Another day, another diet, or so it seems and the SIRT food diet is the latest diet doing the rounds. And why wouldn’t it be popular, you get to eat chocolate. And drink wine. And eat spicy food. So is it all that it’s cracked up to be?
Developers of the SIRT diet claim that there are certain molecules in specific foods, known as SIRT foods that activate proteins in the body called sirtuins. Sirtuins are thought to be involved in a number of metabolic processes in the body and specifically when it comes to weight loss boost the body’s ability to burn fat. While research is in its early stages, and has mostly been completed in animal models, to date it appears that exercise and calorie restriction help to activate the sirtuins. In addition it is hypothesised that certain foods contain compounds that help to activate these proteins and promote the burning of fat in place of carbohydrate.
As such, the SIRT food diet focuses on both calorie restriction and eating a load of the foods thought to contain these sirtuin activating compounds including antioxidant rich citrus, berries, cocoa, kale and red wine.
The SIRT food diet focuses on 2 diet phases. The first lasts for just one week, and is a specific low calorie approach (just 1000calories) designed to activate the sirtuin proteins. This low calorie phase lasts just 3 days before calories are then increased to 1500 calories per day, of a diet packed with sirtfoods. Juices are favoured on low calorie days, with two green juices per day made using sirtfoods including kale, celery and parsley along with one sirtfood rich meal during the 1000 calorie period and two sirtfood rich meals and one green juice in the 1500 calorie period. It is claimed that dieters will lose up to 5kilos during this phase.
This is then followed by a fourteen day maintenance phase, in which one green juice and three sirtfood rich meals are consumed. It is again claimed that this eating pattern will result in sustainable weight loss for the entire two week period.
Now at a glance what this diet is proposing seems reasonable enough – more fresh food, nutrient rich superfoods known as SIRT foods and a few low calorie days. Indeed consuming just 1000 calories each day will almost definitely lead to some initial weight loss as the body’s glycogen stores are depleted and a 1500 calorie plan is associated with sustainable, achievable weight loss. Whether this effect is specifically due to SIRT foods remains to be proven, and is the case with all diets, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. In the case of the SIRT diet translating into lots of red wine and chocolate, it is more likely lots of green veges, healthy meals and overall calorie control is the reason individuals get results. And indeed if a few squares of dark chocolate or a glass of wine keep you interested in a diet, there is not much wrong with that.
See Susie discussing the SIRT diet in more detail on Sunrise here.