The Potato Hack – A Simple Weight Loss Diet
I have been treating patients for over a two decades. One of the most challenging conditions to treat is weight loss. Of course, this depends on from where the patient is starting. If they are eating lots of junk food, not exercising, and not sleeping well, weight loss can be pretty straightforward. But if they are already doing all the right things but still not losing weight, it can be tough. In this article, I am going to talk about one of my secret weapons when it comes to losing weight; the potato hack simple weight loss diet.
The Potato Hack Simple Weight Loss Diet
The potato diet has been around since the 1800s as a weight loss approach.
For example, this is a quote from a book called The Potato Diet written in 1849.
“Few are aware of the great value of the potato as an article of diet. It may astonish some of our readers when we assert that potatoes alone are sufficient to sustain the human body in a state of firm and vigorous health. Lean men grow fat, and fat men become lean, lean as they ought to be and so all grow better in health.”
Even though this diet has been around since the 1800s, it was only recently resurrected and popularised by people like Tim Steele in his book The Potato Hack.
Why is the potato hack diet so effective for weight loss?
There are a few reasons why the potato hack diet effective for weight loss.
- Several studies show low-calorie, low-fat, high-carb diets can be useful for treating diabetes.
- You can modify the potato hack weight loss diet so that the person is only eating potatoes that have been cooked and cooled. This process converts much of the starch in the potatoes to resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of fibre, which is not digested by humans. Our friendly bacteria consume fibre, so it has a positive impact on blood sugar.
- The potato hack diet spontaneously decreases calorie intake, which is one of the reasons it leads to such significant weight loss. Weight loss is one of the fastest and most efficient ways of reducing blood sugar when a patient is overweight.
- The potato hack diet reduces inflammation and improves the gut microbiota. Both of those can indirectly or directly improve blood sugar.
How does the potato hack diet work?
The food reward concept
Many of you are familiar with the idea of food reward, which is where the more rewarding foods are, the more likely we are to eat them. The food reward concept is a hardwired evolutionary mechanism that helped us survive in a natural environment of food scarcity.
One of the things that contribute to the reward value of food is variety.
The more different flavours, taste, and macronutrients there are in a particular meal, the more likely we are to eat it and to eat more of it.
The easiest way to think about this is to imagine two plates next to each other. One plate has potatoes that have been steamed or baked with no salt or oil. The other dish has potato chips.
I am reasonably sure that most of us will not overeat the plain steamed or boiled potatoes. We will eat as much as we need to satisfy our appetite but no more.
Whereas, we are more likely to overeat the potato chips even if we are not hungry.
This example demonstrates the concept of food reward and one of the reasons that the Potato Hack diet works so well.
The diet reduces the reward value and leads to a calorie reduction.
Another reason why the potato hack diet works is that potatoes that have been cooked and cooled are high in resistant starch, as I mentioned before.
Resistant starch feeds our gut bacteria, and this has a profound impact on slowing down our metabolism.
As a side note, you can use the potato diet as an excellent way to reset your gut. For people who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, doing a Potato Hack diet for three to five days can help them get back on track.
Basic rules for following the potato hack simple weight loss diet
The following guidelines are from Tim Steele’s book, The Potato Hack, which I highly recommend if you’re interested in this as a strategy.
- Eat nothing but white potatoes for three to five days.
- While doing the potato hack simple weight loss diet, you should test your blood sugar with a glucometer after the first few potato meals. If there is a spike in blood sugar, switch from cooked to cooked and cooled potatoes.
- The diet only works with white potatoes and not sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes do not form resistant starch in the way that white potatoes do.
- Eat two to five pounds of potatoes each day. You should eat enough to satisfy your hunger. You do not need to count calories or potatoes while you’re doing this diet.
- No other foods are allowed on the potatoes. So no butter, no sour cream, no cheese, and no bacon bits.
- You allowed a little salt, but it is discouraged.
- Drink when thirsty. Coffee, tea, and water only.
- Light exercise such as walking, yoga, gentle cycling, and swimming only.
A variation of the potato hack diet is called “Potatoes By Day.” During the Potatoes by day diet, you follow the potato diet from dawn to dusk, and then you eat a typical dinner.
Contraindications to doing the diet
If you are considering trying the potato hack diet then it is essential to think about the following contraindications:
- Do not try the diet if you are very sensitive to nightshade vegetables.
- Do not try the diet if you experience blood sugar spikes even with cooked and cooled potatoes.
- Do not try the diet if you can not tolerate a lot of starch or resistant starch. For example, people with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth do not do well eating a lot of starch or resistant starch.
Further guidelines and considerations
- The potato diet is suitable when other diet strategies have failed. In my experience, a paleo style wholefoods diet is beneficial for weight loss, and it is more sustainable over the long term.
- If you do the Potato Hack Simple Weight Loss Diet for any significant length of time, taking a high-quality multivitamin is a good idea.
- You should personalise the diet to your lifestyle to make it more sustainable. In some cases, doing a Potato Hack diet for one or two days a week or just doing the Potatoes By Day strategy will be a better fit. This approach will be advisable if you have a family and busy life.
- You will usually lose a half a pound to a pound of weight loss per full day of the potato hack. Based on this information you can roughly calculate how many days you need to be doing the diet.
The Potato Hack Simple Weight Loss Diet is an affordable, and handy advanced tool for weight loss. The diet can work when everything else has failed, and because cooked and cooled potatoes have lots of resistant starch, it’s often safe even for people with blood sugar issues.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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