By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)


The CSIRO Total Well being Diet was developed by nutrition scientists from the clinical research unit of the CSIRO in Australia. It very quickly rose to the top of the bestseller list in Australia and has gained notoriety in other areas of the world

The diet is based on results of a 12 week study of over 100 overweight women that showed that a high protein, low fat diet produced superior results compared to a high carbohydrate, low fat diet in regard to weight loss and general health improvements.

The CSIRO diet was designed not only to promote weight loss but also to support the optimal health of the dieter and is carefully planned so as to supply the nutrients needed for immune function, bone strength, and high energy levels as well as to reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

CSIRO Diet Basics

csiro-dietEven though it is a high protein diet, it differs in many respects from other well-known diets such as Atkins and Protein Power in several ways.

The CSIRO diet has been described as carbohydrate limited rather than low carb as it contains low glycemic index carbohydrates such as bread, cereal, yogurt, fruit, and vegetables. While the Atkins diet aims to restrict carbohydrates almost completely the CSIRO diet includes carbohydrates in order to keep energy levels up by stabilizing blood glucose.

The Atkins diet is also high in saturated fats while being low in essential fats. The CSIRO diet avoids this imbalance by allowing only lean meats and low fat dairy and by including at least two serves of fish weekly in addition to other sources of healthy fats in moderation.

Recommended Foods

  • Lean beef, lamb, or veal for dinner at least 4 times a week. Fish for dinner twice per week and chicken one night per week.
  • Lean protein (meat, poultry, or fish) for lunch every day. Two eggs may be substituted twice per week.
  • Wholegrain bread – two slices per day.
  • High fiber cereal – one serve per day.
  • Fresh fruit – two serves per day.
  • Vegetables – up to 2.5 cups per day with an extensive list of ‘free’ vegetables that can be consumed in unlimited amounts.
  • 3 teaspoons of fats and oils per day such as olive oil or margarine. Alternatively 2 oz avocado or 3/4 oz nuts are the equivalent of 3 teaspoons of oil.
  • Low calorie soup – one optional serve per day.
  • Wine – two glasses per week.

Other foods that are permitted in unlimited amounts include diet soda, tea, coffee, cocoa, bouillon, diet jelly, fat free salad dressings, artificial sweeteners, pickles, ketchup.

Sample Diet Plan


3/4 cup high fiber cereal
1 cup low fat milk
1 banana


Ham and tomato toasted sandwich (100g ham and 2 slices wholegrain bread)
1 cup tomato soup
1 piece fresh fruit


Teriyaki lamb and vegetable stir fry (200g lean lamb)

Evening Snack

Low fat yogurt

Find other healthy recipes here.

Exercise Recommendations

Dieters are encouraged to engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day both for its weight loss and general health benefits. Those who don’t enjoy structured exercise are advised to increase daily activity however possible.

These exercises can be used with the CSIRO Diet.

Costs and Expenses

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet retails at $34.95 Australian dollars.

There may be an increase in grocery expenses due to the requirement for large amounts of meat and seafood.


  • High protein diets help to reduce appetite between meals.
  • High protein low fat diets show a significant advantage for improving blood cholesterol profiles.
  • Balanced and does not eliminate entire food groups
  • Easy to follow when eating out.
  • Provides 12 weeks of daily menus with recipes.
  • Includes tools to measure daily servings so that the diet can be easily adapted to suit specific needs as well as tools to track progress with the diet.
  • Includes a detailed maintenance plan for when dieters have achieved their ideal weight.


  • Not suitable for vegetarians or those who prefer not to eat a lot of meat.
  • High intake of meat may increase the risk of bowel and breast cancers
  • Some of the recipes may be time consuming to prepare.
  • Recommends the use of artificial sweeteners and margarine, which is against the health promoting philosophy of the diet.
  • Little information is provided regarding psychological factors involved in dieting and overeating.


The CSIRO diet is balanced and could be easily sustainable by most dieters as a lifestyle approach for weight management. The high amount of meat recommended may slightly increase the risk of certain health conditions however this is probably insignificant when weighing up the alternative risks that are associated with obesity.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Pingback: Csiro Healthy Eating Plan – about food and health

  • Janet

    The CSIRO diet works so well for me and my partner. We both have learned to appreciate fresh and seasonal produce, spices and lean meat cuts. Both of us being on the diet definitely helps with the grocery shopping and cooking, but the diet is so wholesome and the recipes so delicious that we don’t really feel like we are on a “diet”. We both love healthy-eating and portion control now and it feels great! I would recommend this to anyone looking to lose weight without losing their mind. I agree with the comment about healthy margarines being available everywhere, and it is also good to note that there are sweeteners like Stevia that are healthy, natural, low-calorie and perfect for cooking.

  • anon

    It works. As for recipes being a little time consuming thats what healthy eating is about putting quality time into what you eat and how you eat is essential. We are an obese society because our food is ‘fast’. Anything meal that has the quick and lazy approach can be guaranteed to be high in fat,salt or sugar or all 3. Some of the meals are time consuming but there are healthy quicker meals but you are preparing your own food that way you get to control what goes into your body as nourishment. Oh I know a few people who used butter and sugar in moderation and still had great results with this diet. Naming the margarine and sweetners as a negative of this eating plan is shall we say clutching at straws.

  • Jen Dwyer

    I loved this diet..I actually lost 17 kilo over a period of 5 weeks, but also combined very light jogging exercise as well..I kept the weight off for 4 years, but starting creeping back on again over the last year..but have started this diet again last week..I felt pretty good while on this diet and didn’t suffer any symptoms at all..if anything it totally boosted my energy..

  • Evan Kaye

    me and my boyfriend love this.. its soooooooo goood <3 xxxx

    • Luana

      anything that is very potent with Vitamin-E, of coruse alot of water, and stay about from fatty foods, i.e Fast food, soda chocolate, ect also taking a fish oil is cosmetically GREAT for the hair, skin and nails. but if you do take a fish oil make sure its quality and the capsules are not composed of fillers.

  • ANON

    There are patented margarine blends that are non-hydrogenated and trans-fat free. I see this comment constantly in diet reviews about how bad margarine is and that if only we had known it was worse for us back in the 1980s, nutritionists would have gone on recommending butter (since saturated fat vs. trans fat is the lesser of two evils). That sentiment negates the fact that for 10 years now we have had many choices of margarines that do not contain ANY of the offending processes. When are diet reviews and nutritionists going to start drawing these valuable distinctions? Personally, I prefer Smart Balance because it tastes more buttery than any other margarine that I’ve tried. I bought it because it was heart healthy; I stick to it because it has a superior flavor and you can continue baking with it just like ordinary butter. And no, I do not work for or represent a margarine company. I just like the “facts” to be factual.

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