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Doc Talk: Check the labels on your food

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Keeping your heart healthy starts with eating healthy foods.

We all know about the food pyramid and about exercise, but you may not realize how important it is to read the list of ingredients on the foods you buy.

Here are some good things to keep in mind as you prepare your next meal.

When it comes to food, we often get stuck in a rut. But nutritionist Sadia Shaukat says we have to change that.

A lot of times, people are just afraid of trying new foods, healthy foods.

She suggests eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins and avoiding foods high in fat and sodium.

These are things we know.

But some foods aren't always what they appear to be.

"Be aware of packaging claims. Sometimes they advertise whole grain, made with a whole grain ingredient, but that does not mean that it’s a good choice for whole grain."

To find out if the food is legitimately whole grain, check the label. Often times, the first ingredient is refined flour.

"They can advertise that. It’s not totally illegal but that’s not truly high in fiber."

In true whole grain foods, the first ingredient should be whole grain.

Knowing your label also comes into play when looking at trans fats.

"For trans fats, companies can label something as 0 gram trans fat if something is .5 grams or lower."

Which means there still may be the slightest bit of trans fat in the food.

So, check the ingredients for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.

If either of those is listed, trans fat is in there and should be avoided.

The important thing to remember is why. Why we all watch our weight and our diet.

Ultimately we're working toward one goal.

By eating a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, you can prevent all those risk factors.

For just about every disease. To find out just how healthy you and your heart are, Holy Spirit is hosting an event for cardiovascular disease awareness day.

It's this Saturday at Holy Spirit in Camp Hill from 8 a.m. to noon.

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