For years, you’ve heard the same diet advice. If you want to lose weight, you have to cut way back on carbs, especially starchy carbs like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. But what if you could lose a s---load of weight eating nothing but starchy carbs?
This is Andrew Taylor, 36. At the beginning of 2016, Taylor weight more than 330 pounds. To lose the weight, he decided to try the radical idea of eating nothing but potatoes for the entire year. Did it work?
You bet your sweet ass it worked. Over the course of 2016, Andrew Taylor the potato-eating freak lost an eye-popping 100 pounds. But what inspired the spud-gobbling Aussie to embark on such a strange gastronomic experiment?
On his website, SpudFit.com (yes, really), Taylor claims that “most people” assumed his diet was about “some clown doing something crazy and unhealthy on a whim for 15 minutes of fame.” But nothing could be further from the truth, according to Taylor.
To tackle his weight problem, the former junior Australian Champion marathon kayaker and former high-school physical education/health teacher endeavored to find “the perfect food.” After literally weeks of study, he decided that food is the humble potato.
In addition to his research, Taylor also consulted with a physician with whom he checked in during the course of his diet. He seemed not to suffer health deficiencies. "I’m getting over 600 per cent of my daily iron retirements and over 400 per cent of vitamin c as well as heaps of fibre,” Taylor told The Independent, “all things that so-called experts have said I’d be low in.”
It’s important to note that Taylor’s “potato-only” diet including sweet potatoes. That matters because sweet potatoes are way higher in vitamin A and other vitamins and minerals compared to regular spuds.
Some nutritionists have supported Taylor’s diet. Rhiannon Lambert said potatoes are “a nutrition powerhouse” because they’re fiber-rich, filling and have a low energy density. And according to Joan Salge Blake, a clinical nutrition professor at Boston University, “For the money and your blood pressure, you can’t beat a traditional baked spud.”
But obesity specialist Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., told Men’s Health magazine that a potato-only diet is deeply flawed. The diet lacks protein, for example. So while you may lose weight, you’ll also lose muscle. And that’s not healthy.
Taylor insists the potato-only diet made him healthier. “My health just continues to improve,” he said. “I had high cholesterol but now it’s low, my blood pressure has dropped and my sugar level has dropped.” That may be true, but again, the counterargument is that those are the results of weight loss itself, not the consumption of potatoes specifically.
Even though his initial year-long potato diet is done, Taylor hasn’t quit. Far from it. He’s spreading the “Spud Fit Challenge” through Facebook, YouTube and a podcast. And, of course, he’s selling a ton of potato-diet-based merchandise.
So is the potato-only diet a good idea? It’s true that Andrew Taylor lost 100 pounds in a year by eating only potatoes. But there are healthier ways to achieve the same results. And as a bonus, you won’t have to eat nothing but potatoes for a whole year. Don’t do that.
In fairness, Taylor discourages people from blindly taking his word for it "Do your own research and make educated decisions,” he says on his website. “Don’t just do things because you saw some weird bloke on the internet doing it! Also get medical supervision to make sure everything is going well for you, especially if you are taking any medications.” Good advice all around.