JAPAN DISPOSING MICROWAVE OVENS: A WhatsApp forward filled with lies

So I got this forward on WhatsApp the other day (so what else is new?!) about how Japan was going to get rid of all their microwave ovens by the end of 2020 because they’ve found that it destroys the nutrients in food, among other weird and wacky claims. And as if this was an extraordinary forward, it contained a whole bunch of more stuff to it with questionable claims. So I decided to fact check it all so that you don’t have to, and figure out which are fact and which are False. No surprises, most of these claims are just plain wrong. There are a lot of them, so I can’t go in-depth with all of them. But I will link whatever references I find so you can dig deeper on your own.

Here’s the whole message:

“JAPAN DISPOSING MICROWAVE OVENS for health safety

The Japanese government decided to dispose of all microwave ovens in the country before the end of this year. All citizens and organisations that do not fulfil the requirement are threatened with prison sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years, depending on the severity of the crime.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR OUR HEALTH

The reason for the ban on microwaves in the Land of the Rising Sun was research by scientists from the University of Hiroshima, who found out that radioactive waves caused more harm to the health of citizens over the 20 years of use of the microwave oven than the nuclear bombing of American aircraft in September 1945.

According to the findings of experts, food, heated in a microwave oven, has unfavourable vibrations, in disharmony with the universal rhythms.
All the largest manufacturers of microwave ovens in Japan have already closed factory workshops where products were manufactured. In 2021, the termination of the production of microwave ovens will be announced in South Korea, China plans to abandon this type of technology in 2023
[19:14, 26.3.2019] Khan Khanbala Dts: A conference on cancer prevention was held at the Kashira Cancer Center. Here are some recommendations made at the end of it:
Say no!":

Refined oil

Milk of animal origin (not homemade)

Food cubes (seasoning "Broth" ;-)

Soda (32 pieces of sugar per litre!)

Sugar refined sugar

Microwave

Do not do a mammogram before birth except for an echogram (apparently, ultrasound is implied).

Too tight underwear (bra!)

No alcohol

Thawed food

Do not drink water from the refrigerator in plastic bottles.

Contraceptive pills (women change hormonal system and provoke cancer)

Deodorants. Especially used after shaving are dangerous.

Sugar in any form (cancer cells mainly feed on sugar).

Cancer patients, excluding sugar from their diet, see that the disease is gone and can live for a long time: sugar = mortal enemy.

A glass of beer is processed in the body for 5 hours, at which time organs and systems operate at idle speed.

Say yes!":

Vegetables

Honey in moderation instead of sugar

Vegetable proteins (beans instead of meat)

Two glasses of water on an empty stomach before brushing your teeth - room temperature water has the same temperature as our body upon waking.

Warm food (not hot)

No. 1 anti-cancer juice: aloe vera + ginger + parsley + celery + promalin (middle of pineapple), mix and drink on an empty stomach.

Anticancer juice No. 2: soursop / guanabana (seedless) + promalin (middle of pineapple)

Eat raw or boiled carrots or squeeze juice every day.
On a note:

The Association of American Doctors found answers to the cause of cancer:

Do not drink tea from plastic cups (cups).

Do not eat anything hot from a paper or plastic bag (for example, fried potatoes).

Do not microwave food in plastic dishes.
We remind:

When plastic is exposed to heat, chemical compounds are released that can cause 52 types of cancer.

This message is better than 100 unnecessary SMS …

Avoid drinking Coca-Cola on pineapple or after eating pineapple as dessert.

Do not mix pineapple juice with coca.

This mixture is deadly! People die from this, and they mistakenly believe that they were poisoned …. They were victims of their ignorance of this fatal cocktail!

Answer calls by holding the phone to your left ear

Do not drink medicines with cold water.

Do not eat heavy food after 17.00

Drink more water in the morning, less in the evening

Do not take a horizontal position immediately after a meal and use of drugs

When the battery of your phone is almost dead, do not pick up the phone, as this radiation is 1000 times stronger. than with a charged battery.

Pass it on to the people you love. Do it, because kindness costs us nothing …”

Copy of food-kitchen-microwave-1287150.jpg

Now, let’s break it down.

CLAIM #1: The Japanese Microwaves

“The Japanese government decided to dispose of all microwave ovens in the country before the end of this year. All citizens and organisations that do not fulfill the requirement are threatened with prison sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years, depending on the severity of the crime.

The reason for the ban on microwaves in the Land of the Rising Sun was research by scientists from the University of Hiroshima, who found out that radioactive waves caused more harm to the health of citizens over the 20 years of use of the microwave oven than the nuclear bombing of American aircraft in September 1945.

According to the findings of experts, food, heated in a microwave oven, has unfavourable vibrations, in disharmony with the universal rhythms.
All the largest manufacturers of microwave ovens in Japan have already closed factory workshops where products were manufactured. In 2021, the termination of the production of microwave ovens will be announced in South Korea, China plans to abandon this type of technology in 2023.”

FALSE: This was first published on a Russian satire website - Panorama.pub. Yes, people. Satire! This whole thing is a joke that has gone viral and is now being spread as fact. Snopes was the first link when I searched for this. Just FYI, snopes.com is an excellent resource for finding facts about hoaxes, scams, weird forwards and a lot more internet nonsense.

This in itself should give you a clue about how reliable the rest of the information in this WhatsApp forward it. But if you still are morbidly curious about it, go right ahead and read on.

CLAIM #2 Kashira Cancer Center

“A conference on cancer prevention was held at the Kashira Cancer Center. Here are some recommendations made at the end of it:

FALSE: I can’t find any place called the Kashira Cancer Center. It’s apparently a highway in Moscow, but I can’t find anything about a real cancer hospital with that name.

Now let’s break down each claim for foods we should “Say no” to:

CLAIM #3: Refined oil

FALSE: Well, eating too much refined oil is bad for anyone! But it’s not inherently bad in reasonable quantities. The refining is needed to get rid of some of the natural toxins in oils and also improve their shelf life. If you overdo them, just like if you have too many saturated fats like ghee or coconut oil in your diet, and don’t do adequate exercise, you will increase your risk of heart disease along with a bunch of other things. So keep your fats within 30% of your total caloric intake.

CLAIM #4: Milk of animal origin (not homemade):

FALSE: I don’t really understand what this means. So we shouldn’t consume milk from any animals? What does it mean by “not homemade”? Do they mean we should only drink milk from the cows you have at home? Either way, there’s no evidence to say that dairy is bad for anyone, except those who have lactose intolerance.
This study concludes: The totality of available scientific evidence supports that intake of milk and dairy products contribute to meet nutrient recommendations and may protect against the most prevalent chronic diseases, whereas very few adverse effects have been reported.


CLAIM #5 Food cubes (seasoning "Broth")

FALSE: I can’t find any evidence showing these are bad for your health. However, they are high in salt, so take it easy if you have blood pressure problems.

CLAIM #6: Soda (32 pieces of sugar per litre!):

DEPENDS: By this, I think they mean soft drinks and not club soda. Of course, drinking a lot of soft drinks with sugar in them isn’t good for you. That’s a lot of calories from carbs that you probably don’t need and hold no other nutritional value. The dosage makes the poison though, so take it easy. Overdoing soft drinks has been associated with weight gain, heart disease and tooth decay. And regular club soda hasn’t been shown to have any adverse effects at all. Here's another interesting article to check out.

CLAIM #7: Sugar refined sugar:

DEPENDS: Too much of anything can be bad for you. Even drinking too much water can kill you, and it has been known to happen. So when it comes to sugar, which is otherwise known as simple carbohydrates, it holds true. Eat a little bit of sugar and count it under your carbs, you’ll be fine. Stuff your face with 5-stars and Cola all day long, and it will mess you up. You don’t have to avoid it altogether, but since it’s so easy to overconsume, you should be careful.

CLAIM #8: Microwave: See CLAIM #1

CLAIM #9: Do not do a mammogram before birth except for an echogram (apparently, ultrasound is implied):

FALSE: There’s no harm in getting a mammogram before you give birth. However, that’s different from getting a mammogram if you are already pregnant. Then, ask your doctor if it’s safe for you. From what I’ve found, an ultrasound carries a higher risk of false positives, which means a result that says a patient has cancer when they actually don’t. Mammograms are more reliable. So, if you’re not pregnant and not breastfeeding (lactation can make cancer harder to detect), go ahead and get a mammogram.

CLAIM #10: Too tight underwear (bra!)

FALSE: There is absolutely no evidence that wearing bras, tight or not, has any risk of getting breast cancer or having any other health issues. However, I did find that wearing bras can be a bit detrimental to the shape of breasts, but that’s a different story. My only question is, why would anyone want to wear tight bras anyway? Just get looser ones if you are. Why are you putting yourself through any discomfort at all? I may be a man, but I do wear underwear, and I like it to be comfortable, for sure. I can only imagine women would too.

While I was looking into this, I came across another article about bras that you may be interested in. Check it out here.

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CLAIM #11: No alcohol

TRUE: Even alcoholics know that booze is bad for you - may be more than the rest of us. But yes, alcohol is bad for you in large quantities. Small quantities once in a while won’t do you much harm, but the more you drink, the worse it gets. The dosage makes the poison, as I keep saying. And don’t always believe the hype when it comes to booze news. Wine may be good for your heart, but it’s terrible for everything else. I’m not saying you shouldn’t drink at all. Just try to minimise your drinking, okay? Your heart, brain, cardiovascular system, liver, stomach and pretty much every other part of your body will thank you for it.

CLAIM #12: Thawed food

DEPENDS: Just for the record, freezing food doesn’t harm it in any way and doesn’t reduce its nutritional value. However, thawing food can have detrimental effects if done wrong. I found some excellent resources to figure out how to thaw food and if you should refreeze it or throw it out. Meat, in particular, should be cooked as soon as it melts or while it’s still frozen. Don’t refreeze that stuff. But frozen food by itself is perfectly fine to eat. Frozen produce may even have more nutrition than the things you get from the market. If they’ve been frozen soon after harvesting, it can preserve a lot of the vitamins and minerals that could be lost due to heat and other factors during transport.

CLAIM #13: Do not drink water from the refrigerator in plastic bottles

PROBABLY FALSE: There’s been a lot of controversy over the leaching of chemicals like BPA from plastic into whatever’s in it. It has also been claimed that BPA cause cancer, which they don’t. Also, there also seems to be a hoax mail going around that plastic water bottles can leech dioxins into drinking water when frozen. Again, there’s no evidence for this.

CLAIM #14: Contraceptive pills (women change hormonal system and provoke cancer)

FALSE: Contraceptive pills have been around for over 50 years and used by millions of women safely and effectively. It’s often even prescribed for conditions like PCOD/PCOS to balance hormones that are out of whack. There are well-documented side-effects and pros and cons, but they certainly don’t cause cancer. This claim is totally bogus. However, if you want to take contraceptive pills, you do need to speak to your OB-GYN so they can recommend the right one for you.

CLAIM #15: Deodorants. Especially used after shaving are dangerous

FALSE: There is absolutely no evidence to connect deodorants or antiperspirants to cancer of any sort. Keep using whatever you’re comfortable with, and for goodness’ sake, shower once in a while!

CLAIM #16 & 17: Sugar in any form (cancer cells mainly feed on sugar). Cancer patients, excluding sugar from their diet, see that the disease is gone and can live for a long time: sugar = mortal enemy.

DEPENDS: Sugar is a carbohydrate, just like rice. There’s nothing wrong with it except for how easy it is to overconsume. It’s in so many soft drinks, foods, sweets and juices. They don’t usually satiate you but add a lot of unnecessary empty calories to your diet. Overconsumption of sugar is associated with an increase in the risk of contracting several diseases, including some forms of cancer. It’s also true that some types of cancer consume glucose for energy and ketogenic diets can slow down its growth, but our understanding of this is still very nascent. So be aware, keep the sugar consumption under control and live an otherwise active and healthy life.

Check out this excellent article about cancer myths that I found. It refutes the last two claims and more in one accessible article.

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CLAIM #18: A glass of beer is processed in the body for 5 hours, at which time organs and systems operate at idle speed.

NOPE: I have no idea what this claim is, but BBC has a fantastic article about what booze does to your body, which you should totally read. Also, read CLAIM #11.

Now we come to the foods to which we should…

Say yes!:
CLAIM #19: Vegetables

TRUE: I think we all know this. No arguments from me here.

CLAIM #20: Honey in moderation instead of sugar

TRUE: Honey is basically bee vomit that is used as food in times of scarcity. Don’t let that put you off. It’s pretty good for you on the whole. It has a lower fructose than table sugar and also has a bunch of vitamins and minerals, which make it more nutritious. It’s even sweeter than sugar so you’ll need less of it, but it’s also higher in calories, so be careful. Also, don’t feed it to kids below the age of 1 as it may have some botulinum bacteria in there. All that said, you have to be as careful with this as with sugar because, at the end of the day, it is still sugar and will lead to the same problems if you overeat of it.

CLAIM #21: Vegetable proteins (beans instead of meat)

DEPENDS: If you’re vegetarian and want to consume vegetarian forms of protein, go right ahead. It’ll be adequate for most people. If you’re working out though and need more protein, you’ll have to eat a lot of vegetarian sources to get it. Meat is just a more complete source of protein, and you’ll have to eat a lot less of it to get the full range of proteins in the right quantities. And it’s not as bad for you as some would say. But the choice is yours. If you don’t want to go for meat, go for beans, lentils, dairy and sprouts. They are all perfectly valid and healthy sources of meat.

CLAIM #22: Two glasses of water on an empty stomach before brushing your teeth - room temperature water has the same temperature as our body upon waking.

DEPENDS: Drinking water as soon as you wake up can be a good thing. It can help your morning motions a bit, it’ll rehydrate you after a long night of not drinking water, it can reduce your chances of getting acidic first thing in the morning, and so on. However, this whole thing about it has to be room temperature, or body temperature seems implausible. First of all, the temperature of the room is usually not the same temperature as your body, so the water can’t be both. If your room was 39 degrees Celsius, something tells me you’re going to be feeling pretty damn hot. That just doesn’t make sense, especially if it’s any time other than the height of summer in the plains of India and you don’t have an AC or a cooler in the house.

CLAIM #23: Warm food (not hot)

NOPE: Again, I can’t find anything that can explain why this statement, if you can call it that, was made.

CLAIM #24: & #25: No. 1 anti-cancer juice: aloe vera + ginger + parsley + celery + promalin (middle of pineapple), mix and drink on an empty stomach. Anticancer juice No. 2: soursop / guanabana (seedless) + promalin (middle of pineapple)

DEPENDS: Eating fruits and vegetables are definitely good for you, and they can reduce your chances of getting certain types of cancer. But there’s no such thing as an “anti-cancer” juice. If you want to turn your veggies into juices, go right ahead. It’s fine. Just make sure you control your carbs that you’re consuming so that you don’t overdo them. AS far as these recipes mentioned, I’m sure they could help if included in your everyday diet. However, it is advised to opt for more green, leafy veggies.

Bottom line: It’s a large variety of fruits and veggies that can help prevent certain types of cancer. The key word is “Prevent”. They won’t cure you.

CLAIM #26: Eat raw or boiled carrots or squeeze juice every day.

TRUE: Carrots are great for you. As I said in the previous point, fruits and vegetables of all sorts are great for your health, and you should eat a large variety of them. Carrots are best known for their beta-carotene, which is metabolised into Vitamin A in the body. So go for it. Just don’t forget the rest of your food.

vegetables-1085063_1280.jpg

CLAIM #27: The Association of American Doctors found answers to the cause of cancer:

FALSE: There is no “Association of American Doctors”. There is a non-profit organisation called Association of American Physicians though. Considering the accuracy of the rest of this forward, I’m going to assume these are not the same organisation.

CLAIM #28, #29, #30 and #31: 1. Do not drink tea from plastic cups (cups) 2. Do not eat anything hot from a paper or plastic bag (for example, fried potatoes). 3. Do not microwave food in plastic dishes.
We remind:
When plastic is exposed to heat, chemical compounds are released that can cause 52 types of cancer.

DEPENDS: Taken together, it basically says that plastics and heat don’t go well together, and if the plastic gets heated, the chemicals released can cause cancer. The findings summarise that you shouldn’t put plastic that wasn’t meant to be heated in the microwave. If you put something like cling film or some cellophane wrap, it could melt from the heat and leech some chemicals into the food. But plastic tea cups and microwaveable dishes are perfectly safe. There is a little bit of chemical released, but it’s in such small quantities that it won’t harm you in any way. It hasn’t been linked to any cancers either.

All these seem to have been linked to a hoax mail that’s been going around for the last 12 or 13 years. But it’s all over-exaggerated or false.

CLAIM #32: This message is better than 100 unnecessary SMS …

FALSE: I think this message is just plain unnecessary.

CLAIM #33: Avoid drinking Coca-Cola on pineapple or after eating pineapple as dessert.

Do not mix pineapple juice with coca.

This mixture is deadly! People die from this, and they mistakenly believe that they were poisoned …. They were victims of their ignorance of this fatal cocktail!

FALSE: There are real cocktails that are made with coke and pineapple. And I’m sure lots of people have had the combination. Hell, there’s another hoax that says consuming mangos and cokes together can kill you. I’m sure there are tons of people, especially in India, who have happily survived that combination. I’m sure I have. Don’t believe everything you see on the internet, people.

CLAIM #34: Answer calls by holding the phone to your left ear

FALSE: This is a hoax forward that’s been busted. There’s no correlation between cancer and mobile phones, and it doesn’t matter which ear you hold your phone to. It’s just plain nonsense.

I did find something interesting while looking this up though. Your brain determines which ear you hold your phone to. Pretty interesting stuff.

CLAIM #35: Do not drink medicines with cold water.

FALSE: I couldn’t find any evidence behind this. Whatever the temperature of the water, your body will warm it up to body temperature pretty quickly. Swallow your medicine with whatever temperature water you want.

CLAIM # 36: Do not eat heavy food after 17.00

FALSE: You can eat at whatever time you want. There is no evidence connecting the time you eat to your health whether it’s “heavy” or “light”. What matters is how much you eat and what you eat. After all, calories are the factor that determines whether you’ll gain weight or lose it more than anything else.

One plausible reason why people may think that eating late is unhealthy is that the later we eat, the worse is the food choices we tend to make. Plus, midnight snacking is usually quite junky in terms of food and is also adding on top of the regular meals you’ve had, therefore increasing the chances of you overeating and then gaining weight.

And a plausible reason why people tend to lose weight if they finish eating early in the day is that they just don’t end up eating as much as they would if they ended up eating later. After all, 5 pm is usually our evening snack time, and dinner is had later. This means, you have a slightly more substantial meal in the evening and have something super light at dinner. Could be an excellent tool to lose weight it if suits you. But that doesn’t mean this is gospel. If it doesn’t suit your lifestyle, don’t do it. But if you are looking to eat for health and weight loss, count your calories first and handle your techniques later.

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CLAIM #37: Drink more water in the morning, less in the evening

FALSE: It doesn’t make sense! And there’s no explanation for it either. Why would this work anyway? The only reason why you shouldn’t drink a lot of water before you go to bed would be because it may wake you up to go to the loo. Other than that, just drink when you’re thirsty. This is just silly.

CLAIM #38: Do not take a horizontal position immediately after a meal and use of drugs

TRUE: In some studies, it has been found that sitting or lying down after eating can lead to slower digestion and maybe even acid reflux for those who suffer from GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. If you have some gas going on because of your meal, staying upright could also let that out. As far as medicines are concerned, I honestly don’t know, but I presume the same principles apply.

CLAIM #39: When the battery of your phone is almost dead, do not pick up the phone, as this radiation is 1000 times stronger. than with a charged battery.

FALSE: I could find no reliable information regarding this matter, so it seems just to have been made out of whole cloth. Even if we assume it’s correct for the sake of argument, it isn’t really plausible. Why would radiation be stronger in a phone when the battery’s almost dead? Also, there has been no evidence that cell phone radiation causes any harm of any sort. If that were the case, brain and genital cancers would be the most common causes of death on the planet. Which they aren’t. There’s absolutely zero correlation between cancer and mobiles. But the legend still exists for some reason.

Conclusion

So let’s figure out the tally for this message, shall we?

Out of the 39 claims:

  • 18 were FALSE

  • 2 were just made up out of thin air

  • 5 were True

  • 13 turned out to DEPEND on the context of the claim to determine whether it was true or false.

  • 1 was a duplicate (CLAIM #1 and #8)

What does this all mean? Most of this message was just plain wrong, and it presented information without context when it needed it. Then, mixed in, are a few things that are true. This is how they get to readers. The most effective way of making a message look legit is to mix in a few things we all know to be true. Of course, that's only an illusion. It doesn't turn fiction into fact. That leads to a massive amount of misinformation.

That means this message fails! It does more harm than good and has the net effect of misleading and misinforming people about their health and well-being. And that, in my book, is seriously messed up. If you see this message or anything like it, DON’T FORWARD IT.

So, as is suggested, I’m passing this on to those I love, which is you, dear reader, if you haven’t figured that out yet. I’m just taken the trouble of researching each point before I do so, which I advise you to do next time you see a forward like this. Or, if it’s too much trouble, which is most probably will be, just send it my way, and I’ll do it for you.

Did I miss anything? Got something wrong? Let me know.