In an earlier article, I wrote about the potato diet or potato hack and why it works.
This diet is exactly what it sounds like.
You eat nothing but potatoes and as a result, lose weight very fast.
Not only should it help you lose weight fast but also doing so without you feeling any hunger at all.
Additionally, the potato diet should improve your gut health tremendously, eliminate your cravings and “reset your taste buds”.
When first researching this diet I found quite a lot of anecdotal evidence saying this diet works well, and because of that, I thought it would be cool to try out myself and share my experience.
Because I am interested in maintaining my strength and muscle there was a special variation of the potato diet that caught my attention.
It is basically an all-potato diet that cycles periods of 3-5 days of only potato eating with normal eating. I have seen this diet called potato hack or 3-day potato diet.
The thing is that when you limit the low protein and calories from this diet to a few days the potential muscle loss is reduced significantly compared to for example a 30-day potato diet.
The potato hack was created by Tim Steele who also wrote a whole book explaining it.
My 3-Day Potato Diet Experiment
I like to experiment with myself also when it comes to diet.
I think learning about smart ways to make weight loss easier is time well spent since weight loss is just hard.
But I should mention that I also have a skeptic nature, and whenever I read or hear weight loss and easy mentioned in the same sentence I become even more skeptic.
The potato diet has some very bold claims.
What I especially hoped to find out with my experiment was if the potato diet really can make you lose weight fast without feeling hungry.
Here Is How I Prepared The Potatoes
You want to eat only potatoes because they are very filling. Actually boiled potatoes is ranked number 1 as the most filling food.
However, the trick to preparing the potatoes for this diet is to first either boil or bake them (or any other way that doesn’t add calories) and then let them cool down for many hours before eating.
This is because the resistant starch which is an important aspect of this diet and why it works is destroyed in the cooking process.
If cooled for many hours part of the resistant starch reforms. We’re talking about ideally 12 hours in the fridge.
The resistant starch does some incredible things for your gut health, fills you up even more quickly and potentially regulates insulin and blood sugar.
I cover resistant starch and why it works more in-depth here.
Here Is How I Ate The Potatoes
Another trick of making this diet work is basically eating the potatoes as boring as possible.
It is fine to reheat the potatoes after they cooled down for a long time, but I ate all my potatoes cold directly from the fridge to maximize the boringness.
You don’t want to add anything that has calories to the potatoes or make the potatoes tasty.
I think it is fine to add a bit of spice or seasoning but don’t go crazy.
However, I can honestly say after three days of eating potatoes that I really doubt any amount of spices alone can make those potatoes tasty.
For drinks, I only had coffee and water.
I “accidentally” had a can of diet coke which I later realized I probably should have avoided.
On day one I ate two meals consisting of a total of 1.65 kg boiled potato.
Now that is a lot of potatoes but it actually only amounts to 1700 calories which is quite low. But, I was a little bit disappointed since I had hoped for more.
It only accounts for about 500+ calories below my maintenance and that is really not “that fast”.
I should emphasize that I ate until I felt completely full.
I woke up feeling great and not hungry at all. One day of eating almost only carbs (potatoes do have a little bit of protein) had clearly not affected me in any negative way.
I am used to intermittent fasting and usually eat my first meal around 1-2 pm but this day I was not hungry at all.
Obviously, I was not going to eat if I didn’t feel hungry so my first meal was after 5 pm.
My first and only meal was big and later I had a “potato snack”.
However, this day I only ate 1.1 kg potatoes which account for a little more than 1100 calories.
While I was not hungry at all, I did start to feel a weird craving in the late evening.
It was like nothing I ever experienced before, and the best way to describe is like a craving for another taste than potato.
It was nothing intense though, and if compared to the feeling of hunger it wasn’t as bad at all.
The funny thing was that when I brushed my teeth the toothpaste was incredible! The slightly chemical taste of mint and lemon was like a “culinary experience”.
The third day I also woke up feeling completely fine.
I didn’t experience any crazy hunger or drop in energy levels. I actually felt quite good.
I went for a long and enjoyable walk with my wife. I am a big fan of walking in general and walking for weight loss.
I ended up eating only 900 grams of boiled potatoes which account for about 900 calories.
This time it was not only about eating until I felt full, I literally had absolutely no desire to eat any more potatoes.
The weird experience of craving taste did intensify, but still nowhere near as bad as feeling hunger.
I mean, I have been on long weight loss diets before that lasted up to 3+ months, so I would dare to say that I am well aware of how hunger feels and the level of “uncomfortableness” it leads to.
Eating only 1100 or 900 calories in one day is very low and will surely make my body burn a lot of fat to compensate for that big calorie deficit.
The scale did also show a drop in weight, but interestingly enough it was not as big a drop as a normal weight loss diet which is much lower in carbs. Additionally, the rebound weight was also much lower.
This makes perfect sense since I probably retained all my water. The big initial weight loss you see with other weight loss diets are mostly due to loss of water
I talk more about this in my article on how to keep track of weight loss.
When looking at weekly averages of my weight I would say that I lost about 0.5 kg of fat which seems right when looking at the calories.
If you want to learn more about how I am able to estimate this you can check out my article on the speed of fat loss.
Since I didn’t feel hungry at all, my experience is that the claim that the potato diet can make you lose weight fast without feeling hungry is true.
However, you might feel a different craving for taste.
Throughout the whole experience, I didn’t feel any peaks or drops in energy levels like you would normally associate with eating a lot of carbs.
Especially on the third day I noticed feeling very well in my stomach and I guess that the potatoes had done something great for my gut.
Although I did notice food tasting a lot better after having eaten only potatoes, I am not sure I can say that it eliminated cravings or reset my taste buds.
Fear Of Muscle Loss?
Eating only potatoes is not ideal for maintaining strength and muscle, but I don’t think three days is going to make a very small difference.
I just ate a lot of protein before and after the diet. Additionally, I went to the gym before and after the diet.
If you want to learn more about how to make the potato diet fit into working you can check out this article by Rusty Moore.
I was inspired by Rusty to try it out the diet myself.
Lessons Learned From The Potato Diet
I hope reading my experience piqued your interest, but I completely understand if you feel eating only potatoes is too extreme.
But there are some important lessons to learn from this diet and why it works that you can implement in a less extreme diet.
Consuming resistant starch in a strategic way can work great to fill you up without adding many calories. It also has the potential of regulating insulin and blood sugar and this can control hunger.
Resistant starch is found in a lot of starchy vegetables and fruits. A good source could be legumes and whole grains.
Eating bland or boring food is very likely to decrease your chance of overeating.
Besides not adding a lot of spices, sauces or other condiments you could even opt for eating only cold meals.
You can lose a lot of fat on a high-carb diet. Actually, you can lose just as much fat as on ketogenic diet (more on this below).
There is a clear difference between hunger and cravings. Probably much of what we interpret as “hunger” is a craving to stimulate the taste buds.
If you are interested in general tips on how to make weight loss easier, you can check out this article.
But You Have To Cut Carbs To Lose Fat, Right?
Both the ketogenic- and low-carb diets are very popular in the weight loss and fitness space today.
Whenever someone wants to lose weight, the natural response always seems to be: “cut carbs”. It is as if fat loss and cutting carbs have become synonymous with each other.
There are of course some unique benefits to the keto diet, but I am not going to mention that here in order to spare you. I assume you have been bombarded with this keto stuff for the past three years.
If you still want to know more you can read this article.
What I want to say instead is that research shows that a high-fat / ketogenic diet is not better than a high-carb diet.
As long as an equal calorie deficit is maintained while including sufficient protein then the rate of fat loss stays the same when comparing a low-carb and high-fat / ketogenic diet to a high carb diet.
However, the keto diet usually leads to a much bigger short-term weight loss because of less water retention. This has nothing to do with fat loss and given enough time the two opposite approaches evens out in weight loss.
I cover this topic more in-depth in my article low-carb vs high-carb.
I am by no means trying to bash the keto diet or low-carb diet, I just think they are getting a disproportional amount of attention and I want you to understand that a high-carb diet is just as viable for losing weight.
So if you want to lose weight but think eating mostly fats sounds crazy, then you should probably not do it.
Personally, I like to eat eggs and bacon but not having carbs really makes me feel like shit (I tried it several times). And yes, I know that this is can change when the body has fully adapted to the keto-diet. This can take weeks by the way.
But for me, I prefer a high-carb approach.
If you are the same, then you might be interested in the premium course High Cat Fat loss.
It is co-authored by Rusty Moore and teaches everything you need to know about how to lose a lot of fat eating mostly carbs.
A lot of people are having success with this diet, and if you like to eat rice, potatoes, pasta, and bread I think you could as well.
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Read more here.