Popular Diets Reviewed: The 5-Factor Diet

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • The 5-Factor Diet is the newest craze in Hollywood. Harley Pasternak, a celebrity trainer who works with stars like Jessica Simpson, John Mayer, Alicia Keys and Halle Berry, created the plan to fit within the strict time constraints of a movie set and touring schedule.

    With relatively little time and space on a movie set to train clients, the plan was designed to be simple and effective. The five in 5-Factor comes from the foods you eat, the number of times you eat every day and the length and duration of your workouts.

    The five fives are:
    • 5-week plan
    • Five meals a day
    • Five ingredients
    • Five minute workouts

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    • Five cheat days in 5 weeks.

    How the Diet Works
    People who follow this diet plan eat five meals every day. Each meal is a balanced mix of five ingredients: lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats and water or another sugar-free beverage.

    The diet plan focuses on lean meats, complex carbohydrates, high fiber fruits and vegetables and healthy monounsaturated fats. Each meal includes all of the different food groups to encourage a well balanced diet. The book also includes recipes to help people follow the diet plan.

    The five food ingredients are low on the glycemic index; this means that they will not have a dramatic affect on blood sugar levels. The helps regulate insulin levels, which some people believe is directly correlated to appetite and hunger.

    There is also an exercise component to the plan. Because the diet was designed for celebrities to be able to do while on-set, the exercises are short and can be done in a small space. The plan includes five exercises, done for five minutes each over five days.

    The diet plan also incorporates a cheat day, when participants can eat anything that they want as long as they eat five meals a day.

    My Thoughts
    While research does not support the idea behind low glycemic foods and weight loss, there is no harm in following that type of diet. Research has shown that a calorie is a calorie, and weight loss will occur when people eat fewer calories than they expend.

    However, the 5-Factor Diet is a well-balanced eating plan that includes all the food groups. It also emphasizes the most healthful foods in each food group and includes physical activity recommendations.

    While eating 5 times a day instead of 3 times a day isn’t going to result in weight loss by itself, it can help control hunger and prevent overeating. Small frequent meals can also help keep your metabolism on a more even keel, which means you are burning more calories throughout the day.

    My main concern with this plan is in the exercise recommendations. Exercising only 25 minutes per day does not meet the minimum standards set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They recommend that everyone exercise at least 30 minutes on most of all days of the week. And the recommendations for someone trying to lose weight are 60 minutes. I am also a bit skeptical that the celebrities who follow this diet plan exercise only 25 minutes per day.

  • Like other diet plans, this book addresses overeating; however, it fails to address other eating triggers like emotion, stress and boredom As a five week plan, this diet can help you get used to eating a well balanced diet that focuses on healthful foods. However, for weight loss to be maintained, you have to carry these principles past the five-weeks outlined in the book and into daily life.

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    * Grade: A-. This diet outlines a well-balanced diet that includes all of the food groups. It focuses on healthy foods and incorporates exercise into the recommendations. I only wish the exercise recommendations met the standards set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.


    * Popular Diet Rating System

    A: This diet meets accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It recommends food from all food groups with an emphasis on healthy choices within each food group.
    B: This diet meets most accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It emphasizes healthy foods but does not include food from all food groups.
    C: This diet only meets some accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It does not differentiate between food choices in each food group and therefore does not emphasize healthy foods.
    D: This diet does only meets one or two accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet.
    F: This diet does not meet any accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It does not differentiate between healthy foods and unhealthy foods and/or does not meet caloric needs.

Published On: January 13, 2008