What Is the Sirtfood Diet?

Emer Delaney wrote . . . . . . . . .

What is the Sirtfood diet?

Launched originally in 2016, the Sirtfood diet remains a hot topic and involves followers adopting a diet rich in ‘sirtfoods’. According to the diet’s founders, these special foods work by activating specific proteins in the body called sirtuins. Sirtuins are believed to protect cells in the body from dying when they are under stress and are thought to regulate inflammation, metabolism and the aging process. It’s thought that sirtuins influence the body’s ability to burn fat and boost metabolism, resulting in a seven pound weight loss a week while maintaining muscle. However, some experts believe this is unlikely to be solely fat loss, but will instead reflect changes in glycogen stores from skeletal muscle and the liver.

The diet

So what are these magical ‘sirtfoods’? The ten most common include:

  • Green tea
  • Dark chocolate (that is at least 85 per cent cocoa)
  • Apples
  • Citrus fruits
  • Parsley
  • Turmeric
  • Kale
  • Blueberries
  • Capers
  • Red wine

The diet is divided into two phases; the initial phase lasts one week and involves restricting calories to 1000kcal for three days, consuming three sirtfood green juices and one meal rich in sirtfoods each day. The juices include kale, celery, rocket, parsley, green tea and lemon. Meals include turkey escalope with sage, capers and parsley, chicken and kale curry and prawn stir-fry with buckwheat noodles. From days four to seven, energy intakes are increased to 1500kcal comprising of two sirtfood green juices and two sirtfood-rich meals a day.

Although the diet promotes healthy foods, it’s restrictive in both your food choices and daily calories, especially during the initial stages. It also involves drinking juice, with the amounts suggested during phase one exceeding the current daily guidelines.

The second phase is known as the maintenance phase which lasts 14 days where steady weight loss occurs. The authors believe it’s a sustainable and realistic way to lose weight. However, focusing on weight loss is not what the diet is all about – it’s designed to be about eating the best foods nature has to offer. Long term they recommend eating three balanced sirtfood rich meals a day along with one sirtfood green juice.

At first glance, this is not a diet I would advise for my clients. Aiming to have 1000kcal for three consecutive days is extremely difficult and I believe the majority of people would be unable to achieve it. Looking at the list of foods, you can see they are the sort of items that often appear on a ‘healthy food list’, however it would be better to encourage these as part of a healthy balanced diet. Having a glass of red wine or a small amount of chocolate occasionally won’t do us any harm – I wouldn’t recommend them on a daily basis. We should also be eating a mixture of different fruits and vegetables and not just those on the list.

In terms of weight loss and boosting metabolism, people may have experienced a seven pound weight loss on the scales, but in my experience this will be fluid. Burning and losing fat takes time so it is extremely unlikely this weight loss is a loss of fat. I would be very cautious of any diet that recommends fast and sudden weight loss as this simply isn’t achievable and will more than likely be a loss of fluid. As soon as people return to their regular eating habits, they will regain the weight. Slow and steady weight loss is the key and for this we need to restrict calories and increase our activity levels. Eating balanced regular meals made up of low GI foods, lean protein, fruit and vegetables and keeping well hydrated is the safest way to lose weight.

Please note: if you’re considering attempting any form of diet, please consult your GP first to ensure you can do so without risk to health.

Source: BBC

Diet Key to Better Health in People With Diabetes

Cara Murez wrote . . . . . . . . .

A diet rich in fresh veggies, fruit and fiber has meaningful benefits for people with diabetes, a new research review confirms.

Doctors have long recommended this kind of “low-glycemic” eating regimen to help patients manage their diabetes and keep blood sugar levels steady. The new review of findings from 29 different trials lends support for that advice.

“Although it was small, the effects were important,” said study co-author Dr. John Sievenpiper, an associate professor of nutritional sciences and medicine at the University of Toronto. “I think it provides an opportunity for patients to help them achieve their diabetes treatment goals using diet,” he added.

The trials reviewed in this study investigated the effects of a low-glycemic index/glycemic load diet for three or more weeks in 1,617 patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Most were middle-aged and overweight or obese. Their diabetes was moderately controlled and they were using medication or insulin.

Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly different foods affect blood sugar levels.

Past research has found that low-glycemic index foods help keep blood sugar levels steady and reduce the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.

In this research review, low-glycemic diets were associated with lower blood sugar levels with a high degree of certainty of evidence.

With moderate certainty, the diet was associated with reductions in fasting blood sugar, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, weight and a protein involved in inflammation.

The diets did not seem to affect blood levels of insulin and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, waist circumference or blood pressure, the review found.

Diet is a cornerstone of diabetes therapy, Sievenpiper said. Though patients in the reviewed studies were already on medications or insulin, adding in a low-glycemic diet later could also help, the evidence showed.

Laura Chiavaroli, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, led the research review.

When it comes to choosing carbohydrates, she said people with diabetes ideally would choose whole and plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains.

“With the rise in popularity of plant-based diets right now, [this research] is coming out at a good time where people are a bit more aware of those kinds of foods,” Chiavaroli said.

A big takeaway from the study is that all carbohydrates aren’t created equal.

Sievenpiper said, “All carbohydrates aren’t bad. And there’s advantages to selecting lower-glycemic carbohydrates.”

That includes scrapping refined grains in favor of whole grains with “sticky” fiber, such as oats and barley, he said. In its traditional form, a Mediterranean diet has a low-glycemic index, he added.

The findings were published online Aug. 5 in the BMJ.

The research was done, in part, for an update to European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ guidelines.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinology is updating its guidelines, too, and the American Diabetes Association has included updates in its standards of care, according to Dr. Karl Nadolsky, assistant clinical professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, in East Lansing.

Replacing food that’s refined, processed and high-energy with whole foods will automatically result in a diet that’s lower in glycemic index and energy intake, he said.

“Energy balance matters. We know that reducing our energy intake will help obesity and … diseases like type 2 diabetes,” said Nadolsky, who was not involved in the study. “We know that Mediterranean-pattern diet, getting fat from nuts and seeds and all that stuff is better for cardiovascular risk and diabetes.”

People may need individualized diets based on their circumstances. For example, Nadolsky said, an athlete with 5% body fat will have different needs than most, including more high-glycemic foods. Others may want to increase their consumption of plant-based foods, while sometimes eating high-quality fish or meat.

Replacing white bread, pizza crust, sugar-sweetened beverages and baked goods with veggies, beans, legumes and fruit makes sense, he added.

“It’s low-glycemic index, low-glycemic load. It’s a lower energy intake. It has higher fiber, which they do talk about in this study,” Nadolsky said. “So you end up getting all those benefits when you do that.”

Source: HealthDay

Most Americans Don’t Follow Diets That Could Prevent Cancer

The eating habits of most American adults aren’t in line with dietary guidelines that can reduce the risk of cancer, a new study finds.

Researchers examined data from nearly 31,000 U.S. adult participants in the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The analysis of what the participants ate in the 24 hours before completing the survey showed that about 63% to 73% didn’t get the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and about 90% didn’t achieve the recommended 30 grams of fiber per day.

Nearly 70% of the participants were overweight or obese. Obese participants, who made up nearly 36% of the survey volunteers, were significantly less likely than other adults to get recommended intakes of fiber, fruit, non-starchy vegetables and whole grains.

Obese adults were also more likely to exceed the recommended 18 ounces per week of red meat and to have had fast food on the day they took part in the survey.

On average, all participants consumed more added sugars than the recommended maximum of less than 10% of overall daily calories, according to the study published recently in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“We’re looking at individuals to move toward a primarily plant-based type of dietary pattern rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans, peas, lentils, seeds and nuts — and cutting back on saturated fats and sodium,” said senior study author Colleen Spees, an associate professor of medical dietetics in Ohio State University’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

“Modifying our current dietary and physical activity patterns to better align with these evidence-based guidelines over time is important to reduce the risk of noncommunicable disease and promote lifelong health and wellness,” Spees said in a university news release.

“If Americans adopt these recommendations, they can reduce their risk of obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke and high blood pressure,” she added.

The guidelines are from the American Institute for Cancer Research, the American Cancer Society, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Even if you can’t meet all the guidelines, following some is better than ignoring them altogether, Spees said.

For example, eat out at fast food restaurants less often and find tasty ways to incorporate more vegetables, grains and beans into meals prepared at home, she suggested.

Source: HealthDay

A Woman’s Diet Might Help Her Avoid Breast Cancer

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

Women whose diets tend to feed inflammation may have a heightened risk of breast cancer, a preliminary study suggests.

The study, of more than 350,000 women, found that the more “pro-inflammatory” foods women consumed, the higher their breast cancer risk.

The term refers to foods thought to contribute to chronic low-grade inflammation throughout the body — a state implicated in various disease processes.

The findings do not prove cause and effect, the researchers said. But they do add to evidence that diet can affect the likelihood of developing breast cancer.

Unsurprisingly, a pro-inflammatory diet is full of the usual suspects.

It’s high in red and processed meats, sugar and saturated fats, said Carlota Castro-Espin, the lead researcher on the study.

That type of diet, she said, might contribute to breast cancer because it promotes inflammation, and also because it’s lacking in foods that fight inflammation.

Those foods are no surprise, either. They include vegetables, fruits, beans, fiber-rich grains and “good” unsaturated fats.

So the findings square with the general advice on healthy eating, according to Castro-Espin, a PhD student at the Catalan Institute of Oncology, in Barcelona, Spain.

She is scheduled to present the results this week at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition. Studies released at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Diet habits have been linked to the risk of numerous cancers, breast cancer among them.

Marjorie McCullough is senior scientific director of epidemiology research at the American Cancer Society. She said, “There is some evidence that dietary patterns rich in plant foods and lower in animal products and refined carbohydrates are associated with a lower risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.”

McCullough added that one clinical trial — the type of study considered to give the strongest evidence — found benefits with the traditional Mediterranean diet. Women assigned to the diet (and supplied with olive oil) had a lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who were told to cut fat from their diets.

The Mediterranean diet bears many of the features of an anti-inflammatory one — being rich in fish, vegetables, whole grains and good fats, and low in red meat and processed foods.

The cancer society does not endorse any specific diet for curbing cancer risk. Instead, it advises following a “healthy eating pattern” that includes plenty of plant foods and limits on sugar, refined grains and red meat.

McCullough, who was not involved in the new study, said it reinforces that advice.

Diet, of course, affects body weight, and obesity is believed to boost the risk of various cancers. But, McCullough said, studies suggest that eating habits affect cancer risk above and beyond their impact on weight.

Inflammation may be one avenue, Castro-Espin said.

For the study, she and her colleagues used data from a long-running research project on diet and cancer risk among European adults. They focused on more than 318,000 women who were free of breast cancer at the outset.

The researchers assigned each woman a score rating the “inflammatory potential” of her diet, based on the nutrients and other compounds in the foods she reported eating.

Over about 15 years, more than 13,200 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. That risk was 12% higher among the one-fifth of women with the most inflammatory diets, versus the one-fifth eating the fewest pro-inflammatory foods.

The link was stronger among women who developed the cancer before menopause, rather than after, Castro-Espin said.

Other factors were taken into account, she noted, including body weight, drinking habits and exercise. And the connection between inflammatory diets and breast cancer risk still held.

Castro-Espin agreed that it all supports the existing diet advice.

Along with its guidance on food choices, McCullough said, the cancer society advises limiting alcohol. Drinking is linked to several cancers, including breast tumors.

The group also encourages people to maintain a healthy weight and get regular exercise — at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity, like brisk walking, each week.

Source: HealthDay

Will High-Protein Diets Help the Middle-Aged Build Muscle?

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

Middle-aged adults looking to boost their muscle mass do not need to bulk up on protein, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that 10 weeks of strength training plus a moderate amount of protein were enough to build muscle in previously sedentary middle-aged people. And extra protein brought no added gains.

The findings run counter to a common belief among exercisers, said researcher Colleen McKenna, a registered dietitian and graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Protein is essential for muscle maintenance and growth. But the typical American diet contains plenty of it, McKenna said.

“If you’re getting enough high-quality protein in your diet,” she said, “then ‘enough’ is probably enough.”

The “quality” part, said McKenna, is important: Think lean meat rather than fast-food burgers.

Animal protein, she noted, is generally better than plant protein because it contains all of the necessary amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and is more “efficient” in supporting muscle growth.

Timing can make a difference, too.

In general, McKenna explained, there are “key windows” for eating protein to enhance muscle-protein synthesis: Right after strength training and an hour or two before bed at night.

So exercisers might want to have their most protein-dense meal after a workout, McKenna said.

The findings were published online recently in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism. They’re based on 50 adults enrolled in a clinical trial. They ranged in age from 40 to 64, and were overweight but healthy.

All took part in the same 10-week strength-training program, working out with weight machines and free weights three days a week.

The researchers randomly assigned the participants to either a moderate-protein or high-protein group. Both groups were given a protein supplement — in the form of lean beef — right after their workouts. The moderate-intake group ate 3 ounces of beef, while the high-protein group had 6 ounces.

All participants also drank protein drinks each night, with the moderate group again consuming half as much protein as the high-intake group.

Even with those protein shots, people in the moderate-intake group were counseled to keep their overall dietary protein to the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), which is 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight (about 0.36 grams of protein per pound).

The reality was a bit different: The study participants kept diet records, and the moderate group ended up eating more than the RDA for protein, around 1.1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram.

That amount, according to McKenna, is actually consistent with the typical American diet. In contrast, people in the high-protein group typically downed 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram each day, or twice the RDA.

In theory, that should have meant the high-protein group would gain more muscle. But after 10 weeks, both study groups showed similar gains in muscle mass and strength, and no differences in overall body composition.

It’s a common misperception that strength training should involve protein loading, said Isabel Maples, a Washington, D.C.-based registered dietitian who was not involved in the trial.

“The thinking is, if some protein is good, a lot must be better,” said Maples, who is a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

If the body is not getting sufficient calories, she noted, then it will use protein for fuel instead of muscle building. But most Americans get more than enough calories, as well as protein, Maples said.

So instead of adding protein, exercisers could tweak the timing, Maples said. Have protein throughout the day, including right after a workout.

And for the sake of overall health, Maples suggested getting a variety of protein sources, for example, not only meat, but fish, dairy, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

“If you’re strength-training to improve your health,” she said, “nutrition should be part of that.”

The trial, which was funded by Beef Checkoff, a program of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, had an additional goal: To see whether the beef supplements had any ill effects, including spikes in cholesterol or blood pressure, or problems with kidney function.

There were no red flags.

That, McKenna said, might reflect a simple fact: People were regularly exercising and eating lean, minimally processed beef, which is different from a sedentary lifestyle full of processed meats.

Source: HealthDay