The Sirtfood Diet

By Holly Bieler
Updated on 25. Sep. 2020

Is Adele's weight loss program worth the hype? EAT SMARTER investigates.

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If you’re like most Americans, you just became aware of the Sirtfood Diet this year, after Adele credited the diet program for her dramatic 100-pound weight loss. In the months since, the superstar singer’s jaw-dropping before and after photos has inspired a ton of interest in this notoriously-restrictive eating plan, which claimed high-profile fans on the other side of the pond such as Pippa Middleton for years. But is the Sirtfood Diet actually healthy and effective, or just another fad? We investigate below.

What is the Sirtfood Diet?

The Sirtfood Diet was developed by UK-based nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten in 2016, and focuses on the science of sirtuins, a group of proteins which naturally occur in our bodies and help regulate everything from inflammation to metabolism to fat burning. Research has shown that specific ingredients, called “sirtfoods” may ‘activate’, or increase the amount of these proteins in the body, thus helping to boost fat burning more quickly. The Sirtfood Diet focuses on meals packed with sirtfoods, which range from citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, berries and healthy fats to complex carbs, dark chocolate and even red wine. 

What Does the Sirtfood Diet Entail?

The Sirtfood Diet is divided into two phases. The first phase lasts only a week and is the most restrictive; dieters’ are only allowed to eat three Sirtfood green juices, comprising ingredients like kale, arugula and ginger, and one sirtuin-rich meal a day, totalling a tiny 1,000 calories in total. The second phase spans the following two weeks, during which dieters up their calorie-intake to 1,500 calories per day and eat three sirtuin-rich meals a day and one Sirtfood green juice in the morning. 
These two phases can be repeated until dieters reach their optimal weight, after which the Sirtfood Diet becomes much less restrictive, focused primarily on maintenance and healthy eating, according to Goggins and Matten. Sirtfood dieters are encouraged mainly to integrate as many sirtfoods into their daily diet as possible, with no specific meal plans or calorie counts. Sirtfood dieters are also encouraged to exercise at least 30 minutes per day.

What Can I Eat on the Sirtfood Diet?

Sirtuin-activating ingredients run the gamut from leafy vegetables to an array of fruits to complex carbs. This means The Sirtfood Diet allows many ingredients that most diets prohibit, including berries and even red wine.

These are some of the most powerful sirtfoods according to the Sirtfood Diet:

  • Kale
  • Walnuts
  • Matcha green tea
  • Parsley
  • Soy
  • Dark chocolate
  • Buckwheat
  • Red wine
  • Turmeric
  • Onions
  • Chicory
  • Arugula
  • Chilis
  • Coffee
  • Dates
  • Blueberries
  • Capers
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Strawberries

The Bottom Line

While the ingredients the Sirtfood Diet utilizes are unquestionably healthy, the jury is still out when it comes to the health benefits of the actual Sirtfood Diet. Doctors have long cautioned against extreme calorie-cutting as a means of weight loss, which studies show are rarely effective in the long term and can lead to a variety of side effects, including lethargy. Unfortunately the Sirtfood Diet’s first phase falls under this category; its 1,000 calorie restriction is less than half the recommended daily caloric intake for women a quarter of men’s recommended daily caloric intake. While the second phases’ 1,500 calorie per day restriction is much closer to a recommended diet-focused calorie intake for women, there’s not much research to show that utilizing those calories on sirtfoods boosts weight loss any more than simply restricting your calorie intake. What’s more, focusing on sirtuin-activating foods cuts out entire food groups, making it almost inevitable that you’ll miss out on valuable vitamins and minerals. And when it comes to phase 3, the diet’s lack of restriction becomes an issue. While simply substituting or adding as many sirtfoods into your diet as possible will supply you with more nutrients, there’s no science to show sirtfoods help with weight management on their own.

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