The 5-Factor Diet
You won't go hungry on The 5-Factor Diet. With five meals a day, you’re always eating, and you also get one “cheat day” a week to satisfy your cravings.
Creator and celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak says it's a lifestyle plan, not a diet. Each part of the plan revolves around the number five. You’ll prepare and eat five, 5-ingredient meals a day (each takes 5 minutes to prepare) and do 25-minute workouts (consisting of five, 5-minute segments) five times a week.
Pasternak promises that eating a balanced meal five times a day will keep your blood sugar low and stable. This helps your mood and gives you energy all day long.
What You Can Eat and What You Can't
Each 5-Factor five-ingredient meal must include all five must-have food groups:
- Protein (egg whites, fish, lean meats/poultry, fat-free dairy)
- Complex carbohydrates (vegetables, sweet potato, wild rice, beans, lentils, oatmeal, quinoa)
- Fiber (whole-grain cereal, beans, wild rice, flourless wheat bread, fruits and vegetables with edible skins and seeds)
- Healthy fat (from fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, rainbow trout, or peanut oil, olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed)
- Sugar-free drinks (water, sugar-free soda, coffee, tea, or an unsweetened energy drink)
The 5-Factor Diet doesn’t mention alcohol specifically, but on the diet’s “cheat day” you may eat or drink anything you like.
Pasternak’s other books include: 5-Factor Fitness; The 5-Factor World Diet; and The Body Reset Diet: Power Your Metabolism, Blast Fat, and Shed Pounds in Just 15 Days.
Level of Effort: Medium
Limitations: You can eat anything you want on your weekly “cheat day." Otherwise, all your meals should be limited to dishes made with foods from the five must-have groups mentioned above.
Cooking and shopping: You’ll spend minimal time and effort on cooking if you stock your refrigerator and pantry with Pasternak’s top picks for 5-Factor foods.
Packaged foods or meals: No.
In-person meetings: No.
Exercise: Required. The plan depends on exercise as much as diet. You must do the 25-minute 5-Factor workout five days a week.
Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?
Vegetarians and vegans: You can easily modify the 5-Factor Diet for vegetarian and vegan diets, though the protein sources for vegans are somewhat limited.
Gluten-free: The breads Pasternak allows are flour-free. You may substitute gluten-free alternatives as long as they are low-sugar.
Low-salt, low-fat: The plan is already geared toward low-fat and low-salt foods and may be adjusted further if needed.
What Else You Should Know
Cost: Just your groceries. You’ll spend roughly the same amount on groceries if you keep the bulk of your protein purchases to eggs, lean meats and poultry, and fat-free dairy, as opposed to seafood.
Support: You do this diet on your own.