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Book Review: The Miracle Carb Diet

FREE DOWNLOAD of a beautiful food journal for the F-Factor way. 

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I recently read The Miracle Carb Diet by Tanya Zuckerbrot and was rather intrigued by her method. I don’t agree with everything she promotes; however, some of her research is brilliant and can be very helpful for people wanting to live a balanced life while still achieving their ideal body weight.

So what is Tayna Zuckerbrot all about? A very important ‘f’ word…fiber. Fiber? Yep, fiber. Well, sheesh, what’s so important about fiber?  SO MUCH! I’ll get more into the details of fiber later but first, back to Tanya. Tanya is a registered dietician who discovered that fiber was helping her diabetic and cardiovascular patients improve their medical conditions and lose weight. 

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Some Highlights from Tanya’s Book:

“There are a few basic facts that make fiber a weight-loss miracle. Fiber adds bulk to food without adding calories, which make high-fiber foods great for dieting. It also swells in the stomach, slows digestion, and boosts metabolism, and all of this combines to make losing weight the F-Factor way healthier and easier.”

What is fiber?

  1. Soluble fiber

  2. When it’s in your stomach it swells up like a sponge and gives a jellylike bulk to food, making you feel full

  3. Sources: oats, beans, peas, pears, and oranges

  4. Insoluble fiber

  5. Acts as your bodies very own custodial service

  6. It sweeps the digestive tract so that food can move along more quickly down your digestive tract

  7. It can help kick your metabolism into high gear

  8. Sources: dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies (like broccoli), apples, wheat bran and whole grain cereals

agriculture, basket, beets

“What really gives fiber its miracle status is the way it soaks up and removes fat and calories in the stomach before your body can absorb them. Incredibly, the fiber found in delicious, nutritious, filling carbs does what no other food can — it actually makes fat and calories disappear!”

What is the F-Factor way?

  1. Thinking and living healthfully

  2. Not cutting out any food groups

  3. Pretty much it’s a low carb diet that encourages fiber, lean protein, little fat, and weight training

  4. Tanya allows you to eat everything; however, you are only supposed to have small doses of “unhealthy” things

  5. Journaling your food and calculating your net carbs (carbs – fiber = net carbs)

“This is an eating plan that’s filling, flexible, and incredibly food-friendly (that F doesn’t just stand for fiber, you know).” 

Black and White Ceramic Bowl

Benefits of fiber:

  1. More energy

  2. Flatter stomach

  3. Clearer skin

  4. Improved sleep

  5. Protection against heart disease and stroke

  6. Lower diabetes risk

  7. Reduces the risk of breast cancer

  8. Lower blood pressure

  9. Protection against colon cancer

  10. Alleviate constipation

It’s a 3 step program 

  1. Step 1: Keep your net carbs under 35 grams and your total fiber over 35 grams

  2. This is the weight loss phase

  3. Step 2: Keep your net carbs under 75 grams and your total fiber over 35 grams

  4. Includes 3 additional carbohydrates into your diet

  5. Continued weight loss

  6. Step 3: Keep your net carbs under 125 grams and your total fiber over 35 grams

  7. Includes 3 additional carbohydrates into your diet

  8. This is the maintenance phase

  9. You are able to eat relatively everything in moderation 

Tanya believes in the power of strength training

  1. Muscle burns calories when you are at rest

  2. Muscle boosts your metabolism

  3. She believes that fiber should be your cardio and your training should involve weights (amen girl!) 

Why does every meal incorporate fiber and protein

  1. Here Tanya states that there is clinical evidence that shows that fiber and protein together keep you feeling full for the longest period of time with the fewest amount of calories 

chicken, close-up, dinner

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My Experience

I tried to follow Tanya’s method and I could only keep it up for a week. I didn’t like the fact that I was eating processed cereal in the morning and was encouraged to consume sugar free, fat free, chemical filled food.

Even though Tanya says it’s a super flexible way of living it actually seems a little difficult. You have to calculate how many grams of carbs and fiber there are in everything you eat. Thankfully F-Factor has created an awesome app that allows you to do your food journal in an easy and accessible way. Someone who is dedicated to this lifestyle has to commit to writing down everything they eat and be ok following a very specific plan.   

This would also be a more difficult diet for someone who is gluten free. I’m sure someone would be able to modify things for this allergy; however, this specific book does not lay out a gluten free plan. 

I can see the benefits of this type of high fiber lifestyle but I’m not sure if the weight loss stage is sustainable enough to work effectively. I tried the first step and found that every day, even though I was eating carefully, I ate over 35 grams of carbs. My meals consisted of high fiber cereal with plain greek yogurt for breakfast, a protein with salad for lunch, a high fiber cracker with protein, and protein and veggies for dinner. I didn’t enjoy the emphasis on animal protein because I lean towards eating a more meatless lifestyle. 

I also don’t love her focus on fat free food. She says that fat leads to cholesterol; however, scientific studies has been showing us that healthy fats don’t actually lead to bad cholesterol. Tanya, therefore, encourages only egg whites, which limit healthy omega 3s and other good nutrients found in a whole egg.  There seems to be almost a fear of fat present in the book. 

I also don’t agree with the encouragement of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. Tanya says that there is nothing unhealthy about consuming these chemically created products. Really? I don’t believe it. Regardless, I have no desire to consume sugar free jello with fat free whip cream as my evening treat. 

Strawberry Beside Spoon of Sugar

The biggest take away from this book is the power of fiber. However, obtain fiber through whole, natural foods because so many of them are great sources of fiber. Some examples are chia seeds and ground flax seed. There is also a lot of fiber found in leafy greens and most vegetables. 

In my opinion, follow Tanya’s directive to eat lots of fiber BUT don’t fill yourself up with a bunch of processed garbage. Take care of your body. Find natural ways to heal it instead of eating chemically processed commodities. 

Best Tips To Take Away:

  1. Eat at least 35 grams of fiber every day!

  2. Look to see how many net carbs are ACTUALLY in the food you eat

  3. Eat everything in moderation 

  4. Be aware of what you are actually consuming

  5. Use a food journal if it helps. I’ve attached a FREE DOWNLOAD in the post

What are your thoughts on Tanya’s book? Have you ever followed the F-Factor way? Would you ever follow this diet?

Always remember, we are perfectly imperfect. We won’t always eat perfectly or act perfectly. Our goal is to try to become our most beautiful, authentic selves. Give yourselves grace in whatever lifestyle you choose to follow. 

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P.S. I made a beautiful food journaling page for you to print and follow if you feel like following the F-Factor diet or even just calculating your net carbs. Remember, each page represents a different step in the program!

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