Do High Heels Shorten Calf Muscles?

In the early 16th century, Venetian noblewomen hobbled around on high platform shoes called chopines. These shoes, resembling silk-covered stilts, were so high that most courtesans traveled with attendants to balance them. Chopines evolved into the high-heeled shoes we know today, but to some, women's footwear still seems as uncomfortable and impractical as it first was. A new study finds that high heels aren't just uncomfortable—they change a woman's legs.

Research from the Manchester Metropolitan University found that women who consistently wear high heels have shorter calf muscles than women who wear flats. Lead researcher Marco Narici says he was inspired to examine women's legs after hearing stories of secretaries in the 1950s who wore high heels every day and complained of pain when they donned flat shoes. Physicians have long been telling their patients that high heels damage calf muscles, but no one actually examined women's calves.

Using an ultrasound scan, Narici imaged the muscles of 11 women who wore high heels (and claimed to be in pain in flat shoes) and compared them to women who did not consistently wear heels.

The ultrasound revealed that the women who wore heels had calf muscles that were 13 percent shorter than the others. Heel wearers have sharper angles to their feet, most likely due to the smaller muscles. High heel wearers also had thicker and stiffer tendons.

The researchers believe the reason chronic heel wearers feel pain when switching to flats is because their tendons cannot stretch out properly.


The Simple Way to Reheat Your French Fries and Not Have Them Turn Into a Soggy Mess

Some restaurant dishes are made to be doggy-bagged and reheated in the microwave the next day. Not French fries: The more crispy and delectable they are when they first arrive on your table, the more of a soggy disappointment they’ll be when you try to revive them at home. But as The Kitchn recently shared, there’s a secret to making leftover fries you’ll actually enjoy eating.

The key is to avoid the microwave altogether. Much of the appeal of fries comes from their crunchy, golden-brown exterior and their creamy potato center. This texture contrast is achieved by deep-frying, and all it takes is a few rotations around a microwave to melt it away. As the fries heat up, they create moisture, transforming all those lovely crispy parts into a flabby mess.

If you want your fries to maintain their crunch, you need to recreate the conditions they were cooked in initially. Set a large pan filled with about 2 tablespoons of oil for every 1 cup of fries you want to cook over medium-high heat. When you see the oil start to shimmer, add the fries in a single layer. After about a minute, flip them over and allow them to cook for half a minute to a minute longer.

By heating up fries with oil in a skillet, you produce something called the Maillard Reaction: This happens when high heat transforms proteins and sugars in food, creating the browning effect that gives fried foods their sought-after color, texture, and taste.

After your fries are nice and crisp, pull them out of the pan with tongs or a spatula, set them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Now all you need is a perfect burger to feel like you’re eating a restaurant-quality meal at home.

[h/t The Kitchn]

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