Use of packaged entrees as part of a weight-loss diet in overweight men: an 8-week randomized clinical trial


*Sandra M. Hannum, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department/Nutritional Sciences Division, University of Illinois, 445 Bevier Hall, 905 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


Aim:  This study assessed the efficacy of a weight-loss diet by using packaged portion-controlled entrees vs. a self-selected diet based on the United States Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid (FGP).

Methods:  Sixty healthy overweight men (body mass index (BMI) 26–42 kg/m2; aged 24–60 years) were randomized into two groups for an 8-week intervention. Group E consumed two portion-controlled entrees daily, plus recommended servings from the FGP. Group P consumed a self-selected diet consisting of a recommended number of servings from the FGP. Diets were designed to be isocaloric (1700 kcal) and identical in macronutrient composition (55% carbohydrate, 25% protein and 20% fat). Participants were instructed to make no changes in physical activity levels. Each group was blinded to the protocol of the other group, and received separate diet instructions, but no behavioural or diet counselling. Outcomes included weight, BMI, body composition by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, waist and hip circumference, blood pressure (BP), fasting blood lipids, glucose, insulin and C-reactive protein.

Results:  Fifty-one men completed the study. The portion-control group E (n = 25) experienced greater decreases in weight (−7.4 ± 3.1 vs. −5.1 ± 4.0 kg), BMI (−2.4 ± 1.0 vs. −1.6 ± 1.3 kg/m2), fat mass (−3.6 ± 1.8 vs. −2.5 ± 1.8 kg), waist circumference (−6.6 ± 3.3 vs. −4.3 ± 2.9 cm) and diastolic BP (−6.0 ± 7.2 vs. + 0.2 ± 10.1 mmHg) than group P (n = 26) (p < 0.05). Consumption of a packaged entree diet resulted in greater losses of weight and fat mass, and reduced BP.

Conclusions:  Use of packaged entrees as part of a weight-loss diet is an effective means of achieving portion control and enhancing losses of weight and fat mass in overweight men.