When it comes to weight loss, it is generally agreed that, rather than follow fad diets, the best approach is to adopt healthy eating practices in combination with physical activity to balance energy expenditure against energy intake. But as the number of overweight and obese individuals’ increases in the US and around the world, there are a lot of diet methods and tools surfacing, including nutrition-based diets, meal replacement products, non-prescription diet pills, and many more.

According to Mintel’s Diet Trends US 2015, half of US adult dieters restrict calories to manage their weight. Calorie restriction is a common technique for weight loss which mainly refers to the intentional monitoring of calories to ensure that fewer calories than normal are consumed. Restricting calories is a simple way for consumers to manage their own diet without additional costs or resources.

There are many calorie restrictive diets around, but the latest diet craze that has replaced the Paleo and Dukan diets to become the most talked-about diet of 2016 is the “The Sirtfood Diet.” It promises followers will lose up to 7lbs in a week without compromising on health, fitness and muscle mass or food satisfaction by allowing devotees to enjoy items most diet regimes ban, such as chocolate, red wine and coffee.

Types-of-diets-and-tools-currently-used-for-dieting2

Sirtfoods assist weight loss

Written by expert nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, the sirtfood diet is based around the consumption of sirtfoods, which are a group of foods that contain naturally-occurring compounds called polyphenols, which activate sirtuins in the body. Sirtuin is a type of protein that is important for regulating biological pathways which affect health and weight. Sirtiuns protect  the cells in bodies from dying or becoming inflamed through illness, help to regulate fat and glucose metabolism, increase longevity, increase muscle mass and burn fat. Also, they are caloric restriction mimetic candidates that prevent aging-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and obesity. According to The Journal of Physiology, the broad effect of caloric restriction on health and longevity occurs through multiple mechanisms that involve most of the metabolic pathways in tissues and organs and one of the major effectors is sirtuin, which also helps in decreasing oxidative damage.

Sirtfoods you may be familiar with include: extra virgin olive oil, green tea, capers, coffee (black), kale, walnuts, strawberries, dark chocolate (85% cocoa) and red wine (esp. pinot noir).

High sirtuin activating aspect of sirtfoods could be attractive to dieters

Sirtfoods are healthy by default as they all came from fruits and vegetable sources which are packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants. They are said to be high in polyphenols which activate members of the sirtuin proteins and positively influence oxidative stress and inflammation. Polyphenols have come into focus over the last few years, especially in RTD teas.

The most studied polyphenol which shows effects on sirtuin is resveratrol. Found at its highest level in grape seed and skin, as well as in red wine, resveratrol has been reported to slow down aging by activating sirtuins.

According to Mintel research, dieters are seeking diet plans that can easily be incorporated into their daily lifestyle without too much deprivation on food, leave them feeling fulfilled, are affordable, and favor a simple approach. Compared to other specific diet plans such as South Beach, Atkins, Paleo and Weight Watchers which are considered as strict and extreme diets, the sirtfood diet is more convenient and accessible for dieters in terms of the foods allowed. It also follows the premise that food availability though moderation is still the key for health and well-being not to be compromised.

Most of the sirtfoods are nutritious so eating them as part of a balanced diet will have health benefits, even without weight loss. However, more research on the sirtfood diet is advised as it will increase interest in this type of diet and create new opportunities for products that support weight loss.

Based in Singapore, Michelle is a Food Science and Nutrition Analyst at Mintel. She specializes in food science and ingredients, with a focus on nutrition. Prior to Mintel, most of her career was in the field of nutrition and dietetics concentrating on food service, clinical nutrition, health and wellness program management, nutrition research and marketing. She’s a licensed Nutritionist-Dietitian in the Philippines and an Accredited Nutritionist in Singapore.

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