It’s not the first time that award-winning singer Adele has left us spellbound. But this time, the reason's not another chart breaking song — it's her astonishing physical transformation!
According to reports, a major part of Adele’s weight loss is credited to the ‘sirtfood’ diet she followed. Her former instructor Camila Goods told The Sun, “I don’t believe she liked exercise much but she has changed her lifestyle and I believe that 90 percent was dieting.”
So what is this miraculous diet that, by the way, even allows you to have red wine and dark chocolate?
What Do We Know About the Diet?
UK based nutritionists Adian Goggins and Glen Matten came up with the diet in a recipe book and guide in 2016.
According to Healthline, the sirtfood diet is based on increasing the level of sirtuins (SIRTS) — a group of seven proteins found in the body which could help regulate a variety of functions such as metabolism, inflammation, and ageing.
Foods that could boost sirtuins are called ‘sirtfoods’. Some top sirtfoods include:
Extra virgin olive oil
Dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
Matcha green tea
Bird’s eye chili
By claiming to turn on the ‘skinny gene’ (mimicking the effect of diet and exercise), along with calorie restriction, can help people lose over 3 kgs in one week.
For the first three days, dieters restrict their intake to only 1,000 calories a day — one sirtuin-packed meal and two green juices. This limit is extended up to 1,500 calories for the next four days with another meal being allowed. After that week, they are allowed to eat as many sirtfood meals as they wish. Daily exercise is also recommended along with the diet.
Experts Weigh In: The Good & The Bad of Sirtfood Diet
The authors of the book conducted an experiment on 39 individuals who followed the diet and concluded that it helped them lose at least 3 kgs each in 7 days. While its weight loss benefits — at least after the first week — are there for everyone to see, the bigger question remains: Is the diet healthy and sustainable? FIT spoke to experts for their opinion.
Amita Salvi, Senior Manager, Dietetics department, Saifee Hospital, believes that the diet has a lot of good to offer.
Amita Salvi“The foods that this diet tells you to eat are all good and healthy, loaded with antioxidants that promote brain function, protect the heart, reduce sugar levels and are also high in fibre. These leave you feeling full and energetic.”
This also resonates with Jinal Patel, clinical nutritionist and dietician at Apollo Spectra Hospital in Mumbai, who explains why this diet may be better than other diets. “In other diets, we don’t think about anything but calorie restriction. In the process, we end up losing muscle mass and water, denying the body of many essential nutrients. But with this diet, calorie restriction is accompanied by consuming good and natural plant proteins, that could offer benefits like protection against diseases and deficiencies.”
Jinal Patel“However, there always is the chance of gaining the weight back after the diet course has been completed. To avoid that, a balanced and sustainable diet plan needs to be devised following the first week.”
So clearly, not all is merry. For instance, is restricting an adult’s intake to 1000 calories healthy?
In an article for Good Housekeeping, McKenzie Caldwell, a specialist in women’s nutrition and dietary wellness, said, “1000 calories per day is only appropriate for a child between the ages of 2 and 4. Not only is this not enough energy to support an adult body, it is not possible to fit in all the macro and micronutrients an adult needs in that amount of food. The diet may cause weight loss in the short term merely because of its calorie restriction.”
Nutritionist and weight-management consultant Kavita Devgan points out some other concerns with the diet.
Is such a menu sustainable and practical for Indians? She says that to many of us, these food items may sound unfamiliar.
Kavita Devgan“Nobody can drastically and completely change one’s palate for a diet, and even if they do, it is difficult to keep up. As soon as the urge to eat the familiar wins, the diet will go out of the window.”
Another issue is that like all other diets, this one is also based on selective eating. Even if the food items included are all healthy, any diet that restricts a person and bans everything else, just cannot work. “A better way would be to include these foods as part of a healthy balanced diet.”
She doesn’t deny the good bit, however. She suggests the need to shift focus from weight loss to healthy eating, and it’s a fact that these sirutin boosting foods can help us achieve that. In fact, countries where people consume a vast number of sirtfoods, such as Japan and Italy, are ranked among the healthiest countries in the world.
So what’s the takeaway? To try and include as many of these foods as possible, but to not limit yourself to just that. Moreover, exercise will always remain important. In fact, Adele is also said to have taken up reformer pilates and rigorous home workouts, along with watching her diet. So if you really want to follow her transformation, eat right and don’t forget to get up and move!
Also Read: Diet and Mental Health: What’s the Evidence?
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