The Sirtfood Diet Is the New 5:2

The sirtfood diet is set to be to 2016 what the 5:2 was to 2013. We’re talking big, huge—it won’t be long before we’re all sirting. Why, you ask? Well, the authors of The Sirtfood Diet (£8) claim that certain foods can fire up weight loss—essentially turning your body into a fat-burning furnace while preserving lean muscle. Intrigued? So were we. Especially when we found out these wonder foods aren’t things like the limp lettuce leaves you'd expect but red wine and chocolate!

Keep reading to find out what the sirtfood diet is and how it works.

Now for the science bit, don't worry we'll keep it brief: Sirtfoods are those rich in sirtuin activators. These activators trigger sirtuins—a type of protein—in our bodies, which protect our cells from disease and inflammation. They can also help to build muscle, incinerate fat and manipulate our metabolism—hence the sirtfood diet.

The authors of The Sirtfood Diet book, Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, have been obsessed with sirtfoods and how to manipulate them for a while now. They decided to put 40 fit and healthy people who regularly exercise on a sirtfood-rich diet that was—over seven days— 25 percent fewer calories than is recommended for the average person. A week into the diet and the weight was literally falling off (the average is seven pounds in the first week), more than it should be considering the 25 percent deficit, yet they weren’t hungry. And the weight loss and satiety weren't the only upsides.

One fear with many calorie-controlled diets is that you forfeit the energy to exercise, but this wasn’t a problem—the sirtfoods kept energy and immune levels up. Another big concern is that during a strict diet you can lose that all-important muscle tone, but with this plan their muscle was staying very much intact, with some actually toning up. “ ‘Hold on a minute,’ we thought,” Matten told The Times. “ ‘This is bigger than we realised.’ ”

Oftentimes after the diet comes the weight regain, but the trial is now over and the duo have found quite the opposite with most practitioners continuing to lose weight.

So what are the hero sirtfoods? You probably won’t be surprised to see that they are those widely eaten in Japan and Italy—two countries that are often considered the healthiest in the world.

Chocolate (must be at least 85 percent cocoa solids)
Extra virgin olive oil
Green tea (ideally matcha)
Medjool dates
Red chicory
Red onion
Red wine

The book goes into the exact details of how to calorie restrict properly and how best to include the sirtfoods into your diet, but for now, start adding in some of the top 20 to your three meals a day (and not just the chocolate and the wine, we see you).

If you need any more convincing, model Jodie Kidd called on the duo for help before she did a naked shoot for Women’s Health, and chef Lorraine Pascale has been following the diet for a year, saying it has been “life-changing”.

Do you think the sirtfood diet sounds promising? Or are you done with trying new diets? Sound off in the comment box below.

Opening Image: Mint Images/REX Shutterstock