5 Questions With F-Factor Dietician Tanya Zuckerbrot
Five Questions with Tanya Zuckerbrot, Creator of the F-Factor Diet
By Chloe Cornell
If you or anyone you know has ever eaten a GG cracker, which is a Scandinavian fiber crispbread, chances are it is because of Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, the internationally-known registered dietician and creator of the F-Factor Diet, which encourages eating fiber-rich foods to promote weight loss and optimal health. The F-Factor Diet has seemingly taken over the world which is likely due to Tanya’s high-profile celebrity clients including Olivia Culpo, Katie Couric, Donny Deutsch, Megyn Kelly, Dylan Lauren and George Tenet, as well as media personalities, and business and government leaders. Tanya is also a lecturer, consultant, spokesperson and national media personality, having been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, Town & Country, Elle, Vogue, Allure, Self, The Huffington Post, the Miami Herald, The Washington Post, and The Daily Mail. She has also appeared on national TV programs including The Dr. Oz Show, NBC Today, CBS News, CBS The Early Show, Live with Kelly!, EXTRA, The View, The Rachael Ray Show, Good Morning America, Telemundo, and more. In 2018, Tanya was selected as one of the New York Business Journal’s Women of Influence honorees. So you literally have to be living under a rock to not know about the F-Factor diet!
Tanya is the author of two bestselling weight loss books: The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss, and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber! She has recently released the long-awaited edition of The F-Factor Diet that includes updates to the overall diet, as well as new research and recipes. In addition to offering a wide variety of fiber rich, and great tasting recipes in her book and on her website, Tanya has also created her own line of fiber-rich food items. She launched F-Factor 20/20 Fiber/Protein Powders – a high fiber and high protein powder that can be used to make shakes and many other tasty items, such as pancakes, cookies and ice cream, with recipes formulated in Tanya’s kitchen. She also sells F-Factor fiber protein bars for convenient on-the-go snacking.
Tanya is on the Advisory Board of Women’s Health magazine, is the Official Dietitian to the Miss Universe Organization (advising the reigning Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA), and is a Brand Ambassador for Saks Fifth Avenue. Tanya has also lectured for NBC Studios, The Discovery Network, Procter & Gamble, GE, and Estee Lauder.
Tanya holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Studies from New York University and completed a two-year dietetic internship at NYU Medical Center. She is an accredited member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Greater New York Dietetic Association, and a member of the National Association of Professional Women. Tanya completed her CDR Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management as well as her CDR Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management.
With all of that education, training, accolades and endorsements, it is safe to say that Tanya and her F-Factor diet is worth exploring. Read on to learn more about it, how she discovered the importance of fiber, and the best foods to eat to ensure that you are consuming enough in your daily diet. You can access many of Tanya’s amazing food recipes on her website, www.ffactor.com or on Instagram @f_factor. You can follow Tanya on Instagram @tanyazuckerbrot.
Chloe: You are the creator of the F-Factor diet which encourages people to eat a lot of fiber to help them feel full and lose weight. I also read on your site that fiber in one’s diet provides more energy, clearer skin, a flatter stomach, improved sleep and a healthier gut. Why don’t we hear more about the importance of fiber? How did you discover the value of fiber?
Tanya: I discovered the value fiber of fiber for weight management in my early work as a Registered Dietitian, when I acted as an extension of the medical team of clinical patients with conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. My job was to create meal plans that would lower the cholesterol of cardiovascular patients or, in the case of the diabetics, help to manage their blood sugar levels. Both patient populations received versions of a high fiber diets because of fiber’s ability to lower cholesterol and manage blood sugar levels. The patients got healthier: cholesterol improved, sugars were better managed, and unexpectedly, across the board, all of these patients lost weight. The clients were living their lives normally, enjoying meals at their favorite restaurants, drinking alcohol, and getting healthier in the process. What I had not anticipated was that by prescribing so much fiber for the clinical benefits, these patients were simply feeling fuller throughout the day on fewer calories, which led to weight loss without hunger. Friends and colleagues of theirs noticed too and began to call in, requesting diets for themselves, but purely for the weight loss benefits, not to manage their sugars or cholesterol. This was the birth of the F-Factor Diet and the practice continued to grow from there.
The reason we don’t hear more about the importance of fiber is because it’s the nutrient most commonly associated with going to the bathroom–and historically that’s been more of a taboo topic. Fortunately, almost every day there is new research released speaking to the amazing health and wellness benefits of fiber. People are increasingly catching on, the nutrient formally associated with popping is now much more mainstream.
Chloe: It seems like the rest of the world has finally started to realize the connection between what you eat and your health. Nutrition and functional medicine are finally coming to the forefront in healthcare. What would you recommend to young women who want to pursue the nutrition field? What courses, majors, skills and work experience would be beneficial to go into the nutrition field?
Tanya: There is nothing I love more than seeing young people interested in pursuing a career in nutrition. Many universities offer nutrition programs for those who ultimately want to go into the field. Before you even decide if you want to go down that route, I recommend taking classes like anatomy, chemistry and biology, as the programs are very science-heavy. Such classes will likely be required as well. If you’re unsure about whether you want to major in Nutrition, many hospitals and nutrition-focused private practices have internship programs where you can gain experience and learn more about what a career in nutrition is like.
Chloe: Teenagers are notorious for their poor eating and lifestyle habits. The great thing about the F-Factor diet is that you have made it a lifestyle that allows you to go out to eat, travel, and not feel like you have to be punished like on a traditional diet. Can you give our readers some tips to think about such as a list of things to eat that are high in fiber, and conversely what foods to stay away from?
Tanya: One of the best features of F-Factor is that there are no absolutes, meaning if you are following F-Factor no one food is ever completely off limits, but rather could be included from time to time as a mindful indulgence.
There are so many great foods out there that are packed with fiber. Fiber-rich foods are nutrient dense and typically are low in calories, so you can fill up without filling out. An added bonus, fiber boosts metabolism and your body burns more calories digesting fiber rich foods than foods that don’t contain fiber. Examples of high-fiber foods include:
- Fruits – Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries), apples, pears, kiwis
- Vegetables – artichokes, hearts of palm, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, collard greens, corn
- Beans – lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans,
- Nuts/ seeds – Chia seeds and flax seeds, almonds, pistachios
- Grains and cereals – bulgur, wheat, quinoa, barley, popcorn, wheat bran
- F-Factor products – F-Factor Fiber/Protein Bars (20g fiber per bar), F-Factor 20/20 Fiber/Protein Powder (20g fiber per serving)
- Other products – High fiber cereals (All bran, Fiber One), Sukrin Fiber Syrup Gold, Enlightened Ice Cream Bars, GG Crackers
Chloe: You are known for making the GG cracker popular! How many should a person eat in a day? Is there any other product(s) that you would recommend for fiber? If not, what are the best toppings on GG crackers so that you don’t feel like you are eating cardboard ;)?
Tanya: For those following F-Factor, I recommend eating 4-8 GG crackers per day. One serving (4 GG crackers) have just 8g net carb, contain 80 calories, and 16g of fiber. GG crackers are a high-fiber replacement for bread. We recommend people pair their crackers with lean protein, to help keep them feeling fuller, longer—and to make eating them a more enjoyable meal. A few favorite ways my clients top their crackers include:
- F-Factor Pizzas – Low-fat cottage cheese or mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and salt-free seasoning. Microwave for two minute or bake until melty.
- The NY bagel – Low fat cream cheese, smoked salmon, onion, and tomato
- Huevos rancheros – scrambled egg whites, salsa, and low fat shredded Mexican cheese
- PB&J – Almond or peanut butter and smashed fresh raspberries or strawberries
- Deli sandwich – Turkey/Roast beef with Dijon mustard, lettuce and tomato (pickle on the side)
- Avocado toast – Mix avocado with 0% Greek yogurt for a yummy spread
While GG crackers are a great way for people living the F-Factor Way to meet their daily fiber needs of at least 35g fiber per day, they’re by no means the only high-fiber food I would recommend. I’m pleased to share I recently launched a line of high-fiber, high-protein products with F-Factor that have quickly become a valuable solution for people to meet their daily fiber needs. Included in this is the F-Factor 20/20 Fiber/Protein Powder and F-Factor Fiber/Protein Bars.
For those unfamiliar with F-Factor’s 20/20 Fiber/Protein powder, it is a protein powder with 3 times more fiber than any other protein powder available to date. The “20/20” refers to the amount of fiber and protein in a serving—one serving (2 scoops) packs 20 grams of fat-fighting fiber to boost metabolism along with 20 grams of organic muscle-building protein, for just 150 calories. The powder is also gluten-free, soy-free, has no sugar added, is all natural, non-GMO, and Kosher. The powder comes in both chocolate and vanilla flavor, so it can be used to enhance the nutrient density of countless dishes; everything from waffles to pancakes, cakes and cookies, ice cream, and now the latest craze: muffins. and so much more. It’s really a hero ingredient for anyone looking to manage their weight or improve their health.
The F-Factor Fiber/Protein bars similarly contain 20g fiber and 20g protein per bar for 170-180 calories (depending on flavor). Delicious, healthy and convenient, these bars make the perfect afternoon snack. They’re also vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, soy-free, all-natural, non-GMO, Kosher and free of artificial sweeteners. They are so good, I don’t go anywhere without one!
Chloe: Can you suggest some great snack options whether for late afternoons or late night eating (of course not desirable, but sometimes necessary :))?
Tanya: Snacking isn’t optional on F-Factor—it’s mandatory. By eating a snack 2 hours before dinner, you won’t go into dinner ravenous and are able to make healthier decisions. Great #FFACTORAPPROVED snack ideas include:
- F-Factor Pizzas – 4 high-fiber GG crackers topped with low-fat cottage cheese or mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, microwave until melted. 4 “pizzas”: ~200 calories, 24g carbs and 16g fiber.
- 20/20 Muffins – Muffins made with 20/20 Fiber/Protein Powder are a great snack because they’re rather portable. I like to pair 3 muffins with a cup of tea for a snack.
- Basic 20/20 Muffins (3 muffins) – 194 calories, 27g carb, 15g fiber
- 20/20 Smoothie – 2 scoops F-Factor 20/20 Fiber/Protein Powder, with ice, unsweetened almond milk (or other liquid) and whatever other fruit, vegetables or ingredients you prefer.
- Nutrition varies based on ingredients included but at the very least 1 smoothie packs 20g fiber and 20g protein.
- F-Factor Fiber/Protein bars – Bars are among the easiest snacks that you can take with you on the go. They’re perfect to have on hand for when hunger strikes. F-Factor bars have 20g fiber, 20g protein per bar and are between 170-180 calories depending on flavor.