Finally, a Diet Recommendation That's Easy to Follow - Eat More Tomatoes

OMAHA, Neb., Sep 28, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) one of North America's leading food makers, presented research findings this week showing that meeting the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation to increase the consumption of red &orange vegetables is easy to do when consumers focus on eating more canned tomatoes.

Tomatoes are America's favorite non-starchy vegetable. Due to their popularity and nutritive value, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a new red & orange vegetable sub-group in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans which provides a greater focus on tomatoes. The new recommendation calls for people to increase their intake from the current average of one serving per day to two.

In research presented at the at the American Dietetic Association's Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo held in San Diego this week, ConAgra Foods, the maker of Hunt's(R) tomatoes, revealed results of a study that tested how practical this new recommendation is for real consumers. For 10 weeks, 132 participants were provided recipes and meal ideas on how to include two servings of canned tomatoes in their diet. The results showed not only could consumers meet the new recommendation but more than 90 percent of them said it was easy to do.

"An important part of this new research is that participants did not cut back on other fruits and vegetables when they added more tomatoes to their diets," said Kristin Reimers, PhD, RD, nutrition manager, ConAgra Foods. "Because fruit and vegetable intake relates to heart health, nutrition professionals have been trying to get us to eat more of them for decades without much success. This study shows if you focus on foods that are easy to use and well liked to begin with, you can move the needle in a significant way."

Since dieting for weight loss is very common in America, the study was also designed to test if increasing consumption of tomatoes to meet the new recommendation was actionable for those maintaining their weight, as well as individuals trying to lose weight. Half of the participants ate two servings of tomatoes per day as part of a nutritionally balanced reduced-calorie diet for weight loss, and the second group consumed two servings of tomatoes each day while maintaining their usual diet.

"Encouraging canned tomato consumption worked equally well in both groups with total fruit and vegetable intake increasing from the typical five servings a day up to 6.5 servings per day. Finding easy ways to help people improve their diets - like adding tomatoes - is one of the most important things we can do to make the dietary guidelines actionable and support heart health," said Dr. James Rippe, M.D., cardiologist and director of Rippe Lifestyle Institute, where the study was conducted.

Study authors were Lisa Cooper, Von Nguyen, Diana Kawiecki, Sabrina Pardo, Terry Papadopoulos, Lisa Cooper, Britte Lowther, Josh Lowndes, Theodore Angelopoulos and James Rippe.

About ConAgra Foods

ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG), is one of North America's leading food companies, with brands in 97 percent of America's households. Consumers find Banquet,Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Hebrew National, Hunt's, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's, PAM, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip, Slim Jim, Snack Pack and many other ConAgra Foods brands in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise and club stores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong business-to-business presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. For more information, please visit us at http://www.conagrafoods.com.

SOURCE: ConAgra Foods, Inc.

ConAgra Foods, Inc.
Jeff Mochal, 630-857-1513