8 Health Trends That We Need To Ditch In 2017


This year was a tough one in a lot of ways, and the rise of certain health trends did not make it any easier.

There are the perennially frustrating inaccuracies, like the concept that “natural” sugars are “healthy” ― we’re looking at you, blue agave. And if we read one more story comparing food to drug addiction, we might scream. Then there were some unfortunate developments in the health landscape, like pricey fitness subscription fee hikes.

It wasn’t all bad news in the world of health, though. Fitness enthusiasts continue to push the limits for new ways to build your abs, and the results are funny and surprising. And women are running past the finish line in droves: Women's participation in races has increased by more than 25 percent since 1990, as nearly 10 million girls run races in the U.S. alone. But since the end of the year is typically associated with saying goodbye ― or at the very least, an airing of grievances ― we rounded up a few trends we took issue with this year and hope to never see again.

Below are a few of the most disappointing health items from 2016:

Companies who smack the term 'healthy' on their products
Robert Daly via Getty Images
First, it started with KIND bars. In May, the FDA issued a warning to the snack bar company stating that the word "healthy" on its packaging was misleading.

Then it became a bigger conversation. What does the word "healthy" actually mean? The FDA opened up this exact question the public in September to better guide consumers through the purchase of packaged food. The verdict is still out on the "definitive answer."

Here's to hoping this one gets worked out in 2017. Until then, nothing beats a balanced diet. If you're looking for some inspiration, here's what the world's healthiest diets have in common.
Diagnosing presidential candidates in the media.
Carlos Barria / Reuters
When Hillary Clinton nearly fainted at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in New York earlier this year, the episode set forth a series of conspiracy theories about her health. Some news outlets raised questions about her fitness to run for president.

Clinton was actually managing the grueling commitments of a campaign while tackling a bout of pneumonia. And the reality is that pneumonia is a common and highly treatable illness for which people Clinton's age, 68, are at risk.

And it wasn't just Clinton who was hit with scrutiny: Widespread speculation about the state of President-elect Donald Trump's mental health was common among media outlets as well. When psychologists theorize about a person who is not his or her patient, it violates an ethical standard in the mental health field known as the Goldwater Rule.
Or, diagnosing any public figure, for that matter.
Donald Kravitz via Getty Images
In November, comedian Rosie O'Donnell retweeted a video of various clips featuring Barron Trump, the son of President-elect Trump. The montage suggested the 10-year-old might be showing signs of autism, with no real fact to back up the claims. Unsurprisingly, backlash ensued.

O'Donnell later posted a poem on her website in defense of the video, writing "If it is true...it would help so much with the autism epidemic." Two weeks after posting the video, O'Donnell tweeted an apology to Melania Trump, Barron's mother, who considered the video a form of bullying and harassment. The boy does not have autism, according to his parents.

Let's leave the diagnosis to the doctor and the sharing of said diagnosis to those involved.
Meditation bashing.
Meditation might not be for you -- and that's totally okay. But let's get one thing straight: The suggestion to be more mindful isn't to lend "a scoop of moralizing smugness," as author Ruth Whippman stated in a New York Times opinion piece in November. Mindfulness is not a substitute for medication either – it's merely another tool to cope.

Paying attention to the breath is an easy and accessible tool to help you calm down. And just because you meditate to focus on the present moment, doesn't mean you can't also spend some time letting your mind wander. Both are good for you.
Fare hikes for fitness.
Bojan89 via Getty Images
It was the kettle bell drop heard 'round the world. Class Pass, the subscription service which supplies users with access to boutique fitness classes, cut its unlimited plan in November.

The salt in the wound? Devotees would still have pay the same amount despite access to much fewer classes. Ouch.
The vilification of carbs.
Jena Cumbo via Getty Images
Please, please enjoy your bagel.

Reports that a diet containing high-glycemic index foods such as white bread, potatoes and yes, even bagels, could give you lung cancer ran rampant earlier this year. It's not exactly true.

There's way more to it than that. No matter how many carbs you eat, the absolute lung cancer risk if you have never smoked a cigarette is very small. Some of the healthiest people in the world eat carbs, too. The Japanese, who have the third-highest life expectancies compared to any other country in the world, consume a heavy grain-based diet. The rate of obesity in Japan is one-tenth of America's.

Toast and enjoy.
Panic over GMOs.
Zomi via Getty Images
President Barack Obama signed a bill into law in July which requires the food companies to label genetically modified ingredients. More than 60 other countries already do the same. It was a big moment – GMOs are at the center of a debate which discusses food safety, herbicides and environmental impact.

However, a recent analysis of over 1,000 studies should put panic to rest surrounding the issue of whether or not GMOs are safe to consume: The research concluded that there are no safety reasons to label GMOs in food.

The right to know is real. There are other reasons such as moral and environmental concerns about the use of GMOS, but human health is not one of them.
Zika conspiracy theories.
Henrik Sorensen via Getty Images
Zika is arguably one of the biggest public health concerns that emerged from 2016. The mosquito-borne disease has devastating effects in newborns and can persist in placentas for months.

In February, a report falsely linked the uptick of newborn microcephaly cases in Argentina to a larvicide, rather than the disease spread by mosquitoes. Zika is also not the product of genetically modified mosquitoes, as some claim. And no, Americans do not have magical immunity to the virus, either.

Accurate medical information is critical during outbreaks.

Now raise your hand if you are so ready for 2017.

Us, too.

Before You Go

Uplifting moments of 2016