Health and fitness headlines: Are bad habits taking 12 years off your life?

Courtesy photo<br>
Does cooking olive oil destroy its health benefits? Actually, no.

Courtesy photo<br> Does cooking olive oil destroy its health benefits? Actually, no.

Hello Fitness fix readers. This month I am finishing up the last of my classes at Central Arizona College. I am finally seeing the light at the end of this 4-year tunnel. After my classes are over, I will take a small break over the summer and then begin my 450-hour internship at Yavapai Regional Medical Center where I already work. I just can't wait! If all goes as planned, I should graduate this December with an AAS degree in dietetics. So now that I've given you an update on my happenings, here is what's making health and fitness news.How to take 12 years off your life:Four of these bad habits - smoking, drinking too much alcohol, inactivity, and poor diet - can age you by as much as 12 years, according to a new study. Not only do people look and feel 12 years older than their same-age counterparts, but some of the people in the study who chose to embrace these bad habits died before the study ended because of heart disease or cancer. Both diseases are influenced by diet and lifestyle.Eating for two? Be careful.A new study by Georgetown University shows a link between what a mother eats during pregnancy and the health of her unborn child ... and grandchild! This study showed that a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids during pregnancy, increased cancer rates in the mother's offspring, and in her offspring's offspring. Omega 6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that we need in order for our brains to work properly, for normal bone development, to regulate our metabolism and keep our reproductive system in optimal shape, for normal growth and development, and many other functions. We must obtain omega-6 fatty acids from our diet because our body can not make them but the problem is that we tend to consume more than we need, which causes issues such as inflammation. Our main source of omega-6 fatty acids comes from vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, egg yolks, organ meats, and basically most processed foods. Like I said, omega-6 fatty acids are important to have in our diets, we just don't want too much, especially when we've got "one in the oven."In an attempt to reduce obesity rates, Santa Clara, Calif., has banned the sale of toys with high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium meals that don't meet basic nutrition standards. Wow! A part of me really likes this new ban because it takes away some of the allure; but then again, I rarely take my children out for fast food anyway so this ban would not affect me so much. What do you think? Cookinglight.com gave its top bunked nutrition myths. 1. Added sugar is always bad for you.Wrong. Most health experts suggest that added sugar supply no more than 10 percent of your total calories, about 200 calories in a 2,000-calorie diet.2. Eating eggs raises your cholesterol levels.Wrong. Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has little to do with the amount of cholesterol in your body.3. All saturated fats raise blood cholesterol.Wrong. Stearic acid, a type of saturated fat found naturally in cocoa, dairy products, meats, and poultry, as well as palm and coconut oils, does not raise harmful LDL cholesterol but boosts beneficial HDL cholesterol levels.4. Adding salt to the pot adds sodium to the food.Wrong, well sort of. Salt added to boiling water may actually make vegetables more nutritious. "Salt in the cooking water reduces the leaching of nutrients from vegetables into the water," says Harold McGee, author of "On Food & Cooking."5. Fried foods are always too fatty.Wrong. When food is exposed to hot oil, the moisture inside boils and pushes to the surface and then out into the oil. As moisture leaves, it creates a barrier, minimizing oil absorption when the frying is done right. The little oil that does penetrate the food's surface forms a crisp, tasty crust. Oil temperatures that are too low will increase fat absorption (1 cup of oil as opposed to just 1/3 cup of oil!) 375°F is the optimal temperature. 6. The more fiber you eat, the better.Wrong. Not all fibers are created equally. Fiber is a popular ingredient right now, and manufacturers are isolating specific types of fiber and adding them to packaged foods. faux-fiber foods may not be as beneficial as naturally fiber-rich ones like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.7. You should always remove chicken skin before eating.Wrong. A 12-ounce bone-in, skin-on chicken breast half contains just 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 50 calories more than its similarly portioned skinless counterpart.8. Organic foods are more nutritious than conventional.Wrong. No significant nutritional difference exists between conventional and organic crops and livestock. There is still the issue of trace amounts of pesticides or herbicides. This one may anger a few die-hards out there. 9. Cooking olive oil destroys its health benefits.Wrong. Olive oil is stable as long as the oil isn't heated past its smoking point, which for extra-virgin olive oil is pretty high, about 405°FThanks for reading and please leave a note and let me know what you think of these health headlines. Peace.