ConAgra promotes nutrition addition

by Keith Nunes
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OMAHA — ConAgra Foods, Inc. is working to shift consumer focus away from removing nutrients perceived as unhealthy from their diet and adding nutrients perceived as healthy. To support its effort, the company is presenting three studies at the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo taking place this week in Philadelphia.

“Americans are tired of hearing about diet recommendations that focus on foods to avoid,” said Kristin Reimers, Ph.D., R.D., nutrition manager for ConAgra Foods. “Eating should be an enjoyable experience, which is why we are excited to present these research findings that encourage people to stop thinking about foods they shouldn’t be eating and, instead, focus on foods that help to enhance a healthful lifestyle.”

Noting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlight whole grains as a “food to increase” in the diet, ConAgra will highlight data that shows snacking with popcorn has the potential to help people meet the U.S.D.A.’s recommended whole grain threshold. The company owns the Orville Redenbacher’s brand of popcorn.

ConAgra also will discuss the findings of a study that focused on portion control and how the replacement of a restaurant meal with a pre-portioned, single-serve meal such as those found under the Healthy Choice brand may improve consumer health. The study showed eating frozen, portion-controlled meals for lunch may be an effective way to decrease calorie intake and improve diet quality. Study participants saw their diets decrease in total fat, saturated fat, trans fatty acids and sodium while overall calories consumed per day decreased while intake of dairy, fruit and vegetables increased.

The third study addresses how canned tomatoes are a source of antioxidants. Calling canned tomatoes like the company’s Hunts line of products an “achievable option,” ConAgra Foods said they are available all year long and provide a convenient, cost-effective way to increase antioxidant intake.

“Years of research show restrictive diets are challenging for people to follow for long periods of time,” said James Rippe, founder and director of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute, a research and health promotion organizations and the research institution that conducted these studies. “It is easier for people to look at healthy eating through a positive lens by focusing on foods they can eat to improve their overall diet — more so than foods they can’t eat.”
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