DUNEDIN, New Zealand, Jan. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sirtfood Diet was ranked as Google's No. 7 most-searched diet of 2019. But the diet has been widely criticized by nutrition experts for being highly restrictive. In fact, only 1000 calories a day are allowed at the beginning of the diet, which dietitian McKenzie Caldwell recently told Good Housekeeping magazine "is only appropriate for a child between the ages of 2 and 4."
But the basis for the Sirtfood diet is actually scientifically sound, according to Trudy Thelander, co-creator of the MediterrAsian diet — the original inspiration for the Sirtfood diet.
"The term 'Sirtfoods' was coined by German scientists from the University of Kiel when they were studying the benefits of a MediterrAsian diet, which combines two of the world's healthiest diets — the Mediterranean diet and the Asian diet," she said.
Traditional Mediterranean and Asian diets are rich in natural plant compounds called polyphenols. Consuming these polyphenol-rich foods — including extra virgin olive oil, turmeric, capers, green tea and red wine — activates a special family of genes in the body called sirtuins which play a fundamental role in slowing cellular aging, reducing inflammation, and regulating blood sugars. They can also increase the body's ability to burn fat.
The scientists found that the sirtuin-activating benefits of a MediterrAsian diet were similar to severe calorie restriction such as fasting (which also activates sirtuins), but without having to restrict calories. Their groundbreaking research was published in the scientific journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity in 2013 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3771427). They wrote, "We suggest that a so-called 'MediterrAsian' diet combining sirtuin-activating foods (= sirtfoods) of the Asian as well as Mediterranean diet may be a promising dietary strategy in preventing chronic diseases, thereby ensuring health and healthy aging."
But high sirtfood consumption certainly isn't the only reason people from Mediterranean and Asian cultures traditionally enjoy such exceptional health and long lifespans, points out Thelander. "Unlike modern Western diets that are full of highly processed foods, a MediterrAsian diet is based on a foundation of minimally processed foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, olive oil, and fish. These foods are overflowing with health-promoting compounds including omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and also dietary fiber — which is great for gut health and is also one of nature's best appetite suppressants."
However, one of the biggest benefits of a MediterrAsian diet is how easy it is to follow, says Thelander, who also co-wrote the critically acclaimed cookbook, The MediterrAsian Way. "Some the world's tastiest foods come from Mediterranean and Asian regions such as Italy, Greece and Japan. So, eating this way isn't at all restrictive, it's a very enjoyable experience."
Dietitian Caroline Fernandes agrees. She now recommends her patients follow a MediterrAsian diet, and the outcome has been highly positive. "In practice, we observed that patients do not feel they are on a diet, in the restrictive sense of the word, but a transition to a new lifestyle that involves flavors, foods and seasonings with a harmonious blend."
About Trudy Thelander
Trudy is the co-founder of MediterrAsian.com, a popular food and lifestyle website described by USA Today as "An elegant and joyous site." She is also co-author of the critically acclaimed cookbook and lifestyle guide, The MediterrAsian Way, which the Library Journal described as "A lifestyle not just a diet" and the Tulsa World described as "An endless culinary adventure."
For more information visit http://www.mediterrasian.com/about.htm
Phone +64 22 475 7983