I remember when microwaves were being launched into every home. They were the hottest new devices on the market. My parents debated getting one, but they were so expensive. A year later, when the prices came down some, they bought one. It sat in our kitchen and we hardly ever used it. They said you could heat water in it (but we liked our water boiled in a kettle). Still, we owned it and my parents bought some microwavable food because we could.
But we never really used the microwave that much and over the years, as I’ve grown up, I still don’t use it that often. We use it to reheat leftovers, but we hardly buy microwavable food and I’d rather prepare it on the stove, the grill or in the oven than use the microwave to cook. As it turns out, maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Obesity Rates Started Climbing After 1984
According to scientists in the United Kingdom, there is a correlation with rising obesity rates beginning around 1984 and the advent of the microwave and ready-made meals. According to studies, 6% of men and women were considered obese in 1980. As of 2004, that percentage increased to 24% of both women and men.
The experts are debating these theories at the Cheltenham Science Festival. Among the theories they are debating:
- Microwaves & Ready Made Meals Contribute to Obesity
- Supermarkets & Super Supermarkets
- The End of the Second World War
Generations previous to our own had high calorie diets, but they were also had higher levels of physical activity. For example, housewives had laundry to do and they didn’t have high-speed washers and dryers. Even households that could afford a washing machine still had to hang the clothes out.
Vacuum cleaners were not prevalent. You needed to sweep your floors. You needed to beat your rugs. You needed to scrub hard to get dirt up. But modern conveniences, including the microwave and supermarkets reduce the amount of work you need to do whether it’s shopping for food or preparing it.
A consequence of the microwave is the ease in which we can prepare foods. Fast food also makes it easier to get a quick, cheap meal without dirtying any dishes. Supermarkets offer a wide variety of foods, cheap sales and lots of snack and junk foods. Check out the freezer section too – the number of microwavable meals has quadrupled in the last twenty years. You can actually stock your freezer and feed your whole family without ever having to do more than read directions off a box and put it in the nuke for a few minutes.
A microwave can be a very healthy way to prepare food, because you can eliminate grease and other fatty products. But you have to know what to buy and how to prepare it. The standard pre-prepared foods are high in sodium, carbohydrates and more. Oh and if you were wondering what World War II had to do with these other theories – our generation has never known food rationing. We’re just now getting a taste for gas rationing and water rationing – but there’s never been a shortage of available food – unlike during World War II.
Do you eat a lot of microwavable food?