Chances are you heard about the Sirtfood diet by Adele. The British pop singer lost dozens of kilos by following a diet where chocolate and red wine are allowed. That sounds like the perfect diet! Doesn’t it?
The Sirtfood diet gives the impression that you will be rid of your obesity and other health problems in the foreseeable future. It is according to Google (the search engine) the seventh most searched diet in 2019.
Is this dietary craze really as effective as it is claimed, or is it too good to be true?
In this article you will learn exactly what the Sirtfood diet is and discover the main advantages and disadvantages of this diet.
What’s the Sirtfood diet?
The name ‘Sirtfood’ sounds like it has an extraterrestrial origin, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Sirtfood is a collective name for foods that – according to the makers of the diet – can cause sirtuins (silent information regulator proteins) to be produced.
Sirtuins are a group of proteins of which seven (ranging from SIRT1 to SIRT7) have been identified in humans. Studies with mice and fruit flies have shown that sirtuins regulate metabolism, increase muscle mass and stimulate fat burning.
The Sirtfood diet was first published in 2016. Two nutritionists from the United Kingdom developed the Sirtfood diet. The diet combines sirtfood with energy restriction.
Because periodic fasting and extreme calorie restriction is difficult for many people to maintain, the makers developed their diet plan focused on eating a lot of sirtfood – as a way to increase the production of sirtuins in the body.
According to the creators, sirtuins help to increase fat burning and keep the metabolism going while reducing appetite. When the American version of it came out, the diet became enormously popular. Especially when the pop singer Adele indicated to have lost at least 35 kg by following this diet.
Losing weight while drinking red wine, that sounds like the perfect diet! Or doesn’t it? Read about the main advantages and disadvantages of this diet later in this article, before pulling your wallet to buy foods rich in sirtuins.
How does the Sirtfood diet work?
The Sirtfood diet is based on the idea that eating certain foods activates sirtuins in the human body. This group of proteins is thought to provide potential health benefits.
The diet consists of 2 phases that take a total of three weeks:
Phase 1 of the Sirtfood diet
This phase lasts seven days and means, above all, drinking a lot of juice and strict calorie limitation. During the first three days you are allowed to drink three green juices and a hot meal with Sirtfoods. With Sirtfood meals you can think of a stir-fried back dish or buckwheat noodles. In the first days of the diet you can eat a maximum of 1000 kcal per day.
From day four to seven the calorie intake is increased to 1500 kcal consisting of two sirtfood green juices and two sirtfood-rich meals a day. The makers claim that you can lose quite a few kilos in the first week.
Phase 2 of the Sirtfood diet
The second phase is known as the maintenance phase which lasts 14 days. The 14-day maintenance plan consists of three meals, drinking one green juice and one or two snacks per day. It is also encouraged to be physically active for at least half an hour five days a week.
In principle, these two phases can be repeated as many times as you like until the target weight is reached. However, according to its creators, focusing on weight loss is not what the diet is all about – it’s designed to eat the healthiest food that nature has to offer.
In the long term, they recommend eating three balanced sirtfood-rich meals a day, together with one sirtfood green juice. In this way, the Sirtfood diet becomes more of a lifestyle change than a short-term diet.
Sirtfood diet food list
What can you eat and drink on the Sirtfood diet?
The foods listed below are permitted in the Sirtfood diet ( source ):
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate
- Soy sauce
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Chilean press
- Citrus fruit
- Red Wine
Sirtfood dishes and juices are made from the above foods. All these foods contain specific polyphenols that have been scientifically proven to increase sirtuin activity in the human body (source). So in that respect, the Sirtfood diet is somewhat based on science.
However, the problem is that these foods do not contain enough polyphenols to activate sirens in a useful way. Many of the studies associating with polyphenols with an increased concentration of sirens have only been performed on highly concentrated forms of these chemical compounds.
To make the Sirtfood juices you need not only a juicer but also a kitchen scale because the ingredients of a recipe are listed by weight.
Are you looking for specific Sirtfood recipes? Then you’ll have to buy the Sirtfood diet book.
The science behind the Sirtfood diet
The biggest claim made is that sirtuin proteins can help with losing weight. Let there be no misunderstanding that sirtfoods are good for your health. But for the time being too little is known about how these foods affect human health.
Animal studies show that an increased presence of sirtuins in the body can lead to a longer lifespan (source). Research has also shown that increased sirtuin values cause increased fat burning in mice (source). Researchers suspect that sirtuin proteins also play a role in reducing inflammation and inhibiting tumors (source).
Although these studies have shown positive results, it remains to be seen what the impact is on humans since the results in animal studies cannot be translated 1-on-1 to humans.
The only study with human subjects was a pilot study carried out by the makers of the diet itself. In this pilot study, 39 athletes lost an average of 7 pounds (3.1 kg) in seven days and their muscle mass was maintained or increased. These results sound impressive on paper, but it is important to know that this is a small sample size that was investigated in a short time.
A pilot study is the first of many studies to be carried out on a given topic and should in no way be the only source of evidence for promoting a new diet.
There was also no control group involved. Without a control group you cannot say with certainty whether the sirtfoods had a direct influence on the research results. All these limitations make for a very rattling investigation with little evidential value. Moreover, it seems to be the only research the makers of the diet cling to.
The pros and cons of the Sirtfood diet
OK, enough theory. It’s time to discuss the main advantages and disadvantages of this diet. You will lose a lot of weight in the short term if you follow this diet strictly.
Because whether you ingest 1000 kcal by eating meat, vegetables or eggs, you will definitely lose weight with so few calories. But whether this is healthy and sustainable I dare to doubt. Weight loss can also be achieved with a moderate low-carb diet.
Also, the foods that can be eaten are certainly not unhealthy. Foods such as strawberries, kale, chili peppers, walnuts, etc. contain important nutrients and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Yet eating just a handful of healthy foods is not enough to provide your body with the right energy. Moreover, drinking juices all day is not a sensible idea for both your blood sugar level and your teeth (source).
Another disadvantage is that the diet is very strict in what you can eat. Especially during the first phase, you will probably get a shortage of vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
Also, extreme calorie deficiency makes it difficult to maintain this diet in the long term. Bear in mind that the recipes for the Sirtfood diet are not easy to make and also contain expensive ingredients.
Is the Sirtfood diet dangerous?
During the two stages of the Sirtfood diet, you may experience unpleasant side effects, such as dizziness, irritability and fatigue due to a strict calorie restriction.
A healthy adult will not experience dangerous health problems if the diet is tried for three weeks.
The most difficult part of the Sirtfood diet is the strict calorie restriction and dependence on juices. Are you on medication or diabetic type 2? Then I advise against drinking sugary juices because it will lead to strong blood sugar fluctuations (source).
You will also be hungry on a diet of around 1000 kcal a day. Especially drinking juices (little fibre) will not suppress your appetite (source).
This diet offers little room to move and weight loss can only be achieved if you maintain the strict rules of the diet. This makes it difficult to maintain in the long term. This means that the weight you lost in the first few weeks will quickly return when you throw in the towel and pick up your old diet again.
Experiences with the Sirtfood diet
Besides celebrities like Adele, there are thousands of others who have tried the diet.
Below you can read some reactions from dieters who have followed the Sirtfood diet:
At first I thought the Sirtfood diet would be incredibly difficult to follow. I like simplicity and this diet seemed to me the opposite. Luckily, I was wrong! Making the juices is certainly time consuming, but if you plan your meals and prepare some juices and keep them in the fridge, it will be a lot easier. I was afraid the taste would be terrible, but after a little shaking it was good to drink. Sirtfood seems to suppress my appetite for the time being despite experiencing some headaches. I can’t wait to see results! – Ashley
Honestly, this diet caught my attention after I saw the results with Adele. If she can do it, why didn’t I think! I’ve been struggling with my obesity for years and saw this as an opportunity to lose weight. The first three days were a nightmare and the fourth day I was already in bed with flu. Because of my busy working week as a nurse, so few calories just can’t be maintained. Maybe I expected more from this diet because of the whole hype around it. – Anonymous
I’m someone who can be found at the gym regularly and who trains intensively. I go three times a week and with so few calories I was afraid that my body wouldn’t recover properly. After the first week I noticed that my workouts didn’t go so well with so little food. I decided to stop the diet on my training days. Skipping two meals a day wasn’t worth it in my opinion. If you don’t mind eating little and like green smoothies, this diet might be for you. But for me it was just a little too little.
I’m six days busy. The theory behind the diet all sounds very nice and maybe there is some truth in it:-
I don’t really like the vegetable juices, so the first week is definitely not good;
– Your stool turns green;
– The drinks are also quite a job to make because from some ingredients not much juice comes and so you have to get it several times through the juicer (so you need it);
– The juices are really not tasty, you have to love it I’ll say; – The
first other recipes are quite tasty, but also take some time and the ingredients are not easy to find; –
All in all, it costs a lot of money, even though the book says no and you walk a lot to the supermarket because you need a lot of some ingredients;
[….[… ] After 6 days the vegetables (much the same) come out of your nose. But anyway, you have to do something for them probably 🙂 – Andre (source)
Let me start with the good news. The Sirtfood diet consists of foods that are healthy and rich in vitamins and minerals. But it is much better to include them in a diet that is balanced and sustainable. You want to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables than what is on the Sirtfood nutrition list.
The Sirtfood diet consists of healthy food but does not have a healthy diet.
Drinking a glass of red wine or a piece of chocolate doesn’t hurt at all, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it every day. Moreover, there is little evidence to support the claims of the diet. If you want to try it anyway, don’t forget to take in lots of healthy fats and proteins.
There is a better way for you to lose weight in the short term without limiting your choice of food. With the low-carb diet, you can live a much healthier life without being strict about it. Green smoothies can also help you lose weight.
What about Adele? She probably got help from professionals (think of a dietician, personal trainer and private cook). So much weight loss (30-40 kg!) on your own is almost impossible.