Sirtfood Diet – Can Coffee, Red Wine and Dark Chocolate Help You Lose Weight?

Losing 7lb (3.2kg) in seven days, being encouraged to eat cocoa and drink red wine and coffee – the Sirtfood diet seems like it could be too good to be true, and there are some who caution that it is.

Created by nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, who co-authored a book of the same name, the way of eating activates a family of proteins called sirtuins, or “skinny genes”. This, in turn, supposedly mimics the effects of exercise and fasting.

Goggins and Matten do recommend performing “moderate activity” for half an hour five times per week, in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.

The diet’s critics cite a lack of evidence that the programme can accomplish what it promises.

Doctor and nutrition specialist Dr Melina Jampolis, based in California, the US, shuts down the notion of “skinny genes”.

“They want to sell books, so they’re saying that there’s something magical about these sirtuin genes, that it activates your skinny genes,” she says. “There are no skinny genes. I mean, you couldn’t activate them. There are people who are metabolically born skinny and can’t gain weight.”

Though she thinks the diet is being oversold, she is a fan of encouraging people to eat more healthful foods. Here’s what you should know about the Sirtfood diet.

What is the Sirtfood diet?

The plan pushes people toward certain foods without focusing on items that should be removed from one’s diet.

Goggins says when the sirtfoods are ingested, “they turn on a recycling process in the body, and that clears out cellular waste [and] improves how our cells function. The consequence of this burns fat.

“When somebody eats a diet rich in these types of foods, the outcome is similar to that same effect of exercise and fasting: a more energetic, leaner, healthier you.”

What is the controversy?

“As far as the science behind the sirtuin proteins and that sort of thing, that’s where the gimmick kind of comes in,” Jampolis says. “The science isn’t there in humans to support some of their claims that it activates the ‘skinny gene’ and can boost metabolism and increase fat-burning.”

She predicts the plan will “likely not” fulfil every promise, but says “if people eat more of these foods, long term they will be healthier.”

According to Goggins, the Sirtfood diet is simply bringing awareness to what he calls “nature’s pharmacy” – “why plant foods are so good for us, and how certain ones are highest in specific nutrients that we know improve how our cells function. Simply, these are the foods we should be incorporating maximally in our diet.”

In their book, Goggins and Matten wrote of an experiment conducted at KX, a fitness centre in London. They report 39 of the 40 members put on phase one of their plan (described in detail below) saw “an average 7lb of weight loss in seven days after accounting for muscle gain”.

Jampolis has concerns about the trial’s validity, as the subjects were all members of the gym: “They’re a motivated population. It’s not the average Joe Shmoe who’s sitting on their couch thinking about losing weight.”

What are the sirtfoods?

The book lists the top 20 sirtfoods as: arugula, buckwheat, capers, celery, chillies, cocoa, coffee, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, green tea, kale, Medjool dates, parsley, red endive, red onion, red wine, soy, strawberries, turmeric and walnuts.

Jampolis endorses most of this list, except for the Medjool dates (she recommends people monitoring their weight avoid dried fruit) and emphasises that the soy should be minimally processed.

The diet is broken into two phases.

Phase one lasts for a week and restricts the amount of calories consumed. For days one to three, those on the diet are allowed a maximum of 1,000 calories per day, and should consume three sirtfood green juices (made of kale, arugula, flat-leaf parsley, celery, green apple, fresh ginger, lemon and matcha) and one meal. For days four through to seven, caloric intake is raised to a maximum 1,500, consisting of two sirtfood green juices and two meals.

We don’t focus on what foods to cut out. We don’t demonise food groups

The second phase lasts 14 days, in which followers’ daily intake includes three meals high in sirtfoods, one sirtfood green juice and one or two sirtfood bite snacks, which are optional (and consist of walnuts, dark chocolate or cocoa nibs, Medjool dates, cocoa powder, ground turmeric, extra virgin olive oil, seeds of a vanilla pod or extract, and water).

Goggins says phase one can be skipped and people can select “the path that suits them best”.

Jampolis questions a lack of calorie guidelines for phase two. Without any restrictions, she cautions, “you can have too much of a good thing.”

What else should you eat?

Sirtfoods should be accompanied with protein for a meal. The authors recommend oily fish.

“We don’t focus on what foods to cut out,” Goggins explains. “We don’t demonise food groups.” However, he warns against overloading on processed and sugary food, as well as fish that are high in mercury.

In addition to the sirtfoods listed above, Goggins and Matten advise including vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, beans, herbs and tea in one’s diet. Asparagus, bok choy, green beans, blackberries, goji berries, kumquats, raspberries, chia seeds, peanuts, popcorn, quinoa, cinnamon and ginger are among their suggested foods.

The authors suggest all meals should be consumed by 7pm.

Source : SCMP

Cod with Leeks and Tomatoes


2 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced, rinsed well, and patted dry
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (about 12 ounces)
4 cod fillets, each 6 to 8 ounces and 3/4 to 1 inch thick


  1. 1 Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, toss together the leeks, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover with foil, and bake until the leeks just begin to soften, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Add the tomatoes, and toss to combine.
  4. Season both sides of the cod fillets with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on top of the vegetables.
  5. Cover the dish and bake until the fish is opaque throughout, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Great Food Fast

In Pictures: Food of New Healthy Restaurants in London, U.K.

Study: ‘No Clear Rationale’ for 45% of Antibiotic Prescriptions

Nearly half of antibiotic prescriptions for Medicaid patients appear to be inappropriate, new research suggests.

That kind of overprescribing raises risks for everyone, experts say, as bacteria gain more chances to mutate around the life-saving drugs.

For the study, researchers analyzed 298 million antibiotic prescriptions filled by 53 million Medicaid patients between 2004 and 2013. They found that 45% were ordered without any clear rationale.

Specifically, 17% were prescribed at an office visit in which the patient wasn’t diagnosed with a bacterial infection, and 28% were prescribed without an office visit.

“Indiscriminate use of antibiotics is increasing the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and rendering them ineffective,” said senior author Dr. Jeffrey Linder, chief of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.

“It’s concerning that nearly half of antibiotics are prescribed without a visit or without a clear rationale,” he added in a university news release. “We are not keeping track of and do not have a system to ensure high-quality antibiotic prescribing in the U.S.”

The study was published in the February issue of the journal Health Affairs.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Fischer, is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. He said, “If we’re thinking about how to improve antibiotic use, we need to understand the context in which antibiotics are being prescribed. If prescribing is taking place outside of an office visit, most of the approaches we’re taking to combat antibiotic overuse will miss those completely.”

A key question remains unanswered: Under what circumstances were antibiotics prescribed without a visit to the health care provider?

The study was based on insurance claims and not on medical records, Fischer said, so researchers don’t know what interactions took place between patients and prescribing doctors.

“We assume that most of these prescriptions were associated with a telephone interaction, although some communication may have occurred over email, via web portals or in informal, uncaptured visits,” he said. “Most of these encounters would be blind spots for the interventions designed to improve antibiotic use.”

Source: HealthDay

Handheld 3D Skin Printer Demonstrates Accelerated Healing of Large, Severe Burns

Liz Do wrote . . . . . . . . .

A new handheld 3D printer can deposit sheets of skin to cover large burn wounds – and its “bio ink” can accelerate the healing process.

The device, developed by a team of researchers from U of T Engineering and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, covers wounds with a uniform sheet of biomaterial, stripe by stripe. The bio ink dispensed by the roller is composed of mesenchymal stroma cells (MSCs) — stem cells that differentiate into specialized cell types depending on their environment. In this case, the MSC material promotes skin regeneration and reduces scarring.

The project is led by Richard Cheng (IBBME PhD candidate), under the supervision of Professor Axel Guenther (MIE), and in close collaboration with Dr. Marc Jeschke, director of the Ross Tilley Burn Centre, and his team at Sunnybrook Hospital. Their successful in-vivo trials on full-thickness wounds are reported in the journal Biofabrication.

The paper is a major step forward for the team, which unveiled the first prototype of the skin printer in 2018. The device was believed to be the first device of its kind to form tissue in situ, depositing and setting in place in two minutes or less.

“Previously, we proved that we could deposit cells onto a burn, but there wasn’t any proof that there were any wound-healing benefits — now we’ve demonstrated that,” says Guenther.

The current method of care for burns is autologous skin grafting, which requires transplantation of healthy skin from other parts of the body onto the wound.

But large, full-body burns pose a greater challenge. Full-thickness burns are characterized by the destruction of both the outermost and innermost layers of the skin; these burns often cover a significant portion of the body.

“With big burns, you don’t have sufficient healthy skin available, which could lead to patient deaths,” says Jeschke.

Since 2018, the printer has gone through 10 redesigns, as the team moves towards a design they envision surgeons using in an operating room. The current prototype includes a single-use microfluidic printhead to ensure sterilization, and a soft wheel that follows the track of the printhead, allowing for better control for wider wounds.

Next, Cheng says that they ultimately want to “further reduce the amount of scarring, on top of helping with wound healing. Our main focus moving forward will be on the in-vivo side.”

Jeschke believes the handheld skin printer could be seen in a clinical setting within the next five years. “Once it’s used in an operating room, I think this printer will be a game changer in saving lives. With a device like this, it could change the entirety of how we practice burn and trauma care.”

Source: University of Toronto Engineering

Today’s Comic