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Does the 5-Factor Diet Meal Plan Work?

written by: Roohi Khan • edited by: Tania Cowling • updated: 5/22/2011

The number "five" plays an important role in Harley Pasternak's 5-Factor diet meal plan. Often referred to as Jessica Simpson's diet plan, the 5-factor program has been used by many other celebrities and that too with great success. So, what is the 5-factor diet and does it really work?

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    What is the 5-Factor Diet Meal Plan?

    The 5-factor weight loss program was devised by fitness trainer, Harley Pasternak, who first wrote the 5-factor fitness book in 2004 and then extended it to include some dietary suggestions in the 2007 book on the 5-factor diet. Here are the key features of the 5-factor diet plan.

    The Meals

    The key part of this diet plan for losing weight is to take five meals a day. Each meal should satisfy the five criteria laid down by the plan:

    • Lean proteins from chicken, turkey, fish etc.

    • Low glycemic index foods, that is, carbohydrates that lead to only low to moderate increase in your blood sugar levels

    • High fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

    • Healthy fats, which you can get from nuts and monounsaturated olive oil

    • Sugar-free drinks such as water

    Besides this, each meal should take only five minutes to prepare and Sunday is allowed every week as a cheat day. You can eat all your favorite foods, including chocolate, ice creams, pizzas, on this cheat day.

    The Fitness Plan

    This weight loss program focuses on your diet, but it does not forget that working out is important to lose weight. Harley Pasternak believes that working out for shorter periods of time five days a week is more effective than spending an hour at the gym once a week. A mix of strength training and cardiovascular exercises helps in maintaining a high metabolism level. This means that you burn fat quickly and build lean muscles effectively.

    So, you need to do five exercises for five minutes for five days a week. Basically, 5 x 5 = 25 minutes each week. You only need dumbbells and a bench for your workouts. The exercises vary depending on five factors every week:

    • Type of exercise

    • Repetitions

    • Sets

    • Resistance Levels

    • Rest Periods

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    Advantages of the 5-Factor Diet Plan

    The best part of this diet plan is that it does not starve you. You also get a "day-off" from your dieting which makes up for all the sacrifices you have made in the last five days. The criteria that each meal should take only five minutes to cook, makes it quick and easy, especially for people who don't have the time to cook an elaborate meal.

    Another good point about this weight loss program is that it does not rule out carbohydrates. Instead, it focuses on carbohydrates that are low in glycemic index (GI). Foods with a low GI are generally lower in fat and higher in fibers and proteins. This means that the meals stabilize your insulin levels, suppressing your hunger for a longer time.

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    Disadvantages of the 5-Factor Diet Plan

    Every diet plan for weight loss has its own disadvantages and the 5-factor plan is no different. The major criticism of this weight loss program is that it does not address the issues underlying overeating, a major cause of obesity. For people who are emotional or compulsive overeaters, sticking to this plan will prove to be difficult since it does not provide them with an alternative way of dealing with their emotions.

    Low GI foods do help in a drop in insulin levels but for many people the trigger to reach out for foods is emotions. This means that they will be reaching out for food even if they are not hungry.

    Another criticism of this diet plan is that only serious dieters will achieve success with this weight loss program. Sticking to the "five" routine is not an easy task and effective weight management through this program will require a lifelong commitment. If you quit this program, you are going to gain back the weight lost very quickly.

    So, all in all the 5-factor diet meal plan does include most of the factors necessary for successful weight loss, that is, balanced nutrition, small portions, hunger suppressions, exercising, and fewer calories. However, if you have emotional issues underlying your eating or if you are not ready to make a lifetime commitment to this program, this is not right for you.

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    References

    Harley Pasternak's 5 Factor: The Diet - http://www.5factor.com/Pages/The-Diet/

    Glycemic Index: 5 Factor Diet - http://www.glycemic-index.org/5-factor-diet.html

    EveryDiet: 5 Factor Diet - http://www.everydiet.org/diet/5-factor-diet

    Weight-Loss-Center.net International: 5-Factor Diet - http://www.weight-loss-center.net/diet_programs_5_factor.html