Diet Plan Information: Potato Diet Plan


What is the Potato Diet Plan?

The potato diet plan requires that you eat one thing and one thing only: potatoes. By only consuming potatoes, your daily caloric intake is likely to go down and you will lose weight. Your taste buds will also be somewhat “reset” because you’re not consuming sugars, fats, oils, or anything else aside from potatoes. The potato diet was made more popular in 2016 when magician Penn Jillette lost 100 pounds on the diet and has managed to keep it off since.


How Do You Implement the Potato Diet Plan?

Many people have done the potato diet plan for a few days to a week to try to shed some extra pounds before summer or a wedding. Dieters consume roughly two to five pounds of potatoes per day and while that sounds like a lot of potato, it’s not very many calories (roughly 500-1500 calories depending on how many potatoes you eat).

No condiments are allowed on the potato diet. You can’t add that pat of butter or that scoop of sour cream. Also, you can’t eat fried potatoes – only baked or boiled.


Is the Potato Diet Plan Safe?

Well, that depends on who you ask. Some people call potatoes “the perfect food” because they do contain a number of nutrients.

However, there are numerous studies out there that suggest consumption of potatoes is associated with a number of potential health risks. One study found that higher intake of potatoes (boiled, baked, mashed, or fried) is associated with an increased risk of hypertension (Borgi et al., 2016). Another study found a correlation between potato consumption and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (Bidel et al., 2018).

It should be noted that there aren’t any studies just on the potato diet itself so the increased health risks are likely associated with the standard American diet as a whole rather than just the consumption of potatoes. Being overweight is unhealthy and if you can consume only potatoes for a time to lose the weight, it may be worth trying. Be sure to take supplements if you decide on the potato diet to ensure you’re getting all of your nutritional needs. As with any diet, talk to your doctor before starting.

“I do not believe that you have to spend a lot of money to eat well: it is hard to beat a plain old baked potato.” –Laurie Colwin


Pros of the Potato Diet

  • Boring But Easy: Since all you’re eating is potatoes, you may not consume as much as you otherwise would because they are so plain. This makes the diet pretty easy to follow, even if a bit boring. You can even bake a potato in the microwave!
  • Affordable: Potatoes are plentiful and cheap so the potato diet is generally inexpensive.
  • No Calorie Counting: You’re permitted to eat as many potatoes as you’d like on the diet. You’ll never go hungry and you never have to restrict portion sizes.


Cons of the Potato Diet

  • Boring: All you eat are plain potatoes. No butter, no sour cream, no cheese. Just potatoes.
  • Not a Balanced Diet: Since all you’re eating are potatoes, you’re not getting all of the nutrients you need to remain healthy. You’ll need to take supplements like zinc, magnesium, calcium, and more. Be sure to check with your doctor before embarking on this diet.
  • Weight Regain: As soon as you return to your normal method of eating, you’re likely to regain any and all the weight you lost.


Books on the Potato Diet

  • Potatoes Not Prozac: Revised and Updated: Simple Solutions for Sugar Addiction Paperback (Kathleen DesMaisons Ph.D.): “Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons came up with the solution and published it in her revolutionary book, Potatoes Not Prozac. In that instant bestseller, she provided the tools needed to overcome sugar dependency, including self-tests and a step-by-step, drug-free program with a customizable diet designed to change your brain chemistry.”
  • Presto!: How I Made over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales (Penn Jillette): “An unconventional weight loss tale from an unconventional personality. Penn Jillette tells how he lost 100 pounds with his trademark outrageous sense of humor and biting social commentary that makes this success story anything but ordinary.”
  • Spud Fit: A whole food, potato-based guide to eating and living (Andrew Taylor & Many Van Zanen): “The Spud Fit Challenge was borne out of Andrew’s desire to remove addictive foods from his life once and for all; if an alcoholic should quit alcohol then maybe a food addict should quit food? He continues to avoid addictive foods by enjoying a wide variety of delicious, whole foods in all their forms, without any need to count calories, analyse portion size, measure or weigh food (or yourself!), restrict intake or overthink anything at all.”
  • The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good! (John McDougall & Mary McDougall): “Bestselling author John A. McDougall and his kitchen-savvy wife, Mary, prove that a starch-rich diet can actually help you lose weight, prevent a variety of ills, and even cure common diseases. By fueling your body primarily with carbohydrates rather than proteins and fats, you will feel satisfied, boost energy, and look and feel your best.”


Evidence-Based Studies on the Potato Diet

There are no studies purely on the potato diet plan but there are some studies regarding the consumption of potatoes. Again, note that these studies are not based solely on the potato diet plan but rather an increased consumption of potatoes in conjunction with a regular diet.

  • Increased Risk of Hypertension: “Higher intake of baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes and French fries was independently and prospectively associated with an increased risk of developing hypertension in three large cohorts of adult men and women” (Borgi et al., 2016).
  • Increased Risk on Type 2 Diabetes: “Long-term high consumption of potato (each serving a day increase) may be strongly associated with increased risk of diabetes” (Bidel et al., 2018).

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