Millions of people struggle with weight problems and addiction to eating. To solve this problem, people have tried all kinds of diets, both real and fad ones. But Andrew Taylor decided to do something some may consider pretty extreme. In the year 2016, he ate nothing but potatoes.
He came to this decision after concluding that all the different diets he tried treated the symptoms of weight problems, rather that the cause of it — addiction to food.
If it was possible, he said he would quit eating completely, like many quit drugs cold-turkey. But since quitting eating is impossible, he chose to quit eating all foods except for one — potatoes.
This “potato diet” did him wonders in one year. Andrew lost over 117 pounds (he did follow an exercise routine), started sleeping better, and felt more focused; he no longer felt depressed or anxious, and his blood pressure and cholesterol improved.
“I am fitter and healthier than I’ve ever been in my adult life,” he writes on his personal site, Spud Fit.
Andrew also drank some soymilk (choose organic if you do this), ate some tomato sauce, used salt and herbs, and took B12 supplements, adding a little balance to what has actually been a surprisingly popular dietary experiment over the years.
The Diet: Eating Only Potatoes for a Few Days, A Month, or A Year
Andrew is not the only person who made the potato diet famous. Actually, this diet is not new, and has existed since at least 1849. That was the year a potato diet appeared that promised men to lose weight fast, and was labeled by some the “best diet pill ever invented.”
The modern potato hack modeled after the 1849 diet, asks people to eat nothing but potatoes for 3 to 5 days in order to strengthen the immune system, sleep better, lose weight, and most importantly reset your gut health.
The Potato Hack: Weight Loss simplified book by Tim Steele explains the potatoes have natural agents that help fight inflammation and hunger, and help balance the mood and sleep schedule.
Another person, Hannah Howlett, has been promoting a “potato cleanse” in which she eats mostly potatoes but also a few non-starchy vegetables for one month. She broadcasted her results on YouTube: High Carb Hannah channel.
This diet has also been praised by Dr. John McDougall, who is a proponent of a plant-based diet.
Should You Try The Potato Diet?
Today Andrew coaches people about how to successfully complete the potato diet for at least one month. As Andrew notes, this diet is not for anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding. And anyone who chooses to be on it needs to be supervised by a doctor.
His testimonials state that the diet helped people get over food cravings, lose weight, have more energy, and reduce anxiety.
Andrew also wrote a book, The DIY Spud Fit Challenge: A how-to guide to tackling food addiction with the humble spud, to help people successfully complete this diet challenge.
The book includes menu planning options on how to cook potatoes: steaming, grilling, baking, and other methods are used. Andrew’s recipes include spices, nutritional yeast, and condiments, but no other major ingredients.
Some people choose to also eat sweet potatoes (not in the potato family) and Japanese potatoes in the diet, while others stuck with the russet, and yellow and red traditional potato variations. The traditional potato diet focuses only on the potatoes that are in the actual potato family.
The Health Benefits of Potatoes
Many people mistakenly believe that potatoes lead to weight gain. That misconception is largely contributed to the fact that most of the time potatoes are cooked in an enormous amount of oil or other fats, topped with bacon, sour cream, and cheese. That combination does indeed lead to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.
But by themselves, potatoes are low-calorie and nutritious. Potatoes are a good source of vitamins C, B, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, and pantothenic acid.
They are also full of phytonutrients, which help fight free radicals, and DNA damage, and protect from cancers, reduce inflammation, and decrease bad cholesterol. They are great for the brain function, the immune system, heart health, and proper digestion.
Potatoes are high in leptins, however, an anti-nutrient which blocks the sensation of being full, causing people to overeat in the long run. Leptin resistance can arise from eating too many foods high in leptins such as potatoes over time, which is just one reason why caution should be exercised in eating too many potatoes (consult a naturopathic doctor before making any major changes to your diet; see our full disclaimer here).
The best way to prepare a potato is to bake it whole with skin, without adding anything. The second best way is to steam it. These two methods lose the least amount of nutrients when cooking — just make sure to buy organic or grow your own whenever possible, because potatoes are heavily sprayed and non-organic ones contain high amounts of pesticide residues in the skin.
While the potato diet is not for everyone, adding potatoes to your meals, when prepared in a healthy way, can have tremendous benefits for your overall health.
This article was published in February 2017 and updated in July 2018.