It might be the most boring diet of all time. No fancy juices or exotic superfoods or celebrity spokesmen. Just good old-fashioned potatoes, every meal of every day for one entire year. Sound crazy? Well yeah, because it is. But it also helped Andrew Taylor drop 53 pounds since New Year's Day.
A native of Melbourne, Australia, Taylor entered 2016 measuring 6-foot-3, 334 pounds. Motivated to drop weight in the new year, he decided to eat nothing but potatoes for the next 365 days and document the experience online.
"For most of my life I've struggled with my weight. I've tried all sorts of diets and ways of eating, with the familiar story of losing weight and then putting it all back on. Toward the end of 2015, I had a realization that all these attempts at weight loss were merely treating the symptom of my problem, rather than the cause. I reasoned that the cause was food addiction," Taylor writes on his Spudfit.com website. "If you have a drug, alcohol or gambling addiction, the best thing you can do is to quit those things cold turkey and never touch them again. Unfortunately you can't do that with food. My next thought was to try to get as close as possible to quitting food, while still eating a nutritious, healthy diet. If I couldn't quit food entirely, perhaps I could quit all foods except one?"
According to his website, Taylor's diet consists of "all kind of potatoes, including sweet potatoes." He also uses herbs, spices and fat-free sauces to add flavor. When he makes mashed potatoes, he adds soy milk. As for beverages, he says he drinks only water and an occasional beer. He also supplements his diet with a vitamin B12 supplement.
Taylor has already lost over 50 pounds in under 80 days, and he says he's feeling incredible. "I'm sleeping better, I no longer have joint pain from old football injuries, I'm full of energy. I have better mental clarity and focus," he writes.
I know what you're thinking—there's no way an all-spud diet can be safe, right? Perhaps not, but it seems Taylor is taking steps to reduce his risk of nutrient deficiency.
For one, he always eats the skin. Potato skins have a massive amount of nutrients. They're high in fiber and iron and contain a good amount of calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and protein. He also eats a variety of different potatoes, so he's consuming a wide range of nutrients. For example, a basic white Idaho Russet potato has almost no vitamin A, but the average sweet potato contains 368% of your daily value.
Taylor also adds a variety of simple toppings to his potatoes, including things like jam and nutritional yeast flakes. The soy milk and B12 supplement add more dietary diversity. Does this mean the diet is safe? Not necessarily, but at least Taylor has built in some variety. He stresses that he's not counting calories in any way. "I eat as much as I like as often as I like; I do not allow myself to go hungry if I can help it," he writes. Although he believes he'll be fine, he has been getting regular blood tests to check for possible nutrient deficiencies.
Believe it or not, Taylor is not the first person to try an all-potato diet. Back in 2010, Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, decided to eat nothing but potatoes for 60 consecutive days. Like Taylor, he allowed himself toppings and seasonings to add flavor. After the two-month experiment, Voigt lost 21 pounds, his cholesterol fell 67 points and he reported no nutritional deficiencies.
If you have any questions about Taylor's diet, you can check out his FAQ page.
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