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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 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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