Eating Meat on the Sirtfood Diet
By Sam Wass, Medium Well
The Sirtfood diet was a breakthrough food regime a few years and was the darling diet with the broadsheet press at the time. If you missed it, the headlines are that it includes red wine, chocolate and coffee. Far less publicised and attention grabbing, (but equally good news in our opinion) is the fact that the answer to the question, ‘can you eat meat on the sirt food diet?’, is a resounding, yes. The diet plan not only includes a good healthy portion of meat, it goes on to suggest that protein is an essential inclusion in a Sirtfood-based diet to reap maximum benefit. We’re not advocating this as some meat heavy diet (we still remember the bad breath from Atkins), it’s actually very vegetarian friendly and caters for pretty much everyone, which is what makes it so sensible an option to us.
So what is the Sirtfood diet? It was developed by nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, following a pilot study at the exclusive KX Gym, (Daniel Craig, Madonna and a whole host of other celebs are allegedly members) where they are both consultants in Sloane Square, London. Participants in the trial lost 7lbs in the first seven days, in what the authors call the hyper-success stage. The science behind Sirtfoods falls out of a study in 2003 which found that a compound found in red wine, increased the lifespan of yeast. Ultimately, this led to the studies which explain the health benefits of red wine, and how (if drank moderately) people who drink red wine gain less weight.
Much of the science behind the Sirtfood diet is similar to that of ‘fasting-diets’ which have been popular for the past few years, whereby our bodies activate genes and our fat storage is switched off; our bodies essentially switch to survival mode, hence weight loss. The negatives to fasting-diets are the inevitable hunger that ensues, along with reduction in energy, irritable behaviour (when you’re “hangry”), fatigue and muscle loss. The Sirtfood diet claims to counter those negatives, as it is not a fast, so hunger is not an issue, making it perfect for people who want to lead an active healthy lifestyle.
Sirtfoods are a (relatively newly discovered) group of foods that are powerful in activating the ‘sirtuin’ genes in our body, which are the genes activated in fasting diets. The book lists the top sirtfoods as birds-eye chill, buckwheat, capers, celery, coffee, green tea, and kale among others (buy the book if you want them all), and outlines a 21 day diet plan that is very high in the top 20 Sirtfoods. Crucially for us carnivores, the book goes on to suggest in the chapter entitled ‘Sirtfoods for Life’ that protein is essential to maintain metabolism and reduce loss of muscle when dieting. Leucine, is an amino acid found in protein, which compliments and actually enhances the actions of Sirtfoods. This means that the best way to eat Sirtfoods is by combining them with a chicken breast, steak or other source of leucine such as fish or eggs.
The book goes on to suggest that poultry can be eaten freely as much as you want (because it is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, potassium and phosphorous), and that red meat (another excellent source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12) can be eaten up to three times (750g raw weight) a week.
Overall we can totally see the benefit and appeal of the Sirtfood diet. Like pretty much any diet plan, it can be a faff getting all the ingredients, and and the ‘Sirtfood green juice’, which forms a core part of the first 14 days of the plan, is a pain to make and pretty expensive, but it does tastes surprisingly better than you’d expect. We only trialled a few days of the plan, and while there was noticeable weight loss, the real benefit of the book is the sensible approach of introducing Sirtfoods into your everyday meal planning.
The Sirtfood diet is available on Amazon, and it really is a good read full of clever helpful nutritional advice, even if you don’t want to follow the 21 day plan.