Fiber. Really? I was hoping that the “F” in the F- Factor was something more glamorous. The first thing that I thought was brown, bland, flavorless, with seeds and oats, and what my grandparents discuss! However, what I have learned is that fiber is so important in one’s daily diet. The American Dietetic Association recommends that Americans should eat about 25-40 grams of fiber a day; however, the real number people eat is estimated to be at about 15 grams a day.

What many people don’t know is that fiber can help people lose weight and keep it off. Fiber is very beneficial for many reasons. It helps to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancers such as breast cancer and colon cancer, as well as reduces blood pressure. Fiber is sounding more appealing, right?

For college students who may have gained the “Freshman 15” or are looking for a New Year’s Resolution, the F-Factor Diet may be one to consider. The diet, created by Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., R.D. involves three steps. It is completely manageable and amazing, especially for college students who may not have the means to cook their own food every day. Below is a breakdown of each step of the diet adapted from Zuckerbrot’s book: The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss.

vegetable, tomato, carrot, pepper
Christin Urso

Step 1: Jump Start your Weight Loss

Step 1 of the diet is meant to boost weight loss and help ease you into the diet. It requires that you cut out certain foods for only 2 weeks!

Foods that are avoided for Step 1:

-starches (bread, cereal, beans, pasta, rice, snack foods, baked goods, etc.)

-starchy vegetables (corn, peas, potatoes, and barley)

-fruit (I know, I know cutting out fruit sucks, but you are allowed one serving a day every day for the first two weeks-- as long as it is not fruit juice)

-milk/yogurt (so, this one can be difficult for the dairy lovers; however, I have switched over to almond milk and other non-dairy substitutes in my coffee, tea, etc. You can also continue to eat cheese during this first step because cheese is protein!!!)

-Medium and high fat meats (stick to lean cuts of meat and cheese that are not full fat)

After two weeks, the hardest part is completed and you move onto Step 2. This part of the diet allows you to add food back into the diet while continuing to add a large amount of fiber to your everyday food consumption.

berry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, sweet, strawberry, pasture, bilberry
Heather Feibleman

Step 2: Continued Weight Loss

Step 2 mimics Step 1 for the most part; however, this section of the diet calls for three more servings of carbohydrates a day. The choice of the carbohydrate is up to you. You can add more fruit, pasta, a bagel, etc.-- it’s all up to you! These choices make this diet so incredibly amazing! You can vary what you eat while following the plan. It is manageable and easy for a college student. After finishing Step 2, Zuckerbrot says that you now know which foods are fiber-heavy and how to navigate a healthy diet. Step 3 uses the tips from the book to help you maintain the body that you have worked so hard to achieve.

egg, bacon, toast, egg yolk, ham, butter, fried egg
Emily Gordon

Step 3: Maintenance-Eating for Life

Step 3 adds up to three more servings of carbohydrates to what you have been doing in Step 2. By the time that you reach Step 3, you know how to navigate eating in a restaurant or a dining hall, and how to prepare your own food. This diet is so easy and manageable and really life-changing!

lemon, salmon, pepper, tomato, goat cheese, spinach
Josi Miller

Sample Meals (adapted from Zuckerbrot’s The F-Factor Diet)

Breakfast: eggs with turkey bacon, 2-4 fiber crisps and coffee with almond milk

Lunch: mixed green salad with a ton of leafy green vegetables and lean protein, 2 more fiber crisps

Dinner: lean cut of protein such as chicken or turkey, a side of vegetables and a side salad

Snack: a serving of fruit such as an apple or a cup of strawberries

Shopping List:

A must is the GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbreads. These are essential to this eating plan. You can buy them on Amazon-- a 5 pack of 3.5 oz crisps costs about $11.50, but if you buy more at once, the price is lower. I would also recommend getting lean proteins such as roasted turkey breast and grilled chicken to eat on top of the crisps, as well as cheese and peanut butter for an on-the-go snack when you do not have time for a meal, but need to get a snack in.

Right now I am transitioning from Step 1 to Step 2 and I can genuinely say that this diet is incredibly easy and effective. I am excited to test out my new F-factor eating habits as I go back to school this week. I would definitely recommend the F-Factor diet to anyone in college! As I continue to read the book, I learn more and more about how foods are classified and how to make healthy choices in real life situations. For anyone thinking of starting this diet, you can find the book online, and follow the Instagram for amazing food images and inspiration @f_factor.

So for me, the “F” in the F-Factor diet not only stands for fiber, but also fabulous, functional, flexible, and fulfilling. 

Click here for a list of foods to add more fiber to your diet!