There’s a new celebrity diet on the block, and it’s backed by none other than Adele. The British singer-songwriter’s dramatic transformation and almost 50-pound weight loss got everyone talking about the Sirtfood Diet – which involves activating your ‘skinny gene’ by including certain foods in your diet. Chocolate, red wine and coffee are not off-limits and you can lose up to seven pounds a week.
Like most fad diets, it sounds a little too good to be true, or at least, sustainable. So, here’s a closer look.
What goes into it?
The term ‘sirt foods’ was popularized earlier this year by British nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten with the release of their book, The Sirtfood Diet. It advocates a diet rich in foods that stimulate sirtuin, a specific protein believed to promote weight loss through speeding up metabolism and increasing muscular efficiency. Sirtuins are also associated with longevity because it prevents inflammation and promotes cell growth.
The diet itself is made up of two stages. During the first three days of stage one, calorie intake is limited to 1000 cals a day spread across three sirtfood green juices and one regular meal with sirtuin-rich foods. In days 4–7, 1500 calories are consumed through two juices and two regular meals a day. In stage two, which lasts 14 days, dieters eat three balanced sirtfood-rich meals along with one serving of green juice. Post that, the recommendation is to eat a balanced diet rich in sirtuin foods and green juices. The authors insist that the Sirtfood Diet focuses on eating the foods you love and not cutting foods out or demonizing whole food groups.
The good news is that the sirtuin-rich foods recommended by the book are by and large nutritious and good for most people. These include walnuts, strawberries, coffee, kale, celery with leaves, extra virgin olive oil, buckwheat, chili, cocoa (at least 85-percent pure), matcha, green tea, medjool dates, red chicory, red onion, red wine, arugula, soy and turmeric. The green juice contains Kale, parsley, rocket, celery, apple, lemon and matcha.
Does it work?
Any diet that restricts your calorie-intake is likely to work in the beginning and people have reported dropping numbers on the scale. But is this weight loss sustainable? “In terms of weight loss and boosting metabolism, people may have experienced a seven pound weight loss on the scales, but in my experience this will be fluid. Burning and losing fat takes time so it is extremely unlikely this weight loss is a loss of fat,” dietitian Emer Delaney explains in BBC GoodFood.
The real challenge lies in ensuring that the weight stays off and your body gets all its essential nutrients at the same time. While there’s no denying that the sirtfoods recommended are indeed healthy, there’s always a danger of excess. Too much cocoa, wine or olive oil will add calories no matter what. Besides, calorie requirements depend on your height, gender and activity levels, so there’s really no one-size-fit-all diet.
The bottom line
The long-term weight-loss benefits of sirtfoods on humans still need to be conclusively proven. Besides, there’s always a chance that certain sirtfoods may not work for you, that you don’t like the taste of the green juice, or simply find it hard to ‘sirti-fy’ your diet day after day.
Therefore, while there’s no harm in adding more strawberries, kale and celery and rocket leaves in your meals, ensure that you’re not neglecting any major nutrients in the process. The road to sustainable fitness still demands regular exercise along with balanced diet, and there are no short cuts yet.