Health & Fit: The 12 Headlines that Defined Healthy in 2016

You've Probably Tried This Extremely Dangerous Diet

  You've Probably Tried This Extremely Dangerous Diet Dropping 10 pounds just for vacation only so you can gain it back again seems like NBDuntil it is a big deal.Maybe it was for that cruise you booked in 2002. Or when you bought that dress for a fancy gala and it was a little too tight when you tried it on the week before. Or you just wanted to do a raw cleanse to see how much weight you could drop in a week before your ten-year reunion because it was time to prove those mean girls wrong, all before returning to the good world of ribs and all other meaty, fatty goodness....and your original weight.

  The 12 Headlines that Defined Healthy in 2016 © Hayley Sugg For better or worse, 2016 has almost drawn to a close. We've covered it all in these last 52 weeks, from presidential elections to frozen food recalls. Each week brought a new food trend, a new must-have superfood, or a new warning about what's hiding in your freezer. Take a trip down the healthy memory lane with our round up of this year's biggest moments in healthy living.

1. Barbie Aims for Diversity

Mattel made a splash in the toy industry by announcing changes to Barbie's body. The signature doll line will be expanded to include three more diverse body shapes: Curvy, Tall, and Petite. Mixed reactions, amongst the world and the Cooking Light staff, found that some found the toy's update to be encouraging, while others think too much emphasis has been placed on Barbie's body image influence. 

Eat This, Not That! at the Mall

  Eat This, Not That! at the Mall If you get caught in the food court trap during this holiday season, here's what you should eat and what you should avoid at all costs. Ahh, the mall food court: An American icon, where you can be wooed by the sugary smell of a cinnamon roll at one turn and bite the bait of a teriyaki chicken sample at the next. If you get caught in the food court trap during this holiday season, here's what you should eat and what you should avoid at all costs.

2. Panera Bread Goes Clean

Already well-known for their healthy options, Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich vowed last year that the fast-casual chain would only serve "clean ingredients" by the end of 2016. Shaich's definition of clean involved removing anything that was an artificial preservative, sweetener, flavor, or color. This ended up totaling to at least 80 ingredients that needed removal, 62 of which have already been removed from all menu items as of September 2016. The remaining 18 are expected to be replaced by the end of the year.

6 Science-Backed Ways to Lose Weight Before You Even Get to Work

  6 Science-Backed Ways to Lose Weight Before You Even Get to Work What you do before 9 a.m. can tip the scale. Every morning, you get a fresh start to eat right and exercise that day. You also get a chance to make a big impact on your health right away: Mounting research suggests that healthy morning habits make it easier to lose weight and keep it off. Start with these six fat-blasting a.m. habits: 1. Get outside. Daybreak sunlight has a higher percentage of blue light, which helps set your body's internal clocks or circadian rhythms.

3. Most Canned Foods Still Have BPA

In March, a report gathered by non-profits like the Breast Cancer Fund and Campaign for Healthier Solutions revealed that the majority of canned foods in the U.S. still contain BPA (Bisphenol A) in their lining. BPA, an industrial chemical that is used in plastics and resins, raises concerns in the health community for its potentially harmful effects that include infertility, delaying brain development, and altering puberty timing for pre-teens. After the report's release, Campbell's, whose products were all found to use BPA linings, announced they would be switching to non-BPA options by mid-2017.

4. First "Bleeding" Veggie Burger Hits Grocery Stores

Selling out in mere minutes when introduced into select Whole Foods, the Beyond Burger is the first "bleeding" veggie burger of its kind. Made with a combo of pea protein, coconut oil, and yeast extract, our staff found it has an eerily similar texture to real beef, with a distinct reddish tint thanks to beet juice. This totally vegan burger can be found right next to the meat section of select Whole Foods grocery stores.

How Kimberly Lost 19 Pounds in 3 Weeks During Her Weight-Loss Breakthrough

  How Kimberly Lost 19 Pounds in 3 Weeks During Her Weight-Loss Breakthrough 'I stood in the dressing room mirror looking at myself thinking, 'Is this really me?' I wanted to cry.'What's your end goal, both in terms of weight and life in general?

5. FDA Proposes Daily Value of Added Sugars

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in 2014 their desire to require labeling for added sugars, it wasn't until 2016 that they proposed adding a Daily Value for this. As usual, their suggested Daily Value is based on a 2,000-calorie diet for an average healthy adult. The actual proposed number is 10 percent of your daily calories from added sugars, so roughly 200 calories, or the amount of a 12-ounce Coca-Cola. There has been no movement currently to change the nutrition labels, but this proposal shows a step in the right direction.

U.S. Flu Cases Have Reached Epidemic Levels, CDC Says

  U.S. Flu Cases Have Reached Epidemic Levels, CDC Says Eight children have died from the virus this flu season. If you haven't gotten your annual flu shot yet, you should consider getting one ASAP. The number of seasonal flu cases in the United States has been higher than the national average for six weeks straight, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There's more: In the first week of 2017, the number of deaths caused by influenza and pneumonia reached epidemic levels, and a total of eight children have died from the virus since the start of flu season in October, the CDC reports.

6. Strawberries Top the Dirty Dozen List

The dark side of sweet berries came to light when strawberries took place number one on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list. The Dirty Dozen, a list of which produce types has the highest amount of pesticides, is updated yearly. Apples have been on the top of the list for the previous five years. The change in the list prompted some consumers to consider growing their own strawberries or choosing from the organic section.

7. FDA Tries to Define "Natural"

Yo-yo dieting: What it is and how it can wreck your body

  Yo-yo dieting: What it is and how it can wreck your body You'd think a drastic nutrition plan would blast away fat; but research shows it's setting you up for weight gain, disease, and failure. You'd think a drastic nutrition plan would blast away fat; but research shows it's setting you up for weight gain, disease, and failure.

As so many health-conscious eaters know, the label "natural" is an empty promise on food packaging. With no legal definition, nothing restricts food companies from slapping the word on all of their products. This may soon change though, because the FDA is considering making a legal definition for the term. In May, they reached out to the public, and over 7,600 people told the FDA how they personally defined natural. Ranging from non-GMO to free of any artificial flavors and colors, each comment had a varying opinion. The government organization has made no official announcements on how "natural" labeling might change in the future.

8. Philadelphia Becomes First Major City with Soda Tax

Though the law won't be in effect until the first part of 2017, Philadelphia became the first major city to tax sugary beverages this year. Known as the "soda tax," the change will add 1.5 cents-per-ounce to any sugar-added or artificially sweetened soft drinks. This means two-liter sodas and six-packs will go up by about $1. The extra money accrued from the tax will go towards the city's funding for public needs like libraries, community facilities, and youth education.  

9. Listeria Is Everywhere

It seems like every time you turned on the news or picked up a newspaper in 2016, a new story about listeria causing a food recall cropped up. Ice cream, flour, waffles, frozen meals, pre-made salads, and even hummus were affected by food recalls caused by this pesky bacterium. Listeria can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in extreme cases. Despite its common place in the headlines, with many of the recalls having caused no prior illnesses, this is still a very rare bacteria to contract.

Don’t Even Think of Cutting Out This Food If You Want to Lose Weight

  Don’t Even Think of Cutting Out This Food If You Want to Lose Weight While it’s tempting to banish carbs completely, as many trendy diets advocate, a team at Tufts University in Boston has found that people who ate whole grains absorbed fewer calories from their food—an amount equivalent to nearly a cookie a day.In the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Tufts researcher team found that swapping white rice for brown rice and whole grain cereal for more sugary options, increased calorie loss.

10. World's Largest Egg Distributor Goes Cage-Free

Sysco, the country's largest food distributor and a major supplier to places like McDonald's and hospitality businesses, pledged to go cage-free with their egg production by 2026. The first company of their size to do so, Sysco worked with The Humane League to develop their decade-long plan to go cage-free. The cage-free pledge will allow chickens to walk, spread their wings, and lay their eggs in nests, three things that they're unable to do in industry standard battery cages.

11. Americans Spend More Now On Fast Food Than Groceries

From a survey conducted by the USDA and U.S. Census Bureau, data showed that Americans are now spending the majority of their food budget on eating out instead of purchasing groceries. Compared to the previous 24 years that the survey has been conducted, never before have Americans spent so much many on fast food. Consumption of fast food has been on a steady rise since the 1970s, which may be playing hand-in-hand with our rising obesity rate.

12. Pokémon Go App Gets Families Moving

Everyone, whether a fan of the franchise or not, saw Pokémon mania sweep the nation during the summer. The long-awaited app, Pokémon Go, was released and quickly gained popularity with people of all ages. People were quickly filling their neighborhood's sidewalks and the local parks to try their hand at nabbing a Pikachu. Based on the franchise that many 90s kids hold in their hearts, the augmented-reality game allowed users to "see" Pokémon in the world surrounding them. Players need to explore areas, change locations, and earn Pokéballs to catch Pokémon. Exploring the outdoors isn't the only exercise-inducing part of Pokémon Go. It also prompts you to walk certain distances (anywhere between 2km to 10km) to hatch eggs and earn more Pokémon.

5 Diseases You're Never 'Too Young' to Get .
Research shows that diagnoses are spiking among adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s. We all know that your risk of chronic disease tends to increase as you age. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve your odds of staying healthy.Research shows that many young adults are developing typically age-related diseases at record-high rates. Meanwhile, some diseases are actually more likely to strike – and more likely to prove fatal – in a person’s younger years than in later life.Here, we explore five diseases you should keep an eye on, no matter your age.

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