Dr. Marc answers readers’ question every other week. To send a query, click here.
Dear Dr. Marc,
We have heard recently that using the microwave can sap much of our food of its nutritional value. Is this being overplayed or should we relegate the appliance to the trash?
This is a tough one. Hitting food with microwaves certainly can’t be good for it, but to my knowledge no long-term trials have been done in a large patient population to see if there are true deleterious effects. In terms of short-term effects, I know of no evidence to suggest that food is stripped of its nutritional value by microwaving. These studies would be hard to do, but in their absence it is difficult to advise trashing the microwave.
On the other hand, I do think that the use of this piece of equipment fits with a philosophy that is essentially an unhealthy one in terms of the American diet–processed and packaged foods, high in chemicals, fats, salts, sugars and preservatives. So it is what we’re microwaving more than the microwave itself that concerns me.
Dear Dr. Marc,
I am a 54-year-old woman seeking affordable health insurance. I am outraged that I cannot find a policy for an individual that doesn’t cost nearly $200 or more per month. I believe insurance companies are more interested in profit than helping improve the quality of life for citizens of this country. I also believe that our congress promotes such a state of affairs, because of monetary contributions, and who knows what else. I think the pharmaceutical companies are just as guilty of overcharging. I saw a list of the corporations which made the biggest profits during this year, and at the top of the list are the pharmaceutical companies. What is going on? How can these “human services” companies get by with this behavior?
I think it’s best to realize that these pharmaceutical and health insurance companies are really just the corporate beast proceeding apace without regard to the business they’re in. Oh, the major drug companies have philanthropy divisions and they try to put on a face of caring, which also has the intent of generating more profits as a result. No matter how they present themselves, these industries are neither altruistic or humanitarian. Remember, health care may have constant social implications and concerns, but these do not automatically extend to product and service providers.
Physicians are regulated in a way that drug companies are not. I believe you can overdo regulation, and I also have issues with who it is that is doing the regulating (i.e. the enforcers may lack relevant clinical expertise), but I do believe that regulating prices is a good way to keep providers honest and this certainly could be better applied to the drug industry.