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DIET CENTER: HEALTHY EATING JUST GOT EASIER

 PITTSBURGH, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers now have access to more nutritional information than ever on the foods they buy, according to Ida Laquatra, Ph.D., R.D., vice president of scientific affairs and training at Diet Center, Inc.
 Food companies have begun complying with new government regulations requiring disclosure of nutrition content of fresh meats, fresh poultry and pre-packaged foods. The regulations also dictate strict definitions of nutritional claims made. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) handed down the regulations in January 1993.
 "Food companies have begun providing consumers the nutritional data they need to make healthier buying decisions at the supermarket. Once they understand how to read the new labels, consumers can realistically use them as a vehicle to help improve their eating style and make lifestyle change," says Laquatra.
 Laquatra recommends keeping the following "Diet Center Guide for the Label-Wise Consumer" handy when shopping. The guide summarizes definitions of popular nutrition claims set forth in FDA and USDA regulations:
 -- Low: Indicates the product contains lower than the maximum amount allowed per serving of fat (3 grams), saturated fat (1 gram), sodium (140 milligrams), cholesterol (20 milligrams) and calories (40).
 -- Free: Indicates one serving is free of, or contains inconsequential amounts of, one or more of the following: saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugars and calories.
 -- Percent fat free: Accurately reflects the amount of fat in 100 grams of the food. Products carrying this claim must be low in fat or fat free.
 -- Light: Means the product contains one-third fewer calories or half the fat of the reference food.
 -- Less/reduced: Symbolizes the product contains 25 percent less of a nutrient or calories than the reference food.
 Additional required labeling information consumers can keep a sharp eye out for include calories, serving size, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sugars, percent daily value and recommended levels.
 Diet Center's Exclusively You(TM) Weight Management Program -- a multi-component, counseling-based approach -- offers the only commercial weight-loss program that measures, monitors and works to improve lean-body mass-to-fat ratio. Diet Center, Inc. -- headquartered in Pittsburgh -- has approximately 1,100 Diet Center businesses in the United States, Canada, Guam and Bermuda.
 For more information or to locate a Diet Center in your area, call 800-333-2581.
 /delval/
 -0- 5/3/93
 /EDITORS: To schedule an interview with Laquatra, call CONTACT: Melissa Harrell of Diet Center, 412-338-8722/


CO: Diet Center, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

LD -- NYFFNS6 -- 3526 05/03/93 06:51 EDT
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Date:May 3, 1993
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