Minute Maid(R) Premium Heart Wise(TM) -First National Orange Juice Clinically Proven to Help Reduce Cholesterol -Begins Shipping Today

HOUSTON, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ — As high cholesterol in the U.S. reaches near epidemic levels — the American Heart Association states that nearly half of the nation’s adult population has cholesterol at or above 200 mg/dL — Minute Maid introduces Heart Wise, the first orange juice proven to help lower cholesterol. Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise orange juice starts shipping today to grocery stores and mass merchandisers nationwide.

In a recent clinical study conducted at a major medical center, participants significantly lowered their LDL cholesterol by drinking two 8-fluid-ounce servings of Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise orange juice daily with meals for eight weeks. Benefits of Heart Wise were demonstrated in men and women with normal to borderline high total cholesterol.

Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise orange juice contains plant sterols, naturally sourced plant extracts that have been clinically proven to help lower total and LDL cholesterol. Plant sterols inhibit the absorption of cholesterol. After tasting both, consumers said that they liked Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise as much as Minute Maid Premium Original orange juice.

“We’ve known for some time that plant sterols are proven to help reduce cholesterol levels,” said Kim Galeaz, a registered dietitian. “Adding plant sterols to a naturally fat-free product such as orange juice makes sense because it’s a good-for-you drink that many adults are already consuming daily.”

“Given the incidence of high cholesterol, people are looking for proven and convenient options and Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise Orange Juice is just that,” said Donna Shields, MS, RD, manager in nutrition & health communications at The Coca-Cola Company. “It’s the kind of nutrition innovation we think is important at The Coca-Cola Company.”

The Facts on Cholesterol
According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 105 million American adults have been classified as having total blood cholesterol at “borderline high” or higher levels (200 mg/dL or above), and forty-two million adults have “high” levels of cholesterol (240 mg/dL or above).

A major risk factor for coronary heart disease is elevated LDL cholesterol. Foods that contain at least 0.4 grams per serving of plant sterols, consumed twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 0.8 grams, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. An 8 fl. oz. serving of Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise contains 1.0 gram of plant sterols.

Heart Wise Tips to Manage Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a complex problem, but there are easy things all people can do to help make a difference:
* Have your cholesterol checked regularly. Even young adults need to have their cholesterol tested – The National Cholesterol Education Program III (NCEP III) recommends that both males and females 20 years of age and older have their cholesterol tested every five years.
* Watch what you eat. Choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, increase your intake of fiber-containing foods such as whole grains and fruits and vegetables, eat fish at least twice a week and limit your sodium intake. The NCEP III recognizes that adding plant sterols to the diet can be an option in a cholesterol reduction plan. An 8 fl. oz. serving of Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise contains 1.0 gram of plant sterols.
* Maintain a normal body weight. Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease. It is important to balance the number of calories you eat each day with the amount of calories you burn to maintain a normal body weight.
* Exercise is critical. Exercise has been shown to help prevent heart disease and improve cholesterol levels.

About Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise
Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise orange juice will be available in a 64-ounce carton in chilled sections of grocery stores and mass merchandisers nationwide and is comparably priced with other Minute Maid Premium 64-ounce orange juice products. Heart Wise will be appearing on chilled section shelves nationwide beginning in November. Minute Maid has been making healthy products for the entire family for decades and is the nutrition innovation leader in the orange juice category. Minute Maid has the longest history of marketing orange juice with calcium. Minute Maid was also the first to launch nationally orange juice with calcium plus vitamin D, low acid orange juice, orange juice with vitamins C, E and Zinc, and now orange juice with plant sterols.

Minute Maid is a brand of The Coca-Cola Company, the world’s largest beverage company. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s best-known brand, the Company markets four of the world’s top five soft drink brands, including diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite, and a wide range of other beverages, including diet and light soft drinks, waters, juices and juice drinks, teas, coffees and sports drinks. Through the world’s largest distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate exceeding 1 billion servings each day.

(C) 2003 The Coca-Cola Company.
“Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise” is a trademark of The Coca-Cola Company. For more information, visit www.minutemaid.com

SOURCE The Coca-Cola Company
CONTACT: Ray Crockett, +1-404-512-6339, rcrockett@na.ko.com for The Coca-Cola Company; or Kate Sansone of Burson-Marsteller, +1-312-596-3507, kate_sansone@chi.bm.com , for The Coca-Cola Company