Forget Whole 30 ― there’s a new fad nutrition plan in town.
It’s called “The Sirtfood Diet,” due to it’s emphasis on eating foods rich in sirtuin protein, which some researchers say may activate genetic pathways to burn more calories and also help slow down the aging process in animals. The diet became popular in the United Kingdom after nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten published The Sirtfood Diet book in 2016.
Dark chocolate and red wine are allegedly sirtfood-approved. This is due to the fact that they contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that may activate sirtuin enzymes. (However, there’s some debate in the scientific community as to whether or not that’s actually true.)
So, should you be Googling “Sirtfood Diet shopping list,” immediately? Not so fast.
According to the book, the diet has two phases. Phase one is seven days long. For the first three, the authors encourage you to max out your food intake at 1,000 calories a day, consuming only three green juices and one meal composed of foods rich in sirtuins. This is significantly below the calories recommended even for weight loss, which hover between 1,500-1,600 calories per day for women and 2,000 calories for men, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
On days four to seven, you’re advised to increase your calorie intake to 1,500 by having two green juices and two meals daily, the authors wrote.
Phase two is 14 days long. Those following the plan are encouraged to eat three sirtuin-rich meals a day and have one green juice.
According to David Levitsky, professor of nutrition and psychology in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, the research about sirtuin protein shows that it might be possible to burn more calories at a cellular level.
However, here’s the catch: Nothing has been proven this effect could occur throughout the body. The cellular level is the very beginning of a process and there is no science that suggests it will change how your body operates. So, in a nutshell, this nutrition plan is nothing more than a low-calorie diet sold with the veneer that a drastic change to your metabolism is happening.
“There is no evidence this works at the whole-body level,” Levitsky told The Huffington Post. “I guarantee you would lose weight. In the end of every diet, it is always about calories.” But does that mean it’s the healthiest choice for you? Probably not.
That being said, some of the Sirtfood Diet-approved meals looked downright delicious. We’ll take a smoked salmon omelet or a buckwheat pasta salad for brunch any day of the week. But losing weight ― and keeping it off ― can be done on several hundred more calories a day, juice cleansing excluded.
Because in the end, it’s about overall wellbeing, isn’t it?