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The Science Behind the CSIRO Low Carb Diet

The Science Behind the CSIRO Low Carb Diet

The CSIRO Low Carb Diet is a leading, scientifically proven diet to help Australians lose weight control blood sugar levels and improve the management of Type 2 Diabetes. It is basically a household name in Australia! The CSIRO Low Carb Diet is backed by a rigorous, large-scale research study. The study compared the effects of a low carbohydrate, high protein and high unsaturated ‘healthy’ fat diet with a traditional high carbohydrate, low fat diet in adults who were overweight or obese with type 2 diabetes. After 2-years it was shown individuals following both diets achieved substantial weight loss in individuals. However, the low carbohydrate, high protein, high unsaturated fat diet delivered superior improvements for reducing diabetes medication requirements, improving blood glucose stability across the day and reducing risk factors for heart disease.

A key difference in this study was the carb intake. One group was on 50-70 g carbs per day whilst the other groups intake was consuming around 200 g  carbs carbs per day despite the same number of total calories being consumed. This research led to the development of the CSIRO low carbohydrate diet, which limits carbohydrates to 50-70 g per day and focusses on increasing the proportions of unsaturated ‘healthy’ fats and lean protein to maximise the health improvements. Based on results from this study and research conducted by other leading research laboratories around the world , governing health authorities including the the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and Diabetes Australia, Diabetes UK and Diabetes Canada have acknowledged that a lower carb diet can be an effective option for weight and type 2 diabetes management.  

The CSIRO Low Carb Diet encourages a high intake of healthy unsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, oils, avocado, oily fish and olives) and lean protein including lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and tofu, with some dairy allowances. The diet encourages a high intake of low carb vegetables, such as; spinach, lettuce, broccoli, bok choy, asparagus, bean sprouts, cucumber, mushrooms, tomato, zucchini, kale, rocket, garlic, chill, herbs and spices, while reducing the intake of starchy vegetables like potato, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots. Breads, cereals and fruits can be included but are limited to ensure the diet remains nutritionally complete whilst delivering the superior benefits of low carb eating.

CSIRO Low Carb Diet vs Ketogenic Diet

The CSIRO Low Carb diet and a ketogenic diet are similar in that both dietary approaches reduce the amount of carbohydrates in the diet and increase the amount of protein and fat which can increase the appearance of ketone bodies in the blood. This occurs when the body switches away from carbohydrate, and starts to use its own fat stores for energy. However, unlike the CSIRO Low Carb Diet which is nutritionally complete and has adequate amounts of all essential nutrients including vitamin, minerals, trace elements and fibre, some ketogenic diets often exclude whole food groups that can increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies.

Whilst ketogenic diets have been shown to have some benefits including weight loss and blood sugar stabilisation, they can in fact be ineffective or even dangerous if they are not prescribed without supervision from a dietitian or other Healthcare professional. 

In addition, compared to the CSIRO Low Carb Diet that increases the amount of unsaturated ‘healthy’ fats whilst keeping levels of saturated fat low, ketogenic diets typically contain an excessive amount of saturated fats which has been linked to raised cholesterol levels in the blood.

What do doctors think of a low carb diet?

A low carb diet is highly recommended by many doctors. Losing weight and increasing levels of physical activity will lower blood glucose levels, reduce risk factor for heart disease and other chronic dieses like type 2 diabetes and can certainly improve general health and wellbeing.

Scientific evidence consistently proves that for people who are overweight, obese or who have pre-diabetes/type 2 diabetes, that a low carb diet can assist in getting them back to where they need to be.

As with all diets, the CSIRO strongly recommend speaking to your health care provider, such as your GP or endocrinologist as they may need to review and monitor your medications during dietary change. This is particularly important if you are taking diabetes medication, because one of the major benefits observed using the CSIRO Low Carb diet is the reduction in diabetes medication requirements.

The CSIRO are committed to helping Australians lose weight and improve their health through science, research and evidence. In a nutshell, they promote following evidence based diets and nutrition principles. Their evidence is proof that a CSIRO Low Carb Diet can be optimal for an individual’s overall health & wellbeing.


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Everything you need to know about the CSIRO Low Carb Diet