The Snack Factor Diet: The Secret to Losing Weight by Eating More
By Keri Glassman, MS, RD Crown Publishers 2007
Reviewer: Suzanne Farrell, MS, RD
The book claims the diet will rev up your metabolism for weight loss; keep your energy levels high; slow and even reverse the aging process; and eliminate sugar cravings and binges. It also claims within three days you will "lose weight, improve energy, stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent constipation."
The author claims two major errors are interfering with people's weight loss efforts: snacking poorly and not snacking at all. Not snacking can lead to overeating later and making poor choices as well as slowing down your metabolism. The diet's key components include watching your portions, proportions, hunger quotient (identifying your hunger level on a scale of 1-10) and learning how to choose foods that are nutrient dense. The author states the current dietary guidelines can be confusing and vague and not helpful to people looking for weight loss guidance. She disputes the USDA guideline of 18 percent of calories from protein, stating there is increasing evidence that moderate consumption of protein promotes weight loss as well as weight maintenance. The author proposes a formula of one-third carbohydrate, one-third protein and one-third fat.
The Snack Factor Diet includes a 30-day plan: a month of menus, sample breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners, recipes, sample food journal and a food planner. A grocery list with specific name brands and supplements are recommended for those who choose to add them: a whole-foods-based multivitamin, 1,200 mg calcium (with enzymes) and 650 mg (combined EPA and DHA) omega-3 fats. The book also includes a 3-Day cleanse option for those who want a jump start. It is basically 60 ounces of water with fresh squeezed lemon; three to five egg whites at breakfast with one cup of dandelion root tea; cucumber or celery at mid-morning; and lean protein with dark greens at dinner with one teaspoon flaxseeds or olive oil. The diet has a one-month meal plan and is broken down according to your weight.
On the plus side, the diet includes specific tips for eating out from specific cuisines (Italian, Mexican, American, French, Indian, Japanese, Thai, fast foods). It emphasizes listening to the body, hunger levels, portions, planning ahead and benefits of food journals and encourages eating regularly throughout the day. The diet provides good resources such as nutrition database Web sites. It recommends good fats, lean proteins and whole-grain carbohydrates and describes good ways to eyeball standard portion sizes. It also explains the concept of nutrient density and what to look for on labels. The book offers 15 sound general tips for healthy eating, such as eating breakfast everyday and including vegetables with lunch and dinner.
On the minus side, I found the diet limiting in carbohydrates, including fruit intake as well as starches. The first month's menu is somewhat specific and strict. It excludes fruits entirely and only allows for one to two starch servings per day. After the first month, you are allowed to include a fruit serving. The diet emphasis protein and filling up on non-starchy vegetables.
I would recommend portions of this book, specifically, the chapters pertaining to learning about your hunger quotient to help time meals and snacks; benefits of snacking; identifying foods that are nutrient dense and tips on eating out. The sample food journal is very useful.
I would not necessarily recommend the diet because it limits starches and fruits and recommends filling up on vegetables when feeling hungry or adding additional protein. If you follow the one-month plan, you will undoubtedly lose weight because it is lower in carbohydrates and therefore overall calories.