Watch out keto, there is a new diet on the horizon! While it has not attracted as much popularity as keto or intermittent fasting quite yet, it most likely will in the coming years thanks to celebrity proponents like Adele.
The creators of the Sirtfood Diet contend it is the secret to spurring metabolism and fat loss and preventing chronic diseases rather than a fad, but many health experts are skeptical.
Read on to learn more about the Sirtfood diet and its proposed health benefits!
What Is the Sirtfood Diet?
Developed by two celebrity nutritionists in the U.K., the Sirtfood Diet supposedly activates the "skinny gene" in humans through sirtuins. Abbreviated as SIRTS, sirtuins are a family of seven proteins in the body that regulate metabolism, inflammation, and life span.
Based on research conducted in mice, certain plant compounds may be able to increase the level of these proteins. Thus, the top 20 sirtfoods include:
2. Red wine
7. Extra virgin olive oil
8. Dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
9. Matcha green tea
13. Arugula (rocket)
14. Bird's eye chili
16. Medjool dates
17. Red chicory
Furthermore, another major aspect of this diet includes drinking homemade green juice (recipe below) one to three times a day. Due to the ingredients, a juicer is necessary, as a blender is not sturdy enough to break down the components enough.
The less alluring part of this diet includes none other than restricting calorie intake, just like every other "magical" diet proposed through the media. Nonetheless, the synergistic effect of the SIRTS and calorie restriction have been proposed to trigger the body to make even higher levels of sirtuins.
How to Follow the Sirtfood Diet
The original form of the diet includes two phases that last three weeks. After that, participants are encouraged to continue adding in plentiful amounts of sirtfoods in their diet, but other aspects are liberalized.
This first phase, lasting seven days involves strict calorie restriction and ample green juicing. In fact, the first three days encourage restricting to 1,000 calories and consist of drinking three green juices plus one meal per day.
On the subsequent days, calorie allotment grows to 1,500 and includes two juices per day plus two sirtfood meals as well.
Known as the maintenance phase, this next phase lasts the remaining two weeks. Rather than limiting calories to a specific amount, it encourages three full sirtfood meals and one green juice per day.
Thankfully, many Sirtfood recipe cookbooks have been created since the conception of the diet in 2016.
The After Phase
After completing the diet, participants can repeat the two phases as often as they desire and continue losing weight according to the founders of Sirtfood Diet.
Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence to back this claim, and virtually no studies show this specific diet is better than any other calorie-restricted diet for weight loss and disease prevention.
The Science of the Sirtfood Diet
Undeniably, most sirtfoods are nutritionally adept- high in nutrients and chock-full of healthy plant polyphenols. What's more, many of the twenty foods like green tea, turmeric, and walnuts are associated with health benefits.
Yet, the beneficial health effects of increasing sirtuin protein levels are minimal. Although, research does show a longer lifespan in yeast, worms, and mice with increased levels of certain sirtuin proteins.
Furthermore, sirtuin proteins may tell the body to burn more fat and improve insulin sensitivity during fasting and calorie restriction.
Additional evidence implicates sirtuins as an anti-inflammatory, potentially inhibiting the development of tumors and slowing the development of heart disease and Alzheimer's.
Though, it is important to note that all of this evidence was conducted on animals or human cell lines and not actual humans.
Sirtfood Diet Recipes
The authentic Sirtfood Diet book contains many recipes, but the following ones are some of the most popular.
Many of the recipes only include SIRTS but some other ingredients are present as well. While most of these foods reside at regular grocery stores, some such as loveage, bird's eye chili, and red chicory may be harder to locate.
Sirtfood Green Juice
• 75 grams (2.5 ounces) kale
• 30 grams (1 ounce) arugula (rocket)
• 5 grams parsley
• 2 celery sticks
• 1 cm (0.5 inches) ginger
• Half a green apple
• Half a lemon
• Half a tsp matcha green tea
1. Juice all ingredients except for the green tea powder and lemon and pour into a glass.
2. Juice the lemon by hand, then stir both the lemon juice and green tea powder into the juice.
Sirtfood Super Salad
• 1 3⁄4 ounces (50g) arugula
• 1 3⁄4 ounces (50g) endive leaves
• 3 1⁄2 ounces (100g) smoked salmon slices
• 1⁄2 cup (80g) avocado, peeled, stoned, and sliced
• 1⁄2 cup (50g) celery including leaves, sliced
• 1⁄8 cup (20g) red onion, sliced
• 1⁄8 cups (15g) walnuts, chopped
• 1 Tbsp capers
• 1 large Medjool date, pitted and chopped
• 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Juice of 1⁄4 lemon
• 1⁄4 cup (10g) parsley, chopped
1. Place the salad leaves on a plate or in a large bowl.
2. Mix all the remaining ingredients together and serve on top of the leaves.
• 1⁄3 pound (150g) shelled raw jumbo shrimp, deveined
• 2 tsp tamari (you can use soy sauce if you are not avoiding gluten)
• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
• 3 ounces (75g) soba (buckwheat noodles)
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 Thai chili, finely chopped
• 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
• 1⁄8 cup (20g) red onions, sliced
• 1⁄2 cup (45g) celery including leaves, trimmed and sliced, with leaves set aside
• 1⁄2 cup (75g) green beans, chopped
• 3⁄4 cup (50g) kale, roughly chopped
• 1⁄2 cup (100ml) chicken stock
1. Heat a frying pan over high heat, then cook the shrimp in 1 teaspoon of the tamari and 1 teaspoon of the oil for 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Transfer the shrimp to a plate. Wipe the pan out with a paper towel, as you are going to use it again.
3. Cook the noodles in boiling water for 5 to 8 minutes or as directed on the package. Drain and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, fry the garlic, chili, ginger, red onion, celery (but not the leaves), green beans, and kale in the remaining tamari and oil over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then simmer for a minute or two, until the vegetables are cooked but still crunchy.
5. Add the shrimp, noodles, and celery leaves to the pan, bring back to a boil, then remove from the heat and serve.
The Bottom Line
Although less popular than other mainstream diets right now, the Sirtfood diet will likely become more so as additional research is conducted.
Based on a group of proteins called sirtuins known to activate genes that regulate metabolism, inflammation, and disease prevention, this diet certainly includes many healthful foods known to elicit health benefits.
Yet, SIRTS have only been studied in animals and human cells, and therefore, additional research is warranted to verify its claims. Furthermore, the diet is questionably sustainable and not any more effective than other calorically restricted diet plans.
Nonetheless, Sirtfood recipes seem appetizing and are very nutrient-dense. Adding them into the regular rotation of a healthy eating plan will do no harm and may even result in long-term benefits!
Chang H-C, Guarente L. SIRT1 and other sirtuins in metabolism. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2014;25(3):138-145.
Giblin W, Skinner ME, Lombard DB. Sirtuins: Guardians of Mammalian Healthspan. Trends Genet. 2014;30(7):271-286.
Jones T. The Sirtfood Diet: A detailed beginner's guide. Healthline.com. http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sirtfood-diet. Published September 29, 2020.
Recipes Archive. The Sirtfood Diet. www.thesirtfooddiet.com/recipes/.