2005-02-10 / Medical

Finding A Lasting Diet

(NAPSA)-If you want to make big changes in your diet, think small. That's the advice from dieticians who say that while nearly one in four Americans diet for health reasons, many fail because they try to make too drastic a change to their lifestyles.

“The best way to improve your diet for the long haul is to make small, specific changes,” says American Heart Association volunteer spokesperson Rebecca Mullis, R.D., Ph.D. and head of the University of Georgia's Food and Nutrition Department.

The American Heart Association offers these tips to dieters:

• Fill your shopping cart with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

• Choose whole-grain products, including oatmeal, rice and whole-grain breads.

• Select extra-lean protein sources such as skinless poultry, fish, legumes and lean meat.

• Substitute low-fat, low-cholesterol snacks for traditional high-fat, empty-calorie snacks. Try baked tortilla chips and salsa or fruit and low-fat yogurt dip.

• “Keep your eyes on serving size,” says Dr. Mullis, who recommends reading a product's nutrition facts list on its label for the suggested portion.

• Get active. The only way to lose weight is by making sure to eat fewer calories than you burn.

The American Heart Association suggests eating a wide variety of foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, the number one and three killers in this country.

You can find those foods by using the association's distinctive red heart with the white check mark logo. The heart-check mark can help you quickly and reliably find heart-healthy foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. .

To learn more about reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke through good nutrition, visit americanheart.org, or call 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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