13 Interesting Facts About Sirtfood Diet (Full List Of 63 Foods)

The Sirtfood Diet was Launched in 2016, and it has become almost as big in recent years as the Keto or Flexitarian diet. So, if you are seeking a new and trendy weight loss plan, you might want to give the Sirtfood diet a go.

But does it really help you feel better and shed those pounds as quickly as they claim?

Knowing more about this weight loss plan will help you decide if it is even worth jumping on the bandwagon.

So, here is the list of foods, the facts, the science, and how it works, the whole nine yards.

1. The Sirtfood Diet Was Created By Nutritionists Aiden Goggins And Glen Matten

Nutritionists Aiden Goggins and Glen Matten developed the diet after researching polyphenols, a compound found in plant foods, and finding that some of these could activate sirtuin genes — the skinny gene — creating an effect similar to fasting or exercise.

From this finding, they identified a series of foods that were rich in these sirtuin-activating polyphenols which they named ‘Sirtfoods’. After testing diets comprising these foods and getting positive results they developed The Sirtfood Diet. [1]


2. The Sirtfood Diet Shares Similarities With The Food Eaten In ‘Blue Zones’

104 years old Okinawan women on healthy diet
104-Year-Old Woman, Okinawa, Japan – Blue Zones

‘Blue Zone’ is the name given to one of five regions, including Sardinia, Okinawa, and Icaria (Greek island) which have been identified as having a particularly high proportion of people with long and healthy lifespans, often having significant numbers of centenarians and super-centenarians (over 110 years old).

While there is some debate on the causes for this longevity, and even whether it’s actually a valid observation, but research has identified a number of potential reasons.

One of the factors common to all five areas was a plant-based diet; in some cases, Blue Zone residents were eating five times more plant-based food than the average Western person. 

Regardless of the debate around Blue Zones, there is consensus that a diet of this nature is likely to have better well-being and weight loss outcomes. [2]

Read Also: 5 Best Free Vegan Meal Plans For Weight Loss

3. The Top Sirtfoods Are Frequently Surprising

The Sirtfood Diet Allows Red Wine and Dark Chocolate
Red Wine along with Chocolate are usually the first to go when you take up a new weight loss plan, but the opposite is true of the Sirtfood diet.

Because the focus is on a diet that is high in particular polyphenols, some recommended foods are not the ones you would usually expect on a conventional diet plan.

Red wine is a Sirtfood, despite alcohol often being considered ‘empty calories’ on other diets, because it has no real nutritional value. While other calorie-dense foods like walnuts and olive oil also feature.

Perhaps most surprising is chocolate, although this must have at least 85% cocoa. There is certainly room for indulgence on The Sirtfood Diet.

4. Sirtuins Promote Well-Being As Well As Weight Loss

Sirtuins, a class of proteins
One of the most encouraging targets for anti-aging methods is proteins belonging to the Sirtuin family.

Sirtuins help to maintain your body’s metabolism and research has shown they play a part in improving muscle definition and burning fat: no wonder they are called a superfood and can help you lose weight.

However, sirtuins also play a critical role in maintaining your cells, which is why they are linked to aging and longevity. A type of protein, a sirtuin, acts on a cellular level, helping prevent cells from dying and protecting against inflammation. Sirtuins have also been shown to play a role in DNA repair.

Scientists have speculated this may extend the overall lifespan, although have yet to find concrete evidence for this. However, some studies on mice have shown that sirtuins may play a role in extending their lifespan in certain circumstances. [3]

5. Sirtuins May Also Help You Reduce Hunger And Control Appetite

a woman with low leptin levels overeating
A decrease in sensitivity to leptin may lead to overeating and the development of obesity.

Hormones known as leptins play a role in telling your brain if you have enough energy stored in your fat cells.

So, in layman’s terms, leptin lets you know how hungry you are, essentially letting your brain know when you are full and triggering you to stop eating (a reason eating slowly can help weight loss is to allow time for leptin production).

However, some people have lower sensitivity to leptins and sensitivity generally declines with age.

Research has shown that diet can play a role in overall leptin sensitivity by affecting sirtuin levels. Sirtuins were found to improve leptin sensitivity and, therefore, likely to stop feelings of hunger.

While the research was carried out on mice — subjects that can’t indicate how hungry they feel — it was found that manipulating sirtuin levels could affect weight gain. [4]

6. Science Doesn’t Really Back The Sirtfood Diet

dinner plate with peas on it
Currently, there is not much evidence that the Sirtfood Diet is more effective on weight loss than any other low-calorie diet.

While there are scientific studies that suggest there may be some rationale behind the claims made about The Sirtfood Diet, these are usually based on studies involving animals.

Like any research experiment, these are in controlled circumstances and looking at very specific factors meaning it is hard to use them to even claim The Sirtfood Diet is scientifically backed for mice!

While the authors and proponents of the diet have claimed people have had significant success with the diet this may be down to a range of factors.

The restricted calories of the initial phases of the diet are likely to lead to weight loss, as would a shift to a more plant-based diet, so the diet’s effectiveness might be totally unrelated to any effect it has on sirtuins. [5]

7. There Are 20 Top Sirtfoods You Should Definitely Be Eating

list of sirtuin activators foods
Foods that could switch on your body’s fat-burning powers.

The list of all 63 foods below are considered high in sirtuin-activating nutrients and are great to use in any Sirtfood Diet Recipe, but the authors of the diet emphasize 20 Sirtfoods that could be most effective at increasing sirtuin levels in the body.

I have bolded these 20 foods in the list below.

Fruits High In Sirtuin Activators

  • Medjool dates
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Black plums
  • Apples
  • Blackcurrants
  • Blackberries
  • Goji berries
  • Red grapes
  • Cranberries
  • Raspberries
  • Kumquats

Vegetables High In Sirtuin Activators

  • Parsley
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Arugula (rocket)
  • Red Chicory
  • Lovage
  • Artichokes
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • Green beans
  • Endive
  • Watercress
  • Shallots
  • Yellow chicory
  • White onions

Nuts And Seeds High In Sirtuin Activators

  • Capers
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Pecan nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pistachio nuts

Legumes High In Sirtuin Activators

  • Soy
  • Cocoa
  • White beans 
  • Broad beans

Grains High In Sirtuin Activators

  • Buckwheat
  • Wholemeal flour
  • Quinoa
  • Popcorn

Drinks High In Sirtuin Activators

Spices And Herbs High In Sirtuin Activators

  • Turmeric
  • Bird’s eye chilies
  • Dill
  • Chives
  • Dried sage
  • Dried oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Ginger
  • Thyme
  • Hot peppers

Other Foods High In Sirtuin Activators

8. You Can Eat Meat On Sirtfood Diet

a woman eating a piece of meat

Eating meat and fish on a sirtfood diet is allowed as these are also considered to be sirtuin-activating foods. The creators of the diet suggest that fish and poultry, such as chickens, turkey, and duck, can be consumed freely without restrictions, and red meat can be eaten in moderation, no more than three times a week.

However, the focus of your diet should be mostly on plant-based foods that are featured in the list above. [6]

9. There Are Plenty Of Foods You Should Avoid, Too

potato chips

Although there may be a few surprises on the list of Sirtfoods you are encouraged to eat, there’s probably no surprises in the foods you should be staying clear of when you are on The Sirtfood Diet.

The diet no-nos include processed foods, sugary snacks, fats, and starches. This means that things like junk food, pastries, cakes, and ready-to-eat meals are out, and while the diet encourages you to drink coffee you certainly can’t add cream or sugar to it.

And if you were thinking of a cookie to go with that coffee, that’s definitely not allowed

10. The Diet Is Likely To Be Hard For Most People To Follow

cheating on your diet

The diet starts with a one-week ‘hyper-success phase’ followed by a two-week ‘maintenance phase’. These are likely to be hard for most people to follow because of the calorie restriction in the first week.

The authors suggest eating less than 1,000 calories per day for the first three days and then 1,500 calories for the remainder of the week. Then eating 1,500-1,800 calories per day during the maintenance phase.

These numbers will be quite low for most people, and because some calories are from juices rather than solid food, many will find themselves struggling with hunger and cravings.

Many nutritionists suggest that even if you successfully follow the first phase of the diet, you are likely to be left with cravings afterward, resulting in you undoing any weight loss.

11. You Will Need A Juicer

Making of sirtfood-rich green juices

The Sirtfood Diet includes a lot of juicing! The initial phases of the diet replace meals with green Sirtfood juices; the first three days, for example, recommend three juices and just one meal a day. The recipes consist mainly of ingredients from the list of top 20 Sirtfoods.

A typical green Sirtfood smoothie will include kale, arugula, parsley, celery, apple, lemon juice, and green tea. Given that these replace most meals in the first few days and should be a daily feature afterward, if you find the recipe unappetizing, the diet might not be for you. [7]

12. There Is No Long-Term Sirtfood Plan

end of the diet marked in calendar

The emphasis of The Sirtfood Diet is on the three-week start to the eating plan. Once you have completed that, the diet becomes much less detailed. The diet’s authors suggest that you can repeat the initial phases as needed, but otherwise, there is no specific guidance on how you should manage your diet.

The general idea is that you should ‘Sirtify’ your meals, by adding ingredients from the list above, and you should drink the green juice every day. But, otherwise, The Sirtfood Diet becomes more about lifestyle change than an actual diet plan.

This is one of the drawbacks to the plan identified by nutritionists and dieticians, who believe three weeks is too short for a meaningful lifestyle change. [8]

13. Several Celebrities Have Followed The Diet

celebrities that have tried the sirtfood diet

Adele was probably the first celebrity linked with the diet following an appearance on Saturday Night Live when her weight loss was noticed.

Other celebrities linked with the diet include USA Food Network host Lorraine Pascale, model and racing driver Jodie Kidd, and Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie.

The British-heavy celebrity list reflects the diet’s origins. The authors are based in London, and their first trials were conducted with members of an exclusive London gym.

But to really highlight the British credentials, it’s rumored that Pippa Middleton, sister to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has also tried the diet. [9], [10]

Is The Sirtfood Diet Right For You?

Like any diet plan, The Sirtfood Diet has some positives and negatives.

Many experts criticize the very restrictive initial phases, pointing to the risk that extreme diets often see any benefits lost by craving and binging once the initial discipline is loosened. 

However, they will all agree that the Sirtfoods, especially the top 20, are bursting with nutrition and can — and perhaps should — form part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

Read Also: The Truth Behind The Ketogenic Diet

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About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.