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DALLAS -- The American Heart Association's Food Certification Program now has a second category specifically for whole-grain products, responding to a series of scientific studies that found that diets rich in whole grain foods may help protect against heart disease.
The new category of certification meets the specifications of the FDA's "Whole-Grain Foods with Moderate Fat Content and CHD" health claim.
The Food Certification Program, which was launched 11 years ago, helps shoppers identify low-fat and -cholesterol foods. Whole-grain products meeting program's criteria will bear the association's heart-check mark logo, in addition to the new statement: "Meets American Heart Association food criteria for saturated fat, cholesterol and whole grains for healthy people over age 2."
"Identifying products that qualify for the whole grains food claim is confusing, even for dietitians," said Penny Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, in a statement. "This simple new whole grains certification mark is an easy and reliable tool consumers can use when shopping for foods that can be a part of a heart-healthy diet."
The American Heart Association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to reducing disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke, the United States's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, which take over 910,000 lives annually.