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Shaq Signs As Spokesman For Susta Sugar Substitute

December 3, 2009: Shaquille O'Neal.has signed a deal to become the spokesman and to appear in marketing efforts for Susta Natural Sweetner, a sugar-replacement product from NXT Nutritionals Holdings. Financial terms were not disclosed.

O'Neal, a 15-time all-star now in his first season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, will take an anti-obesity approach in his efforts. “My goal is to educate children and adults that Susta is the first sweetener that helps maintain a healthy lifestyle because Susta not only tastes great, but also contains probiotics as well as important vitamins and minerals,” O'Neal said in a statement.

Although specific marketing was not detailed, Michael McCarthy, president and CEO of Holyoke, Mass.-based NXT Nutritionals, said that O'Neal is the perfect spokesman for Susta because he has already taken a public stance about childhood obesity. In 2007, O'Neal hosted a reality TV show on ABC, Shaq's Big Challenge, which featured his efforts to help six severely obese middle school aged children from Broward County, Florida, to lose weight and gain a healthy lifestyle. By the end of the challenge they had all lost weight and passed the President's Physical Fitness Test in all areas.

"We applaud Shaquille’s commitment to being a good role model," McCarthy, a former vp at Pepsi, said in a statement. "He is acting on his conviction that by raising American’s awareness of the issues of obesity and diabetes he can help children and adults to adopt healthier diet habits."

According to marketing research firm Mintel’s Sugar and Sweeteners—U.S., November 2008 report, the sugar substitutes market in the U.S. grew 8.2% from 2006-08, with an estimated $772 million through the end of 2008.

“Healthy living and childhood obesity has always been near to my heart and I will do everything that I can to inform parents of the benefits of using Susta which I believe is the healthier alternative to any and all sweeteners in the marketplace today,” said O’Neal.

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