Healthy New Year takes guts, intestinal fortitude and fibre

We kick off 2019 with a new opportunity to join the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet revolution via our new Gut Health Program.

If improved health and wellbeing rated highly on your New Year’s resolutions – or you just want to lose weight and improve your quality of life – then the latest addition to CSIRO’s Total Wellbeing Diet, may be just the thing for 2019.

The new Total Wellbeing Diet for Gut Health Program launched by CSIRO this month comes off the back of mounting research linking the importance of gut health during weight loss.

Take our free quiz as the first step to better gut health.

Our new report, Gut Health and Weight Loss, indicates that 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 the microbiota.

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

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

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

“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 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.

“Eating fibre from wholefoods such as wholegrain cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruit can also help improve overall health by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels,” Gilly says.

“Eating more fibre, especially readily fermentable types, helps overcome the adverse effects of an unhealthy diet.”

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.

CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet – new ways to join the revolution

At CSIRO, we’ve been helping Australians with health and wellbeing solutions for decades. Our CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, first published in book form in 2005, sold more than 700,000 copies and introduced thousands to the health benefits and significant weight loss from a diet higher in proteins and low in fats.

The original best-seller – the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet

“The Total Wellbeing Diet (now online) 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,” Dr Hendrie said.

To help Australians understand their gut health and how it influences weight and other symptoms, we’ve created a free gut health quiz. Find the free Gut Health Check for Weight Loss quiz and more information about the Total Wellbeing Diet for Gut Health 12-week online program at

Taking on the liveability challenge

Canberra is one of the best places to live in the world.  Our beautiful open spaces, incredible sense of community and cosmopolitan lifestyle – without the traffic congestion typical in most cities – has now been recognised on a national and international level.

In March 2014 Canberra was ranked number one in the OECD Regional Well-Being Report, scoring highly in eight of the nine indicators including safety, access to services, civic engagement, education, jobs, environment, income and health.

Since then Canberra has continued to perform well in global assessments of liveability, ranking number 28 on the Worldwide Quality of Living survey in February 2016. While this is an achievement to be celebrated, can we actually improve on this?

Shaping and improving our future cities and their liveability is the focus of a range of CSIRO research. Achieving such improvements in liveability is also a key aspiration for our Ginninderra project.

“Liveability is typically measured using various social and economic indicators such as income, wealth, education, health status, economic, community and recreational infrastructure, and access to opportunities and services,” according to  CSIRO Social Scientist, Dr Rod McCrea.

There are also aesthetic and environmental elements that contribute to liveability, for example features such as: air and water quality, environmental outlook and setting, and even native plant and animal presence.

“So in every city we see this trade-off between benefits such as: access to employment, health and entertainment opportunities and services; and the negative consequences of urban growth such as: housing costs, overcrowding, congestion and environmental degradation.”

“Increases in travel-to-work time and declining access to affordable housing can be negative impacts of urban growth when it is not well planned and executed.”

Rod and colleagues Professors Rosemary Leonard and Greg Foliente recently conducted a Survey of Community Wellbeing and Responding to Change across six local government areas in Melbourne. The survey was prompted by Melbourne’s current challenge of managing urban growth while maintaining quality of life and promoting community wellbeing.


While focussed on Melbourne, the research highlights the importance of community resilience and adaptability to successfully maintaining liveability and wellbeing amid urban growth and change.

“The planning and engagement of a community in urban growth and having a shared sense that ‘this is our place and we are growing it together’ are vitally important,” Rosemary says.

It is still early days at Ginninderra, with many opportunities for the thoughts and ideas of the local community to be heard and included through the planning process.

A participatory process that nurtures the liveability needs of future residents as well as those of people living in the area now, will help to produce a good outcome.