Vitality

Potato Nutrition Is Put To The Test As Man Vows To Eat Nothing But Spuds For A Year, But How Healthy Is A Potato Diet?

potato man
Potatoes only, but how healthy is Taylor's plan? Facebook

When we think of diet foods, potatoes aren’t really the first thing that come to mind. Despite this, one Melbourne stay-at-home dad is on a year-long, potato-only diet.

Andrew Flinders Taylor said he’s only been on the diet since January 1, but so far, he’s lost more than 30 pounds and has never been more energized or happier.

“Towards the end of last year, I had the realization that I was a 'food addict,'" Taylor told CTVNews. “I was unhappy with myself.”

Taylor said his decision to diet isn’t based only on a desire to lose weight, but also to change his “unhealthy relationship” with food. Taylor hoped to “retrain his brain,” to change the way he thought about eating, and liks his relationship with food to that of a drug addict and drugs.

“If you’re a drug addict or an alcohol addict the solution is to quit cold turkey,” Taylor said. “Obviously you can’t do that with food. So my next thought was ‘perhaps I can quit all food except one kind.”

Taylor hopped online and began researching, taking in peer-reviewed studies, listening to talks, and following John McDougall, an American who promotes vegetarianism. Looking for a food that could provide him with a variety of nutrients, Taylor was drawn to the traditional Irish diet, which relied heavily on the tuberous crop. In the end, he decided potatoes were going to be his only food.

Taylor’s diet follows certain guidelines; the potatoes he eats can be boiled, baked, mashed, or shredded, and he allows himself to use herbs, spices and sauces for flavor. Fatty toppings like cheese, butter and bacon are off limits, however, along with oil for frying. Taylor doesn’t keep track of calories or limit himself to a certain amount of potatoes, but he said he’s been less inclined to second or third helpings since starting his diet.

Unexpectedly, Taylor said, he hasn’t really missed other foods.

“This is the most surprising thing of all,” he said. “In the first week I felt like I was eating something else, but since then I honestly haven’t missed (other food). I’m quite happy with my boring potato meals.”

Taylor is also taking a B-12 supplement to make up for lost nutrients. Potatoes, though a good source of antioxidants like vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, do lack certain necessary nutrients. They lack protein, among other things, and nutritionists aren’t really on board with the idea of a single-food diet.

“There’s no real single food that provides all the nutrients that we need, other than maybe human breast milk,” said Jennifer Sygo, a sports nutritionist and dietitian at Toronto’s Cleveland Clinic Canada. “The bottom line for me is that a potato is not enough nutrition to supplement a person for life.”

Taylor says he feels amazing, however, and that he is getting regular blood tests to make sure he stays healthy. He insists that he isn’t trying to convince anyone to try the limited diet.

“I’m not trying to push this diet on anyone,” he said. “If anyone wants to do what I’m doing, they should be doing their own research, consulting with doctors and getting blood tests.”

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