What is the longevity diet? (SIRT)

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What is the longevity diet? (SIRT)

The SIRT diet has been popular for several years. This diet is characterised by a high intake of products rich in polyphenols, which are supposed to have an impact on activating the so-called longevity gene. Is it really possible?

There is probably not a person who is interested in healthy eating or simply wants to lose weight who has not heard of the SIRT diet. It’s all thanks to Adele and the spectacular weight loss she achieved with it. The diet became famous, and thus attracted many people who also wanted to achieve such captivating results. The creators of this way of eating, Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, claim that it is a way of preventing disease and not a fad. Is the SIRT diet right to have gained so much popularity and revolutionised the market, or is it just a way of doing business?

The principles of the SIRT diet

The human body contains a group of SIR (Silent Information Regulator) proteins, called sirtuins, which are involved in regulating gene expression including, but not limited to, silencing ageing genes.

Research shows that certain compounds, namely polyphenols (antioxidants), naturally occurring in plants have the ability to enhance the action of sirtuins, including their action on ageing genes. The group of products with the highest content of these compounds has been named sirtfoods.

The SIRT diet assumes that the combination of a high intake of sirtfoods along with a reduction in calorie intake contributes to the body’s production of higher levels of sirtuins, and thus to slowing down the body’s ageing processes and even curing certain diseases.

SIRTFOODS – sample product list

  • Green vegetables (e.g. kale, spinach, parsley, etc.), 
  • red wine, 
  • strawberries,
  • raspberries,
  • blueberries,
  • fatty fish (rich in omega 3 acids), 
  • soy, 
  • olives,
  • olive oil, 
  • nuts, 
  • dark chocolate (min. 85% cocoa), 
  • turmeric, 
  • green tea, 
  • coffee, 
  • red wine.

The SIRT diet

The SIRT diet is divided into two stages. Each stage has its own distinctive characteristics, but their common denominator is that they base their menus on sirtfoods.

Stage I

Aim: weight loss (up to 3.2 kg/week)

duration – one week

For the first 3 days the energy value of the diet is limited to 1000 kcal/day. In addition, during this time you should drink three green juices a day and eat one meal.

On days 4-7 you can have 1500 kcal/day which includes two green juices a day and two additional meals.

Stage II

Objective: Maintain the effects achieved during stage I and continue weight loss

Duration – 2 weeks

No indication of the energy value of the menu

The menu is to be based on 3 meals rich in sirtfoods and one green juice a day

After the end of the diet

The authors do not indicate specific recommendations for the period after the end of the diet apart from maintaining a diet rich in sirtfoods. The diet can be repeated throughout the year with intervals.

Healing diet or fooling people into a bottle?

So far there is no convincing evidence that the Sirtfoods diet has any more beneficial effect on weight loss than any other low-calorie diet. 

The SIRT diet has two distinctive characteristics. The first is the consumption of large amounts of products high in polyphenols and the second is the strict restriction of calorie intake during the first week of the diet. The importance of polyphenols has not been known for a long time, and their presence in the diet is an obligatory point of each well-balanced and diversified diet. On the other hand, such a rigorous restriction of calorie intake does bring quick results, but as with any starvation, the yo-yo effect can be just as fast. In addition, a decrease in body weight in the first week of a diet is not the result of a loss of body fat, but only of the water content in the body and the glycogen accumulated in muscles.

Polyphenols – the way to longevity

Regardless of whether the SIRT diet itself has proven effectiveness and positive effects on health, it is certain that a diet rich in polyphenols will certainly have them. What’s more, according to research, it is likely that the consumption of bioactive components contained in different product groups cannot be replaced by a single isolated compound (supplement), as only their accumulation in the diet from different sources will have a beneficial effect on health.

Dietitian’s opinion

Like most diets, the SIRT diet has its pros and cons. The pros include eating products rich in polyphenols, which are very desirable components of this diet. The disadvantages include the fact that it teaches undesirable eating behaviours, assuming in the first phase a week-long starvation in order to achieve fast results. 

The most sensible part of the diet is phase two. If a restriction were added to it, in the form of a specific energy value of the menu, tailored individually to each individual, it would actually just be a healthy diet rich in nutrients, which is highly recommended.

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