What Is the F-Factor Diet—and Is It Healthy?

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Registered dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot calls fiber the “miracle carb.” She loves it so much, in fact, she designed an entire diet around it. Since 2007, fans have been following her bible The F-Factor Diet, and Zuckerbrot claims the average F-Factor dieter sheds 8 to 10 pounds in the first month—without hunger or feelings of deprivation. And it’s making waves again after a new research review published in The Lancet found that those who eat more fiber (between 25 to 29 grams per day) reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 15 to 30 percent, compared to those who eat about 20 grams or less per day. (See: This Study On Carbs Might Make You Rethink Your Keto Diet Aspirations)

So is Zuckerbrot full of it—or has she finally found a weight loss solution for those who don’t want to count calories or kick it in ketosis on the keto diet?

What Is the F-Factor Diet, Exactly?

“The F-Factor Diet is a lifestyle that focuses on consuming high-fiber carbohydrates combined with protein at every meal to keep you satisfied and allow you to lose weight while consuming fewer calories,” explains Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., founder of NutritionStarringYOU.com and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. “Plus, aside from weight loss, the health benefits of fiber such as improved cholesterol, blood sugar, regularity, and sustained energy levels are a side bonus.”

About 95 percent of Americans don’t come close to hitting the amount of daily fiber recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, says Harris-Pincus, which is 14 grams per 1,000 calories or approximately 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men each day. The F-Factor promotes aiming for a minimum of 35 grams daily and tracking them via a food journal to keep yourself accountable. Zuckerbrot even shares an example journal and additional tips on her website, and she recommends three meals and one snack per day.

There’s zero promotion of exercise on the F-Factor diet. In fact, Zuckerbrot suggests avoiding cardio, in particular, saying that it increases your appetite so much that you’ll end up eating more calories than you burn.

What Can You Eat On the F-Factor Diet?

The F-Factor diet focuses on “net carbs”. Since carbs from fiber aren’t digestible, “you subtract the fiber content from the total carbohydrate on the label to arrive at ‘net carbs’, meaning the grams of carbs that are available for digestion by the body,” says Harris-Pincus. (BTW, here’s exactly how many carbs you should eat a day.)

F-Factor dieters follow several phases and increase total net carb consumption as they inch closer to their goal.

Phase 1: Less than 35 grams net carbs per day, or about three servings

Phase 2: Less than 75 grams net carbs per day, or about six servings

Maintenance Phase: Less than 125 grams net carbs per day, or about nine servings

Low-net carb foods Zuckerbrot recommends while on the F-Factor diet:

Beans and legumes of all varieties

Eggs

High-fiber vegetables such as beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes

High-fiber fruits including apples, berries, oranges, and pears

Nut butter

GG Crackers

High-fiber cereals

Whole-wheat bread (P.S. Here’s the difference between whole wheat and whole grain.)

She also sells F-Factor protein powder and bars for additional on-the-go options. Alcohol (wine, spirits with calorie-free mixers) is permitted, as long as consumption is in moderation and within your daily net carb limits. (Related: Your Guide to Drinking Alcohol On the Keto Diet)

“It’s surprisingly easy to follow when dining out and traveling with a few simple substitutions,” says Harris-Pincus.

Is the F-Factor Diet Healthy?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are the nutrition facts about the F-Factor Diet, straight from Harris-Pincus and Kris Sollid, R.D., senior director of nutrition communications for the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation in Washington, D.C.

1. Fiber IS great for you.

Simply put, Americans consume way too many refined grains and high sugar foods that do not provide adequate nutrients and fiber, says Harris-Pincus.

“Foods that are high in fiber are healthy, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, seeds, and whole grains,” she says. “You should be eating these plant-based foods as the majority of your daily intake—in addition to lean proteins. They contain essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.”

All of those factors mean that “fiber helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, decreasing inflammation,” says Sollid. It’s also been linked to lower the risk of many cancers.

It also adjusts the rate at which your digestive system processes foods, making you more regular and boosting the health of your gut microbiota, adds Sollid. (Related: Is the Microbiome Diet the Best Way to Promote Gut Health?)

“Fiber-rich foods also tend to provide more volume than lower-fiber foods, which is thought to generate a greater feeling of fullness in fewer calories,” she says. “Additionally, high-fiber foods will require you to chew more. This simple action means it takes longer to eat, which could also lead to eating fewer calories overall.” (Related: These Health Benefits of Fiber Make It the Most Important Nutrient In Your Diet)

2. But be aware: you can consume too much fiber.

All that being said, “you can overdo it with fiber, so try to increase your fiber intake gradually over time and drink plenty of fluids while doing so,” says Sollid. “Too much too quickly, and not drinking ample fluids during the F-Factor diet—or any high-fiber diet—can contribute to nausea or constipation.” (Learn more about what can happen when you eat too much fiber.)

3. There’s not just one kind of fiber.

Technically, “net carbs” don’t have a legal definition, and the term isn’t accepted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the American Diabetes Association, says Harris-Pincus.

However, the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber is defined by the FDA:

“Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a thick gel-like substance in the stomach. It is broken down by bacteria in the large intestine and provides some calories.”

“Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and passes through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact and, therefore, is not a source of calories.”

Since some fibers are partially-digestible and provide a couple of calories per gram, Harris-Pincus recommends that individuals with Type 1 diabetes who are following the F-Factor diet (or any diet plan) should be supervised by a registered dietitian or doctor. (Related: Can the Keto Diet Help with Type 2 Diabetes?)

4. You still need to be “calorie aware” on the F-Factor diet.

You count and track carbs and fiber on the F-Factor diet, but it’s still important to be calorie aware (no need to be a calorie counter!), says Harris-Pincus. (Related: Counting Calories Helped Me Lose Weight—But Then I Developed an Eating Disorder)

“The more fiber you consume from nutrient-dense foods, the more satisfied you are,” she says.

Still, you can easily fall victim to consuming on more calories than you might think.

“Often people believe that they are consuming ‘healthy’ food, but the portions are too large given then calorie content such as avocados or nuts,” says Harris-Pincus. “I always recommend measuring those higher-fat and higher-calorie items when trying to lose weight on any diet.”

Bottom Line: The F-Factor Diet may be beneficial for weight-loss if you’re looking for a diet plan that doesn’t require counting calories. Still, fiber can help you sneakily fill up.

“Ultimately, the number of calories you consume will determine how your weight changes,” says Sollid. “But fiber can play a role in that. Many high-fiber foods are also low in calories, like vegetables, and eating a variety of fiber-rich foods can help keep you feeling satisfied by delivering a larger volume of food to help keep you feeling full with fewer calories.”

Just don’t forget to add another important “F” to this plan to keep your muscles strong and your heart healthy: fitness.

  • By Karla Walsh

These Are the Best-Tasting Protein Powders of 2019, According to Our Taste Test

You don’t have to be an athlete or someone who frequently exercises to enjoy drinking protein powder in a shake, although it is a great way to replenish your muscles immediately after a strenuous workout. While there are many protein shakes on the market that are full of health benefits, we know that sometimes they may not be the best tasting or most appetizing things to sip on. We made it our goal to find the best-tasting protein powders, so you’ll actually look forward to your recovery.

If you don’t regularly buy protein powder but want to give it a whirl, you’ll notice that there are myriad brands and types of protein you can choose from. For example, you can choose between whey and plant-based protein. With so many brands to choose from, we thought we would hand-pick a few that we think are some of the strongest contenders on the market and then run a taste-test to see which ones are the actual best in terms of taste.

To keep it consistent, we sampled all vanilla flavored protein powder with the correct ratio of Oatly oat milk and four frozen strawberries. We kept the fruit to a minimum so that it didn’t overwhelm the protein powder flavor and so we could really taste the powders themselves.

How We Graded Them

Our metric was pretty simple. It was all about texture and taste.

When it comes to protein powder, we appreciate a variety that will innately thicken the milk, as well as one that doesn’t taste chalky. These were two things we took note of for this taste test. The three we liked best demonstrated a balance of the two.

Here are the nine protein powders we tried:

  • Tone It Up Plant Based Protein + Greens, Vanilla
  • F-Factor Vanilla Shake Powder
  • Levels 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein, Vanilla Bean
  • PURE Whey Protein, Vanilla
  • Plant Fusion Complete Protein, Creamy Vanilla Bean
  • Vega One Organic All-in-One-Shake, French Vanilla
  • Less Naked Whey, Vanilla
  • Orgain Clean Grass Fed Whey, Vanilla Bean
  • Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder, Vanilla Bean

Now, here are our top 3 picks for the best-tasting protein powders, ranked from great to absolute best.

3

Tone It Up Plant Based Protein + Greens, Vanilla

Ann Marie Langrehr 1 scoop (26 g): 100 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 220 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (1 g fiber, <1 g sugar), 15 g protein

Texture & Taste

Tone it Up’s Plant Based Protein + Greens blended well with the oat milk, as it thickened the drink into what we would consider to be a true shake. The taste was pleasant and didn’t taste chalky at all. We also appreciated the hint of vegetable flavor in this protein powder.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict

The majority of the Eat This, Not That editors preferred this protein powder over a lot of the others, and two of us especially loved it. One editor wrote, “Yummy! Give me more! The flavor is ideal for a protein shake. the best plant-based one I’ve ever had.”

I, too, really enjoyed the taste and consistency this protein powder yielded in shake form. The powder itself is a subdued green, and it’s very soft and fluffy rather than coarse and grainy as some protein powders can be. I also love how this protein powder contains 14 leaves of kale, four leaves of spinach, and one floret of broccoli per one scoop serving. High in protein and antioxidants, we would recommend this protein powder to anyone, especially those who struggle to get their daily servings of vegetables in a day.

$24.99 at TARGET Buy Now 2

Levels 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein, Vanilla Bean

Ann Marie Langrehr 1 scoop (30 g): 130 calories, 2 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 60 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 24 g protein

Texture & Taste

After blending this protein powder with the oat milk, it left a frothy top and relatively thick center. The taste was delicious with a prominent but not overpowering vanilla bean flavor.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict

Levels 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein is one of the best tasting protein powders you can buy that contains whey. Opting for whey protein that was derived from the milk of a cow that ate an all grass-fed diet is a great indication that this product is free of hormones and has a greater concentration of omega-3 fatty acids than conventional whey. It also lends this powder a pleasant flavor.

I personally thought this protein powder tasted like a milkshake once it was blended with the oat milk. The texture was smooth and it didn’t leave a bad aftertaste. Not to mention, one scoop of this protein powder contains just under 25 grams of protein, which will boost satiety and replenish your muscles after a workout.

$29.95 at AMAZON Buy Now

RELATED: We found the best smoothie recipes for weight loss.

1

F-Factor Vanilla Shake Powder

Ann Marie Langrehr 1 packet (53 g): 150 calories, 1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 70 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (20 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 20 g protein

Texture & Taste

The texture was not terribly thick, which made for a smooth consistency, and the flavor was the most delicious of them all.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict

This was by far the best tasting protein powder we tried, with almost all of our editors choosing this one as their top choice. One editor, for example, described the flavor as a nice blank canvas, noting that it would complement other flavors. Anyone else thinking of using this powder for a fruit smoothie?

“Smooth nice, blends well with other flavors,” she wrote.

Another editor wrote, “Consistency was good, not too grainy.”

We were also taken aback by how much fiber is in just one packet of this shake mix. There are 20 grams of fiber, and if you follow a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that’s equivalent to about 71 percent of your daily needs. Overall, we would highly recommend this protein powder, even to those who have never had protein powder before. This is the one you should start with!

$44.99 at F-FACTOR Buy Now

Get the New Book!

Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!

Dieting can be difficult, especially if you’ve decided to do it all on your own. But a little helpful advice, a few recipes, and a couple of success stories can go a long way. That’s why we decided to speak with F-Factor founder Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, about how to make dieting doable. Unlike other weight-loss programs, the F-Factor diet gives you a chance to dine out, drink your favorite adult beverages, and work out less while still losing weight.

What does the F-Factor diet plan include?

While other diets force dieters to take out fats and carbs, the F-Factor diet is all about adding fiber.

“Most diets are based on omission — to attain weight loss, certain foods like carbohydrates or fats, or ways of life, like dining out or drinking, are omitted,” Zuckerbrot said. “The problem with this is that it leaves dieters feeling hungry, deprived, and dissatisfied. The F-Factor Program, on the other hand, is based on addition — you add fiber into your diet to lose weight, so there are no feelings of deprivation and denial, which often holds dieters back, ultimately causing them to fail.”

In other words, instead of starving, dieters will finally have the chance to feel full — but the weight will still come off. This, Zuckerbrot believes, is the key to staying motivated. So how does the F-Factor diet work on a regular basis?

“F-Factor is designed to fit seamlessly into peoples’ lives so that they can stick to the plan. From day one on F-Factor, you can dine out and drink alcohol, spend less time at the gym, eat carbohydrates and regular meals (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert), 
and still lose weight. These principles are counterintuitive to what we believe about weight loss, truly making it a liberating plan,” Zuckerbrot continued. “Lastly, F-Factor is about education. It teaches people how to eat for life, and how to maintain their weight loss (which corrects the fundamental issue of fad diets). This last factor only adds to what makes F-Factor such a sustainable plan.”

What to Eat on F-Factor Diet

(Photo Credit: Giphy)

Participants on the F-Factor diet should eat four meals each day: breakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner.

“The combination of fiber and protein keeps you feeling full for the longest period of time on the fewest calories,” Zuckerbrot said. “The more full you feel after a meal, the less likely you’ll be to overeat at the next meal and therefore, the more likely you’ll be to lose weight.”

F-Factor Diet Sample Menu

What would a sample day of eating F-Factor diet foods entail? Surprisingly, it’s not too different from what you’re already eating. Here’s what a typical day on an F-Factor meal plan would look like, according to Zuckerbrot:

Breakfast: Nonfat plain Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup of high-fiber cereal and 1 cup of berries

Lunch: Miso soup, naruto roll, 2 hand rolls (no rice), and salad with ginger dressing

Snack: F-Factor Pizzas (4 high-fiber crackers topped with low-fat cottage cheese or mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, microwaved until melted.) Tip — By eating a snack two hours before dinner, you won’t go into dinner ravenous and are able to make healthier decisions.

Dinner: Steamed whole artichoke, filet mignon (3 oz. for women, 6 oz. for men), steamed asparagus and a well-deserved glass (or two) of wine or spirits on the rocks

Wine and pizza? The F-Factor diet foods are ones we could get behind! But wait, it gets better: There are also pancakes and waffles involved.

How to Eat More F-Factor Diet Foods

(Photo Credit: Giphy)

If you’re unsure of how to incorporate fiber into your diet, the F-Factor website has a variety of recipes to inspire you, from Creamy Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip to Baked Spaghetti Pie. Yum! Tired of being online? Check out the book The F-Factor Diet ($11, Amazon), which you can carry with you wherever you go.

“I love our high-fiber pancake and Step 1 Waffle recipes — made with just a few simple ingredients, this pancake packs in 19 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber for less than 225 calories, and it can be made into something savory or sweet,” Zuckerbrot said. “It’s quickly become a staple recipe for my clients.”

F-Factor Diet Results

What can dieters expect to gain from following the F-Factor diet rules? More than just weight loss, that’s for sure. Increased energy, a flatter stomach, clearer skin, improved sleep, improved cholesterol levels, and better-managed blood sugar levels are just a few of the benefits of the F-Factor diet, according to Zuckerbrot.

“Ultimately, diet trumps exercise when it comes to weight loss,” Zuckerbrot said. “I tell clients, let F-Factor be your cardio. People do cardio to create a caloric deficit, but cardio can stimulate appetite and impede weight loss efforts. Instead, create a caloric deficit by eating a diet high in fiber, like F-Factor. The reason this works is because eating fiber burns calories — fiber can’t be digested, so it revs metabolism. The more fiber you’re eating, the more calories your body burns at rest. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather eat fiber than spend more time on the treadmill.”

Sounds like Zuckerbrot gets us completely! No wonder celebs praise the F-Factor diet — and why so many people are able to stick with it long-term. What do you think, is it worth a shot?

Learn about more tasty superfoods that can help you live longer in the video below:

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Hey Friends,

What if I told you that I’ve been eating those pizzas (yup those yummy looking pizzas above) every day the past two weeks and have lost weight? Well this post is for you! Read on!

So actually, the real reason those pizzas are the featured image is that I did not have it in me to get somewhat presentable and take a picture cooking healthy foods for this blog post #strugglebus. I have been soo sick the past few days, and it’s been terrible timing! I had some major things I wanted to get marked off my to-do list with rearranging my craft room, getting some chalk paint projects completed, styling our bedroom, AND I wanted to start Kayla BBG again. Not to mention, grades are due (it’s the end of the grading quarter) and it’s sorority recruitment time (I’m an advisor of my undergrad sorority) so I’ve been popping into the sorority house much more than normal. I mean there’s never a good time to get sick, but this week was not the week. Needless to say, many of those things have taken the backseat while I try to get over this nasty cold. But something that hasn’t gone off my radar is our progress on the F-Factor Diet!

Brandon and I wrapped up Step 1 on F-Factor this week, and are moving on to Step 2! I am SO excited!! If you missed my 2019 Health goals, click HERE to read what exactly F-Factor is and why I am obsessed with it! Step 1 is definitely the most “diet-like” and whenever I switch gears to Step 2, it seriously doesn’t feel like a diet at all. Step 2 allows more net carbohydrates a day, which for me means I usually add in some more fruit or some banana chocolate mug cakes (my favorite).

To give y’all an idea of what we experienced on Step 1-

  • I lost 3 pounds (which is huge considering my goal weight was to lose 7 pounds). Brandon lost 9 pounds!!
  • We both feel more energy and are less bloated
  • I personally have had less acne breakouts, slept better, and less anxiety

Now that we have finished Step 1 together, I wanted to do a little round-up of the recipes we LOVE since so many people have messaged me about what we are eating. We both have pretty busy mornings and lunches, so we gravitate towards things that are easy and on-the-go. I also repeat recipes, so there’s probably not as many listed as you would think for two weeks worth of meals. As for dinner, we are huge leftover fans (click HERE to read how we meal plan and utilize leftovers so we aren’t always cooking/cleaning).

P.S. y’all I am NOT a food blogger, that ish is hard work! I am sharing this post because so many people have asked that I do share. But I literally snapped last minute pictures of my food when I remembered (like 50% of the time) and went on with eating lol. Sorry these pictures are awful… but maybe I’ll improve with time lol.

Note: Some of these recipes are found in the F-Factor book, make sure you get THIS one (there are a few out there). I also reference gg crackers a lot THIS is what I use!

Step 1 Favorite Breakfast Recipes

  • Yogurt Berry Bowl (I eat this 5-6 mornings a week! There is a variation of this in the F-Factor book)
    • 6 oz Fage 0% total plain greek yogurt
    • 1 cup mixed berries (I try to do mostly blackberries + raspberries since they are highest in fiber)
    • 1/2 C All-Bran Buds
    • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • High Fiber GG Pancakes (there are a couple of pancake recipes out there, this one is my favorite! Add in 1/2 tsp baking powder for fluffy pancakes and sprinkle with blueberries. I make a batch of these the beginning of the week and we microwave them in the mornings. I top with berries and almond butter) Find the recipe HERE
  • Mixed Berry “Oatmeal” (I have been eating this a lot lately since I’ve been sick. I don’t like to add the scoop of 20/20 protein, instead I just eat a hardboiled egg or add a scoop of protein powder to my coffee. Drizzle with some almond butter) Find the recipe HERE
  • Berry 20/20 Smoothie (Brandon loves this! He adds a handful of spinach to it for extra fiber and vitamins). Find the recipe HERE
  • 20/20 Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie (This is my personal favorite for quick and on the go) Find the recipe HERE
  • Red Zinger Smoothie (I love the beets and ginger in this one! We use the pre-made ginger paste in a tube so it’s easy to make in the mornings). Find the recipe HERE
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie (another smoothie that Brandon likes). Find the recipe HERE
  • Veggie Scrambled Eggs + Turkey Bacon + gg crackers. What’s funny about the recipes listed above is that we LOVE eggs, but during the week we don’t have time to make them. On the weekend, we’ll add in spinach, peppers, and onions to scrambled eggs with a side of avocado and turkey bacon (make sure no sugar is added) and eat on top of 4 gg crackers.

Yogurt Berry Bowl! What I eat most mornings!! Mixed Berry “Oatmeal” has been my jam lately because it feels so good on my sore throat. I pair it with boiled eggs for extra protein since I don’t like adding protein powder to my “oatmeal” Spinach/Mushroom Egg White Scramble with Feta… okay going to be honest, my portion for the feta here was a little too much lol. Paired the scramble with a bowl of Bran-Buds for #fiber

Step 1 Favorite Lunch Recipes

  • Classic Greek Salad + Baked Chicken Breast
    • 4-6oz baked chicken breast
    • tomatos
    • feta cheese (use portion control here.. I get a container of feta and divide it among 4-6 salads for the week)
    • red onion
    • cucumber
    • artichokes
    • greek olives (just a few per salad… they can add up quick)
    • mixed greens
    • Dressing: extra virgin olive oil + balsamic vinegar + salt/pepper
  • Shrimp with Feta Cheese Arugula Salad (I get the shrimp steamed at the grocery store so it’s super easy to make) Find the recipe in the F-Factor book (linked above in this post)
  • Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette (I added baked chicken breast to this. It was sooo good) Find the recipe in the F-Factor book (linked above in this post)
  • Whatever is in the fridge Salad (kinda kidding, but not really lol. I’ll add whatever veggies we have on a bed of lettuce with a protein and call it lunch)
    • mixed greens
    • lean protein: boiled egg, shrimp, baked chicken
    • whatever veggies we have: broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, artichokes, bell peppers, celery, onions, tomatoes, etc.
    • Dressing: extra virgin olive oil + vinegar + spices OR extra virgin olive oil + Dijon mustard + lemon juice + salt/pepper
  • Dinner leftovers (yup, sometimes leftovers are the easiest lunch!!)

A peak into how I prep salads for multiple days.

Step 1 Favorite Dinner Recipes

  • Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs + Zucchini Noodles (hands down, one of our favorite dinners!! We always use Rao’s marinara. I half the recipe so it makes 20 meatballs, which will last us two nights. I also use ground turkey 93% lean. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes) Find the recipe in the F-Factor book or HERE
  • Baked Salmon Variations + roasted veggies (we will bake salmon and play with spices. Sometimes we’ll do garlic and herb, lemon, or blackened. I even stuffed it with crab last week with some gg crackers – so good! Always pair with roasted or steam veggies and it’s an easy weeknight dinner)
  • Tandoori Chicken and roasted veggies (if you like Indian, this one is amazing and its super easy to bake in the oven) Find the recipe in the F-Factor book (linked above in this post)
  • Turkey Meat Loaf + Mashed Cauliflower (I’m not big on meatloaf, but Brandon is, and this was super simple. I added a “ketchup” topping by making the Whole 30 ketchup. It was super good comfort food) Find the recipe in the F-Factor book (linked above in this post)
  • Greek-Styled Pork + Greek Salad (I was blown away by how easy this was to make and how delicious it was. You can serve the pork over cauliflower rice too) Find the recipe in the F-Factor book (linked above in this post)

This salmon stuffed with a gg cracker + crab mixture was amazing. I feel like I need to make a blog post about this! I winged it and it was so good! Greek-Styled Pork + Greek Salad was amazing! I haven’t been feeling too well this week, so drinking seltzer water instead of wine. But the best part of F-Factor is that you can have wine!! Turkey Meat Loaf + Mashed Cauliflower was 100% comfort food. Made this right when I was starting to feel super sick and it hit the spot. I winged this mashed cauliflower and I feel like they deserve their own blog post! This picture just does not do this recipe justice. I honestly may be the worst blogger ever lol. But this Tandoori Chicken and roasted veggie meal was amazing.

Step 1 Favorite Snack Recipes

  • GG Pizzas (would you believe me if I told you I eat this almost every day and lose weight? It’s true! I love these.. I hate cottage cheese, so I use part skim mozzarella instead) Find the recipe HERE
  • GG crackers + laughing cow light swiss wedge + turkey deli meat (this is super easy if you need something quick with protein)
  • High Fiber cereal (sometimes a serving of All-Bran Buds or Fiber One Original with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk does the trick)
  • GG crackers + PB2 (this is really easy for travel since PB2 doesn’t require refrigeration)

We also keep boiled eggs, precut veggies, and part-skim mozzarella string cheese in the fridge at all times. These things aren’t filled with fiber, but if we pair them with a high fiber cracker or cereal, it’s a good option to have on hand!

GG Pizzas are the best part of my day… kidding but not kidding.

And there you have it! A little list of what we’ve been eating the past two weeks to help us lose some holiday weight! I’ll be updating y’all in a couple of weeks with our favorite Step 2 recipes. Let me know if you try any of these in the meantime!

As I update with more F-Factor and healthy recipes, how do you like to read them? Do you prefer a list like this that’s comprehensive but not as detailed? Or do you want to see more specific recipes (for example, instead of telling you I make several variations of salmon per week with no details, I would instead do a blog post on my salmon recipe(s) with instructions). Let me know!!

Some links may be affiliate links- at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.

Health Disclaimer:

I am not a physician or Registered Dietician. The purpose of this blog is to share my personal journey and experience with diet and fitness. As always, consult a physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

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Review

“As a professional gourmand and glutton, I’ve tried every crackpot diet there is to try under the sun. Tanya Zuckerbrot’s F-Factor program is the best one I’ve found for those of us who enjoy the pleasures of a fine meal and also the occasional fine drink too.”
—Adam Platt, chief restaurant critic, New York Magazine

About the Author

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, is a dietitian in private practice, based in New York City. She has appeared on Today, The Early Show, the Rachael Ray Show, Fox Business, MSNBC, ABC News, and on many other national media platforms. In addition, Tanya has been in profiled in The New York Times, The New York Post, the Daily Mail, and featured in Town & Country, Elle, Vogue, Allure, Self, The Washington Post, and Men’s Fitness. Visit www.FFactor.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter
1
How Did We Get So Fat? And Why the F-Factor Diet Is a Long-Term Solution
Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.
-socrates (469 b.c.-399 b.c.)
You notice it at the beach.
You observe it in the fans at sporting events.
A quick look around the mall and there is no denying it: Americans are fatter than ever.
Currently, 70 percent of American adults are overweight, and half of them are obese. Yet merely three decades ago, less than 50 percent of the American population was overweight. As the years passed, somehow our waistlines kept expanding. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if the problem were simply aesthetic. But excess weight correlates with increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, infertility, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and many forms of cancer. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in 2004 that being overweight could soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. We clearly have reason to worry.
A recent survey published in the National Institute of Public Health publication reports that, in the United States on any given day, 44 percent of men and almost 66 percent of women are trying to lose weight. Last year alone, Americans spent billions of dollars on weight-loss products, health club memberships, diet foods, liposuctions, and gastric bypass operations. And where did investments in these supposed panaceas get us? Despite our attempts to lose weight, this country’s population is currently the heaviest it has ever been. Our individual weight problems have become a national crisis.
After low-fat diets failed to put an end to the epidemic of obesity, low-carb diets appeared to be the solution to Americans’ struggle with weight. We tried diets like Atkins and South Beach, and in doing so, cut out bread, fruit, milk, yogurt, and even vegetables in order to whittle down our waistlines. But after a decade of low-carb eating, the truth remains: Americans are fatter than ever.
The problem with low-carb diets is the same as with low-fat diets, and with the numerous other failed diets of the past: their focus is on eliminating foods in order to lose weight. Whether you are cutting out fat or carbohydrates, the result is that you end up craving the foods that have become taboo. Who wants to feel deprived of their favorite foods in order to maintain a desired weight? A life without bagels for breakfast, pasta at Italian restaurants, or rice with your Chinese food? That’s crazy! And that is also why most diets are temporary.
How Did We Get So Fat?
The advent and growth of industrialization, jumbo portion sizes, and fad diets produced a predictable, understandable, and inevitable consequence-an epidemic of obesity and diet-related diseases.
Industrialization
You might equate industrialization with advancements in engineering, economy, and human resources. While sounding promising, industrialization applied to food processing has negatively affected Americans’ nutrition.
Before industrialization, whole grains were left whole. Breads and rice were brown; fruits and vegetables were eaten just the way they came out of the ground or off the tree. These foods were nutritious, rich in vitamins, and full of fiber. Now, however, our supermarkets stock white bread, sweetened fruit drinks, and instant mashed potatoes-the legacy of agricultural industrialization that has left us in a fiber deficit.
The absence of fiber in Americans’ diets is a major risk factor for weight gain. Despite the American Dietetic Association recommending that Americans eat 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day, the average American currently eats only 15 grams of fiber a day. Not eating enough fiber leads people to feel hungry and to overeat throughout the day.
Snacking contributes to one-fourth of Americans’ daily caloric intake. And when we snack, what do we choose? Chips, cookies, crackers, sweetened beverages, and frozen desserts, all of which contain virtually no fiber. People who eat these foods to try to satisfy their appetites only find themselves hungry again soon after. Diets based on such refined foods create a vicious cycle of eating and hunger all day long.
To add insult to injury, refined foods are available everywhere, all of the time. Walk down the cookie or snack-chip aisles in your supermarket, and you find hundreds of choices. Delis, food courts, and vending machines present the opportunity to snack around the clock. Gas stations used to sell only gas-now they have been remodeled to house a food market inside. Going to the gas station no longer means just filling up your tank; it now is an opportunity to fill up your belly. An increase in convenience has provoked a shift to frequent “grazing”-eating small but cumulatively hefty snacks, as opposed to regular meals.
As technological advances have made food ever more varied, convenient, and tasty, the feeble willpower of the American public has been unable to cope. Most people know the rule of thermodynamics: calories in versus calories out. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. Americans are not only eating more (the average American consumes 2,640 calories a day, up from 1,970 calories in 1978), we are also moving less.
Technology has not only made food more varied and convenient, it has almost completely removed natural physical exercise from most Americans’ day-to-day lives. In the early nineteenth century, if you wanted ice cream, you would have to walk out to the pasture, milk the cow, carry the milk back to the farmhouse, mix in sugar and eggs, add salt to the ice, and churn the whole thing for hours until it froze. A person would burn a few hundred calories in the process. Now if people crave ice cream, they only have to walk to the refrigerator or drive to the nearest convenience store for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
Cars, washing machines, elevators, escalators, and moving sidewalks at the airport have reduced physical exertion. Watching television for hours, sitting in front of a computer, and playing video games create the perfect recipe for weight gain.
Eating refined foods frequently and moving less are not the only problems. Ever-expanding food portions are also to blame.
Out-of-Control Portion Sizes
Advances in agriculture and farming followed industrialization. Never has food in this country been so abundant. This country produces 3,800 calories of food for every man, woman, and child every day-almost twice as many as most people need. The surplus of food translates into whopping portions at low prices, and Americans are eating them up. Larger portions seem to make consumers feel that they are getting their money’s worth. And the food companies are responding.
With the exception of sliced white bread, the sizes of sodas, hamburgers, French fries, pizza slices, and other foods commonly available for immediate consumption exceed standard portions determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cookies, cooked pastas, muffins, steaks, and bagels exceeded USDA standards by 700 percent, 480 percent, 333 percent, 224 percent, and 195 percent respectively.
In the 1950s, McDonald’s offered one size, a 2-ounce portion of French fries that contained 200 calories. Starting in 2004, the 2-ounce size was offered only on the kids’ menu, and adults were offered a 7-ounce French fry serving with 610 calories. In 1997, Starbucks took the 8-ounce Short, its smallest size, off the menu when it introduced the 20-ounce Venti (the Extra Large). Now the 12-ounce Tall is the smallest choice. Larger portions are attractive to customers because the relative prices discourage the choice of smaller portions. How many times at the concession stand at the movies have you heard the vendor tell you that for a few cents more, you can get the next size up? Unfortunately, you are not just getting more value for your money; you are also getting more calories. A Coke and buttered popcorn combination has 688 calories, while a value pack (large Coke and buttered popcorn) has 2,174 calories (based on small popcorn serving size 5 cups; large popcorn serving size 20 cups; small Coke serving size 18 oz, large Coke serving size 44 oz).
Bigger portions are everywhere. At fast-food joints and convenience stores, the trend is hard to miss-7-Eleven offers the 48-ounce Double Gulp, and the muffins at Au Bon Pain are the size of softballs. Not only have food portions increased but, according to the National Restaurant Association in Washington, D.C., our plates have grown, too. The 10-inch plate was once the industry standard; now 12-inch plates are the norm. Servings are so big that in some restaurants you get two or three times more than you need. A typical meal at an ordinary restaurant contains 1,200 calories, and that’s without the dessert or appetizer.
More calories equal more weight gain, pure and simple.
Larger restaurant portions have become an increased problem because Americans eat out more frequently than they used to. Twenty years ago, most people ate in restaurants only on special occasions. Today, the typical American eats out 4.5 times a week.
Larger portions have even entered our homes. Serving sizes in popular cookbooks, such as The Joy of Cooking, are getting “hearty” as well. In 1960, a brownie recipe in The Joy of Cooking yielded 30 brownies. Today, in its most current edition, the brownie recipe calls for exactly the same proportions as the original, but instead of the original 30-brownie yield, the recipe now yields only 16 brownies. That means each brownie is almost twice as big, with double the amount of calories as the original.
Even “diet” foods, including certain brands of frozen dinners, now come in larger sizes. For instance, in 1996, Stouffer’s introduced a packaged food line called Lean Cuisine Hearty Portions that weighed 50 percent more than the original, and which of course had more calories.
The result of these larger portions is that Americans’ conception of a serving has become skewed. Standard portion sizes recommended by the American Dietetic Association have become a thing of the past. Now when we are served a standard portion, it seems measly.
Fad Diets
The greater the prevalence of obesity, the more alluring is the latest fad diet promising fast and easy weight loss. American dieters’ eagerness to find the magic weight-loss bullet has led them from no-fat diets to high-protein diets. The problem now is that many Americans no longer know what they should be eating.
In 1981, Americans were introduced to Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution (Bantam). The diet was high-protein and high-fat with minimal carbohydrates. People lost weight but found a diet without carbohydrates difficult to maintain. In the late 1980s, studies from the American Heart Association reported that dietary fat increased the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Americans took this information to heart, banished fat from their diets, and entered the fat-free decade of the 1990s. The 1990s introduced Americans to fat-free cookies, cakes, chips, and every food imaginable that could be remade without fat.
Americans loved the concept of fat-free foods because, unlike other diets that made you count calories, eating fat-free meant no calorie watching. If a food was fat-free, that was the green light to dig in! Americans began eating large bagels (no cream cheese), bowls of pasta (no cream or oil, just tomato sauce) and large quantities of fat-free pastries from companies like SnackWell’s and Entenmann’s.
For breakfast, instead of two eggs and a piece of buttered toast (265 calories, 15 grams fat), a fat-free dieter opted for a 1,000-calorie fat-free muffin. And for a snack, instead of eating two 100-calorie Oreo cookies with 5 grams of fat, people would eat half a box of SnackWell’s cookies, which contained 400 calories, and no fat. Although they were eating more calories, people assumed that, since there was no fat, they could get away with it. Wow, were they fooled!
Unfortunately, fat-free dieting led to more weight gain. By 1990, Americans were 6 percent heavier than a decade earlier. Calories appeared to be a major culprit. Despite the drop in fat intake, average calorie intake increased from 1,970 calories a day in 1978 to 2,200 in 1990.
Most fat-free product manufacturers replaced the fat in the recipes with sugar and starch. Many fat-free foods ended up with the same number of or even more calories than the full-fat original. And the biggest problem with eating fat-free foods is that a person never actually feels full or satisfied. That is because fat adds satiety to a meal. Without a little fat, you feel hungry soon after you finish eating. So people ate more, and eventually gained more weight. Once again, weight-conscious Americans were let down by another diet trend.
Trends come full circle. In response to the failure of fat-free diets, we returned to the high-fat, high-protein diets of the 1970s. The Atkins diet made a comeback, and low-carb foods quickly replaced all those now-condemned low-fat products on the supermarket shelves. We threw out the offending SnackWell’s and replaced them with Atkins bars and Carb Smart ice cream. The late 1990s were spent eating steak, butter, bacon, and eggs. As long as there were no carbohydrates in a food, it was okay to eat it. Nevertheless, by the end of the ’90s, despite cutting out carbohydrates, 64.5 percent of Americans were overweight, up from 44.8 percent in 1960.
The essential problem with diets is that people don’t stay on them very long. The average weight-loss attempt is four weeks for women, six for men. So until you pick a way of eating that’s going to last all your life, you haven’t found the “right” diet.
How many of you have gone on a very low calorie diet for, say, two weeks and lost 5 to 10 pounds? Whether you chose the Scarsdale diet, the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, Slimfast, or Atkins, eventually you were bound to be disappointed. That’s because diets are a temporary solution to a lifelong problem.
When people reach their weight loss goal, many go off their diet. The first thing they end up eating are the foods they felt most deprived of. If they were on Atkins, they might go for a bowl of pasta or a bagel with cream cheese. If they were on a low-fat diet, they dive into high-fat items like steak and French fries.
Returning to our old eating habits invites the weight to come back. Once the weight returns, you find yourself on a diet again a few weeks later. It is a vicious cycle:
The Ultimate Solution: Why the F-Factor Diet Is Different
The good news is that we finally have a permanent solution.
The F-Factor Diet is the last diet you will ever need. Now for the first time when you begin a diet, you won’t be focusing on which foods you must omit. Instead you will consider the foods you need to add to your diet in order to lose weight and keep it off. And those foods are probably just the ones you’ve been so carefully avoiding these past few years-carbohydrates.

After my trip to Costa Rica & LA in January, I realized I was out of shape and overweight. I’ve completed so many diet challenges and fads over the years including Whole 30 & the 22 Day Plant Based Diet, anything other than a complete pivot in eating habits wasn’t going to work. I’m turning 30 years old in January and I want to enter my 30’s not only fit financially but physically. So I made the decision to lose 30 pounds by my 30th birthday. Via Instagram, I came across The F-Factor Diet on Instagram.

I’d been working out for months but still wasn’t losing weight. I kept seeing a lot of bloggers mentioning the GG Crackers and the diet so I decided to research it. After researching The F-Factor Diet, I took the plunge and bought the second book, Miracle Diet. From there I ordered the recommended GG Crackers and various other recommended foods. In March I began my journey and by end of June I’d lost 20 pounds.

This diet was a struggle because it’s not really a diet, but a lifestyle adjustment. Throughout this journey I’ve been actively talking about my journey on Instagram and have received a lot of questions about my experience. I’ve decided to answer your questions here.

What is F-Factor?

F-Factor is a high fiber/lower carb lifestyle. On this diet, you eat a minimum of 35 grams of fiber each day. You also eat between 35 & 125 grams depending on where you are in your F-Factor journey.

How does F-Factor work?

F-Factor has 3 steps and a minimum requirement of 35 grams of fiber per day & 72 ounces of water.

  • 1st Step: 35 net carbs (2 weeks minimum)
  • 2nd Step: 75 net carbs (2 weeks minimum)
  • 3rd Step: 125 net carbs (for life)

What does net carbs mean?

Carbs – Fiber = Net Carbs

ex: 70 g Carbs – 35 g Fiber = 35 net carbs

Is F-Factor easier than Keto or Whole 30?

For me F-Factor was easier to live on. I can still have a glass of wine or bourbon, eat out, eat carbs and live my life. You can be vegan, gluten intolerant or a meat lover and this way of eating can work for you. I found that F-Factor still lets me enjoy food and be social.

How do you track your net carbs?

There’s an app that you can download here for ios and here for android. There’s also a journal you can find online here. I recommend the app.

Do I really need to get the books?

Yes you do! No one wants to save money more than me but I found the books were a big help because they come with details on how cooking spray, the different steps, recipes, approved alcoholic beverages and tips. I’m really happy I bought the Miracle Diet book but now I wish I had the original newly updated F-Factor Diet Book.

How does this higher fiber intake affect you?

If you’re not drinking a minimum of 72 ounces of water a day, you will be constipated and bloated. Otherwise, you’ll see an increase in bowel movements within about 3 days. Drink as much water as possible because the skin glow up on this diet is an added bonus. You’ll also feel better.

How is this different from every other diet you’ve tried?

I have been able to keep off the weight. I’ve gained 5 pounds over the course of this summer. I went back on the first step of F-Factor this last week and lost 5 pounds. I’m done with detoxing and fads. My form of resetting is going back to step 1. I also don’t feel guilty eating carbs and overall less restricted. Being on 35 net carbs is tough but the results are worth it.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Getting use to eating 35 net carbs than moving to the next step. It was very difficult for me not to go over 75 net carbs in step 2. Cheating is also very hard. How do I cheat? Well I eat bad food but stay within or under the net carbs. The whole point of this is to eat cleaner so it’s not wise. If you do get 3 chicken tenders (15 net carbs) you’ll end up hungry later. Trust me!

What does a day look like for you?

This depends on the step. I will provide more detail next week on what my meals look like at every step. When I’m on Step 1, it looks like this,

Breakfast

  • 1/2 cup of regular Fiber One Cereal (14 net carbs)
  • Cashew milk (small portion just to get cereal wet (0 net carbs)
  • 1/2 cup of blackberries (3 net carbs) OR 1/3 cup of blueberries (4 net carbs)

If I want a lower carb breakfast I eat Costco’s Kirkland Protein Bars. I prefer the Chocolate Brownie. It nets 4 carbs. It’s so filling! I also try to drink 32 oz of water by 11 am.

Lunch

Boring yes but I enjoy this. Sometimes I’ll add avocado, chicken or salmon. My other go to lunch is

  • Roasted chicken ( o net carbs) (1/4 – 1/2 cup which is 2- 4 oz.)
  • 4 pieces of Roasted Asparagus (-2 net carbs)

Snacks

I’m a major snacker and this accounts for most if not all of my eating on F-Factor. A usual snack day on 35 net carbs:

  • 1 cup of roasted sunflower seeds that have hulls with an edible yield (7 net carbs)
  • 20 medium baby carrots (-6 net carbs)
  • 3 cut up stalks of celery (-2 net carbs)
  • 60 Lilly’s Chocolate Chips (5 net carbs and YES I COUNT THEM!)
  • 2 tbsp of PB2/PB2 Chocolate (0 net carbs)

Dinner

I eat so much that I don’t always have a full dinner. When I eat dinner I eat the following:

  • Baked or pan seared Salmon (0 net carbs)
  • 1/2 cup roasted brussel sprouts/4-8 pieces of Asparagus (approx. -2 net carbs)
  • Glass of white wine (necessary)

I eat an array of food on different steps and even have tried various recipes. I’ll share my favorite meals, must have snacks, drinks, eating out choices and hacks next week. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment on this post or DM me on Instagram.

I was over diets. I’d tried Nutri System, Weight Watchers several times, the South Beach Diet, and so many others. They never seemed to do the trick, and in the end, I’d end up gaining the weight back that I’d worked so hard to lose … and then some. I’m 54-years-old, and I felt like I’d seen and tried it all — but then I saw the F-Factor diet on Instagram. My cousin kept posting about it and was thrilled with the results, so I decided to look into it.

Basically, the F-Factor is a diet created by Tanya Zuckerbrot — and if you have the time, you should listen to her podcast to get the full gist — who believes that a high-fiber diet where you can actually drink alcohol and dine out can make you lose weight permanently. And she believes that something called GG Crackers is the key.

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A post shared by GG Fiber Crackers (@ggfiber) on Feb 1, 2018 at 1:01pm PST

GG Crackers have been around in Norway since 1935, and they come in plastic packages with eight thin squares that almost look like a bird seed sheet. You can literally put anything on them. They’re low in calories and carbs and packed with fiber, which is essentially the F-Factor diet.

People call them “appetite control crackers.” I ordered a box on Amazon.

For the first two months, I’d eat four to eight crackers a day with different toppings. I’d have four for breakfast topped with one egg and one egg white along with avocado or add a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese. It was so filling compared to eating an egg with multigrain bread; I seriously couldn’t believe it.

If I had more GG crackers later in the day, I’d make mini pizzas for a snack, which would be a low-carb tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, basil, and seasoning.

Erica Smith

But, again, when you add in the 3 liters of water a day that you’re supposed to be drinking on the F-Factor diet and the 8 crackers, it’s nearly impossible to eat your dinner. By the time dinner came around, I was so stuffed that I’d give my husband half of my dinner.

Listen, GG crackers were no joke. They keep you full for hours, and they don’t taste like cardboard — trust me, I used to eat rice cakes for a loooong time. The first couple of days were a bit of an adjustment because I wasn’t getting that much fiber in before. I noticed I felt bloated and my stomach was upset in the beginning, probably the first two days, but once I started increasing my water intake, I felt so much better.

I was so full the entire time, that I didn’t even realize I was only eating 800 calories according to MyFitnessPal. I’d eat at max 1,200 calories a day, and that was genuinely a challenge. Oh yeah, I’d also have a glass of wine every. single. night.

But I didn’t just eat eggs and cheese and crackers for two months. I started following people on Instagram who were also using GG crackers and noticed you could treat the crackers like toast — so avocado toast came to mind.

And guess what? You can also crush up the crackers and use them as breadcrumbs for meatballs, mac & cheese, breading, you name it. I realized I could add the crackers to literally anything: pancakes, waffles, cookies. It was a game changer.

The hardest part for me was avoiding sweets. As a baker, it’s a huge part of my life to bake (and try) what I make. I had to pay attention to carbs versus fiber, and doing the net-carbs math. I stick to 100 to 150 net-carbs a day, but the biggest thing is to make sure I’m getting a minimum of 35 carbs of fiber and 3 liters of water.

Erica Smith

This has been the longest I’ve stuck to any plan. When you get to 50-something-years-old, and something works, it’s a huge change. My blood pressure dropped from high blood pressure stage 1 to normal, which is two levels down. My doctor was floored when I came in for my check-up

I feel like I don’t have to keep track of much for this. I’m just having to eat healthy most of the time.

Even though the pumpkin seed and sunflower seed crackers have twice the amount of calories as the plain crackers, they were totally worth it and tasted good. It was just too hard to get the plain ones down.

My favorite of all of the GG cracker options is definitely sunflower. It has the best texture and taste. The original GG cracker (the plain ones) and the oat ones that have even lower calories are not worth the lower calories. The lower calorie crackers taste like wood pulp once you chew them and are straight up grain — so stay away from those unless you’re super serious.

Con Poulos PRE-ORDER NOW Delish Cookbook, indiebound.org Julia Smith Senior Content Strategist Julia is a Senior Content + Video Strategist at Delish.com who produces longform video series and hosts “Julia Tries Everything” on YouTube and Snapchat.

Here’s The Deal With Those GG Crackers All Over Instagram

If you live on Instagram (guilty), you’ve probably scrolled across several images of GG Bran Crispbread Crackers ($6). Perhaps you’ve seen them smothered in the avocado mash, transformed into a mini pizza crust, or simply on the side of a salad. But what exactly are GG Bran Crispbread Crackers, and why is everyone so obsessed with them?

GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbreads have actually been around since 1935 when Norwegian skier Gunder Gunderson (AKA GG) created them to help his digestive health issues. Gunder needed more fiber in his diet, so he combined bran, rye flour, a little salt, and fresh Norwegian spring water, and then slowly baked the cracker for over 12 hours for crunch.

why instagram can’t get enough of gg crackers

Today GG Crackers are a favorite of dieters, as they’re packed with fiber to help you feel full despite the low net carb count. Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, NYC-based registered dietitian, bestselling author, and founder of The F-Factor Diet, discovered them about 15 years ago when she was looking for high-fiber products to recommend to her clients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. GG Crackers were exactly what she was looking for.

Zuckerbrot then included GG Crackers in her signature F-Factor Diet, which encourages dieters to eat high-fiber carbs to boost their metabolism and decrease fat. “Often when people want to lose weight they cut out carbs,” Zuckerbrot tells us. “This is a mistake, because our bodies need carbs fuel. Cutting out carbs leads us to feel tired, cranky, and lethargic. This can trigger excess snacking and feeling deprived, which is not consistent with weight loss.”

F-Factor followers use GGs in place of bread and grains so they can meet their daily fiber needs (vital to keeping you feeling full and decreasing inflammation) and still stay under their allotted carbohydrates for the day. That’s why you’ll see these crackers in place of bread or even as cereal. “I use them to make delicious comfort food dishes like meatballs and eggplant parm, as well as muffins, pancakes, and waffles,” Zuckerbrot says.

but Are They Any Good?

To be completely honest, on their own, GG Crackers kind of taste like cardboard. This may explain why the classic breakfast GG is the cracker loaded with plenty of cream cheese and smoked salmon. Or why a lot of GG fans even top the cracker with Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning, as they don’t have a ton of flavor by themselves. (Whoever said eating healthy was easy?)

Speaking of Trader Joe’s, the supermarket has its own version of GG Crackers called Gluten-Free Norwegian Crispbread ($4), and they’re delicious and full of flavor. But according to Emma Frelinghuysen, vice president of Cultivate Ventures, the parent company of GG Crackers, nothing compares to the OG GG, nutrition-wise. “We pride ourselves on our nutritional value. Not only are we the highest in fiber, but we are lowest in net carbs, calories, and sodium. We know we may not be the tastiest cracker out there, but paired with delicious toppings, you’ll never notice the difference!”

She is right about the nutritional value. The ingredients in GG crackers are much simpler than Trader Joe’s Crispbread. GG crackers only have three ingredients: wheat bran, whole grain rye flour, and salt, while TJ’s Crispbread contains 10 ingredients: sunflower seeds, oat flakes, sesame seeds, flax seeds, rice bran, honey, potato fiber, rapeseed oil, salt, beet sugar fiber, and water.

TJ’s Crispbread has 130 calories a cracker, compared to GG’s 20 calories a cracker. While there is more protein in Trader Joe’s Crispbread (four grams compared to GG’s one gram), there’s also more fat (nine grams of fat compared to GG’s zero grams of fat). There’s significantly more sodium in TJ’s Crispbread, which might explain the flavor. One cracker has 170 milligrams of sodium, while GG Crackers have only 25 milligrams. When it comes to fiber, Trader Joe’s three grams of fiber almost matches GG’s four grams.

What do you think about GG Crackers? Tell us about it on Twitter @BritandCo!

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.

(Photos via GG Bran Crispbread Crackers)

The f factor diet

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