It’s the book that finally knocked The Da Vinci Code off the bestseller top spot, and then grandly held the perch until Harry Potter came along with yet another of his adventures.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is being promoted as the weight loss program that can actually work and as a scientifically tested, easy-to-follow eating plan for life.

The book has tapped into a sector of the health and fitness market by offering a new philosophy in eating plans, backed by the CSIRO. There is not a supermodel, former Olympian or favourite TV fitness guru to be found anywhere between the covers of this book, just the findings of the CSIRO Clinical Research Unit in Adelaide.

It is the culmination of eight years of research done by the dieticians and scientists with thousands of people battling obesity and diabetes.

Their investigation looked into why it is that Australia, as a population, is in such bad shape. Latest statistics from the CSIRO estimate 60 percent of all Australians are now overweight or obese and obesity rates have doubled in the past 20 years. Also, Australians are now six to seven kilograms heavier than our counterparts of 20 years ago.

As a result of carrying this excess weight, we are all more vulnerable than ever to such chronic illnesses as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Dietician Dr Manny Noakes, who co-authored the book with Dr Peter Clifton, believes Australians are responding to the book because it sets out an easy-to-follow eating plan.

What we believe we have done with this is based it around Australian eating patterns and developed a plan which is not only consistent with what people eat with the Australian food supply, but that is also going to be easy to follow and is consistent with good nutrition principles as well, she says.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is a protein-plus, low-fat diet but, unlike many popular recent diets, it does not eliminate carbohydrates. In fact, it includes a moderate amount of slow-release carbs, which are essential for energy and maintaining blood glucose levels.

The book then outlines a 12-week eating plan, covering breakfast, lunch and dinner for every day of that period. It also includes almost 100 pages of recipes to support the new eating plan.

I think people have some faith with this as the CSIRO is behind it and I think that has been part of its appeal, Dr Noakes says. One of the things we are finding interesting is that this diet seems to have exploded so that a lot of people are doing it at the same time together, which has created a critical mass effect.

Often people diet in isolation but, with this, there seems to be this group movement with it. It is actually nice to know people are still interested in healthy things.

While the book is primarily focused on the female market, Dr Noakes stresses that either sex can follow the principles of the Total Wellbeing Diet, but adds a book for men is currently in the works.

Men can use this book, but we are currently engaged in a large study of men and hope to have a book out specifically for men in the coming years. We had to start somewhere and this is a good start.

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