When Adele broke a many month Instagram silence in May, followers were amazed by how much weight the singer, 32, had lost. According to reports, she lost almost 40 pounds with the help of a trainer and using a meal plan called the sirtfood diet.
While she hasn’t said much publicly about her weight loss, she did make a few jokes and references to it when she hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend. “I know I look really, really different since you last saw me,” Adele said in her opening monologue. “But actually, because of all the COVID restrictions and the travel bans, I had to travel light and only bring half of me and this is the half that I chose.”
While we think Adele looks great at every size, her weight loss journey is certainly an intriguing one, so we decided to dig into the sirtfood diet. What is it, exactly, and is it healthy? Here’s what you need to know.
What is the sirtfood diet?
The sirtfood diet was launched by two U.K-based nutritionists, Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, who also wrote a book about it. The idea with the sirtfood diet is that by eating certain foods, you can activate your “skinny gene.”
“The sirtfood diet claims that certain foods can work on your DNA to alter metabolism, health and longevity,” The diet is possibly based on sirtuins (proteins which may play a role in lifespan),” says Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living. “The diet promotes eating certain sirt foods while doing a calorie restriction, which is often very low calorie ranging from 1000-1500 calories per day.”
The Sirtfood diet promotes a specific green juice, as well as foods that claim to increase your sirtuin levels like kale, olive oil, coffee, walnuts and strawberries. “The Sirtfood diet was developed in the UK and promotes the concept of ‘seven pounds in seven days’ by focusing on severe calorie restriction in addition to foods rich in polyphenols, or natural anti-inflammatory components of foods,” adds Kylene Bogden, RDN and Wellness Advisor for Love Wellness.
What can you eat on the sirtfood diet?
The foods recommended for the sirtfood diet are similar to those you may have seen recommended for Mediterranean Diet. They include walnuts, olive oil, leafy greens like kale and arugula, berries, onions, and more. Red wine, chocolate, and coffee are permitted on the sirtfood diet, too.
The sirtfood green juice is one of the most popular food items on the diet, which includes kale, arugula, parsley, celery, half a green apple, ginger, lemon, and matcha green tea.
It’s also important to keep in mind that in addition to the recommended foods, daily calories are meant to be kept under 1500 per day.
Benefits of the sirtfood diet
The top benefit of the sirtfood diet is that if you want to lose weight, you probably can—and quickly. Plus, the actual foods recommended are both healthy and delicious. “Sirtfood choices are often healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and nuts, which is a plus—although I should note that they’re not backed by substantial research to increase your sirtuins,” says Miller.
Bogden echoes the benefit of the food itself being healthy. “The main benefits are that it’s focused on whole, fresh, anti-inflammatory foods rich in antioxidants and polyphenols.”
Cons of the sirtfood diet
While the sirtfood diet may have worked for Adele, both Miller and Bogden are quick to emphasize that the sirtfood diet isn’t a great plan for long-term health and weight loss. “Yes, this diet works in the short-term,” says Bogden. “But I should add that not only is this diet not sustainable, but it’s not supported by research. The recommended calorie intake at a starvation level for most people, and the macronutrient imbalance—ratio of protein, carbs to fat—does not support optimal health.”
Miller adds that without substantial research to back up why these foods are the ones recommended to activate the “skinny gene,” the sirtfood diet isn’t all that different from other diets that restrict calories. “Plus, this does not teach someone how to eat well for the long haul,” says Bogden.
- Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living
- Kylene Bogden, RDN and Wellness Advisor for Love Wellness