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Grocery Shopping With A Lot Of "Heart"

Contributed by: NAPSA

(NAPSA) - There's good news for women who are trying to balance concerns about nutrition with a busy lifestyle.

Trying to make every minute count, even when shopping for groceries, is not always easy. A recent study indicates that the average consumer spends about 47 minutes in a grocery store, per trip.

That doesn't always allow a lot of time to check labels for nutritional value-and that can be important since research shows that shoppers who read food labels cut about twice the amount of fat from their diet.

Cutting saturated fat and cholesterol is an important way to fight heart disease-the number one killer of men and women. But many consumers may find reading nutrition labels time consuming and confusing.

Fortunately, the American Heart Association has a shortcut that helps identify low-fat, low-cholesterol foods quickly and reliably.

The association's Food Certification Program and its highly visible red and white heart-check mark is on the labels of hundreds of food products. Products bearing the mark are low in saturated fat and cholesterol and can be part of a heart-healthy diet for healthy people over the age of 2.

According to Rebecca Mullis, Ph.D., head of the University of Georgia's nutrition department, "The American Heart Association's heart-check mark is a great way to easily find heart-healthy foods."

All products certified by the American Heart Association meet the organization's nutrition criteria.

That means they are low fat (no more than 3 grams), low saturated fat (no more than 1 gram), low cholesterol (no more than 20 milligrams), have moderate sodium and contain at least 10 percent of the Daily Value of one or more of these naturally occurring nutrients: protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron or dietary fiber.

Dietary changes based on selecting foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol can lower blood cholesterol by 10 to 15 percent. That, in turn experts believe, can reduce the risk for heart disease by 20 to 30 percent.

Mullis also cautions consumers to "keep their eyes on serving size." Said Mullis, "One of the most important healthy eating habits is to watch the amount you eat. For example, 3 ounces is a portion of cooked extra lean meat -that's about the size of a deck of playing cards."

The American Heart Association also advises that if you have a medical condition, contact your physician or registered dietitian about your diet.

Call 1-800-AHA-USA 1 for a free copy of the "Shop Smart with Heart" brochure.

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