ConAgra Foods, Omaha, Neb., said new research shows that people who ate Healthy Choice products truly became healthier during a controlled 24-week study. Results of the study were recently presented by cardiologist Dr. James Rippe, Rippe Lifestyle Institute, during the 2009 Experimental Biology Conference, April 18-22 in New Orleans.

Rippe said that -- on average -- participants in his study lost 18 pounds (all as fat), trimmed their waistlines by about three inches and lowered their cholesterol by 12 points.

ConAgra said that men and women with health conditions common to many Americans -- such as being overweight and having elevated cholesterol -- followed a plan centered on eating Healthy Choice products every day. Program directors emphasized overall portion and calorie control and recommended complementary healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lowfat dairy products and lean meat. Participants also became more physically active by walking -- first for 15 minutes, three days a week; progressing to 45 minutes, four days a week. In contrast, a separate control group of consumers simply followed the physical activity program without making changes to their food choices.