you the truth, lol, (and never plastic) … but more importantly, I appreciate the balanced approach to the bigger picture: agree to disagree, acknowledge that I might be wrong, and focus on what’s most important. Check!

    Reply ·
  72. Debbie

    Wow, thank you for the explanations…… make my day!!!!!

    Reply ·
  73. Allyn

    Any type of cooking and heating changes food, and can degrade (or sometimes enhance) nutrition. Microwaving actually degrades it less than most other types of preparations, according to studies, and is one of the least destructive ways to prepare food. It’s also the most energy efficient, so the “greenest”, prep method.

    I would be very interested to see the studies that look at how we process microwaved foods vs. foods prepared by other methods.

    Reply ·
  74. Deborah Houk

    Thank-you!!! I have been told that microwaves are bad, bad, bad but I never believed it. I think that’s what they said about fire – you’re cooking your food!? It will be destroyed! Hah! I totally agree with you and love your blog and your passionate common sense.

    Reply ·
  75. Melissa Kerby

    I second Lauri. It is a joy to watch and listen to you. Not only are you incredibly well-spoken and informative, your good health and “happy-thin-and-freeness” radiates from you!

    I too try to understand what I read, but the abundance of nuanced and conflicting information via internet could tie us up on knots. Better to pick battles today, knowing, with new info, behavior/beliefs might change tomorrow – but there are some things that are clear and for which I must reserve my energy today – and that is bright lines.

    Reply ·
  76. Deborah L Adams

    Thank you for the question on microwaving. I have it on my list to send in and here it is! So glad to hear about the dancing H2O molecules and the research in Denmark about the possibility of different body processing. (I look forward to seeing that research!) We have just moved into a new place and I have put off buying a microwave for the time being, using steaming and baking as methods for heating. So far so good. It slows me down in the food preparation which is a good thing since I am also learning to not rush food prep which also seems to slow me down and diminishes my tendency to inhale my food. This is an unexpected benefit in not having a microwave in this new place. Not only peace in my body I am more peaceful in preparing and eating my food! Who would have thunk it?!?!It seems a more mindful food prep & eating is emerging without a microwave. I so appreciate the conversation as we are living our questions. Thanks, Susan & caller!

    Reply ·
  77. Karen

    I am of the mind that microwave oven heating and cooking, doesn’t “kill” your food anymore than heating on the stove or conventional oven. All forms of cooking “kill” the food, so to speak. That is why it is good to eat some raw foods every day. But sometimes heating up a food allows for better absorption of phytochemicals, e.g., tomatoes, or renders certain chemicals harmless, e.g., mushrooms. So once again, variety is the spice of life! And I agree that I am not too concerned, but I microwave only occasionally!

    Reply ·
  78. C L

    What a reasonable lovely attitude and perspective on this issue. Keep your eye on the ball!

    Reply ·
  79. Nat in New Jersey

    Microwaves are non-ionizing which simply means they do not break up molecules. The collective effect is to heat the food. Whether damage is done to individual molecules needs to be compared with other methods of producing the same heat in the food. Boiling, steaming, broiling, grilling, baking, whatever, can all change the physical nature of the food and the ability to ingest and digest the nutrients. The photons from microwaves individually have less energy than infrared or visible photons. We sense infrared as HEAT and visible as LIGHT. Microwave photons carry less energy than either infrared or visible. Thus infrared and visible photons are more able to cause molecular changes, The ultraviolet light carries even more energy.

    To avoid these heating effects, go raw. It’s your choice. I eat some foods raw and microwave others. I rarely use my stove top or convection oven except for foods that benefit from slow cooking.

    Reply ·
    1. Caitlyn from Canada

      thanks, Matt, for explaining this in even more depth than Susan has already! both of you make great sense out of this whole thing. I eat mostly raw foods, so don’t use my microwave that much, but do use it for heating up hubby’s food now and then. I think we have to be reasonable and level headed when we hear or read anything posted on the ‘net these days. We all want to be healthy and a reminder to keep the bright lines bright above all is a great thing to keep at the front of our minds!

      Reply ·
  80. Marnie Hoffman

    Thanks Susan! I use the microwave without worry – but, I only use glass or ceramic dishware….NEVER plastic…..

    You look amazing – strong, healthy and radiant.

    Reply ·
  81. Gigi

    What I see and have read is that it changes the food molecules in the food.
    There was a you tube video on it I believe showing you what it does to the food molecules.
    I didn’t like what I saw so I don’t use them.

    Reply ·
    1. Linda

      I heard that also, and that our bodies do not recognize the food in the way to process it properly….and for that reason also I limit my use to boiling water

      Reply ·
    2. Kris

      All cooking changes the molecules in food. So does digestion.

      Reply ·
  82. Valerie

    I understand there have been some European studies that agree that the nutrition in the food is very similar between microwaving and conventional heating. However, American studies don’t study people after they have eaten microwave versus conventionally heated food. Those European studies have. And while the food is nutritionally the same, the way our bodies process it is not. I believe the study that I am citing is from Denmark. I’ll see if I can find it.
    PS: I steam my sweet potatoes in the microwave when I haven’t time to roast them. Most other things I hear on the stove.

    Reply ·
    1. Joan

      I would be very interested to hear more about that study if you can are able to find it. Thanks Valerie.
      Thanks, Susan for the summarised reminder of Bright Line Eating (have succumbed to temptations a bit too much lately) and for the explanation of different waves that are all around us all the time. Love to hear of the science involved and also enjoyed your demo of how the molecules respond. Thanks for so much!

      Reply ·
  83. Kim

    Thank you Susan for taking this question as it has been on my mind as well. Your explanation lets me continue to use the microwave as I had been, but with a better understanding of the science behind it. Great topic and great explanation!

    Reply ·
  84. Lauri Mackey

    You are glowing!! So happy you’re doing so well on all levels!

    Reply ·
  85. Susan in California

    This was great – especially loved your little ‘resonance mime’ of the water molecule. I have had several (attempted) discussions with Eldest Daughter who decries microwaves. She has swallowed the infamous fake blog posting of the plant which died when fed microwaved water. If microwaves actually deformed or altered water, it would no longer BE water. If the molecular structure or atomic structure changed, so would the substance. This factoid escapes most folks. (Ah the power of the Internet!) The only real difficulty in the early days of microwaves was exposure to radiation through faulty shielding. There was some talk that the Russians (who allegedly pioneered the technology) stopped using them in the seventies. Doing research online I read that microwave engineers had been to the USSR yearly and saw them in continual use. And they deemed them safe when properly used and shielded.

    And you are absolutely on track with What Is Important. Thanks for keeping the eyes on the ball!! Major hugs, as ever.

    Reply ·
    1. Kim

      A plant WILL die if you pour HOT water (no matter how it is heated) on it or on its roots. I hope the experiment wasn’t that disingenuous…

      Reply ·
      1. nin

        they did not water the plant with hot water the water was room temp.

        Reply ·
    2. Anne

      ThankYou! I finally get it! I really didn’t understand how this worked. there are many people around me (very intelligent,highly schooled) who think we will get cancer from microwaves. I was afraid but too lazy to do the work to
      figure this out. Thanks for doing this for us!

      Reply ·
    3. beverly

      watch the MYTH BUSTERS episode on microwave water and plants, fabulous and the plants with the microwave fflouished.

      Reply ·
  86. Claire

    Great topic, thanks!

    Reply ·
  87. Andrea

    Interesting comments. Just want to observe that a seeming majority of ‘health’ sources don’t like microwaves. I understand this is sort of a ‘pick your battle’ issue but
    am wondering if Ocean has weighed in on this? Personally, I minimize its use in an attempt to err on the conservative side.

    Reply ·
    1. Elaine


      Reply ·
    2. Kali

      Same. I don’t use microwaves or pressure cookers on the understanding that they speed up the food molecules in a way that doesn’t work best for the body. I learnt that from someone being treated for cancer alternatively. I like Susan’s research and science oriented approach, and I understand her point about priorities. I guess it’s like anything else – it depends where you look for info and I’m just not a mainstreamer [exclamation mark]!

      Reply ·
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