Man seated at kitchen table as part of clinical diet trials.

Clinical trials helped prove the science behind the Total Wellbeing Diet.

Adapting the Total Wellbeing Diet for specific dietary needs

Answers to common queries about how the Total Wellbeing Diet (TWD) can be adapted to suit specific dietary requirements and concerns.

  • 18 August 2006 | Updated 14 October 2011

Gluten intolerance/Coeliac disease

The Total Wellbeing Diet may be used effectively by people with coeliac disease. Be careful to check that all ingredients including sauces & stocks are wheat free, exchange gluten free bread and cereal where ordinary bread and cereals are referred to. Make sure that the weight of these foods corresponds to the diet requirements. Foods such as rice and corn thins can also be exchanged for bread – 3 thins = 1 slice bread. Chickpeas, beans and lentils can be exchanged for bread in the Total Wellbeing Diet.

For example: one x 35 g slice = ½ cup beans, lentils or chickpeas.

Irritable bowel syndrome

People with irritable bowel syndrome can take supplements such as psyllium to achieve adequate daily fibre levels (30 g per day).

Probiotics, foods containing live bacterial cultures such as yoghurts, may also be helpful.

You can choose a lower fibre cereal if that is better tolerated as long as it has the same kilojoule content.

Breastfeeding and pregnancy

Pregnancy and breastfeeding increase a woman’s nutritional requirements for key nutrients such as kilojoules, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and most vitamins and minerals including folate, iron and zinc. Eating a healthy well balanced diet is therefore important throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding and the CSIRO Total Wellbeing diet can provide the basis for good nutrition.

Breastfeeding women may need up to 3 000 extra kilojoules daily. Start with Level 1 or 2 of the Total Wellbeing Diet and make sure to include three serves of dairy. If you are still hungry, top up with bread and fruit. There are some safety concerns with certain foods such as some species of fish when pregnant and we suggest you refer to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Fact Sheets.


The Total Wellbeing Diet provides some information about Type 2 diabetes (see page 20 in the Total Wellbeing Diet book).

For more information about Diabetes, contact your local branch or the national headquarters of Diabetes Australia. 

The TWD may be used effectively by people with coeliac disease.

Fructose intolerance

For information about fructose intolerance, contact The Allergy and Environmental Sensitivity Support and Research Association Inc (AESSRA).

AESSRA provides information about treatment, services and products.

Colon cancer – position statement

Some concern has been raised following a recent study which found chemical changes in the colon (including a change in DNA) as a result of eating a large amount of meat.

There is no evidence yet that the change in DNA is related to colorectal cancer. Also, the diet used in the study was an extreme situation where 420 g meat was consumed daily for 20 days. This is more than the meat intake suggested in the Total Wellbeing Diet.

The study also found that these chemical changes were reduced by the addition of dietary fibre to the diet.

The Total Wellbeing Diet includes a high fibre, vegetable and fish intake coupled with weight loss and physical activity, all of which reduce the risk of cancer.

Cholesterol and heart health

The Total Wellbeing Diet can reduce triglycerides and LDL (undesirable) cholesterol.

HDL (good) cholesterol can be increased by:

  • regular exercise
  • alcohol in moderation
  • sustained weight loss.

The higher protein meals in the Total Wellbeing Diet will also help control blood fats. If you wish to eat less meat, substitute other lean protein foods.


While CSIRO is able to provide some general nutrition information, it is beyond our scope to provide answers to personal health problems or medical conditions.

If you have specific health requirements, consult your doctor before starting the Total Wellbeing Diet.

Read more with the Fats and oils and the Total Wellbeing Diet fact sheet.