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The Sirtfood Diet: Healthy Craze or Just Plain Crazy?

The Sirtfood Diet: Healthy Craze or Just Plain Crazy?

If you are looking to kickstart a weight-loss program with almost-guaranteed success right out the gate, and if you like chocolate and/or wine and/or coffee, and if you have three weeks to spare, then maybe there really is a diet program out there that might appeal to you. There really is such a diet, and it goes by the name of the Sirtfood Diet. Celebrities like singer Adele, per cbsnews.com, swear by it – or at least eat by it.

Conceived and explained in a book by a pair of nutritional medicine experts from England, the Sirtfood Diet is predicated on three main elements – a tight restriction on calories (where have we heard that before?) and an intake regimen that emphasizes a green-juice concoction and meals loaded with sirtuins.

So, What Are Sirtuins?

Also going by the name of “SIRTS,” sirtuins, per healthline.com, are a group of seven proteins that manage an assortment of bodily functions, such as metabolism, inflammation and lifespan. These sirtuins can get a boost from certain types of natural plant compounds that are found in foods, and it’s these foods that comprise the core of this sirtuins-based diet, or Sirtfood Diet as we now know it, which serves to increase the level of those seven, function-regulating proteins.

In alphabetical order, here are those plant-based foods, all 20 of them:

  • Arugula
  • Bird’s eye chili
  • Buckwheat
  • Capers
  • Coffee
  • Dark chocolate
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Green tea (matcha)
  • Kale
  • Lovage
  • Medjool dates
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Red chicory
  • Red wine
  • Soy
  • Walnuts

If you really want to have fun with this, picture making a scavenger hunt out of this; see how fast you and your friends can find everything on the list. Three that might be the toughest to find – matcha green tea powder, love and buckwheat.

About the Diet Itself

The Sirtfood Diet creators claim that following the diet will not only lead to weight loss – and quickly – it can also help you maintain muscle mass, protect you from chronic disease and maybe even open some doors to living longer.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, how does this diet work? In answering that, here’s where reality starts to set in. Turns out this is not one of those programs that claims you can eat all the foods you love and enjoy while losing all the weight you want (fantasy). The Sirtfood Diet lasts all of three weeks and is comprised of two phases (note: you will need a juicer, not a lender, to create the trademark Sirtfood green juice that incudes kale, arugula, parsley, celery, green apple, lemon juice and green tea):

  • Phase 1: first three days, one Sirtfood green juice and one Sirtfood-based meal per day totaling 1,000 calories per day; then four days of two of each – the juice and meal – for about 1,500 calories. Keep in mind the average adult consumes on the order of 2,000-plus calories a day, so these first seven days are pretty much a deprivation diet. You will be tempted to make a late-night jaunt to the fast-food joint for a self-rescue mission.
  • Phase 2: also known as the maintenance phase, lasts 14 days (two whole weeks) of three Sirtfood meals and one green juice a day.

After that, you are on your own, supplied with the advice that now you have developed a routine, keep it going. There’s no question that the 20 foods on the Sirtfood list are healthy in many ways and can help you lose weight.

Also keep in mind two very important things: most diets like this that involve a significant cut in calories often lead to a rapid rebound – weight gain – once it is over; second, don’t try this at home without first consulting with your personal physician, or at least a professional nutritionist not employed by the Sirtfood folks. Diabetics, especially, beware. This diet can wreak havoc on your blood-sugar levels.

As womenshealthmag.com put it, “The long-term sustainability of this plan is questionable. Once you're past the first few weeks, there's no eating strategy to follow other than adding more Sirtfoods to each meal.”

Perhaps it would work best long-term by phasing in many, if not all, of the Sirtfoods to your regular diet, subbing them in, in place of something else similar (and likely less healthy) and just being conscious of portion size, how often you eat and what part of the day you are eating. Consider supplements, too, that can promote weight loss. Be wise.

* Statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. WonderLabs always recommends reviewing any nutritional supplement changes with your primary medical provider.

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