What is the Sirtfood diet?
The Sirtfood diet was developed by UK nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, who published a best selling book on the topic back in 2016. It promises to reduce inflammation, lengthen your life span, turn on your "skinny gene" and help you lose seven pounds (three kilograms) in seven days. It claims that eating specific foods will interact with a group of proteins found in the body called sirtuins (SIRTs), which are involved in a wide range of cellular processes including metabolism, ageing and circadian rhythm.
Aside from consuming a range of "sirtfoods" the diet involves stages of calorie restriction, which is also said to help the body produce more sirtuins. During the first three says calorie intake is limited to 1,000 per day, sourced from three green juices and sirtfood-rich meal. For the rest of the week, calorie intake is boosted to 1,500 per day from two juices and two meals. The second phase lasts 14 days and advises three balanced sirtfood rich meals a day along with one sirtfood green juice. Long-term its proponents recommend eating meals with as many Sirtfoods as possible.
What foods can you eat on the Sirtfood diet?
- Red wine
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
- Matcha green tea
- Bird’s eye chili
- Medjool dates
- Red chicory
You can get a complete list of sirtfoods recommended on the diet within the book.
What are the health benefits of the Sirtfood diet? Can it help you lose weight?
Nutritionist Rick Hay tells Women's Health that some upsides of eating plenty of Sirtfoods is an increase fibre intake and the substantial amount of micronutrients called polyphenols can improve heart health. But the cons outweigh the pros.
"While restricting your calories and certain food groups generally leads to weight loss in the short-term," nutritionist Rick Hay tells Women's Health. "The Sirtfood diet is quite restrictive – it focuses on calorie counting and requires you to cut out major food groups. You will also need to downsize your portions, especially in week one. Another downside is the fact that the diet may lack essential nutrients such as calcium and iron."
What does the science say?
Research on mice, yeast and human stem cells has examined the role that sirtuins play in extending life span but these can't necessarily be extrapolated to humans. When it comes to the Sirtfood diet, there's been no long-term human studies on whether consuming Sirtfoods have any health benefits or weight loss results.
What are the dangers of the Sirtfood diet?
"If you’re not used restricting your food intake during the day, you may also experience nausea, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and headaches," Hay warns. "If you’ve ever suffered with an eating disorder or had a complicated relationship with eating in the past, it’s best to avoid getting on the Sirtfood Diet wagon – just incorporate more of Sirtfoods into your diet and cut out processed foods and sugar and exercise several times a week."