Desperate to kick his binge eating habits, an Australian man is forcing himself to live on nothing but potatoes for a whole year. He now claims that the tater diet has helped him lose a whopping 10kg (22 lbs) in only one month. He’s so inspired by the results that is going to continue with his plan of eating potatoes for the rest of the year.
Andrew Taylor, 36, was at his heaviest on January 1, weighing a colossal 151 kg (332 lbs), when he decided to do something about it. “I wanted to change the way I thought about food so that it’s not controlling my life,” he said. “When you’ve got an addiction, a drug addiction or an alcohol addiction, the best thing you can do is stop taking drugs or stop taking alcohol. You can’t do that with food. So I thought, what else can I do? Perhaps I can choose one kind of food.”
Taylor ended up choosing potatoes, which according to him, are highly misunderstood. “Lots of people in the past have had nothing but potatoes,” he explained. “People tend to think of them as empty calories. I’m hoping to show that potatoes are a health food.”
So for the past month, he has baked, boiled, and steamed potatoes, and even experimented with odd dishes like potato pancakes. He also includes sweet potatoes for variety, and sometimes uses a plant-based milk for flavor, but he never cooks them with oil. He claims that he gets 99 percent of his daily calorie requirement from potatoes, and the rest from seasoning. He carries potatoes with him everywhere to snack on whenever he’s hungry.
Apart from losing weight, Taylor believes eating potatoes has helped heal some of his bad eating habits from the past. “I’ve changed from seeing food as a way of getting comfort or pleasure,” he wrote on his Facebook page ‘Sput Fit’, where he shares frequent updates about his experiment. “I’ve been exercising more, I’m full of energy.”
Nutrition experts, however, do not agree with Taylor’s extreme potato experiment, even though they agree that the root vegetable is nutritious. “In addition to carbohydrate they contain good amounts of important vitamins and minerals like potassium, B vitamins, vitamin C and fiber,” nutritionist Fiona Hunter told The Telegraph.
“Having said that, it is impossible for Mr Taylor to get all the nutrients he needs to keep him fit and healthy from just potatoes. His diet is going to be deficient in key nutrients like protein, essential fatty acids and calcium,” she added. “What this experiment shows is that potatoes can still be a part of a weight loss diet – but eating only potatoes isn’t a healthy way to lose weight or one that I would recommend.”
There’s also the risk that Taylor might get bored of eating only one food and relapse within a few months. Charlene Grosse, spokesperson for the Dieticians Association of Australia, called his diet a “bandaid solution,” adding that carbohydrates are not a good source of protein. “To be able to change your mindset when it comes to food, you have to be ready and get support and guidance through health professionals,” she said. “If someone has an addiction, you can’t just switch it off by turning to one food.”
Although the experiment has worked well for him so far, even Taylor doesn’t recommend that anyone else try it. “I’ve got nothing to sell and not trying to promote it and say everyone should eat this,” he told News.com.au. “It’s me, experimenting for me, to see if I can help myself this way.”