By Dr. Kaycee Reyes
Weight Watchers. Paleo Diet. Atkins Diet. Usually, diet programs have a few things in common: food limitations, caloric restrictions, and strict compliance. These diets, however, fail because of one thing: sustainability. Losing weight is easy, but keeping it off, that’s another story. Now, another diet is in the scene and is getting praises from celebrities such as international singer Adele, and Duchess Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton. Called The Sirtfood Diet, it claims to let you lose “seven pounds in seven days” by adding certain foods that activate our “skinny genes.” Skeptical? Let’s find out if the Sirtfood Diet is safe or scary.
Sirtfoods? Never heard of that. Sirtuins are proteins in our body that regulate different biological functions, including metabolism, aging, and inflammation. When the body is under stress or an energy deficit (ex. exercise, fasting, or caloric restriction), it works overtime and improves metabolism, burns fat, fights inflammation, and restores damaged cells, making us leaner and healthier in the process. This makes sirtuins the “skinny genes.” Walnuts, coffee, kale, blueberries, green tea, parsley, onions, apples, turmeric, celery, soy, turmeric, extra-virgin olive oil, and even cocoa and wine (yes!) are foods that contain polyphenols, which are phytochemicals found in antioxidant-rich plants. These are called sirtfoods because when consumed, these polyphenols activate the sirtuin in our bodies and produce the same benefits without exercise or fasting: melting fat, building muscle, and improving overall health!
So how does it work? It all started from health consultants Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, who believed in eating healthy than eating less. They came up with meals that were high in sirtfoods as the diet’s two-part program entails a generous consumption of sirtfood on each phase. Phase onw conists of three days consuming 1000 calories a day having three green juices and one sirtfood-rich meal per day; and four days consuming 1,500 calories a day, with two green juices and two sirtfood-rich meals per day. After the first phase, it is claimed that individuals who undergo the program lose “seven pounds in seven days” on average. According to Goggins, this is similar to a detox phase where all the junk and toxins are eliminated. Phase two removes the caloric restriction, but maintains eating sirtfood-rich meals every day. The pounds will keep dropping steadily until you incorporate sirtfood into your meals and make it a part of your lifestyle.
Is it safe? The authors have stressed that they are not promoting dramatic weight loss that they know is only temporary; instead, they encourage choosing healthier food options every day. In fact, instead of reducing food consumed, they want you to incorporate more sirtuin-rich foods to your meals throughout your life. Additional benefits reported with the diet are clearer skin, better sleep, and alertness. People are starting to attest to its effectiveness including celebrities, however, more studies are needed to back up the diet’s claims.
Is it for me? As with every diet modification, you have to know what is best for you. This starts by consulting with your physician or nutritionist and having them assess your overall health if you can endure such diet. Be realistic when setting your weight loss goals and how you want to achieve them. You may also want to start small and progress slowly like swapping simple snacks with healthier alternatives, drinking water often, adding more vegetables to your diet, and practicing portion control. Moreover, keep in mind that losing weight means more than just watching what you eat; you have to watch what you do as well, and this means exercising, sleeping earlier, and managing stress. Remember, slow and steady is always sustainable.