[ASC-media] Media release: CSIRO Continues its Diet Hype

Australasian Science science at control.com.au
Tue Dec 19 23:12:44 CET 2006

For immediate release

CSIRO Continues its Diet Hype
Prominent dietary scientist, Dr Rosemary Stanton, ³doubts² that CSIRO¹s
recently published second edition of The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet ³has
improved its science and safety² following criticism of claims made in the
first edition that contributed to sales of over 700,000 copies.
Dr Stanton, a Visiting Fellow in the University of NSW's School of Medicine,
writes in the January/February edition of Australasian Science magazine,
published today, a follow-up to her substantial analysis in the magazine¹s
October 2005 edition shortly after Book 1 was released, and a critical
report and editorial in the international journal Nature on 22 December
These and other critics had attacked CSIRO¹s claim that its diet was
³scientifically proven², but CSIRO scientists and executives defended it.
Their claim is unchanged on the cover of Book 2. Dr Stanton acknowledges
that ³some issues are addressed in Book 2², but concludes that results from
CSIRO¹s own tests ³are like any other diet ­ and not worthy of CSIRO¹s
Œscientifically proven¹ tag on the covers of both its diet books.²
She finds it ³refreshing that CSIRO admits it found no difference in weight
loss between a higher protein and a higher carbohydrate diet when each was
equally low in fat and kilojoules, and Book 2 now agrees that healthy weight
loss can come from a high carbohydrate or vegetarian eating pattern.
However, it still claims that a higher-protein, low-fat diet preserves
muscle during weight loss, enhances loss of fat, improves vitamin B12 and
iron status, and lowers triglycerides.²
However, Dr Stanton cites large international studies (³available before
Book 2 was written²) with contrary conclusions to CSIRO¹s and asks: ³Might
Book 3 acknowledge that other studies, including CSIRO¹s, do not show
greater loss of fat or preservation of muscle mass with a high protein diet?
Straightforward science shows that the higher levels of vitamin B12 and iron
in CSIRO¹s high protein diet occurred because they gave their high protein
group beef, lamb and veal (the products of sponsors Meat and Livestock
Australia), which are high in these nutrients, whereas the lower meat diet
included only pork or chicken.²
She is especially concerned about CSIRO¹s dismissal of ³repeated links found
by other researchers between a high intake of red meat and increased risk of
colorectal cancer² and ³alarm bells² ringing from a study of over 90,000
pre-menopausal women that reported elevated risk of breast cancers that are
oestrogen- and progesterone-receptor positive².

Summaries and quotations of selected passages for reporting or review are
permissible provided AUSTRALASIAN SCIENCE MAGAZINE is credited as the source
of this story.
Dr Stanton can be reached on (02) 4465 1711 or email
rstanton at snoopashoal.com.

For permission to reproduce this article (partially or completely) call the
Editor, Guy Nolch on (03) 9500 0015 or Senior Correspondent, Peter Pockley,
on (02) 9660 6363. 

A photo of Dr Stanton is available.

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