Sunday, September 2, 2012

The 5 Factor Diet: A Brief Overview

Factor DietObviously, any diet book worth its salt cannot be adequately summarized in just a few lines. In fact, it is this very type of summary that has given other diets a bit of a bad name in the general public. Take the Atkins diet, for instance. Because of oversimplification, the vast majority of the uninitiated public (as in, those who have not taken the time to read the book), believe that the Atkins diet is about cutting out carbs completely, for the rest of your life. This is the furthest thing from the truth, and even a cursory reading of the book would show you otherwise. For this reason, we hesitate to simplify any diet, when the book itself would be so much more enlightening. Then again, it would hardly serve the purposes of this report to say: go read it for yourself. So let’s take a look at the 5 Factor Diet with the understanding that no synopsis can do any book (diet or otherwise) much justice.

The 5 Factor diet is built around the glycemic index. If you’re unfamiliar with the glycemic index, it is basically a way for us to tell which foods have the most damaging effect on our blood sugar when we consume them.

Scientists and nutritionists believe that foods with a severe impact on the GI cause us to gain weight more rapidly, due to changing spikes in our hunger levels and slower metabolization of the calories themselves. The diet advocates a daily plan of five meals per day, with each meal made up of five components (the “5" in the 5 Factor Diet). These components are a lean protein, a complex carbohydrate, fiber, a good fat, and a sugar free drink.

In addition to the call for five daily meals made up of those five components, Pasternak places great emphasis on the importance of exercise in the diet plan. This in itself, it must be said, sets it apart from many similar diet plans, and is a refreshing change of pace. So many diet books concentrate exclusively on the eating portion of the plan, and treat exercise as an afterthought. Of course, there is good reason for this from a marketing standpoint. It has been shown time and again that the only thing Americans loathe more than dieting, it’s
exercise. Come out with a diet plan that eschews (or at least downplays the importance of) exercise, and you have a much better chance of success (even if the dieter themselves does not).

Pasternak’s emphasis on exercise is doubtlessly born of her background as a fitness trainer. It is a well guarded secret of the Hollywood stars that they got those ripped abs and toned cores not through any secret diet pills or plans, but through hours of grueling exercise each day.

Of course, the average American doesn’t have the will (much less the time) to do so much exercise, but we typically have time to do more than we think.

Once again, with the exercise plan (and, truthfully, this is where the book starts to wear on you with the gimmicks), it is put in such a way that it fits the titular “5" of the 5 Factor Diet plan. Five days a week of exercise, five exercises, with each exercise taking five minutes to do. Is it reasonable to think that this is the optimal amount and mixture of exercise, as compared to anything else, or is it just put in this way so as to fit with the theme? Well, that’s up to the reader to decide, but the opinion of this writer is probably clear. Still, points are still given for the emphasis of exercise in the first place, and perhaps the 5 gimmick will help disciples of the diet remember exactly what they’re supposed to do, keeping it simple and thus easier to follow. There’s something to be said for that as well.

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