There are so many diets to choose from: Paleo, The Whole 30, vegetarian, vegan, DASH, low-carb. The list goes on and on. This year marks the 10th anniversary of "The F-Factor Diet," a book registered dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot wrote after prescribing the same eating plan to her clients for years.
How does it work? The diet focuses on combining lean proteins with high-fiber carbohydrates, which are low in calories and keep you full throughout the day. It's different from other diets because you don't have to cut out food groups like carbs, fats or even alcohol. The "F" in "F-Factor" stands for fiber, the non-digestible part of a carbohydrate that adds bulk to food and helps you feel full.
Here are a few of her tips for improving your diet:
1. Fill up on fiber-rich foods.
Enjoy the crudité: Treat high-fiber, non-starchy vegetables as free foods. Examples include artichokes, hearts of palm, spinach and peppers. Fiber helps combat bloating by increasing transit time in your stomach, adding bulk to stool and keeping you regular, Zuckerbrot noted. When increasing your fiber intake, make sure to drink lots of water since soluble fiber holds onto water (aim for 8-12 cups per day.)
2. Indulge, but with three bites.
Everyone needs a little sweetness in their diet. You can enjoy any indulgence by following the three bite rule, meaning you only get three bites of the indulgent item — which allows you to enjoy the food without wreaking havoc on your diet.
The first and the last bite of any food is the most satisfying and enjoyable. Three bites gives you a first, a middle, and a last, which is really all you need — no more than that is needed to be fully satiated. Disclaimer: Be sure to choose your indulgences wisely — this does NOT work if you have three bites of every dessert.
3. Don't cut out food groups.
A well-balanced diet should include all food groups: protein, fat and carbs. The key is to eat certain foods in moderation, especially when it comes to animal and saturated fats.
"It's not realistic to completely avoid a food or ingredient because no matter what you try to cut out — sugar, dairy, wheat, alcohol, meat, etc. — the restriction often leads to craving it more," Zuckerbrot explained.
Instead, learn how to balance your dietary intake, and find a combination that works best for you.