The 5 Factor Diet: Can It Work for You?
Celebrities like Jessica Simpson are said to be losing weight on the 5 Factor Diet. But will it work east of Beverly Hills?
If you're like most folks, hearing the words "Hollywood" and
"diet" in the same sentence leaves you thinking the word
"gimmick" can't be far behind. As any serial dieter will tell you, the
sheer number of celebrity quick weight loss fixes can make
your head spin! Enter stage left: The 5 Factor Diet, the latest weight loss
plan reported to help stars like Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, Eva Mendes,
Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Kanye West, and more get their million-dollar
But is the 5 Factor Diet, from the book of the same name by celebrity
trainer Harley Pasternak, just another Hollywood diet gimmick? Experts
are divided on its value.
"I don't see any real science behind the 5 Factor Diet -- no studies to
show it works, plus it doesn't seem to address a major problem linked to
obesity, which is emotional overeating," says weight control psychologist
Abby Aronowitz, PhD, director of SelfHelpDirectives.com.
Others, however, see it as a refreshingly sound and nutritious approach to
weight loss, one that can help dieters reign in their appetites and lose extra
"The 5 Factor Diet puts a new spin on what has been the traditional
advice of every major nutrition organization for years," says Angela Kurtz,
RD, a nutritionist at New York University Medical Center. "It's a
well-balanced eating plan that includes all the food groups, doesn't leave
anything out, and in a very subtle and very clever way also helps us change the
eating behaviors that caused us to gain weight in the first
What Is The 5 Factor Diet?
The "five" in the 5 Factor Diet comes not only from the number of
elements each meal should include -- protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber,
fat, and fluids -- but from the recommended five meals a day, with recipes that
contain no more than five ingredients, or take no more than five minutes of
prep time and five minutes of cooking time.Â
There is also a five-day exercise plan, which -- no surprise - consists
of five exercises you do for 5 minutes each. And, there's a "cheat day"
once a week, when you can eat anything you like.
Like Kurtz, nutritionist Cathy Nonas, MS, RD, believes this approach hits
all the right notes for orchestrating successful weight control for many
"This is a healthy plan that incorporates all the food categories in
appropriate proportions. The exercise is a combination of cardio and strength
training, and you don't need any expensive equipment to do it," Nonas
writes in her review of The5 Factor Diet for the American Dietetic
Aronowitz agrees the diet is nutritious, but still sees some serious flaws
in the plan.
"Yes, it's good nutrition, but outside of the Hollywood community I
don't believe there is any evidence to show that eating five meals a day is a
secret formula to weight control. In the end, it's just calories in and
calories out, and it doesn't really matter when you eat them -- and to try to
convince us otherwise is somewhat misleading," says Aronowitz, author of
Your Final Diet.