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Kerry Folland, of Adelaide, dropped 16kg in 16 weeks, and has lost more weight since thanks to the CSIRO new diet which is based on shakes and intermittent fasting. Picture: Tait Schmaal.

How does the CSIRO’s new flexi diet rate?

June 2, 2017 8:00pm

SOME say the CSIRO’s new “flexi” diet is the best thing since sliced bread.

The diet, unveiled this week, revolves around drinking meal replacement shakes two days a week, eating healthily with replacement shakes four days and consuming anything you like one day a week.

CSIRO research dietitian Dr Jane Bowen said: “We are combining a meal replacement program, to help people manage their energy intake in a very structured way, with intermittent fasting.

“By varying intakes across the week it enables people to have one day where they can eat and drink what they enjoy.”

CSIRO research dietitian Jane Bowen helped develop the Flexi diet in her lab in Adelaide. Picture: Kelly Barnes/The Australian

She agreed flexi could be seen to resemble the 5:2 diet, whose followers had a drastically reduced calorie intake two days a week and ate anything the other days.

But Dr Bowen said the meal replacement shakes provided structure and took the guesswork out for those people unable to calculate calories. They also provided a good level of protein, fibre and nutrients, she said.

Dr Bowen said 164 people took part in a 16-week study with an average of 11kg of weight lost.

“Blood pressure went down, blood glucose and insulin levels went down, and the lipids which are associated with cardio vascular disease risk went down.”

Despite the fact that those on the diet were eating a lot less than before, their nutrient status improved.

“We’re not saying that this is better than anything else, it’s another option, and it’s a very good option that is validated by science,” she said.

Support, motivation, a personalised diet and weekly “virtual consultations” were provided through Flexi’s website.

Dr Bowen hoped the program and recipes provided would help people learn to eat more healthily in order to maintain their weight once they reached their goal.

The Herald Sun article continues with anecdotal case reports (1 person each) of: the Flexi diet, Weight Watchers, and the 5:2 diet. The case reports are not relevant to the citation in my essay, so aren’t reproduced.