CSIRO and the Fast Start Program

25th January 2023


CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has released new research that will help Australians start healthy weight loss in 2023 by tackling one of the biggest obstacles to successful dieting: cravings.

Off the back of the findings, CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has launched its Fast Start program. It’s an alternative way for Australians that are overweight or obese to make sustainable, safe and healthy diet changes.

A recent survey of 330 Australians revealed that 66 per cent of respondents reported a constant struggle to resist higher levels of cravings, while 82 per cent said it would be easier to lose weight without cravings.

With one in five of this group also reporting more than 25 attempts to actively manage their weight, CSIRO conducted a follow up study to explore alternative ways they could better curb their cravings and avoid derailing their weight loss.

The follow up study asked participants to engage in three weeks of partial meal replacement, before making a fully supported transition into the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet’s high protein, low-GI wholefoods program. Evidence shows that people who start strong in the first three weeks of a weight loss program go on to lose 3.5 times more weight after 12 weeks, than those who struggle to get started.

On average, participants that completed the study lost 4.1kg in the first three weeks of using meal replacement shakes within their diet, and 80 per cent of people reporting feeling better at controlling their cravings. By week six, participants lost an average of 5.9 kg, two-thirds achieved a clinically significant weight loss, and confidence in their ability to resist cravings increased by 19 per cent.

CSIRO Research Scientist and report author, Dr Gilly Hendrie said the findings were a welcome development in providing an alternative start to weight loss for some Australians, that better suits their needs and lifestyle. “With 67 per cent of Australians overweight or obese it’s more important than ever that scientists continue to find new ways to help people lose weight. There is no one-size-fits all approach to healthy weight loss. We know that people who experience higher than average cravings not only have more weight to lose, but also lose less weight than others,” Dr Hendrie said.

Google the Fast Start program for a link to their webpage.