One of the popular diets that is circulating around Hollywood right now is the 5-Factor diet. Created by celebrity trainer, Harley Pasternak who holds a masters of science in exercise physiology and nutrition from the University of Toronto, it was a diet that was designed for movie stars. The main concept is to get you in shape and looking great in as little time as possible.
Some of the celebrities he has worked with include Alicia Keys, Halle Berry, Eva Mendes, Jessica Simpson, Kanye West, Orlando Bloom, Mandy Moore, Katherine Heigl, Jane Fonda, Sopia Bush, Val Kilmer, Benjamin Bratt and LL Cool J.
The whole program has a very large online base and is how he usually works with clients. The online site is also designed so that it can be customized to your needs and help you to stay motivated to carry on.
The diet is meant to last for 5 weeks and everything is basically done in "5's." You will have five meals a day; each meal will consist of five ingredients and will only take five minutes to prepare. As everyone leads such busy lifestyles these days, this is a big highlight of the program.
You will also get 5 cheat days in your 5 weeks on the program, which are designed to help make the diet easier psychologically.
Each meal that you consume is supposed to be made up of 5 components:
- Low to moderate glycemic index foods
- Healthy fats
- A sugar-free beverage
The meals to be eaten include breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with two snacks—one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
The foods that are recommended on the diet include:
- Egg whites
- Cottage cheese
- Low fat milk
- Wild rice
You are allowed an unlimited amount of "free" condiments like salsa, mustard and Mrs. Dash as well as can have sugar free beverages or Jell-O.
The workouts on the plan are supposed to be short and intense, keeping with the whole theme of the diet. He recommends that the workouts include both cardiovascular training as well as strength training and he includes a variety of different exercises in his book.
So How Does This Diet Stack Up?
Overall this seems like a very sound approach to a long term type of plan that many people can follow.
It's good that the meal plan has you eating frequently as most people will find that this does help to control their hunger levels. Furthermore, the fact that he is pushing you to consume his "5 requirements" at each meal is also a good thing because it will promote the creation of well balanced meals.
The diet also does not cut out any major foods or food groups, which is good again as it will prevent the dieter from suffering from any nutrient deficiencies.
The one draw back to this program however is that it doesn't really devote much effort or mention to pre- and post-workout nutrition. These are two meals where you may not want to be including all five components in the meal (fiber and healthy fats in particular), so that part should likely be altered.
Additionally, for those who have problems with carbohydrate consumption, they may also wish to reduce the intake of carbohydrates in many of their meals in order to maintain blood sugar levels already in a normal range. While he does state that the choices you make should be low-to-moderate on the glycemic index, even with these types of carbs some people have problems.
The other big issue with the program is the "25 minute workout" components. While this will definitely be good for some people who are limited in the amount of time they can dedicate towards their fitness program, for others it may not be enough to fully help meet their goals.
If you are really looking to put on more muscle mass, or are trying to lean out, likely you will need more than just 25 minutes per day, especially if you are one who prefers to use cardio as a way to help burn additional calories. Trying to fit a weight lifting session and cardio in only 25 minutes will become quite hard; regardless of how streamlined you get with your plan.
The last drawback to this diet is that in general it does not give many recommendations as to how many calories to consume as well as specific grams of each of the macronutrients. Obviously the needs of a larger male are going to be significantly different from that of a female so this needs to be accounted for.
If you are willing to purchase the book of the diet or sign up with him then you would likely get more detailed answers for that, however if you are just trying to follow the approach on your own it will be harder.
So if you are looking for a diet that is a little more loosely structured and is one that takes a very balanced approach to doing things, you will definitely want to look into the 5-Factor Diet.
If you have more advanced goals however or certain special needs with regards to your diet, then chances are you might be better of finding a diet that is more customized to you.
Overall Diet Rating: 3.5/5