We're halfway through another week, and that means it's time for some link love! Take a break from your busy workday to check out some of the week's biggest health headlines that you might have skipped over, and then tell us: What did we miss? Tweet us @Shape_Magazine or let us know in the comments below.
1. Scientists are researching alternative forms of birth control. Raise your hand if you hate remembering to take the pill every day at the exact same time. We don't blame you. Luckily scientists are investigating the possibility of a form of contraception that would work similar to the morning-after pill (it would have to be taken within 72 hours of having sex), and be effective at preventing pregnancy for up to a month. Researchers are still in the very early stages of development, but a study published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care reports that it could be a realistic possibility. Until then, if you're in a love-hate relationship with your BC, learn the most common birth control side effects and which type is best for you to use.
2. Forget wine sommeliers—the newest trend is water sommeliers! And to think, all this time, I thought water was just water. I'm wrong, natch. Martin Riese, a certified water sommelier, recently created the first water tasting menu for Ray's & Stark Bar in L.A. It caused a stir when it launched this summer, but Riese says there's a water for every occasion, and his customers take hydration very seriously.
3. Americans like exercising alone. One isn't always the loneliest number. A new survey suggests that nearly 77 percent of Americans like to fly solo when working out. Running is the most popular form of exercise, with weight lifting and hiking coming in second and third, respectively. However even if you like to work out alone, it may be worth it to hit the gym, not the pavement: Studies have shown that peoples' happiness is dependent on the physical proximity of the people near them, so the act of exercising near other people may influence you to become even healthier.
4. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to start evaluating health apps. Currently the FDA doesn't regulate health or fitness apps, but it announced this week that it will begin to regulate a small number of them, with a plan to focus on apps that function as medical devices (such as apps that perform ultrasounds). Newly developed regulation will probably spur the innovation of such apps, since before there was a lack of clarity on how the agency would treat them, according to the New York Times.
5. Is this a healthier French fry? Burger King just unveiled the launch of its newest menu item, Satisfries. Made with a less-absorbent batter than BK's traditional French fries, the Satisfries are supposed to contain 40 percent less fat than McDonald's French fries and 21 percent fewer fat calories than BK's regular fries. But are they really a better option? Our Diet Doctor shares his thoughts here.