Paul Jaminet's take on the Potato Diet
From the author of the Perfect Health Diet: Perfect Health Diet Q&A with Paul*Jaminet - Latest in Paleo Podcast Blog - Latest in Paleo Podcast - Paleo Diet - Paleo Fitness - Paleo News
What are your thoughts on the Potato Diet, which has been gaining some popularity in online Paleo communities as a short-term solution for weight loss? - Angelo (Yes, I snuck in one more question...)
Hi Angelo, the Potato Diet like all highly restrictive diets is very effective for weight loss in the short term. It is probably better than many restrictive diets because potatoes are a healthy, nourishing food, and have relatively few toxins (thus we classify them as a “safe starch” and recommend their regular consumption). They also have a lot of an especially beneficial form of fiber.
Eating potatoes only is a lipid deficient diet, and this will have negative effects within a few months. Chris Voigt was on his Potato Diet for only 60 days and his serum cholesterol dropped from 214 mg/dl (perfect) to 147 mg/dl (severely deficient). This impairs immune function and over time would have negative effects. The Irish were famously healthy on a diet high in potatoes, but they drank large quantities of milk daily and that rounded out the diet, making it healthy.
If one were to stick to the Potato Diet for an extended period of time, two months as Chris Voigt did or longer, nutrient deficiencies would develop and the Potato Dieter would become increasingly hungry. The effect of malnutrition on hunger is discussed in our new edition (chapter 17). This would eventually make the diet intolerable.
So I would suggest that the best strategy is to eat a nutritionally balanced diet from the beginning – at a minimum, potatoes and milk, like the Irish, but preferably also with eggs, seafood, organ meats, and vegetables – and use intermittent fasting and conscious effort to achieve a calorie restriction similar to that achieved on the Potato Diet. This more nourishing diet is likely to be equally effective for weight loss and healthier in the long run.
Of course, with those changes the Potato Diet becomes an implementation of the Perfect Health Diet!