Life

Nutritional trend: Sirtfood

from Mag. Margit Weichselbraun
on 26.04.2021

Sirtuins are the “MacGyvers” among enzymes. They help organisms to trim their metabolism in such a way that they can cope with even adverse environmental conditions. But what does this family of enzymes actually have to do with our in-house energy supply? And how can we activate these enzymes? We will reveal this and more to you here today.

What are sirtuins?

Sirtuins are a special group of enzymes that have developed in numerous animals, some plants and in us humans. Sirtuins act as important regulators in living beings. Seven different sirtuins are known in humans, which are found in all the body cells. By actively intervening in metabolism and biochemical regulatory processes, they make it possible for us to withstand adverse environmental conditions that are part of life.

What effect do sirtuins have ...?

Activating sirtuins increases the chances of overcoming certain stress and crisis situations – such as heat, cold, lack of water or longer periods of hunger. Sirtuins switch the metabolic processes in the body to the “survival” mode in the best possible way. This is done by giving the body signals for the formation of new proteins or a faster conversion of nutrients. Specifically speaking, a stone age person whose metabolism is effectively switched to “slow” in the event of a shortage of food would, for example, have clearly better chances of overcoming hunger than the modern person who is used to continuous eating. As with Stone Age people, however, our sirtuins can still be activated today by periods of fasting.

... and how can we benefit from them?

What role do sirtuins play in our modern Western lifestyle, and how can we use them if we are not normally exposed to life-threatening environmental conditions? This is where you should be aware of the fact that sirtuins not only act as survival enzymes, but are also associated with cell regeneration, cell aging and energy metabolism. For example, sirtuins are closely related to the functions of the vitamin niacin, which supports the energy metabolism in our body's own cell power plants, the mitochondria. Ergo: Sirtuins are involved in the control of various metabolic and cell ageing processes and support us in the best possible (experience) of everyday life as part of an ancient survival cycle.

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What is Sirtfood?

for a while now, it has been recognised that sirtuins are not only activated by extreme situations or during fasting, but also by certain foods or the secondary plant substances contained in such foods. So-called sirt food contains a particularly high proportion of specific substances that stimulate the sirtuins in the body that are active in the metabolism. Well-known representatives of sirt foods are broccoli, turmeric or green tea. Special plant substances such as the bioflavonoid quercetin, the grape component resveratrol and its chemical relative, pterostilbene, are also closely associated with sirtuin activity.

What is the sirtfood diet?

Fortunately, lifestyle magazines and trendsetters are turning away from one-sided diets and have discovered a new innovative diet for themselves: the sirtfood diet. The secret recipe of this dietary trend are the secondary plant substances already mentioned, which are thought to stimulate the activity of the body's own sirtuins. They form the basis of the sirtfood diet. Based on this knowledge, two nutritional scientists, Aidan Googins and Glen Matten, developed a three-week diet plan that should help you achieve your desired weight not by going without, but with pleasure. So that the body can benefit from the sirt effect, you should use sirtfood every day. The sirt foods include plant-based foods with abundant secondary plant substances such as strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, kale, celery and olive oil. Dark chocolate (from 85%) and red wine are also on the menu for enjoyment. Foods rich in carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, noodles and bread are not recommended and should only be consumed in small quantities – equally fish and meat (in the form of poultry), dairy products and alcohol only in moderation.

How does the sirtfood diet work?

Aidan Goggins and Glen Metten, the founders of the sirtfood diet, recommend a strict diet plan divided into two phases.

Phase 1: In the first three days, the calorie intake is reduced to 1000 calories daily, which is consumed in the form of three sirtfood juices and one fixed meal. This entry phase is intended to stimulate the body's own sirtuin activity – firstly through the reduction in calories and secondly through the increased absorption of sirtuin activators from the food. Since the calories are only reduced for three days, according to the developers, the metabolism does not shut down – as can be the case with many other “starvation diets”. In the remaining four days of the first week, 1,500 calories can then be consumed daily in the form of two smoothies and two meals, which should primarily consist of sirt food.

Phase 2: Phase 2 follows phase 1 without interruption. During this two-week phase, calories no longer play such a big role. In contrast, a varied diet is achieved with the help of three sirtfood meals and one sirtfood smoothie.

What happens after phase 2?

After phase 2, different paths can be taken:

  • If you want to continue to focus on weight reduction, you can start again at phase 1.
  • If you want to stabilise your new silhouette or lose just a little more weight, you can continue with phase 2.
  • If you want to stop the diet, you should continue to eat sirt-rich food daily, as well as eat the non-recommended foods as rarely as possible.

Fancy sirtfood? Here are our Top 20:

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TIP
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What is our view of this diet? What do we recommend?

If you want to lose kilos quickly, you can celebrate success with the sirtfood diet. However, due to the limitations of the calorie amount and food selection, as with any short-term diet, there is a risk of cravings and a yo-yo effect. Those who want to lose weight permanently should be encouraged to change their diet and lifestyle in the long term. In addition, although sirtfood generally certainly offers health benefits, a balanced diet with sirtfood alone is not possible. The sirt diet is therefore not a form of nutrition that should be practiced permanently.

The basic concept of the sirtfood diet – vegetable focused dishes, high protein content and low-fat fatty acids – is welcome. A diet with fresh foods rich in sirtuin activators, secondary plant substances and micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and trace elements can be recommended for everyone. If you integrate the food recommended in the sirtfood diet as part of a balanced diet, you are already on a good path.

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References

Goggins, A., Matten, G. 2017. Die Sirtuin Diät – Jung und schlank mit Genuss: So verlieren Sie über 3 Kilo in 7 Tagen. Goldmann-Verlag, 320 Seiten.

Kleine-Gunk, B. et al. 2017. Abnehmen mit SIRTFOOD: Gesünder essen und besser leben mit dem Schutzenzym Sirtuin. Gräfe-und-Unzer-Verlag, 127 Seiten.

https://ww.gesundheit.de/ernaehrung/diaeten/weitere-diaeten/sirtfood-diaet, Zugriff:

https://www.bzfe.de/fileadmin/resources/import/pdf/eifonline_sirtfood_082018_final.pdf, Zugriff:

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