csiro total well being diet

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (aka TWD) is a clinically founded, very structured, and calorie-controlled high-protein, moderate-carbohydrate, and low-fat weight loss and maintenance diet. It was developed by nutritionists and dietitians from the Health Science and Nutrition Department of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

The TWD was the culmination of eight years of research embarked upon by CSIRO to help develop a dietary program that would be effective in optimizing people’s chances of losing weight and keeping it off for good while equally improving their general health and wellbeing.

The research became imperative due to deluge of requests from many dietitians who were concerned about the promotion and utilization of high protein diets without any reliable scientific evidence supporting their usage. The research carried out at CSIRO’s Clinical Research Unit in Adelaide, South Australia, was partially funded by Dairy Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia.

The initial CSIRO study of 100 overweight and obese women over a period of 12 weeks who were divided into two groups and put on a high-protein low-fat and a high-carbohydrate low-fat diet of the same caloric content indicated that the high-protein low-fat diet was superior to the high-carbohydrate low-fat diet.

However, while it has to be noted that the women on both of the diets lost the same average amount of body weight – about 18-20 lb (8-9kg) – during the 12 weeks period, women on the high-protein diet with high blood fat (called triglycerides) levels nonetheless lost significantly more weight. Surprisingly, more women on the high-carbohydrate diet also dropped off the diet during the study.

How the CSIRO TWD Works

Phen24 Fat Burner

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (TWD) is essentially a very structured, calorie-controlled, and nutritionally balanced diet that uses a high-protein, moderate-carbohydrate, low-fat diet approach to not only help people lose weight and keep it off but also to achieve generally wellbeing.

It has an easy-to-follow structured eating plan with lots of mainstream foods which altogether makes it easier to eat less but well while losing weight and still feeling satisfied because of the adequate provision of vitamins and nutrients (including dietary fiber).

The diet is not low-calorie but is rather more carefully calorie and portion controlled. Unlike other high-protein diets, the CSIRO diet surprisingly has a much more balanced macronutrient profile of 33% protein, 36% carbohydrate, and 26% fat with a recommended 3% consumption of alcohol.

Essentially, the CSIRO diet emphasizes the consumption of more proteins, moderate amounts of carbohydrates (primarily of low-glycemic index such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables), and a general low fat intake. Furthermore, the CSIRO diet includes a large variety of healthy food choices with a lot of flexibility in the diet that allows for many food substitutions. Regular daily exercise of about 30 minutes such as brisk walking is also highly recommended.

Foods in the CSIRO Diet

Although the initial active weight loss phase of the diet does exclude some foods, the diet thereafter offer dieters an adaptable eating plan without necessarily being too general about what not to eat but instead focusing on what dieters should eat.

In particular, the CSIRO Diet does not restrict the consumption of any specific food group but simply places a degree of emphasis on the consumption of high amounts of protein-rich foods. The diet may have purposely focused more on protein-rich foods given the fact that Australians tend to eat higher amounts of protein, especially meat.

The high-protein foods in the CSIRO diet provide a lot of general health and weight-loss related benefits such as:

  1. Staying satisfied for longer periods of time and thus preventing overeating by keeping hunger at bay.
  2. Protein-rich foods also help to reduce and control blood fats such as LDL "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides.
  3. Lean red meat is an excellent source of well-absorbed iron and is also a rich source of zinc both which help in boosting the immune system.
  4. Lean meat, fish, seafood, poultry, and eggs provide good amounts of Vitamin B12 and the essential fatty acids, Omega-3s, which help protect the heart.
  5. The "thermic effect of food" of protein-rich foods is significantly high because about 25% to 30% of the calories derived from protein-containing foods are used up in metabolizing them. Essentially protein is harder to metabolize and therefore burns more calories.

However, there has been a very serious criticism about the high amount of meat consumption in the CSIRO diet. The quantity of meat is about 200 grams of raw weight of lean red meat (beef, lamb, veal) at dinner four times per week and another lean lunch protein of about 110 grams.

While the CSIRO diet might be lower in carbohydrate than a standard eating diet where carbohydrates provide about 50-55% of calories, it is however not that extreme. The CSIRO diet recommends consumption of low-glycemic index carbohydrates that are generally slowly absorbed into the bloodstream in order to effectively regulate blood sugar levels.

Phen24 Fat Burner

Some good sources of carbohydrates include fruits, whole grain bread, high fiber cereals, milk and low-fat dairy foods, pulses and vegetables. Simple sugars and refined carbohydrates are however forbidden. The diet also recommends a daily fiber intake in excess of 28 grams.

The CSIRO diet contains very little amounts of fatty foods and oils. The diet has less than 30% calories or about 50 grams of fat per day. Some sources of its recommended daily fat allowance include soft or light margarine, avocadoes, nuts and seeds, oils such canola, olive, and sunflower oil.

The Different Dieting Levels

The Total Wellbeing Diet is made up of four different calorie levels adjusted to take into cognizance the varying energy requirements of the majority of dieters. The choice of level is based on the dieter’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is usually determined by the height, weight, age, and gender of the dieter.

Also, the activity level of the dieter needs to be considered when choosing which calorie level to stay on while on the diet. The CSIRO diet shines here because having the choice of a personalized dieting calorie level is absolutely essential for long-term sustainability of any weight loss diet plan.

Level 1 has a daily caloric intake of approximately 1,337 calories. Level 1 and 2 calorie plans are generally considered more suitable for women. Level 3 and 4 calorie plans however have higher allowances of lean protein, low-fat dairy, and high-fiber cereals and therefore are more suitable for men who are generally taller and heavier than women.

There is a recommendation for moderate alcohol consumption of approximately two glasses (10 oz, 300ml) of wine or about 205 calories per week for those on Level 1 of the CSIRO diet as this is believed to help increase HDL "good" cholesterol levels. While those on other levels and the maintenance diet are permitted to increase their amount of alcohol intake, they are nonetheless advised to stay within the standard daily two drinks for women and four for men on the diet.

Duration of the CSIRO Diet

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is a 12-week diet plan with a maintenance phase plan. The 12-week meal plans and recipes are designed to help dieters easily and effectively put the diet into practice. The weekly eating plans also gives dieters general advice about checking their health and weight, low-fat cooking and healthy eating tips, eating out as well as about the need for regular exercise.

The dieter is encouraged to repeat the weekly menu plans until they reach their goal weight before entering the maintenance phase of the diet. During the maintenance phase which is basically the same with the weekly diet plan, the dieter is however allowed to add approximately 120 calories at a time to the diet until weight stabilizes i.e. until there is neither gain nor loss of weight.

Meratol Carb Blocker

While the women in the 12-week study on which the TWD was based lost an average of 8-9kg, the final CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet was however designed to facilitate a healthy rate of weight loss of about 1-2 lbs (0.5-1kg) per week. The subsequent maintenance diet plan is intended to be used by the dieter to maintain his or her goal weight.

However, like everything on earth, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is not perfect. The main issue remains the recommended high amount of meat consumption. Some experts are of the view that such long-term consumption of meat in the TWD can lead to health problems such as breast or prostate cancer, colon cancer, reduced bone mass, or kidney stress. Apart from the health standpoint, meat is expensive and such high demand and consumption would have unfavorable consequences on the environment.

The funding role played by both Dairy Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia have somewhat raised questions as most people are wont to believe that they must have had some sort of vested interest in the overall outcome of the research. However, CSIRO as an internationally highly-respected organization have maintained that the funding organizations had no influence on the research itself.

Also, since the CSIRO diet was based on an Australian research as well as local food availability, its general acceptance and application in terms of cost and culture may limits it popularity and therefore usage.

Consequently, the popularity of the CSIRO diet has been primarily limited to Australia where it’s leading scientific agency, CSIRO’s backing as well as the crop of internationally renowned scientists who authored the books, have helped to develop confidence in consumers who have taken its advice seriously.

Overall, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (TWD) is a very clear, structured, and calorie-controlled diet developed by qualified dietitians and nutritionists to help dieters achieve their goal weight in a healthy and sustainable manner. The inclusion of all major food groups, plenty of meal plans and recipe options and recommended regular exercise makes the CSIRO diet a very credible diet.