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Tummy Beer, Coffee Maker Cooking And Mini-Fasts: 2013's Most Read

As we review our most popular posts of the year, we can't help notice some patterns, dear readers. It seems that you gravitate towards stories on the escapades of bacteria inside the gut, dieting, icky-looking school lunches and cooking tips ranging from how to handle raw chicken to coffee maker and dishwasher cooking.

And that's just fine with us, since those are some of the food stories we love, too.

But of course we don't see the web traffic these stories generated as a true measure of our journalism — just of these stories' virality. Plenty of deeply reported, public service stories failed to make our Top 10 list for the year. With that caveat, here's a peek at the stories you read and shared in 2013.

Gut science: Our top post of the year probed the bizarre phenomenon known as "auto-brewery syndrome." It's an incredible tale of a gastroenterologist who figured out that a man who hadn't consumed a drop of alcohol was getting drunk off of beer manufactured by his very own gut. You'll have to read it to believe it.

Also piquing your curiosity was new research on how a meat and cheese-heavy diet can alter the community of bacteria in the gut in just a few days. We'd wager there will more news to come in 2014 from this fascinating, emerging field of food and the microbiome.

Cooking with weird appliances and chicken: We made salmon in the coffee maker and the dishwasher you ate those posts up.

And we brought you breaking news that Julia Child was wrong: It's safer not to wash your raw chicken than to wash it.

Diets: We know from years past that just about everybody loves new insight into how to keep off the pounds. And so we brought it with our story on the mini-fast, which involves reducing your calorie intake for two days of the week down to somewhere in the range of 500 to 1,000 calories.

We've been following the economics of a healthful diet since the early days of this blog. This year, we learned that the cost difference between eating a healthful and unhealthful diet was pretty much the same: about $1.50 per day. It doesn't sound like much, but it can be real obstacle for low-income families.

Miscellaneous: You couldn't resist this post filled with photos of adorable Japanese latte art; you also ogled these photos of school lunches submitted by students around the country. And the ex-president of Trader Joe's decision to do something about food waste really caught your fancy, too.

That's all for the most clickable and sharable stories of the year. Here's to the New Year!

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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