The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Review
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet was first published in Australia in 2005 by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) offering a proven weight loss program to the ‘weight loss weary’ based on weight loss research they carried out.
The Total Wellbeing Diet is a protein-plus (33% protein), low kilojoule (5600 kJ / 1340 calories) diet plan that contains a moderate amount of carbohydrates (36%). Unlike some diets, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet doesn’t exclude any food groups.
The research used to develop the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet found:
- A protein-plus, low calorie diet is more effective than a carbohydrate-plus, low calorie diet with people who have signs of Syndrome X (metabolic syndrome)
- A protein-plus, low calorie diet is equally (but no more) effective as a carbohydrate-plus diet for people who don’t have signs of Syndrome X
- Very low fat and higher fat diets result in equal weight loss, provided people consume the same total daily energy (calories / kilojoules)
- Different diets, even if they produce equal amounts of weight loss, can have different effects on a dieters overall health
- Diets that are moderately calorie restrictive produce better results (0.5 to 1kg of weight loss per week) than diets that ‘take the slow and easy’ approach and restrict calories less (less than 0.25kg of weight loss per week)
- Higher protein diets help control appetite and prevent muscle loss during dieting, and have a positive effect on body fat and muscle distribution as well as kidney and liver function
- The way our individual metabolism works can make a difference to which diet will be the most effective way for us to lose weight
- Exercise is a great booster to losing weight and helping to maintain weight loss
Details of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has four levels based on an individual’s daily kilojoule needs.
The nutrient breakdown of the diet is:
- Protein 33%
- Carbohydrates 36%
- Good Fats 20%
- Saturated Fats 6%
- Alcohol 3%
The Daily food allowance is:
- 200g of lean protein a day for dinner
- 100g of lean protein a day for lunch
- 70g of wholegrain bread per day
- 40g of high-fibre cereal per day
- 500ml of low fat milk (or equivalent) per day
- 300g of fresh or tinned fruit, or 300ml of fruit juice
- 2½ cups of cooked vegetables
- 3 teaspoons of added oils or fats per day
- 250ml of low kilojoule soup (optional)
- 300ml of wine or equivalent per week or any snack to the value of 860kJ / 205 calories
In addition, the diet contains a ‘free list’ of things that you can basically eat as much as you want of in addition to the above. This free list includes vegetables, drinks and condiments.
Calculating you energy needs for weight loss
Before you start on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, you need to estimate your daily kilojoule output. The calculation for working this out is provided, but there are also many online daily energy needs calculators that you can use to do this, including the one on this site.
According to the CSIRO, the safest and most effective way to reduce kilojoule intake for weight loss is to eat between 2000 4000 kilojoules (480 960 calories) per day less than you use. This should result in a minimum weight loss of around 0.5 1kg per week.
CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet levels
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has four plans or levels which are designed to cater for people with different daily energy needs.
The levels have different energy intakes. Specifically these are:
- Level 1 5500 kilojoules / 1315 calories
- Level 2 6000 kilojoules / 1435 calories
- Level 3 7000 kilojoules / 1675 calories
- Level 4 8000 kilojoules / 1915 calories
According to the CSIRO, as a general rule, Level 1 and 2 will be suitable for most women, and level 3 and 4 for most men, but it is also best to calculate your own level before choosing with diet plan to follow.
If after choosing a level you find you’re losing weight too rapidly or feeling too hungry, you should choose the next level up.
In addition to the restricted kilojoule eating plans, the authors recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily, and if possible include regular vigour aerobic exercise a few times a week.
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Menu Plans
The total wellbeing diet has 12 week eating plans that includes meals from breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One day’s eating plan on level one of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet looks something like this:
- Breakfast ¾ cup of high fibre cereal with 250ml of low fat milk plus 1 banana
- Lunch 1 Salmon and Salad Sandwich plus 1 low fat café latte or cappuccino
- Dinner 1 Beef Casserole, 1 cup of steamed green beans, 150g of tinned fruit with 200g of custard
CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Recipes
As well as providing 12 weeks of eating plans, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet also includes a range of recipes, including: soup recipes, salad recipes, eggs and things recipes, recipes for sauces, marinades and rubs, seafood recipes, chicken recipes, pork recipes, beef recipes, veal recipes, lamb recipes, vegetable recipes, dessert recipes and even drink recipes.
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Maintenance Plan
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet also includes a maintenance plan and lots of good tips for keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it.
The maintenance plan is based on maintaining the basic structure of the eating plan and maintaining an exercise program, but allows you to add foods until you find a level of food intake that keeps you at your target bodyweight.
To begin the maintenance phase, you can move to the next level up in the eating plans, or start adding additional food in 500kJ / 120 calorie blocks until you find the right intake for you.
Keep adding food in 500kJ blocks each week until you stop losing weight.
To help you, the book includes examples of food in 500kJ blocks.
What’s good about this diet?
- It’s flexible & caters to different people with different needs
- It includes all food groups & doesn’t exclude any foods
- It’s realistic because it doesn’t exclude things like dairy & alcohol
- The diet doesn’t limit carbohydrates significantly & includes good sources of fibre
- The diet doesn’t exclude fats, & includes many sources of healthy fats
- The diet book includes plenty of recipes & recipe ideas
- As well as helping you to lose weight, the diet also has advise & plans for keeping it off
- It works
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet by Dr Manny Noakes and Dr Peter Clifton is published by Penguin Books.
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet can really work, helping you lose weight permanently by keeping you satisfied and giving you more energy.
To buy the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet book, click here.
This article was written by Scott Haywood.
Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.
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