What is the Sirtfood Diet?

The Sirtfood Diet grabbed headlines earlier this year when photos of a super slim Adele were published around the globe – it’s rumoured that the seven stone weight loss was a result of the revolutionary diet. 

A ‘sirtfood’ is a food that is able to stimulate the production of sirtuins, a group of proteins in the body that regulate functions such as metabolism and inflammation. This diet combines sirtfoods and calorie restriction.

Its creators, two UK-based celebrity nutritionists, insist sirtfoods are the secret to weight loss and disease prevention, however many health experts urge those considering the diet to do so with caution. To find out more, we spoke to Alex Parker, Accredited Practising Dietitian from @thebitingtruth.

What are some examples of foods high in sirtuin activators (‘sirtfoods’)?  

Sirtfoods include green tea, dark chocolate (that is at least 85 percent cocoa), apples, citrus fruits, parsley, turmeric, kale, blueberries, capers, red wine, coffee, extra virgin olive oil, soy, onions, walnuts and buckwheat.

How does the diet work?

The diet has two phases that are repeated continuously. The first phase involves having only 1000 calories a day for three days. These calories are consumed via three green juices and one main meal. Then four days of 1500 calories via two green juices and two meals. 

Are there any adverse health effects to this diet?

Diets like these can result in unhealthy relationships with food and are unlikely to result in long lasting weight loss. Essentially, this is just another form of calorie restriction. For many people, restricting calories so significantly may result in them missing out on essential nutrients, which could put their health at risk. 

Is there anyone who shouldn’t follow the diet?

Sure, following this diet may result in initial weight loss but it does not set someone up for long term success. I wouldn’t recommend any of my clients follow this diet. It would be particularly dangerous for individuals with chronic health conditions such as diabetes.

What are the pros?

The diet promotes whole foods rather than refined/processed foods or supplements, and the foods containing high levels of sirtuins are generally nutrient rich, which is important for overall health. 

What are the cons?

The diet appears to eliminate entire food groups, such as lean protein sources (meat, fish, legumes) and dairy, which is a huge red flag. [There is also] no scientific evidence to show that the sirtfood diet really works. There is some lab research to show that sirtuins may have an anti-ageing effect, but the studies have been on mice, human stem cells and rats, not people.