What Is the Sirtfood Diet?

Foods that are part of a sirtfood diet

Verywell / Debbie Burkhoff

At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

What Is the Sirtfood Diet?

The Sirtfood Diet, explained in the book “The Sirtfood Diet” by Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, claims that followers can lose up to seven pounds in seven days by consuming foods rich in sirtuins (SIRTs). These are a group of seven proteins associated with several health benefits, including slowing down the aging process, reducing inflammation, and regulating metabolism.

Sirtfoods are mainly plant-based, antioxidant-rich foods like dark chocolate, matcha green tea, kale, strawberries, red wine, blueberries, and more. At its core, the Sirtfood Diet is a calorie-restricted diet that dubs sirtfoods as the new superfoods. There is a lack of evidence supporting the Sirtfood Diet as a whole.

What Experts Say

“The Sirtfood diet emphasizes eating foods that are high in sirtuins. Sirtuins (SIRTs) are a group of seven proteins found in the body that have been shown to regulate a variety of functions, like metabolism and stress responses, and potentially play a role in longevity and disease management. While most of the research on the benefits of sirtuins is on animals, the emerging science in humans is promising. Needless to say, the diet comes with drawbacks. Primarily it promises to activate your ‘skinny gene.’ Any diet that makes a promise like that should be a red flag. In addition, while the foods on the diet are nutrient-rich and can provide many health benefits, the diet can be restrictive, expensive, and unrealistic to follow long-term. Lastly, the first phase of the diet is too low in calories for most people, and this plan is not meant for those with a history of disordered eating.”

Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN

The 7-Day Diet Plan

The below meal plan is an example of phase one of the Sirtfood Diet. Days one to three are limited to 1000 calories, while the rest of the week is limited to 1500 calories. Note that this diet is not recommended.

  • Day 1: Three green drinks and one meal high in sirtfoods, such as lentil soup with turmeric
  • Day 2: Three green drinks and one meal high in sirtfoods, such as cooked buckwheat with walnuts
  • Day 3: Three green drinks and one meal high in sirtfoods, such as kale and strawberry salad with extra virgin olive oil
  • Day 4: Two green drinks and two meals high in sirtfoods, such as arugula salad with chicken, blueberries, olive oil; lentil soup with turmeric, red wine
  • Day 5: Two green drinks and two meals high in sirtfoods, such as salmon with kale and walnuts; buckwheat with tofu and parsley, dark chocolate
  • Day 6: Two green drinks and two meals high in sirtfoods, such as black bean soup with cilantro; buckwheat pasta with chicken and kale, red wine
  • Day 7: Two green drinks and two meals high in sirtfoods, such as whole-grain toast with almond butter and strawberries; salmon, capers, parsley, and buckwheat salad, dark chocolate

What You Can Eat

Famous for allowing red wine and dark chocolate, the Sirtfood Diet mainly consists of various fruits, grains, leafy greens, herbs, spices, oils, and drinks that are high in sirtuin activators. Meat is optional on the Sirtfood Diet, so it can be adapted for vegans and vegetarians. However, meat should be eaten in moderation.

Fruits and Vegetables

Sirtfoods tend to be rich in antioxidants, so it is no surprise that the following fruits and vegetables are encouraged on the Sirtfood Diet. 

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are recommended while on the Sirtfood Diet. They can be used in green juices or to add flavor to meals.

  • Turmeric
  • Parsley
  • Lovage
  • Basil
  • Cilantro

Beverages

While on the Sirtfood Diet, you consume at least one green drink (juice or shake) per day. In the very beginning, several green drinks are recommended per day. As time goes on, you’ll slowly incorporate more meals and fewer drinks.

Soy, Legumes, and Meat

Soy and legumes are sources of sirtuins while meat is not. If meat is consumed, it should only be eaten in moderation, since it is high in calories and not a rich source of sirtuins.

  • Soy
  • Legumes
  • Meat (in moderation)
  • Tofu
  • Beans

Grains

Healthy Fats

  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Walnuts
  • Fatty fish

What You Cannot Eat

The Sirtfood diet focuses on consuming specific foods rather than avoiding a long list of foods. However, it does eliminate processed foods and added sugars, which often go hand in hand.

Processed Foods and Added Sugars

  • Refined flours (white flour)
  • Added sugars (baked goods, candy, soda)
  • Processed foods (chips, crackers, canned soups)

How to Prepare the Sirtfood Diet & Tips

While the food is high in sirtuins, the calories are low. Restricting your calories is just as important as consuming sirtfoods on this diet. 

Sirtfood Diet Phases

There are two phases of the Sirtfood Diet, which lasts for a total of three weeks. After three weeks, you can repeat the program immediately or modify it to incorporate sirtfoods into your diet without calorie restrictions.

  • Phase One (one week): During days one to three, you can eat one meal rich in sirtuins and three green drinks (juices or shakes), which add up to 1,000 calories total. On days four to seven, you can increase your daily calories to 1,500, which is split among two meals and two green drinks.
  • Phase Two (two weeks): During these two weeks, you consume three sirtuin-rich meals and one green drink per day.

The green drinks are made from primarily green foods, such as leafy greens (kale, rocket, lovage, spinach) and herbs (parsley, mint, basil). Additional ingredients include celery, green apples, ginger, lemon, matcha tea powder. The actual recipe is included in the book.

Pros of the Sirtfood Diet

The Sirtfood Diet consists heavily of plant-based foods that are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and sirtuins, which may yield some health benefits.

  • May result in weight loss: The premise of the Sirtfood Diet is that by consuming plenty of sirtuin-activating foods, certain genes will be turned on to boost metabolism and burn fat. Some animal studies have linked these genes to lipolysis and fat loss. Weight loss experienced on the Sirtfood Diet may also be attributed to the calorie restriction.
  • Sirtuins may have anti-aging properties: In addition to weight loss, slowing the aging process is a major appeal to the Sirtfood Diet. Researchers have studied the anti-aging properties of sirtfoods and suggest fusing Asian and Mediterranean diets, which are especially rich in sirtfoods, to prevent chronic diseases and ensure healthy aging.
  • Rich in antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries, red wine, coffee, and dark chocolate are not only allowed on the Sirtfood Diet, they are encouraged. Antioxidants have been shown to protect against disease and free radical damage.

Cons of the Sirtfood Diet

Though the Sirtfood Diet contains plenty of fruits and vegetables, it is often criticized for being too low in calories and thus unsustainable long-term.

  • Low calories may cause health concerns: Eating fewer calories has been shown to result in weight loss, but a diet that is too low in calories may not be nutritionally adequate. Side effects of insufficient calories include headaches, weakness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, constipation, dehydration, low blood sugar, bad breath, diarrhea, and dizziness.
  • Not sustainable: The first phase of the Sirtfood Diet replaces up to two meals per day with green juices. It is also very low in calories. Though the second phase contains more calories and solid meals, the three-week plan is not sustainable long-term. The diet allows followers to repeat the three-week plan immediately to continue weight loss, which is not recommended.
  • May cause nutrient deficiencies: A lack of calories means a lack of nutrients in many cases, even with a focus on nutrient-dense foods. This can lead to issues such as bone loss.

Is the Sirtfood Diet a Healthy Choice for You?

The main appeal to the Sirtfood Diet is weight loss. Though the diet claims you can lose seven pounds in seven days, this is not in line with the generally recommended one to two pounds of healthy weight loss per week. 

The Sirtfood Diet ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 calories per day. The 2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends between 2,000 and 3,200 calories per day for adult men and 1,600 to 2,400 daily calories for adult women depending on age and activity level. Since calorie needs are different from person to person, use a calculator to determine what might work for you.

The Sirtfood Diet consists of many nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. However, replacing meals with green juices and restricting calories to 1,000 to 1,500 daily is unsustainable long-term. The Sirtfood Diet is not recommended for people with diabetes, other chronic conditions, or a history of disordered eating.

A Word From Verywell

When trying a new diet, you may feel a sense of optimism that this new way of eating will help you reach all of your goals. There is no magic diet that can help you accomplish your goals in just a matter of days or weeks. However, a balanced lifestyle can help you improve your long-term health over time.

The Sirtfood Diet is like other fad diets. It promises rapid weight loss in a short amount of time. You may experience weight loss not because the diet is revolutionary but because it is so low in calories. While you may lose weight on this plan, there is more to health than a number on a scale.

Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you and many diets out there simply don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

Was this page helpful?
8 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Grabowska W, Sikora E, Bielak-Zmijewska A. Sirtuins, a promising target in slowing down the ageing processBiogerontology. 2017;18(4):447-476. doi:10.1007/s10522-017-9685-9

  2. Picard F, Kurtev M, Chung N, et al. Sirt1 promotes fat mobilization in white adipocytes by repressing PPAR-gammaNature. 2004;429(6993):771-776. doi:10.1038/nature02583

  3. Pallauf K, Giller K, Huebbe P, Rimbach G. Nutrition and healthy ageing: Calorie restriction or polyphenol-rich “Mediterrasian” diet? Oxidat Med Cell Longev. 2013;2013:1-14. doi:10.1155/2013/707421

  4. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Antioxidants: In depth.

  5. Imayama I, Ulrich CM, Alfano CM, et al. Effects of a caloric restriction weight loss diet and exercise on inflammatory biomarkers in overweight/obese postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trialCancer Res. 2012;72(9):2314-2326. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3092

  6. Goday A, Bellido D, Sajoux I, et al. Short-term safety, tolerability and efficacy of a very low-calorie-ketogenic diet interventional weight loss program versus hypocaloric diet in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitusNutr Diabetes. 2016;6(9):e230. doi:10.1038/nutd.2016.36

  7. Haywood CJ, Prendergast LA, Purcell K, et al. Very low calorie diets for weight loss in obese older adults—a randomized trialJ Gerontol A. 2017;73(1):59-65. doi:10.1093/gerona/glx012

  8. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Ninth Edition.