Healthy Book

Reporter: Helen Wellings

"I'm just looking for rice. The book's given me a couple of options and this is in the Gold section so we'll grab that", says supermarket shopper David Coombe. Chantel Bache and her mother grab a product, declaring, "That's healthy, we'll be able to put that in. That one's good too, we'll pop that in." "I never go hungry," adds Chantel.

This is the new way of doing your supermarket shopping, read a book as you go. And bingo - your trolley will fill with products totally different from those you usually buy. That saves heaps of time and money, but still fills you up! Katherine Simounds says, "By following the products in the book I am saving at least $260 a month on food and medication."

The Healthy Shopping Guide doesn't just give the same old advice about lowering fats, kilojoules, sugar and salt. It tells you which actual products to buy, which ones to avoid. Thousands of people who want to eat healthier foods and shed kilos, say it works - like the newly slim David Coombe. "I've lost fifteen kilos in sixteen months with the help with the book and I'm feeling really good." Chantel Bache looks totally different now after swopping supermarket products. "I've gone from this to this and I have lost fifteen kilos... yes definitely with the help of the book."

So how does it work? "In the book there are more than 1300 supermarket products and they've been named to make shopping easier and quicker for people ... by brands and products. Now we've got some bread, and this one is a healthy choice. We'll get that one. So that one's in the book... so in the trolley it goes."

Dietician Caron Milham wrote the guide, after she and a team of dieticians spent 2000 hours trawling supermarkets, analysing and selecting thousands of products in 48 different food categories. So you simply look up the type of food you want and the book lists recommended healthy brands, also great for health conditions.

Caron says, "Who's got the time now to stand there and compare products ... we're looking at products that have the ideal combinations of these nutritional criteria; lower sugar, lower fat, lower calories, higher nutrients and higher fibre. And each food category is different, but we select the best choices in each one."

Soon, we'll give you some of the best choices from the Healthy Shopping Guide. Caron's shopping method has medical experts raving. Gastroenterologist, Dr David Bowman, recommends the guide to patients. "Very new... revolutionary infact. ... It's going to make it shorter...quicker, easier for the shopper." Dr Bowman, "It's a very simple approach and a very customer friendly approach that people can actually know what they're shopping for and know the brands that contain that particular item in the levels that they need to have for their own health."

Caron explains, "For those with special needs, people that have got a high cholesterol or diabetes or high blood pressure were also taking into account their needs and we have information in the book to assist them as well .. we get behind the claim and we save the hard work for people."

She helps with choices, after assessing patient's problems. Kathryn Simounds tells us, "I was a borderline diabetic, high blood pressure, high cholestrol. By following the book and using the products suggested in the book, I have managed to get rid of all those issues and virtually all my medication.... In 13 months you've lost 44 kg."

Kathryn says now she's in and out of the supermarket in a flash. "I save alot of money, I don't spend alot of money in the supermarket anymore ... the labels on packages were very confusing to the extent I didn't know what to buy at all.""It's tough to get into the book. The standards we have are pretty high. ... people can include many commercial sauces in their diet, for example pasta sauce."

The Guide divides healthiest choices into Gold, Silver and Bronze. So, some popular foods in the top categories. Pasta sauces with a Silver rating .. these ones with 3% to 6% fat, qualifying for gold are these with only 1% - 3% fat; Yogurts .. these rated silver have less than 2% fat, suitable for diabetics, gold .. no added sugar, less than 2% or no fat. Cereals ... a silver for less than 7% fat, 15% sugar and more than 8% fibre; These deserve gold for less than 5% fat, less than 5% sugar and more than 8% fibre. Caron," Saves a lot of time and it saves a lot of pain with shopping that makes it easier and healthy."

"I can do my shopping in half hour to three quarters of an hour. I don't have to read the labels and I don't need to second guess what I'm buying," says David Coombe.

The Australian Healthy Shopping Guide (AHSG) is available at all good book stores and can also be ordered either online, by phone or via fax/mail order. For further details visit: