CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet

Sunday, 3 August 2008

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is a scientifically developed diet and exercise program for achieving a healthy lifestyle.  The overall goal of the diet is to achieve weight loss, improved body composition and reducing a range of cardiovascular and type 2 diabetes risk factors.  The diet has a focus on high protein, low saturated fat and only moderate amounts of carbohydrates. 

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The fundamentals of this diet are very sound, providing more than the recommended daily intake of nutrients and a focus on exercise so that weight is lost through fat and not muscle tissue.  The basic meal plan has around 1400 calories a day, which is certainly maintainable over a 12 week period.  An average person, burning 2000 calories a day, should lose around 0.5kg a week with this calorie intake. 

The meal plans are broken down to achieve a balanced intake from each of the food groups.  The daily food allowances are broken down into the following groups and servings.
  • Lean Protein Foods – 3 Servings (serving being 100g of protein source)
  • Wholegrain Bread – 2 Servings (serving being 35g of grain food)
  • High-Fibre Cereal – 1 Serving (serving being 40g of high fibre cereal)
  • Dairy – 3 Servings (serving being glass of milk, tub of yoghurt or 25g of cheese)
  • Fruit – 2 Servings
  • Vegetables – 2.5 Servings
  • Fats and Oils – 3 Servings (serving being 1 teaspoon)
  • Indulgence Food – 2 Servings (per week only), being wine, chocolate or high calorie snack. 
  • Free List – Many vegetables, certain drinks and condiments that have no restriction on intake. 

The CSIRO Diet also focuses on reducing salt intake as this helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure.  The recommendation is to have between 460-920mg of salt a day and not to go above 2300mg.  The average Australian has nearly double this much, so there is a real emphasis on cutting back salt in the diet. 

The other side of the CSIRO Diet is exercise, where they recommend at least 150 minutes a week, of moderate intensity physical activity.  The exercise plans are largely walking each day, with the goal of 10,000 steps per day.  There is also emphasis on weights training to maintain muscle mass. 

Though the CSIRO diet has been put together by a scientific group, there is nothing too abstract or radical about this diet..  It is very much a common sense approach to losing weight.  The meal and exercise plans provided are simple and easy to follow, and the Diet book is a great source of information on healthy eating.  This diet is no magic cure, but those that stick to it, should be slimmer, healthier and more energised. 


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