What the CSIRO says about low-carb diets


Published 19 October 2019

Those who’ve been following the low-carb trend will have noticed a significant change in the conversation. Every now and then a movement undergoes a watershed moment that generates a major shift in people’s thinking. Looking at the rise of the ketogenic diet, it’s clear that a similar phenomenon is at play. The keto diet is winning over more and more people who are intrigued by the science behind it and the personal results of those who try it.

In Australia, one of the clearest signs that the diet is moving into the mainstream is the adoption of the CSIRO – the foremost scientific body in the country – promoting the benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet for overall health and wellbeing, as well as in helping to combat illnesses like type II diabetes. While many health and nutrition experts have been promoting variants of the low-carb diet, including keto, having the CSIRO’s imprimatur is very significant.

The CSIRO offers a range of low-carb cookbooks, weekly food checklists, and exercise programs that not only make it easy to prepare nutritious low-carb meals, but also present some of the latest science and research behind them. There’s no doubt this trend represents a step-change in the community’s views about eating. While many point to the government and public bodies as being culpable in getting much of what we thought about healthy eating wrong, the reality is that the science behind it is complex. While there are certainly large, interested forces at work trying to shape our perceptions of particular foods, our dietary choices have always had more to do with how we and those around us think about food than the shifting science behind it.

It’s encouraging to see science playing a larger role in how we determine our diet and food choices, what really matters is how effective the diet is for us and how it makes us feel. In the case of the ketogenic diet, the effects and the science seem to line up. People report a greater sense of wellbeing, mental clarity, weight loss, and overall fitness. Those suffering certain chronic illnesses have reported their symptoms alleviating and even receding. All this has led the CSIRO to take notice and conduct its own research into the benefits of low-carb diets. Not only that, but to now come out and endorse low-carb eating as a viable and important option.

The great thing about the ketogenic diet is that it means we pay more attention to our macronutrients and to spend just a few extra seconds at the supermarket shelf locating a more keto-friendly option without severely limiting the types of food we can eat. It allows us to maintain healthy and delicious meal plans without becoming completely obsessed. In other words, we can manage the diet without the diet managing us.

The fact that an esteemed body such as the CSIRO sees an opportunity in educating and supporting the low-carb dieting community is promising. They have added some serious weight to a growing movement and will likely encourage more people try out and adopt different variations of low-carb living. We’re really excited to see where this leads and what it means for the growing keto community in Australia. It will also be interesting to see whether other scientific bodies around the world release their own low-carb research and ideas.