The CSIRO ‘Total Well Being’ Diet

One of the more recently founded diets since 2006, the CSIRO diet, hit our shelves and has remained a best seller. Many Australians have since bought the book and tried this diet, many with positive results, and a change to their lifestyle for the better. Last year they released a companion book 2, which has a more detailed exercise plan, a new 12 week menu plan, and fresh recipes to try.

The diet is known as “the total well being diet” as it is a way of eating less and eating well without feeling hungry, and provides you with the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs. This diet was devised using research conducted by the CSIRO. After completing trials on weight loss diets, they came to the conclusion that a high protein, low fat and low carbohydrate diet provided the healthiest and best long term results when followed. The breakdown of the meal plans are 20% fat, 34% protein and 46% carbohydrate. In relation to the other well known high protein diet (the Atkins diet, which is compromised of 20-60g of carbohydrates), the CSIRO diet contains 114g of carbohydrates which is double, however still lower than the Australian standard guidelines. The main difference between the CSIRO diet and the Australian Dietary guidelines are:

CSIRO – fat 20%, protein 34%, carbohydrate 43%, alcohol 3%

Aust. Guidelines – fat 30%, protein 15%, carbohydrate 50%, alcohol 5%

As you can see, the CSIRO diet contains more protein, less fat and fewer carbohydrates, while still maintaining an easy-to-follow program full of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

A typical daily menu plan would consist of breakfast of cereal with low fat milk, 2 snacks of fruit per day, 100g of chicken, fish or red meat for lunch and 200g for the dinner meal, with vegetables accompanying each meal, and a slice of wholemeal bread or an alternative carbohydrate. Alcohol is an option if you want if (only 2 glasses per week, however), and also a low fat yoghurt as an extra dairy alternative.

There are a few concerns regarding this diet however, including the daily cost of consuming around 300g of red meat, and also the high amount of red meat included in this diet and the lack of variety of proteins. Although there is a large portion of red meat incorporated in this diet, studies have shown that it has lowered blood triglyceride levels and overall body fat, especially in women. It is therefore of benefit to people at risk of heart disease, and even diabetes. The CSIRO are also looking at including more fish options in their menu plans, to include more variety, and also to increase the calcium and folate content through fresh vegetables and dairy.

Overall, many medical professionals commend this as a well balanced diet that can benefit many of us. Whether it is to lose some extra kilos, adopt a healthy way of eating or a healthy lifestyle, this diet can be beneficial to all. The CSIRO wants Australians to change our culture of overeating and inactivity for a healthier life.

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