When we think about dieting, we immediately imagine restricting our calories, upping our gym visits and skipping happy hours.
So when we heard about a buzzy program that supposedly lets you eat out, have carbs, drink alcohol and work out less, our ears perked right up. Here’s what you need to know about F-Factor.
What is the F-Factor diet?
Developed by Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, "The F-Factor approach focuses on combining lean proteins with high-fiber carbohydrates, which are low in calories and keep you feeling full throughout the day. Typical feelings of hunger and deprivation that are usually associated with weight loss are eliminated with the F-Factor Program." The diet's main pillar—the F in F-Factor—is fiber. The idea is that the more fiber a food has, the more full you will feel after eating it, leading you to consume less throughout the day. Instead of focusing on what foods to avoid, F-Factor is about incorporating the right high-fiber foods into your diet.
What can you eat?
According to its site, "Unlike other diets that ask you to starve and cut out foods groups like carbs, the F-Factor Diet is a nutritionally sound approach to eating for life that gives you more choices, not fewer. You won’t be asked to ban carbohydrates, proteins, fats, or even alcohol. You will be able to indulge your sweet tooth. And you will be able to maintain your normal lifestyle." F-Factor also sells its own protein and fiber bars and powders.
Does the F-Factor diet actually work?
Results will vary from person to person, but the science behind eating more fiber is promising. The average American eats 16 grams of fiber a day—significantly less than the 25 to 30 grams suggested by FDA. Per a chart from a 2005 study from the University of Minnesota, fiber leads to greater satiety, less insulin secretion and more short-chain fatty acids. In a nutshell, upping your fiber should lead to weight loss, whether or not you're doing it through the F-Factor diet.
What's the controversy surrounding the diet?
F-Factor and its founder Zuckerbrot have been in the news (and in Instagram comments sections) a lot recently. Per The New York Times, Emily Gellis is an influencer who has been relaying anonymous stories from women who have reached out to her saying that "after beginning the diet they experience long-lasting rashes, intense cramps, even indications of metal poisoning, and that the diet encourages disordered eating." Zuckerbrot, who has retained a lawyer to fight the allegations, told the Times that her diet and products are safe, while questioning Gellis’s authority.