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Science Reveals The Truth Behind 15 Common Food Myths

Science Reveals The Truth Behind 15 Common Food Myths

Here’s the thing about food. It’s essential, not magic.

There is no one food that’s going to make you healthier, and there is no one food that causes you to be less healthy.

Here is the science behind some of the most common food myths out there on the internet.

Myth: Microwaves zap the nutrients out of your food

You might be surprised to learn that microwaving your food is one of the best cooking methods when it comes to preserving nutrients. It just goes to show you cannot trust that everyone making claims on the internet has the scientific research to back them up.

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Myth: Eggs are bad for your heart

Eggs aren’t as harmful to our cholesterol levels as we have come to believe. Actually, when you eat food containing cholesterol, your body compensates by making less cholesterol. Experts say if you eat an egg or two every day, it’s not going to hurt you.

Myth: Carbs make you fat

People are obsessed with low-carb diets because they believe eating carbs makes you fat. Carbohydrates are a form of energy and just another nutrient your body converts to glucose when you eat it. If you’re worried about eating too much sugar, good luck: in the end, everything you eat turns into sugar in a form your body uses to perform its daily functions.

Myth: Radiation from microwaves puts dangerous compounds in your food

Seriously, what does the internet have against microwaves? The short rebuttal: no. The kind of radiation given off by microwaves is not the kind of radiation that will harm you. And as mentioned above, microwaving your food is actually the best thing you can do for its nutritional value.

Myth: You can cleanse toxins from your body

Your body, to keep itself alive, has natural processes that remove toxins from your body as needed. You don’t need to stop eating a certain kind of food or drink a lot of water to make that happen. Your biology has you covered. Really. You cannot flush chemicals out of you. Everything is chemicals.

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Myth: Vitamin C prevents colds

Research has yet to point to any proof that consuming vitamin C will keep you from getting a cold. It will probably make the cold you already have not last quite as long, but it’s not going to keep you from getting one. Washing your hands probably will, though.

Myth: A gluten-free diet is good for you even when you don’t need it

Those who need to be on gluten-free diets have something called Celiac disease, which means they are legitimately allergic to gluten (sort of). If you don’t have Celiac disease and you think going gluten-free is a good idea, think again: it can actually really hurt you.

Myth: Eating fat makes you fat

Actually, eating fat gives you energy, just like any other major nutrient out there. You might start to have a problem if you’re overeating fatty foods (or any kind of food for that matter), but cutting out fat from your diet won’t make you lose weight.

Myth: Nuts are bad for you

Nuts contain protein, which is essential for a healthy diet. The reason you don’t need to worry about nuts is that they contain more beneficial nutrients than ones you need to watch more closely. Too much of anything isn’t good for you. Take a handful and you’ll be fine. Don’t eat the whole container at once.

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Myth: If it’s labeled “natural,” it’s healthy

The word “natural” on a food label does not say anything about how healthy a food is. Foods that are labeled as natural go through minimal amounts of processing, which means that even if they don’t contain any fake ingredients or colors, it still goes through processing. And the USDA isn’t too specific about what that means. Organic is your healthier option here.

Myth: You need to drink exactly eight glasses of water every day

How much water you need to drink every day actually depends on a lot of different factors. There is no magic amount of water that’s going to cure all your diseases or make you lose weight. You need to listen to your body. When you’re thirsty, drink some water. When you’re not thirsty anymore, don’t drink any more water. It’s that simple.

Myth: Never eat after 7 p.m.

Time of day has nothing to do with how your body absorbs and uses nutrients. Eating certain foods later in the day might make it harder for some people to fall asleep or get a good night’s rest, but the calories you dump into your body in the morning are the exact same calories you dump into it at night.

Myth: Celery has “negative” calories

Celery has fewer than 10 calories per serving, which does make them great choices for healthy snacks (especially if you pair them with your favorite dip or spread). They are extremely low in calories, but you don’t burn calories by eating a stick of celery.

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Myth: Raw vegetables are more nutritious than cooked vegetables

In reality, certain vegetables have more of certain kinds of nutrients when their cooked as opposed to when you eat them raw. It all depends on how you cook them. Methods like boiling do cause vegetables to lose some of their water-soluble vitamins, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are any less nutritious overall.

Myth: Margarine is healthier than butter

When comparing margarine and butter, margarine is usually considered healthier because it is made from vegetable oils. Most margarine still contains trans fat, though, which actually lowers the good kind of cholesterol in your body. Your best bet would be to limit whichever spread you choose.

If you’re ever unsure of whether something related to food is true or not, look up sources that are backed by scientific evidence, or information that comes from professional organizations. Hate to break it to you, but your favorite food blogger, unless she’s a licensed nutrition professional, is probably wrong.

Featured photo credit: Michael Stern via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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