“Vegetables are the invention of the devil!” These are the words of a serial dieter as she bites into yet another carrot stick.
A prominent doctor and nutritionist in Australia however claim that red meat is a dieter’s enemy. Not red meat as such; it’s claimed too much red meat in a weight reduction diet can lead to a greater risk of disease including some cancers. In particular the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is criticised for instructing dieters to eat 200g of red meat for dinner every night. It’s claimed the consumption of over a kilogram of red meat per week exceeds the requirements of an average person.
The Government’s Guide To Healthy Eating and the National Health and Research Council advise the consumption of 65 to 100g of lean red meat three or four times a week.
The Cancer Council of Australia’s cancer prevention policy suggests the same amount.
Doctor Rosemary Stanton said the CSIRO diet failed to promote plant-based proteins such as legumes, which she claims are a healthy alternative to red meat. There are claims that the book was funded by the meat and dairy industry in Australia and has become a money making exercise rather being concerned for people’s health.
Dr Manny Noakes, one of the authors of the diet books disputes this. She states that the link between red meat and bowel cancer is “infinitesimal”. The Wellbeing Diet is a low fat, high protein diet of which red meat plays an important part. As well, red meat provides more iron and B12 vitamins than other sources.
Despite its critics the diet works and sales of the book remain high. Research shows that 60 percent of the women who started the diet three years ago have maintained their weight loss. Participants are also required to eat a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables and to exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week. Eating breakfast daily is also a requirement.
Women who have successfully lost weight on the Wellbeing Diet say that it’s not a diet but a way of life therefore making it easy to maintain the weight loss. They are undeterred by the criticism and recommend the diet because it works.