Several prepared skewers of meat, tomatoes, bacon and chicken perched on a bbq hot plate.

Hot plates: the Diet provides over 100 eye-catching recipes.

Tipping the scales in favour of health and wellbeing

85 mouth-watering recipes and 12 weeks of varied meal plans deliver a long-term eating plan for weight loss and improved health.

  • 1 December 2005 | Updated 14 October 2011

This easy-to-use, scientifically tested and nutritionally balanced diet works by keeping your hunger satisfied, and helping you reach and maintain your target weight.

With 85 mouth-watering recipes and 12 weeks of varied meal plans to get you started, this book contains everything you need to know about the Total Wellbeing Diet — how to start, what to cook and how to keep the weight off for good.

Various food and agricultural industry bodies have provided funding towards part of CSIRO's research.

Developing the diet

CSIRO's Clinical Research Unit in Adelaide is renowned for its research into nutritional and genetic factors involved in obesity, cardiovascular disease, bowel cancer and diabetes. Studies involving volunteers are identifying foods and food components which improve health.

New or recycled diets continue to cause confusion among the public and health professionals who advise on diet regimes.

A number of dieticians contacted The Clinic's Director at the time, Dr Peter Clifton, to ask about the high protein diets being promoted without good supporting evidence. Dr Clifton discussed the issue with Dr Manny Noakes, CSIRO's Senior Research Dietician. Clinic staff had also been interested in the effectiveness of diets with different protein: fat: carbohydrate ratios. So they designed a series of studies to get some answers.

Why does it work?

In one of the longer, more recent studies the call went out for volunteers - and 120 obese or overweight women were selected to take part by following one of two diet programs - high-protein + low-fat versus high-carbohydrate + low-fat - over a 12-week period.

They were particularly interested in monitoring the women with Syndrome X - which is generally indicated by excess fat around the tummy, high blood pressure, high glucose levels and high blood fats (triglycerides).

The study assessed the amount of body weight lost and body composition in all participants. The impact of both diets on nutrient status, bone turnover markers and various measures of heart disease and diabetes risk were also monitored.

The results showed that overweight women with high triglycerides lost 25 per cent more weight on a high protein, low fat diet than on a high carbohydrate, low fat diet. Much of this extra weight loss was in the abdominal area, which is crucial to improving their metabolic health.

Health benefits of the high protein diet

The success of the diet in terms of weight lost was very pleasing, but equally important were the following longer term benefits to overall health.

Obesity is a serious health issue in Australia - and much of the developed world.

The high protein diet caused a greater decrease in triglycerides, an important cardiovascular disease risk factor.

Both diets lowered LDL cholesterol, and insulin levels.

The high protein diet lowered glucose and insulin levels, and helped to control hunger.

The Total Wellbeing Diet, as it is now known, provides well balanced, tasty and nutritious meals that make it easier to follow. Three times as many volunteers on the high carbohydrate diet dropped out of the study than those on the high protein program.

Recipes for being a successful loser

The diet was so popular that it was decided to produce it as a book. The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is now a 212-page, all colour book containing many additional specially-designed recipes to provide even more menu variety.

Obesity is a serious issue in Australia - and much of the developed world. CSIRO scientists remind us that there is no magic solution to weight loss. This diet provides a proven way to reduce weight while getting the nutrition required for good health.

In addition to eating well; however, we also need to be exercising - our bodies and minds.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, published by Penguin Australia, was launched on May 2005 and has become an international bestseller.

Find out more about the Total Wellbeing Diet.