It seems there's a new diet for every season. And the Sirtfood Diet is the new kid on the block. A ‘sirtfood’ is a food high in sirtuin activators – proteins that supposedly protect the cells in our bodies from inflammation and cell death. Sirtfoods reportedly help regulate your metabolism, burn fat, increase muscle and supposedly activate our ‘skinny genes’.
The ‘skinny gene’, with the unsexy formal name of SIRT1, is believed to help weight loss by curbing fat storage and regulating insulation while simultaneously boosting your metabolism.
The Sirtfood diet was started by two UK nutritional experts, Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten. Their book, The Sirtfood Diet, promises the diet will ‘Switch on your body's fat-burning powers and help you lose 7lbs (3kg) in 7 days.
What’s on the menu?
The diet is famous for dark chocolate (over 85% chocolate, so no Lunch Bars, unfortunately) and red wine - both high in sirtuin activators. Other sirtfoods include citrus fruits, coffee, apple, kale, parsley, blueberries, green tea, capers, strawberries, olive oil, red onion, turmeric and rocket.
Meat isn’t a sirtfood, but dieters are allowed to eat it. The plan focuses on adding sirtfoods to your diet, but doesn’t ask you to ban other foods.
The Sirtfood eating plan
This doesn't mean you can knock back the chocolate and red wine though. The diet involves following a pretty restrictive eating plan – at least for the first two weeks.
During the first week you’re restricted to eating just 1000 calories (4 184 kj) per day – which includes consuming only one sirtfood-rich meal from the book (examples here) and two sirtfood green juices.
Spoiler alert: 1000 calories is very little and you will probably be hungry.
During week two your intake rises to 1 500 calories (6 276kj) per day, with two sirtfood-focused meals and two juices.
There’s no set plan after that, but you’re required to adjust your lifestyle to include as many sirtfoods as possible. Followers are required to work out quite intensively while following the plan.
Does it work?
You will probably lose weight since the calories are so restricted, but we reckon it will mostly be water weight which you will gain right back if you don't stay on the low calorie diet. While the foods on the diet is healthy, both the The Huffington Post and The Daily Mail are calling this a fad diet. BBC Good Food also doesn't seem convinced in the efficacy and long term results of this diet.
So by all means, do add the healthy sirtfoods to your diet, but remember that balance, good habits and healthy living is the way to go for long term results.