Back in 2015 we were introduced to the concept of ‘sirtfoods’ and their potential for promoting weight loss. The Daily Mail covered the story of a woman who claims she saw significant reductions in her body fat by eating more foods known as ‘sirtuin activators’ or sirtfoods. More recently, Adele attributed her dramatic weight loss to the Sirtfood Diet. So what are sirtfoods? And can they really help you lose weight and improve your health?
WHAT ARE SIRTFOODS?
‘Sirt’ is short for sirtuins – a class of proteins in the body that are important for regulating biological pathways that can affect our health and weight. ‘Sirtfoods’ is a term applied to foods that contain naturally occurring compounds known as polyphenols that have the potential to activate sirtuins.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Research has shown that a very low calorie diet may prolong our lifespan by decreasing the activity of pro ageing pathways as well as encouraging DNA repair. It’s believed that sirtuin activators in food may mimic the same effects as a calorie restricted diet. Sirtuins also have a role in fat metabolism which explains why they may help us to lose weight.
HOW MIGHT THEY HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT?
Studies have shown that sirtuin activators can help mobilise our stored fat and increase mitochondria function (the part of a cell that generates energy). They’ve also been shown to regulate insulin production – the hormone that manages the sugar balance in our body and enables us to use the sugars from carbohydrates in our diet as energy. That said, let’s not forget that the woman in the Daily Mail article was also on a 1000 calorie per day diet which may also have something to do with her weight loss! Whilst early research shows that sirtuins could play a role in promoting fat loss, it’s too early to really call them a wonder food.
HOW ELSE MIGHT THEY BENEFIT YOUR HEALTH?
Sirtuins have not only been been linked to how our bodies metabolise energy, they’re also known to affect the ageing process and the onset of certain diseases. Research into sirtuin activator resveratrol – the beneficial compound in red wine – found that it may help in the prevention and treatment of obesity and help to prevent age related heart and brain deterioration.
It is worth noting that much of the research carried out has looked at supplemented levels of polyphenols much greater than we would find in food alone. It’s still early days so as further research is carried out we will learn more about the positive effects of sirtuin activators and the levels beneficial for health. However, all foods containing sirtuin activators are natural, healthy, plant based foods and you can’t go wrong with increasing these in your diet.
WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS?
Foods that contain sirtuin activators include: green tea, turmeric, onions, kale, parsley, miso soup, tofu and other soy products, olives and extra-virgin olive oil, blackcurrants, capers, cocoa, dates, walnuts and turmeric.
HOW CAN YOU GET MORE SIRTFOODS INTO YOUR DIET?
One of the easiest ways to introduce these foods into your diet is by starting with a smoothie for breakfast. Blend together a scoop of quality protein powder, some unsweetened almond milk, a large handful of blackcurrants and some kale.
Add olives to salads and roasted mediterranean vegetables and swapping less healthy savoury snacks like crisps.
Dress salads with olive oil instead of your usual salad dressing – but it’s best to not cook with olive oil as it can degrade at high temperatures.
Try swapping regular tea for green tea. If you find green tea bitter you can opt for jasmine tea which tends to be milder. Green tea can also be drunk cold so during the summer months, make a pitcher of green tea and add slices of lemon then keep in the fridge.
Miso soup makes a good afternoon snack, you can buy sachets (such as MISO Tasty) or grab it ready made from Pret a Manger or Itsu.
If you are looking to lose weight and want to identify the best dietary approach for you, please do get in touch. We offer a complimentary 25 minute weight loss strategy call with one of our expert nutritionists who will take the time to listen to your challenges and help you identify the right weight loss solution for you.