There are hundreds of fad diets in the market today. Very few are backed by science; CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is one of them. They state that their weight loss diet is a proven long-term solution.
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet was created in 2005 by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), offering a proven weight loss program to help people lose weight, feel better, and live longer.
The diet is largely based on the research and results of a 12-week study, during which 100 overweight women followed a high-protein, low-fat (low GI) diet and reduced some of their markers for chronic health conditions.
The study suggests that people who have high triglycerides (fat lipids) could lose 25% more weight (especially abdominal fat) by following the high protein and low fat & carbs diet.
But does it?
What Is The CSIRO Diet Plan?
The Csiro Diet plan is a scientifically formulated 12 weeks weight loss strategy. It offers various meal options including super greens for a fast and healthy sustainable weight loss experience, and is composed of 33% protein, 5600 kJ / 1340 Cal, and 36% Carbohydrates.
The diet plans take advantage of the latest scientific evidence in weight loss - that is, a higher protein, low GI diet effectively increases body fat loss and consistent weight management.
How Does It work?
Unlike most carb-exclusive diet plans out there, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet does not exclude any food groups. Instead, they offer a balanced solution that steadily helps in weight loss and improves overall health.
By swapping some carbs for portions of meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cold meats, and less potato, rice, pasta, and bread. their recipes:
- are tastier and delicious.
- have generous portions.
- keep you fuller for longer due to the unique high-protein & low-fat formula.
As with many other diet plans, CSIRO also stresses the importance of regular exercises like walking or swimming. If you're interested in other diet programs you can also check our Optifast reviews.
Csiro Meal Plans
Once you register for CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet membership, you get access to a number of plans to suit your preferences. To keep you full all day, every day, all meals across the different diet plans are created using the same higher protein, low GI formula that you never feel hungry.
• Protein Balance Plus – This high protein, low GI meals focus on distributing protein intake across all meals - breakfast, lunch & dinner.
• Protein Balance Basic – This plan is mostly based on individual member feedback. It's designed for simpler, easy to cook, and affordable recipes. The nutrient distribution is similar to Protein Balance and delivers just the same result.
• Protein Balance – This moderate Protein Balance meal plan aims to provide at least 100 g of protein per day to maximize your body fat loss and ensure muscle retention.
• Gut Health is described as a high fiber and protein, & low calorie meal plan. It's designed to protect users from stomach related issues while still offering a weight loss solution.
• Total Wellbeing Diet Classic is based on the original CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, which contained many delicious carbohydrate-controlled meals.
• Special Edition for Diabetes – this unique meal plan is suitable for people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes as it helps to manage the insulin levels. It is clinically approved by the Diabetes NSW.
• Gluten-Free Meal Plan is a different version of the Classic plan. As explained on their website, this plan eliminates all foods containing gluten from your diet.
How much weight can I lose on the CSIRO diet?
According to a study carried out by Australia's National Science Agency, those who stuck to the diet plan lost an average of 5.3% of their total body weight, across a wide range of demographics. This was found to be three times more compared to those who weren't 'disciplined' when following the diet.
As with many other diet plans, you are also supposed to do regular exercises like walking or swimming, per day. They recommend that you do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day during the program. Ideally, if you don't have enough time to spare every day, you should do aerobic exercise sessions several times per week.
For consistency, it's best to keep track of your progress. The Food and Exercise Tracker, and the Weight Tracker provide an easy for you to stay focused. Read more about the tracking tools here.
What can you eat on the Csiro diet?
The Csiro diet is made up of seven different food groups. You are allowed a set number of “units” from each food group per day, specially devised to meet your daily allowance.
- Meat and protein: chicken/beef/lamb/fish/eggs/tofu/legumes/pulses. It is recommended you eat 200g lean meat 3 times and two serves of fish a week
- Bread and cereals: Low GI whole grain and high fiber varieties such as wholesome bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, quinoa, and barley.
- Indulgence Foods: enjoyable foods that are still nutritious, like chocolate, muffins, ice-cream, sausages, and chips.
- Healthy fats and oils: such as nut pastes, nuts, and seeds, avocado, etc
- Fresh and frozen vegetables. You can eat as many vegetables as you like.
- Dairy: low-fat dairy or soy milk, cheese, and yogurt.
- Fresh, canned, and dried fruits.
Can you drink alcohol on the Csiro diet?
Australians love a good cold beer!
Yes, you can! Alcohol is included as apart of the Indulgence food units. Of course, it will be in small controlled units as it is high in calories and dilutes your willpower, increasing your likelihood of overeating.
1 Alcohol Indulgence unit is equal to approximately:
- 1 middy of beer (285ml), or
- 1 small glass of wine (100ml) or
- 30ml spirits
If you want to try something different, check the indulgence food list here to find out what fun foods/drinks you are allowed to consume.
Which CSIRO Diet Is Best?
Are you a foodie or a freewheeler? Maybe you're more of a socializer, or you might consider yourself a bit of a Thinker?
According to CSIRO Behavioural Scientist Dr. Sinead Golley, your personality plays an important role in your ability to persist with a healthy eating plan.
And yet, almost 90% of diet plans out there solely focus on nutrition and exercise information, ignoring the behavioral traits and emotional aspects that influence a person's eating habits.
This means that many Australians have been unintentionally choosing the wrong dieting approach for their personality and lifestyle.
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diets have been formulated according to your personal traits. New members are required to take a survey to determine Diet Type.
CSIRO Diet Types
This Diet Type doesn't' involve lots of planning. It the here-and-now type of diet. CSIRO describes it as an impulsive and spontaneous personality where individuals find it hard to stay focused on long-term goals or make snap decisions, leading to unhealthy eating habits.
To avoid this, Freewheelers are advised to try and plan one or two days ahead instead of following a 7-day menu plan that may seem to be too onerous.
The Thinker is described as a great planner who tends to overthink situations and is always apprehensive about making mistakes, especially if they set unrealistic expectations and give themselves little margin for error.
They tend to dwell on situations where they've "messed up," which may lead them to skip or abandon their diet routine altogether.
The Thinker diet is based on the idea that anxiety, stress, and mood fluctuations can make healthy eating more difficult.
This Diet Type is linked to food cravings. The craver will often find it hard to resist their favorite treats, such as chocolate, ice cream, and other sweet treats. They don't have to necessarily need to be hungry to eat.
In most situations, this heightened need to satisfy their cravings can lead to overeating. Another alternative is Dr Siegal's Cookie Diet.
The Foodie thinks about food 24/7. You'll find them in a new Italian cafe down the street tasting Coniglio Alla Vernaccia, or in the kitchen trying to make a Spanish Tostas de tomate y jamón, or devouring the good ol' Australian Barbecued Steak.
In short, the Foodie loves the whole food experience and mostly eats all types of foods. This passion for exploring different kinds of foods often cause them to overeat or consume excessive kilojoules.
The Socialiser is described as someone who loves to eat out with family, friends, or colleagues. They find it hard to manage what and when they eat and drink in social situations.
For each of the diet types, CSIRO has formulated a respective diet solution.
Critics may say that we all have different personalities, and of course, it's true, but there is always the predominant trait. For me, it'd be the Freewheeler. I'm not good at planning, and honestly, it's quite difficult to follow a diet plan when you spend a lot of time camping, cycling, or generally outdoors. (If you would like to incorporate cycling as part of you daily Csiro exercise plans, check out some of the bikes we offer on our biking blog here)
How Much Is The CSIRO Diet?
12 Week Program
The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet 12 Week Online Program costs $199. Once you successfully complete and adhere to the program, you are offered a full refund.
Here is a detailed breakdown:
- Price: Upfront $199, Weekly $19.99
- If you pay weekly, the total cost at the end of the program will be $239.88.
- You will pay $40.88 if you choose the weekly plan
- Loyalty Plan: $19.95/month or $4.95/week
- Potential Refund $199
The Premium Membership includes 1-on1 online support from an Accredited Practising Dietitian plus all the features of the 12 Week Program. It costs $299.
- Price: Upfront $299, Weekly $29.99
- If you pay weekly, the total cost at the end of the program will be $359.88
- If you pay upfront, you will save $60.88.
- Loyalty Plan: $19.95/month $4.95/week
- Potential Refund $199
After you hit your weight loss goals, you can choose to join the Loyalty Plan for you not to regain all the lost weight. It makes sure you don't lose access to the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet once your membership ends, so instead of losing access, your plans automatically roll over to the monthly loyalty plan. The Loyalty plan costs $19.95/month.
Verdict. Is the Csiro diet any good?
From the point of sustainability, it’s pretty hard to criticize. It has proved to work for a lot of people.
Also, unlike most weight loss diets out there, this one doesn’t exclude foods from any of the food groups, and it comes with plenty of recipes ideas.
You can check out some of their recipes here.
Their diet plan meets all the nutritional variety guidelines, offering a healthy selection of proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and other indulgences.
However, some of the meal plans and diet plans are quite confusing. It’s unclear if you have to choose a meal plan first, then a diet plan, or vice versa, or both, and how the two categories relate. We’ve reached out to them, but we are yet to get feedback (we will update this post immediately we do).
From a health & weight loss point of view, CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is definitely one of the best programs globally. Their diet plans are not just hearsay but are science-backed by Australia’s leading scientific research institution. So, if you think it would suit your needs, then by all means, give it a try!