What is the 5-Factor Diet?

All the rage with the likes of Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry, dietitian Melissa Meier breaks down the ins and outs of Hollywood’s ‘go-to eating plan’. 

Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Rhianna have supposedly tried the 5-Factor Diet – and if it worked for them, you might be considering jumping on the bandwagon, too. Created by Harley Pasternak, a celebrity trainer and nutritionist in the US, the 5-Factor Diet has an enticing tagline of ‘Hollywood’s Hottest Eating Plan’ and promises to help you drop kilos and improve your fitness without feeling hungry or deprived. ‘Sign me up!’ I hear you say – but before you get hooked, here’s what you need to know.

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What is the 5-Factor Diet?

There are lots of ‘fives’ in the 5-Factor Diet. Essentially, it’s a five week plan that involves five meals a day, each of which contains just five ingredients and takes only five minutes to prepare. I told you there were a lot of fives.

Each meal must consist of one lean protein, one low GI carb, one healthy fat, one source of fibre and a sugar-free fluid. Bonus: you get one cheat day per week, where you can eat anything you like for your five meals.

On the exercise front, the plan encourages you to do a 25 minute sweat sesh each day – and you guessed it, that’s broken down into five exercises that you do for five minutes each. Your five factor training session should involve a warm up, followed by upper-body, lower-body and core strength exercises, then a cardio workout.

Pros and cons

On the plus side, the 5-Factor Diet can help you plate up some pretty balanced meals. As a dietitian, I too encourage people to include lean protein, quality carbs (read: low-GI wholegrains in place of refined high-GI grains) and gut-loving fibre in their meals, topped off with a little healthy fat for good measure. This way of eating can help to ensure you get the right balance of macro and micronutrients, which will make you feel good from the inside out.

The diet also scores points in my books for its focus on everyday foods, rather than chic health food store buys that’ll put a hefty dent in your life savings. The emphasis on quick, easy meals is another win because it means it’s more sustainable. Ditto for the fact that no foods are entirely off limits.

Like any wholistic lifestyle plan, exercise is a key component, so I’m glad to see regular physical activity is encouraged, too.

On the not-so-good side, however, is the fact that it’s only a five week plan. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day – and neither are healthy bodies, so I’m not a fan of these kinds of quick fixes. They set you up for a downward spiral where you feel guilty when you eventually ‘slip up’. You keep starting over again, promising to be better next time, which in reality, gets you nowhere. For the same reason, I’m totally against all of the strict rules this diet entails.

What’s more, by focusing on just five ingredients at every meal, chances are your diet is going to become pretty limited. That’s a big no-no in my books, because you need variety in your diet to ensure you’re getting the full complement of nutrients available in the food supply. Plus, limiting what you eat can make your meals pretty bland and boring, which again makes it rather unsustainable.

The verdict on the 5-Factor Diet

All-in-all, I wouldn’t be surprised if you lost weight on the 5-Factor Diet – but will it help you develop a lifelong healthy relationship with food and a sustainable lifestyle? Probably not. Of course, eating well-balanced meals is always a good thing, but there are far more productive things you can do to help manage your health (and your waistline) than fuss over five lots of five minute five ingredient meals every single day.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.