F-Factor Diet creator Tanya Zuckerbrot, who has coached everyone from Megyn Kelly to Olivia Culpo, is fending off accusations that her protein bars and powders cause severe side effects ranging from migraines to miscarriages.
Hundreds of women over the past few weeks have aired their complaints — mostly anonymously — calling on the company to be more “transparent” and “honest with your customers,” as one customer wrote on F-Factor’s Instagram page on Tuesday. Some customers have questioned whether the products contain elevated levels of lead.
“What I can categorically confirm is that the rumors of dangerous levels of lead in the product is false,” 47-year-old Zuckerbrot told Page Six on Tuesday.
A registered dietician who founded New York-based F-Factor 20 years ago, Zuckerbrot introduced the protein bars in 2018. They cost $30 for a box of 12 and $45 for 32 ounces of the powder. The company had previously only offered advice to customers, selling pricey plans that could cost up to $20,000 for unlimited access to its dieticians.
“In over two years we have received less than 50 complaints asking for refunds,” a fraction of the company’s customers, Zuckerbrot told Page Six. “This rumor that somehow I created a product that’s harming people’s health is so malicious and frankly unfounded.”
Zuckerbrot said she believes she, her family and the company are under attack by cyberbullies and said she has contacted “the authorities.”
“For the past three months I was cyberstalked,” she said referring to two anonymous social media accounts that have since been shut down.
The F-Factor Diet is a high-fiber and protein diet that allows one to eat carbs, dine out at restaurants and drink alcohol, according to its website.
But some women say they experienced severe health problems after ingesting F-Factor Diet products. Other symptoms, according to the anonymous posts, have included gas pains and bloating, hives and severe malnutrition.
Fashion influencer Emily Gellis began sharing their anonymous testimonials with her 167,000 Instagram followers about two weeks ago after she read an anonymous account of a woman who believed the products caused her to lose her period.
“These women are getting sick and they felt very alone,” Gellis told Page Six. Since she began sharing the accounts publicly, Gellis said she receives numerous messages a day from people who are thanking her but also from those who are threatening her now.
Many of the people sending in their experiences claim the side effects ceased after they discontinued their use of F-Factor Diet products, including a former private client of the company who spent $20,000 on a VIP F-Factor package in 2018.
The client, who did not want to be identified, told Page Six that within a month of using F-Factor bars and powder she broke out into a red rash all over her body.
“It looked like someone drew on me with a red sharpie,” she told us.
Zuckerbrot claims that her products are “100 percent safe,” but conceded that the high-fiber diet supplements can cause bloating and rashes if they are ingested by anyone with an allergy to whey protein. For this reason, F-Factor is “creating a vegan protein powder for the people who express an intolerance to whey,” she told Page Six.
Another F-Factor customer, who wanted to remain anonymous, claimed she experienced stomach bloating “beyond belief” after she became obsessed with the diet products.
“Essentially it became my whole life,” she told us on Wednesday, adding, “What I thought was just following a trendy diet became an obsession.”
The customer said she did not send in a complaint to the company because she wanted to completely remove herself from the F-Factor way of life but asserted that she was disappointed with the way Zuckerbrot has reacted to the claims.
“I thought that her response was completely invalidating to people who were coming forward,” she said. “I don’t think anybody would make up any of this stuff and I think that she was really just trying to cover her bounds.”
Customers have begun to demand that F-Factor disclose its Certificate of Analysis or CoA, which would provide details about the quality control testing the product has undergone and the results.
On Sunday F-Factor officially responded to the furor on Instagram, explaining that the CoA “contains proprietary information about our formula” and that the company would not release the information.
F-Factor also explained that anything grown in soil will contain lead and that because its products are made with “all-natural ingredients, they too can contain trace amounts of heavy metals.”
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