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The Potato Diet....criticisms and metabolic theory

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  • Just a note on low calorie. I find that if I plan my favorite meal (in my case that's supper), and then plan all my calories around that, I don't feel deprived.

    The video that was posted in resources or research about the 5/2 fasting included a 100+ year old man who was the oldest person to have finished a marathon - he had eaten low calorie most of his life. I'm not sure "feeling satiated" is really a very natural state. Did primitive man always feel that? Or did s/he have many days when food wasn't plentiful enough to feel that?

    Maybe satiation is a function of modern life. I don't know for sure. I'm just putting it out there. I've learned to like sort of feeling hungry. Not famished or deprived, just sort of a not quite full feeling.
    "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

    B*tch-lite

    Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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    • Originally posted by paleo-bunny View Post
      But the potato diet is not protein deficient. You appear to have missed this point pklopp.
      You may be confusing claims that potatoes are a complete protein, meaning that they are not deficient in any of the essential amino acids, with meaning that potatoes provide adequate levels of protein. While potatoes may very well be a source of complete protein, you have to eat onerous amounts of potatoes in order to eek out any semblance of a reasonable amount of protein.

      According to the USDA, 1.5 kg of raw red potatoes is 1000 kcal with a pittance of 28g of protein for your trouble. Nearly 3.5 lbs. of food to yield 30g of protein? I cannot fathom the dietary contortions I would have to undergo in order to get 60g of protein while somehow stuffing myself with 7 lbs. of potatoes. Let's say I were to go crazy and think that 100g of protein might be appropriate for a 185 lb. reasonably active male to ingest ... that would imply eating 10 lbs. of potatoes, which I would more than likely not do due to sheer physical limitations. The net result of that is that I would be getting woefully inadequate protein.

      -PK
      My blog : cogitoergoedo.com

      Interested in Intermittent Fasting? This might help: part 1, part 2, part 3.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by pklopp View Post
        Let's say I were to go crazy and think that 100g of protein might be appropriate for a 185 lb. reasonably active male to ingest ...
        How tall is this 185lb active dude? Like 3' or like 6'? If he is closer to a 6' dude it doesnt sound like this dude needs to worry about tators for weight loss in the first place. Problem solved. Now if he is short and fat, he might be on the verge of a few more obesity related disease worries greater than a little deficient protein for a few days at a time. (2 weeks tops)
        65lbs gone and counting!!

        Fat 2 Fit - One Woman's Journey

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        • Originally posted by gopintos View Post
          How tall is this 185lb active dude? Like 3' or like 6'? If he is closer to a 6' dude it doesnt sound like this dude needs to worry about tators for weight loss in the first place. Problem solved. Now if he is short and fat, he might be on the verge of a few more obesity related disease worries greater than a little deficient protein for a few days at a time. (2 weeks tops)
          Isn't that worse, though? His body will eat up his muscles while he continues to sit fat. I'm still "eh" on the starch-without-protein thing.

          On the other side, do Kitavans eat protein with every meal? How come they look so buff?
          My chocolatey Primal journey

          Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog

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          • Originally posted by Timthetaco View Post
            I'm not aware of that happening with any form of weight loss. Fat loss always trumps loss of lean mass.
            I'm sure you will produce the evidence to substantiate that wide sweeping statement?

            Originally posted by Timthetaco View Post
            For all your objection, you have yet to show a calorie restriction study that would prove your point that the potato fast would lead to a worrisome loss of lean tissue for such a short period of time. Most diet studies are high carbohydrate by design, so surely there's a calorie restriction study you could find that can definitively prove your point.

            Also, from what I recall, the only reason the potato fast was ever called "magic" was because people were losing weight while eating a lot of starch, which breaks the low carb rule of Eat Carb Insulin Make Fat.
            I'll call your bluff, but first, why don't you produce one, just one, single peer reviewed metabolic ward study showing that strictly eating glucose polymers either results in a massive increase in total daily energy expenditure, or, is grossly inefficient, resulting in most of the nutrients not being assimilated, because that is what the weight loss of the order being anecdotally reported for potato feasts would require. And, incidentally, that's why the potato fast was being called "magic" - due to the magnitude of overnight weight loss figures being reported, not due to the fact that it resulted from eating starch.

            I will even tell you that it is well accepted that carbohydrates are the most efficiently assimilated macro nutrients, and that protein is the nutrient that produces the largest increase in metabolism which is actually the precise opposite of what you need to find. And I do have the studies to substantiate all of these claims, but I will wait to see the evidence I requested above first.

            For my part, here you go:

            Originally posted by Krieger JW, Sitren HS, Daniels MJ, Langkamp-Henken B: Effects of variation in protein and carbohydrate intake on body mass and composition during energy restriction: A meta-regression. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:260-274.
            After control for energy intake, diets consisting of ≤35–41.4% energy from carbohydrate were associated with a 1.74 kg greater loss of body mass, a 0.69 kg greater loss of fat-free mass, a 1.29% greater loss in percentage body fat, and a 2.05 kg greater loss of fat mass than were diets with a higher percentage of energy from carbohydrate. In studies that were conducted for >12 wk, these differences increased to 6.56 kg, 1.74 kg, 3.55%, and 5.57 kg, respectively. Protein intakes of >1.05 g/kg were associated with 0.60 kg additional fat-free mass retention compared with diets with protein intakes ≤1.05 g/kg. In studies conducted for >12 wk, this difference increased to 1.21 kg
            Originally posted by Layman DK. Protein quantity and quality at levels above the RDA improves adult weight loss. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004;23:S631–6.
            Evidence is accumulating that diets with reduced carbohydrates and increased levels of high quality protein are effective for weight loss. These diets appear to provide a metabolic advantage during restricted energy intake that targets increased loss of body fat while reducing loss of lean tissue and stabilizing regulations of blood glucose...Initial findings support use of dietary [protein] at levels above 1.5 g/kg · d during weight loss.
            And one more for good measure:

            Originally posted by Acute Energy Deprivation Affects Skeletal Muscle Protein Synthesis and Associated Intracellular Signaling Proteins in Physically Active Adults
            ...these studies, along with the present investigation, show that nitrogen retention is better maintained in response to energy deficits with protein intakes approximately twice the RDA...
            Which is to say that someone like me, should be getting 1.6 g -1 d-1 of protein in order to maintain nitrogen balance ( i.e. proteinaceous tissues ) during caloric restriction. Since I weigh 84 kg. that means I would need on the order of 135g of protein, or about 7.1 kg worth of potatoes to make that protein number. Of course, at that point I would not be in an energy deficit since that would be almost 5000 cal. of potatoes. The conclusion is that it is impossible to eat at an energy deficit level with potatoes only and remain in nitrogen balance.

            -PK
            My blog : cogitoergoedo.com

            Interested in Intermittent Fasting? This might help: part 1, part 2, part 3.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by pklopp View Post
              You may be confusing claims that potatoes are a complete protein, meaning that they are not deficient in any of the essential amino acids, with meaning that potatoes provide adequate levels of protein. While potatoes may very well be a source of complete protein, you have to eat onerous amounts of potatoes in order to eek out any semblance of a reasonable amount of protein.

              According to the USDA, 1.5 kg of raw red potatoes is 1000 kcal with a pittance of 28g of protein for your trouble. Nearly 3.5 lbs. of food to yield 30g of protein? I cannot fathom the dietary contortions I would have to undergo in order to get 60g of protein while somehow stuffing myself with 7 lbs. of potatoes. Let's say I were to go crazy and think that 100g of protein might be appropriate for a 185 lb. reasonably active male to ingest ... that would imply eating 10 lbs. of potatoes, which I would more than likely not do due to sheer physical limitations. The net result of that is that I would be getting woefully inadequate protein.

              -PK
              Potatoes = a technically complete protein... some of the essential amino acids in potatoes are only found in pittance amounts.
              And since the protein is in the form of vegetable matter it is not fully utilized by the body... really only count about half of it.

              Eating an all potato diet is no different than becoming vegan (the kind that really eats mostly just vegetables/fruit)... they feel great for a while too, and lose weight, etc... their bodies are cannibalizing their muscles and organs due to the lack of protein and fat. That's just how it works.

              Originally posted by gopintos View Post
              How tall is this 185lb active dude? Like 3' or like 6'? If he is closer to a 6' dude it doesnt sound like this dude needs to worry about tators for weight loss in the first place. Problem solved. Now if he is short and fat, he might be on the verge of a few more obesity related disease worries greater than a little deficient protein for a few days at a time. (2 weeks tops)
              Quite odd then that most of the posts in the "potato diet" threads are not from people who are significantly obese with bigger worries... but from people who seem more concerned with the last few vanity pounds or meeting a specific number on a scale.
              Just an observation.
              Last edited by cori93437; 11-13-2012, 09:26 PM.
              “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
              ~Friedrich Nietzsche
              And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by cori93437 View Post
                Potatoes = a technically complete protein... some of the essential amino acids in potatoes are only found in pittance amounts.
                And since the protein is in the form of vegetable matter it is not fully utilized by the body... really only count about half of it.

                Eating an all potato diet is no different than becoming vegan (the kind that really eats mostly just vegetables/fruit)... they feel great for a while too, and lose weight, etc... their bodies are cannibalizing their muscles and organs due to the lack of protein and fat. That's just how it works.



                Quite odd then that most of the posts in the "potato diet" threads are not from people who are significantly obese with bigger worries... but from people who seem more concerned with the last few vanity pounds or meeting a specific number on a scale.
                Just an observation.
                Long stretches of potatoes would be disastrous for sure. Short term results in rapid fat loss. I've seen it work equally well on last 10 for me and some others and first 10 for a morbidly obese man. Satiation while on calorie deficit is hard to come by--that's why HCG is so popular. Potatoes are nature's HCG!

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                • I would have to see actual reliable measurements (either hydro or DEXA) to believe that it was primarily FAT loss...

                  I do not believe that any crash diet results in fat loss at the rates you and others are describing. I believe that there is a small amount of fat loss along with muscle loss. This is pretty well documented in crash diet scenarios.

                  Potatoes are not HCG. That is a certifiably ridiculous statement.
                  “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
                  ~Friedrich Nietzsche
                  And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.

                  Comment


                  • No matter what I can't eat 10 days of potatoes with no fat on them. Borrrriiiing!


                    This is said by someone who has access to a variety of good foods.
                    Female, age 51, 5' 9"
                    SW - 183 (Jan 22, 2012), CW - 159, GW - healthy.

                    Met my 2012 goals by losing 24 pounds.
                    2013 goals are to get fit and strong!

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                    • One point worth considering is homeostasis.

                      If you're just going about your normal activities then once protein resumes there's no logical reason why your body won't swiftly pack muscle back on again to return where you were muscle-wise. In the meantime, you've burnt fat.

                      So why not do the potato thing, then boost protein later?

                      Of course you can also ask 'why not just do extra protein now?' but that ruins part of the strength of the thing, which is the simplicity and appetite-killing effect.

                      My point is that muscle loss, IF it's occurring and my measurements don't seem to support that to any significant extent, is hardly some permanent tragedy. In bodybuilding it's well-accepted that you'll lose some muscle mass while cutting. So?

                      Fact is, we're seeing tummy measurements going down. Works for me.



                      AC

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by cori93437 View Post
                        Quite odd then that most of the posts in the "potato diet" threads are not from people who are significantly obese with bigger worries... but from people who seem more concerned with the last few vanity pounds or meeting a specific number on a scale.
                        Just an observation.
                        True true, I guess my point was so long as they have 'something' to lose. And maybe the more you have to lose the more you do in fact lose. Someone who is pretty much there, or someone doing drastic variations, may not see the same results. But they might see some other kind of results, so it's all good to know
                        65lbs gone and counting!!

                        Fat 2 Fit - One Woman's Journey

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                        • Originally posted by AlanC View Post
                          One point worth considering is homeostasis.

                          If you're just going about your normal activities then once protein resumes there's no logical reason why your body won't swiftly pack muscle back on again to return where you were muscle-wise. In the meantime, you've burnt fat.
                          That is an interesting speculation, but you do realize that "pack muscle back on again" reflects itself as the needle on the scale moving "in the wrong direction" for people who are monitoring weight rather than body composition? Assuming that your idea regarding homeostasis is correct, then this whole potato diet thing becomes the poster child for yo-yo dieting. Further, people report that the weight stays off ... yaiii! Unless, of course, this is simply a reflection of the fact that it is difficult to regain lost muscle mass.

                          Originally posted by AlanC View Post
                          So why not do the potato thing, then boost protein later?
                          You're an adult, do what you want to do as long as you don't harm others. If you want to eat only potatoes, then no one has any right to try and stop you.

                          On the whole, it is not my impression that people are trying to stop others from eating potatoes, it certainly isn't my intent. I'm merely trying to understand what is going on. It is precisely this desire for comprehension that led to my potato fast experiment. The results of my self-experimentation categorically tell me that the claims being made for the potato fast are greatly exaggerated.

                          Originally posted by AlanC View Post
                          Of course you can also ask 'why not just do extra protein now?' but that ruins part of the strength of the thing, which is the simplicity and appetite-killing effect.
                          Yes, it is brain dead simple, that is a "strength." I am a little leery of people for whom brain-dead simple is such a selling point.

                          If you have the stomach for it, go back to the monster tator thread, and find one particular post that in essence said "I don't want to hear any counter opinion or evidence. Potatoes work and that's the end of it. If you don't like it, go somewhere else." I'm paraphrasing, but that is the mentality that is prevalent there.

                          I am a perfect example of that dynamic. I did the potato fast for a week at a 1500 kcal. intake with results on the order of what I would expect on _any_ diet at that caloric deficit. I did not observe miraculous weight loss and I fastidiously measured various parameters. When I put out that information, the pushback is nearly overwhelming and of two forms : either I broke the diet by including protein ( egg whites, possibly the worlds most innocous substance ) or I am myself broken.

                          The zeal with which people defend the potato diet even in the face of contradicting evidence is disturbing and borders on the cult-like. Now, before anyone takes offense, consider this: studies show that the beliefs of doomsday cults are actually reinforced and become stronger when their doomsday predictions turn out to be false. The mechanism by which this happens is that those members of the cult that are influenced by evidence, you know, trivial empirical things like there still being a world left to inhabit, internalize that evidence and self-select out of the group. They leave. The ones that are left are the dyed in the wool dogmatists ... "I don't care what you have to say, the world is surely ending, but tomorrow, not yesterday as I initially said." These folks live in an echo chamber, where they only admit evidence to feed their confirmation bias.

                          For my part, if I have to choose between evidence, and belief, I am going to go for the evidence.

                          Originally posted by AlanC View Post
                          Fact is, we're seeing tummy measurements going down. Works for me.
                          Et tu, Alan?

                          -PK
                          My blog : cogitoergoedo.com

                          Interested in Intermittent Fasting? This might help: part 1, part 2, part 3.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by pklopp View Post
                            The corollary to the argument is that if your miraculous weightloss is due largely to protein losses, then you may actually be gaining relative fat mass, i.e. you are losing protein at a faster rate than you are losing fat.
                            I'm quoting this again because it's what prompted my comment. Now the burden of proof is on me? Like I said, I've never heard of that happening on any diet, ever. Show me one example of a person losing more lean mass than fat during the course of a diet.

                            If people are seeing a significant amount of fat loss after the potato fast, or have broken through a plateau when all the things that should be working haven't been, I'm not going to begrudge them loss of lean tissue along with it. Lean mass lost isn't gone forever, this doesn't crash metabolisms, and from the anecdotal reports it seems to help some people with fat loss.

                            I'm not convinced that negative nitrogen balance for a week or two is the issue you're making it out to be.

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                            • Loss of lean muscle mass is a notable effect of dieting and is particularly of concern in crash diets and in people who experience weight cycling. People can actually end up their weight loss with worse bodyfat percentages than before they started.

                              Lean mass loss is associated with low protei... [J Am Diet Assoc. 2008] - PubMed - NCBI

                              It's far easier to gain fat than muscle, and people tend to gain back more fat than muscle after dieting. This is one of the potential causes for people who are metabolically obese but of normal weight and one of the reasons that weight stable overweight people tend to have better long-term health outcomes than people who have been through multiple weight cycles. Repeated weight loss tends to involve repeated loss of muscle mass with the regain consisting primarily of fat, so each time someone diets down and then regains, she is likely to end up fatter by percentage than when she began.

                              The way to prevent this is to ensure that you don't lose your muscle mass by consuming sufficient protein while dieting. If you are losing significant muscle and bone mass, even if you are also losing fat, you are burning up your health along with your fat.
                              “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                              Owly's Journal

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                              • Originally posted by pklopp View Post
                                The results of my self-experimentation categorically tell me that the claims being made for the potato fast are greatly exaggerated.
                                Ok, I get what your saying. But I just think that just because it did not work the same for you, does not mean that everyone else is exaggerating anything. That is like saying that ppl that try primal and dont reap any benefits, then the rest of us must be full of BS. That would be like those of us that did not have good results on HF/LC in terms of weight loss & low energy, saying that everyone else that is losing weight and so full of energy is full of BS. I had terribly results and felt like crap, yet I dont feel like they are all just full of crap. I feel like it worked for them, that is great, but was not working for me, so I had to continue trying to figure out something that would. It would have been fine for maintenance but that is not my goal at the moment.

                                What the experiment showed me, my experiment, was that my original way of eating, though primal, is what was messed up. I could lose weight fasting - no protein, not much in the way of calories, and yet when I was finished fasting, I would gain it back when I returned back to normal primal eating. And that normal eating was high fat and low carbs. For me, fasting was my yo-yo dieting. I would lose the same 2 or 3 pounds. I probably lost 12 or more pounds in any given month, but by the end of the summer, only about 2lbs of it was new loss.

                                I found the tator thread about the same time of realizing that I needed to shift my macros away from so much fat and include a few more carbs and maybe even up the protein slightly. The shake up might have been what I needed more than anything, and maybe that is why we found success and you didnt. The plateau buster ppl just needed a little carby shake up to get things moving again. Maybe you were already where you needed to be, which is a good thing for you. It is possible that maybe one of the groups is exaggerating, and it's possible that maybe no one is. Without being in a controlled environment with the exact same body composition, same amount of fat, same this same that, it is difficult to compare one to the other.

                                That is not to say that one is right and one is wrong. Not in terms of results. Now if there is science that shows that eating tators in this fashion is bad for us, and this fashion being for a few days to a few weeks, then that is something else.
                                65lbs gone and counting!!

                                Fat 2 Fit - One Woman's Journey

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