Shaking up weight loss: CSIRO research finds meal replacement offering stacks up


New analysis has found CSIRO’s Fast Start meal replacement shakes offering, delivered as part of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online program, has helped Australians kick start their weight loss journey, with 98 per cent of members losing weight in 12 weeks.

The analysis of over 10,300 CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet members using Fast Start showed 28 per cent of people shifted out of the obese category after 12 weeks, and 31 per cent did so after 24 weeks.

The science-backed Fast Start offering helps overweight or obese Australians make sustainable and healthy diet changes, starting with partial meal replacements, along with education, behaviour change support and structured meal plans.

After three weeks, members then transition to the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet’s whole foods meal plan for the remainder of the program.

The analysis also found the Fast Start offering helped members achieve clinically significant weight loss, with three quarters of members losing five per cent or more of their starting body weight, and one in five losing 10 per cent or more.

CSIRO Research Scientist Dr Gilly Hendrie said the data shows just how critical the first three weeks are to sustaining behaviour change when starting out.

When people feel their clothes are fitting better, they have more energy, or they see the numbers dropping on the scales, it helps stay motivated to stick at it,” Dr Hendrie said.

“Meal replacements alone aren’t a long-term solution to weight loss because most people will revert to their old eating habits once they stop having shakes.

“That is why the transition to the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet whole foods program is key to ensuring members are supported through their weight loss journey and equipped with the knowledge and tools to build healthier habits for longer term behaviour change.”

In line with the World Health Organisation’s aim to halt the rise of obesity, Australia has set an ambitious target to prevent and reduce overweight and obesity as outlined in the National Obesity Strategy.

“Australia needs to strive to stop the increase in obesity rates observed over the past 10 years if we are to reduce chronic disease and have a healthier population,” Dr Hendrie said.

“Sustainable and holistic programs that support people to lose weight and reduce their risk of obesity and chronic diseases such type 2 diabetes and heart disease, are critical to achieving this ambitious goal and in doing so ensure Australians live longer and have healthier lives.”

Since launching in January 2023, its popularity has grown swiftly, with Fast Start memberships now making up over one-quarter of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet member base.

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