The All Potato Diet: Should you Try it for Weight Loss
By Karen Brennan, NC, MSW, BCHN®, Herbalist
It seems like with another new year upon us, people make resolutions to lose weight. Part of that resolution, it seems, is to go on some crazy diet. This is one of them and I was asked by someone who had just started the diet what I thought of an all potato diet. Here are my thoughts.
What is the Potato Diet?
The potato diet is a mono diet in which you eat only potatoes. Most people will try it for a month and others have touted to lose weight by following the potato diet for up to a year.
Should you Try it?
I don’t recommend any diet that has you eat just one food. I also don’t recommend most cleanses, juice fasts and detox diets either. (hint: first you need to learn how to eat healthy)
Here are Some Reasons why you Should Avoid the Potato Diet
- Difficult to maintain and sustain. This is a bland and boring diet. How long can you go eating only potatoes? At some point, for most people, one is going to give in and eat other foods. When this happens, the odds are that you won’t be making the healthiest food choices.
- Low in Protein. For men, this type of diet is too low protein. For many women, this diet is also too low in protein. Eating 5 potatoes per day is only going to give you around 20 grams of protein. The average sedentary male needs 60 grams or more per day and the average sedentary female needs around 45 grams per day or more. Trying to meet your protein needs via potatoes, well let’s just say that ends up being a lot of potatoes and a lot of calories. So, while you may lose weight eating only potatoes, how much muscle mass are you going to lose as well?
- Nutrient deficient: Eat only one type of food for any length of time and you are bound to have some vitamin and mineral deficiencies. To obtain the needed macro and micro nutrients necessary, you need to eat a balance of proteins, carbs and fats along with a plenty of vegetables that contain phytonutrients. We need fat for healthy brain function so unless you are putting grass fed butter on that potato, you may lose weight but you may end up with mood issues, brain fog and forgetfulness. Is it worth it?
- Crash dieting: How many calories are you consuming on a potato diet? If your calories count is too low, your body will then go into starvation mode and to hold on to its fat mass your metabolic rate will slow down. That means weight loss will slow down and may eventually come to a halt.
- Not Sustainable: What happens when you go back to eating real food? Now you transition from a mono, low calorie diet and switch back to your old ways of eating: Your metabolic rate has slowed down so now when you eat you will gain what was lost at a more rapid pace
- Potatoes are a GMO crop: Unless you are only eating organic potatoes, not only is this diet nutrient deficient but now you are filling your body up with toxins. Glyphosate has been shown to disrupt the gut microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome has been associated with maintaining a healthy weight while disrupted gut health has been associated with obesity.
- What was your diet/health like prior to the potato diet? The odds are if you are trying such a drastic crash diet, your diet prior to this was not good either. Most overweight people are calorie sufficient but nutrient deficient. Now you go on a very restrictive diet which only compounds the problem further. Most people have other health issues in addition to the added weight, such as insomnia, fatigue, mood issues. Consuming a nutrient deficient diet such as this will not help these additional issues.
- What did the diet teach you? If you eat a potato diet and then go back to eating processed, sugary, starchy foods as the main component of your diet, what have you learned about eating healthy as a way of life? Nothing! Instead get the education you need to change your habits to lose weight gradually on a diet that you can sustain.
Benefits to Eating Potatoes
Potatoes are a great addition to your diet, they just shouldn’t be the only part of your diet. Potatoes contain B6, potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, B3 and pantothenic acid. They contain phytonutrients and have antioxidant activity. They also contain blood pressure lowering compounds. So, add them into your diet (just not in the fried form please) but keep it balanced!
What to do Instead to Lose Weight
Instead get the help of someone who can evaluate your current eating patterns (food journal) and your health issues. Gradual weight loss is best with a plan that leaves you feeling full, satisfied and one that is doable and sustainable for you. That is why most diet plans and diet books don’t work; because they aren’t individualized to meet not only your personal health needs but considers lifestyle factors as well.
While we can live on a low carb diet but we cannot live on a diet that is void of protein and fat. Side effects will occur. Therefore, a balanced diet is best. Start your day with protein and fats, and increase the number of carbs throughout the day so that your dinner contains most your carbs. This can look like a green protein smoothie for breakfast, a large salad for lunch with added protein and homemade salad dressing, snacks of handful of nuts or nut butter with fruit, then dinner of a protein source such as wild caught salmon (good source of fats too) with a side of vegetables and sweet potatoes.
If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need.
Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® and herbalist, is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC.
For more information visit www.trufoodsnutrition.com
As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.