CSIRO launches gut health diet to tackle obesity

CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has launched a new Total Wellbeing Diet for Gut Health program.

The diet comes off the back of growing research linking the importance of gut health during weight loss.

According to a new CSIRO report, Gut Health and Weight Loss, people who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience gut health symptoms from poor dietary habits, which can negatively alter bacteria in the gut called our microbiota.

“Fifty per cent of Australians experience digestive upsets and one in seven experience distressing gut symptoms that can affect their quality of life,” said Dr Gilly Hendrie, CSIRO Research Scientist and report co-author.

“Including plenty of fibre from a diverse range of whole foods is vital for a healthy gut.

“People who are overweight or obese generally have less than the recommended amount of fibre in their diet.

“But they may actually need to eat much more fibre, especially readily fermentable types, to overcome the adverse effects of an unhealthy diet.”

The symptoms of an unhealthy gut can include heartburn, excessive fullness, excessive burping, nausea, rumbling stomach noises, bloating, abdominal pain, abnormal bowel habits and excessive wind.

“Although most of us know that fibre helps improve gut health, the research shows 83 per cent of Australians aren’t getting enough fibre in their diet and a high proportion of their fibre intake is coming from junk food,” Hendrie said.

“However, simply eating more fibre won’t help you lose weight if the rest of your diet is high in energy-dense, low-nutrient foods that are highly processed.”

The report stated that eating a diverse range of fibres from wholefood sources such as wholegrain cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruit could also help improve overall health by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

“If you’re looking to lose weight, listening to your gut and eating a balanced diet high in fibre and protein will help relieve your gut symptoms and reduce your waistline without feeling ravenously hungry,” Hendrie added.

The new 12-week online Total Wellbeing Diet for Gut Health program includes a higher fibre menu plan, combined with protein and low GI carbohydrates which are important for appetite control.

“The Total Wellbeing Diet has been developed through years of scientific research and its format of menu plans, shopping lists, and at home exercises can really help people who might feel overwhelmed or confused about how to lose the weight,” Hendrie said.