Is the F-Factor Diet Fad or Fantastic?

As anyone who frequently reads our blog knows, we’re not the biggest fans of diets. They’re restrictive, hard to maintain and sometimes unhealthy. Nutritionists are moving further and further from diets to instead suggesting lifestyles that are healthier overall. A balanced diet and an exercise plan are far, far more easily maintained than any radical change. With the F-Factor Diet, things might be different.

The F-Factor Diet doesn’t require people to cut things out. It’s about getting 35 grams of fiber into your day. This is an excellent change of pace. Tanya Zuckerbrot, who created the diet, is a dietician. Most lifestyle diets do require adherents to cut out categories of food, be it carbs, meat or specific fats. The F-Factor Diet instead says that, by eating more fiber, you’ll be less hungry and eat less without making an effort. It does limit carbs, but the first and most stringent phase limits you to 35 net carbs a day. The phase lasts only two weeks. When you are maintaining the diet, it’s 125 grams of net carbs, which isn’t very difficult. “Net carbs” are different from total carbs and can be found on most nutrition labels or health apps. Net carbs are calculated as the total grams of carbohydrate minus the grams of sugar alcohols, fiber and glycerin.

There are some red flags around the diet. While many agree that the diet is science-based, it does seem fad-like when Zuckerbrot charges her wealthy clients $15,000 for 10 sessions and 24/7 access to her personally for them to ask questions. There is a book that the rest of us can use to learn the diet, The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss, which costs under $11 on Amazon. It includes recipes and research information.

Another big red flag is the tagline of the diet. According to Zuckerbrot, you can “eat carbs, dine out, drink alcohol, work out less.” Those are big promises, and all diets plans require you to make some changes to see results. No diet or lifestyle plan can promise you your life won’t be altered at all. The third red flag comes from the fact that the diet’s official site sells everything from snack bars to inspirational bracelets. While these factors aren’t necessarily signs of being a fad diet, they don’t inspire a great deal of confidence. Finally, the diet doesn’t combat mindless eating, eating out of boredom instead of hunger. More fiber can help you feel fuller, but we frequently eat snacks when we aren’t hungry at all.

Some dieticians don’t agree with the high amount of fiber the diet suggests you should begin eating right away. They say you should increase your fiber more gradually to avoid digestive problems. Dieticians also feel it’s important to remind people that, when you increase your fiber intake, you should also increase the fluids you drink. Overall, they believe the diet is healthy and easier to maintain than many other plans people follow. But, as to whether or not you will lose weight, the jury is still out. Before starting any diet or lifestyle plan, speak to your healthcare provider. A medical person who knows your history and personal needs can give you far better advice than a book.   

June 17, 2019
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