Origination of the CSIRO Diet
The CSIRO diet was developed by nutritional scientists in Australia. Researchers studied 100 overweight women over a period of 12 weeks. This study showed that the women who focused on high-protein and low-carbohydrate diets lost far more weight than those who were on a high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet. This study led to the creation of the CSIRO diet.
CSIRO Diet Outline
This diet plan is composed of a strict eating plan. It focuses on high-protein meals but allows far more vegetables, fruit, and grain than similar protein-based diets. For dinner, CSIRO focuses on lean proteins such as lean beef, veal, and lamb. These items should be eaten 4 times a week, at minimum. Fish should be eaten twice per week and chicken once per week. For lunch, lean protein should be eaten. Eggs can be substituted two times a week for lunch.
CSIRO proponents describe the diet as carbohydrate limited, rather than carbohydrate restrictive. Two servings each of dairy, wholegrain breads, and fresh fruit must be eaten every day. Up to 2.5 cups of vegetables must be eaten per day, although certain vegetables can be eaten in any quantity. One serving of high-fiber cereal must also be eaten per day. Fats and oils are kept to only 3 teaspoons a day. Avocado or nuts can be substituted for these items. Low-calorie soup can also be eaten every day. Two servings of wine are allowed per week. Coffee, tea, diet soda, artificial sweeteners, and many condiments can be eaten in unlimited amounts.
Dieters must engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Those who do not want to commit to exercise should do their best to increase daily activity, such as skipping escalators and elevators.
The CSIRO diet is a rather restrictive meal plan, however the book offers sample diet plans and recipes. When following this plan, dieters can expect to lose the greatest amount of weight in the first several weeks of the diet. These results are typical of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Because the CSIRO diet allows low-glycemic carbohydrates, blood glucose will be better stabilized than in other similar diets which greatly disallow carbohydrates. Many find that cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as well as risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, are lowered by this diet.
Potential Side Effects/Issues
The studies that greatly attributed to the creation of the CSIRO diet followed only women. Men may have different results. Additionally, these studies were in part paid for by the Meat and Livestock group of Australia, so objectivity may be an issue. While this diet may minimize risks of certain illnesses, it is suggested that its focus on meat may result in an increase of certain cancers, particular of the breast and colon.
This diet may be more costly than other diets due to its focus on meat, which often costs more than carbohydrates and produce. Because the diet is protein heavy, vegetarians and vegans may have difficulty following it. Opponents of the diet suggest that the amount of red meat allowed in the diet is far too much. Even with the carbohydrate allowances, the amount of protein may still be too high. The diet allows artificial sweeteners and foods that contain them in unlimited amounts. Studies suggest that these no-calorie sugar substitutes may have other negative effects towards weight-loss and overall health.
For anyone considering a low carbohydrate diet the CSIRO Diet : The CSICO Healthy Heart Program is a good option.