Potatoes For Weight Loss and Health
Is there really a need for yet another potato thread?
Given that the previous thread has grown into a 60+ page monstrosity, it might be time for a synopsis of the information in that thread, or an etch-a-sketch reboot, or something.
It's also symptomatic of that thread that you have folks saying things like:
"...I felt the need to clean my system from the sugars that I've been eating lately...".
The fact that the "cleaning method" of choice was to eat long glucose polymers should make you wonder about the analytical framework driving the decision to "clean" sugar with sugar. And before anyone jumps in to differentiate between the sucrose disaccharide and the glucose monosaccharide, I'm well aware of the distinction, and I will come back to it later, but the point I'm making here is that it is very unclear from the post I referenced whether that poster understands the difference and why it might matter.
Then we have:
[quote]"I am scheduled for cholesterol blood work in 2 weeks so if I start this tater diet now, will this skew my results?"
Well, do carbohydrates in general, and starches in particular elevate cholesterol? A modicum of research into the issue should make clear that the entire anti-meat cholesterol debacle was predicated on the observations of one Ancel Keys that eating meat elevated cholesterol levels, whereas carbohydrates do not. Whether elevated cholesterol has any predictive value at all when it comes to heart disease is still being debated. What is not debated is whether eating more starch relative to meat would overall lower cholesterol. Yes, it will. Again, the analytical framework is non-existent.
But, this is the quote that sent me over the top:
"I'm wondering if you just ate sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. Better for your gut."
Now, this particular statement is brilliant, and I'm not being facetious here. This is a nascent analytical framework. It is an attempt to understand the underlying mechanism which could cause the diet to work, and moreover, on the basis of that understanding to extrapolate and predict, potentially improving on the overall result.
It seems to me that the emerging framework there is that the diet may work simply via involuntary caloric restriction. Potatoes are not particularly nutrient dense, and their satiety effect is transient and reliant predominantly on bulk. If that is true, then sweet potatoes would probably be roughly equivalent to regular potatoes, and there might be other consideration which would induce one to select one over the other.
The part that I found truly objectionable was the reply from the mastermind behind the thread, Otzi, who said:
"I'd love to see you try. Do a week of sweet potatoes, two weeks of normal, then a week of white potatoes. It may work as good or better."
On the face of it, grammar notwithstanding, you might not find this nearly as maddening as I did, but in essence, Otzi is saying that he also has no analytical framework for why the diet might work, so you might as well try it and see how it all works out for you. And, if after all of this, your self-experimentation fails, you might give eating sand a try to see how that might work out for you. The approach is for all intents and purposes random, albeit commendably empirical.
But if it is indeed the case that we're looking at involuntary caloric restriction relying on bulk to induce satiety, there are far better ways to go about it than eating potatoes. Here are several options, with about 1/3 the caloric density per gram of potatoes : carrots, strawberries, or watermelon.
So, if you are at all empirically inclined, I would advise you to track your all potato diet, recording at least your calories and weight. Then, instead of doing a comparison with a sweet potato diet, do it with an isocaloric carrot / strawberry / watermelon diet. If you can stomach it, you might want to eat only one kind of fruit / vegetable, but I don't think you need to do that, because I expect that the results would be the same as with an all potato diet, after accounting for the fact that you would literally have to eat approximately three times the mass of food in order to be isocaloric.
Of course, I could be wrong. If I'm wrong, you would have gotten a really good data set, because we changed something fairly fundamental when we left behind the potato / sweet potato starch : the fructose load of the diet. And it could be that that change is significant. Or maybe not, but the point is that we are testing, honing, and building an analytical framework, trying to eek out what is the signal, and what is merely noise.
For my part, I'm willing to experiment and generate some data for myself, and I've set up a website where I intend to conduct my self-experimentation:
Everyone is more than welcome to check it out and comment, but part of the reason that I set up my own site was in order to be able to exert some measure of control over the comments, so if you are hoping that I will answer such burning questions as "Is it ok to sprinkle parsley flakes to flavor my morning hash browns, and if so, how much is too much?" I'm afraid that I'll probably delete those ... sorry. But, as a measure of goodwill : yes, it's ok to use parsley flakes, and if you can still see your potatoes through the flakes, you should be ok.