Adele recently revealed on her Instagram page a new version of herself–100 pounds lighter. The singer’s secret: Along with regular exercise, she followed the Sirtfood Diet. Celebrities such as Lorraine Pascale, Pippa Middleton, Glen Matten are all embracing this diet. People are buzzing about it because it sounds too good to be true and with good reason. Yes, chocolate and red wine are allowed. So, you might wonder, is this diet for me? We asked a panel of SLB nutritionists to weigh in.
What is the Sirtfood Diet?
First, let’s take a closer look at the Sirtfood Diet. Based on the “Sirtfood Diet Book” by Nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, this diet incorporates elements of Intermittent fasting as well as newly discovered foods called “Sirtfoods.” Goggins and Matten explain that fasting allows our body’s energy stores to “activate what is known as sirtuins, or the ‘skinny gene,’” and sparks many positive changes.
Sirtfoods can trigger ‘skinny genes’
One of these noticeable changes is that fat storage turns off, they say, and our body stops its normal growth processes and goes into “survival” mode. It starts burning fat, as well as stimulating production of genes responsible for cell repair and rejuvenation. This, they say, results in weight loss and improved resistance to disease. They also point out that if not done correctly, people can experience hunger, irritability, fatigue and muscle loss. The authors contend that Sirtfoods—which include red wine, chocolate, garlic and walnuts, are rich in nutrients that can do the same as fasting by triggering skinny genes in our bodies.
What does the Sirtfood Diet look like?
The Sirtfood Diet includes two phases: the first phase lasts seven days, with different foods allowed and a maximum of 1,000 calories intake. This ramps up to 1,200 calories on days four through seven and meals rich in Sirtfoods. Phase 2 lasts 14 days. During this time, you can bump up your calorie intake to 1,500. This could be through three balanced Sirtfood-rich meals every day, plus one green juice. While weight loss is not the primary goal of the diet, the authors say, it happens when people recharge their cells. It’s also based less on taking away favorite foods by allowing people to indulge in foods they might already like but are good for them. The three-week diet, which can be repeated, is meant to be a way of life vs. a one-off diet.
Is the Sirtfood Diet Good for You?
Most nutritionists shy away from fad diets, especially those that offer unrealistic weight loss expectations. But it’s hard to outright dismiss a diet that promotes the eating of Sirtfoods, which many of us know as superfoods. These include strawberries, turmeric, coffee, kale, red onion and cocoa. So, we reached out to our expert nutritionists to see what they had to say:
Lindsey DeCaro, RDN, LDN, says she does appreciate the diet’s focus on fresh fruit and vegetables because “it provides lots of polyphenols and antioxidants which help reduce inflammation among other benefits.” However, she adds, “Its overall restrictive guidelines are hard to follow long-term and might put many adults at nutritional risk. The very low calorie intake may initially promote weight loss, but at what cost? I think you’d be hard pressed to get adequate amounts of micro and macro nutrients–which are integral for general health and wellness.”
Beth Stark, RDN, agrees. “The only pro about the ‘Sirtfood Diet’ is that it emphasizes intake of wholesome foods like berries, kale, celery, onions, arugula and walnuts. Oh yeah, red wine and dark chocolate too.” Beyond this, Stark says the diet is riddled with cons that include elimination of key healthful food groups, drastic calorie restriction and a lack of scientific evidence to support the claims that its creators make. “After the two-phase, three-week regimen is over,” she points out, “It seems that you’re basically encouraged to eat as many ‘sirtfood’ approved foods as you can and hope for the best. There are no guidelines or resources that promote long-term adherence of this way of eating; you just stop. For these reasons and more, I would say to enjoy more ‘sirtfoods’ simply because we know they are nutritious, energizing and taste good, not because you hope to lose seven pounds in seven days on the latest radical celebrity-endorsed diet.”
Lisa R. Young, PhD, RDN, echoes Stark and DeCaro that the choice of foods isn’t the problem, it’s the calorie restriction, which isn’t a good long-term solution.
“If you’re going to limit your calories,” she adds, “You’re going to lose weight regardless of what you’re eating so it’s not really a sustainable diet. It is also highly restrictive and I would highly doubt that the weight loss is due to the reasons this diet is advocating. Adele lost weight because she ate fewer calories and moved more.”
So, Adele fans take heart. Sit back and enjoy some of the tasty Sirtfoods you’re probably already eating. Remember to keep it simple: Eat nutritious food and exercise regularly and you won’t need to keep up with the latest, trendy diet.