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Diabetes and Beyond

You don't have to suffer from diabetes to take advantage of a new online program launched this week by the American Diabetes Association. The interactive nutrition tool, called My Food Advisor, allows users to search by calories (foods under 200 calories), fiber (over 4 grams), or sodium (under 70 grams). An expansive food database features a variety of foods, from antelope to Zesty Chicken Border Bowl, made by Taco Bell (which has its own nutrition guide on its website).

One of the best functions is "Create a Dish," which allows users to input ingredients to determine if a finished product fits meal program goals. It measures the same components found on the Nutrition Facts panel, including calories, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sodium and fiber.

What's in it for supermarket retailers? Why does this merit coverage? Websites like this make everyone's life easier. Staff dietitians can use the site for reference or refer a shopper to it; deli managers might be able to input ingredients going into store-made potato salad and get a rough snapshot of its nutrition content; store associates can use it as part of a chain-wide employee health initiative.

As I said, this type of program is for everyone — not just diabetics — because a diet framed by diabetes is healthful for all of us: Go easy on the sugar, eat a lot of fiber, get exercise and be conscious of what you eat.