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Nutritious frozen foods can play role in weight-loss programs

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Size matters when it comes to meal portions in weight-loss diets, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. And consuming convenient, nutritious frozen dinners may be a way to control portion size.

Research dietitians Sandra M. Hannum and LeaAnn Carson, who work in the laboratory of food science and human nutrition professor John W. Erdman, studied how two diet regimens resulted in weight loss in overweight and obese men. Their findings will appear in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. The study was placed online by the journal last month.

Subjects following the first of the diets ate a self-selected regimen based on the Food Guide Pyramid, a nutrition plan established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1992. Subjects following the second diet ate two packaged entrees each day plus recommended servings from the food pyramid. Both diets contained about 1,700 daily calories with equal amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Subjects in the packaged-entree group chose from 24 varieties of Uncle Ben's? bowls, a brand of frozen entrees produced by Masterfoods USA of Vernon, Calif. Masterfoods provided the meals for the subjects and funded the study.

Prior to the study, subjects in both diet groups reported daily consumption of about 2,400 calories. Subjects weighed about 97 kilograms (214 pounds) with a body mass index (BMI) ranging from 26 to 42 kilogram per meter squared, which qualified them as overweight to obese.

Over the course of the eight-week diet, all subjects reduced their daily caloric intake to about 1,700 calories and lost weight. Many subjects reported their surprise in feeling satiated by the diets.

Subjects who followed the frozen-entree diet lost more weight (7.4 kg or 16.3 pounds) compared with the subjects who made their own meals following the food pyramid (5.1 kg or 11.2 pounds). Also, the average BMI decrease was one unit greater
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Contact: Molly McElroy, News Bureau
mmcelroy@uiuc.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
13-Jun-2005


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