Meet Andrew and his weight loss transformation story
At the beginning of the year, Andrew Flinders Taylor was heavy, weighing in at almost 152 kg (334 pounds). His cholesterol was high, blood pressure skyrocketing, and blood sugar getting to dangerous levels. This father of two from Melbourne, Australia knew he had to make a change, not just for himself, but for his family.
Potatoes: Earth’s nutritional powerhouses
White potatoes are some of the world’s most nutritionally dense foods. One white potato baked with the skin on contains (1):
- 26 g of fiber
- 3 g of protein
- 26 g of carbohydrates
- 0 g of fat
- 30% of your required vitamin C
- 15% of your required potassium (more than a banana!)
- Is a good source of vitamin B6
- Is a source of iron
- Contains all the essential amino acids to fight disease, repair cells, and build proteins
- Has only 110 calories per serving
“I’m getting over 600 percent of my daily iron retirements and over 400 percent of vitamin C as well as heaps of fibre – all things that so-called experts have said I’d be low in today,” Taylor revealed in an interview The Independent during his challenge.
Despite all of its nutritional qualities, however, the traditional white potato does have a few things missing. Calcium was the main concern, as well as deficiencies in other vitamins such as vitamin A, E, and beta-carotene. To compensate for this, Andrew included sweet potatoes in his daily diet, and used calcium-fortified soy milk when making mashed potatoes. (1)
Whether pan-fried, baked or microwaved, Andrew ate between 6-9 pounds of white and sweet potatoes every day and often mixed them with herbs and low-fat sauces for flavor. Alongside his diet of potatoes, he also restricted himself to drinking only water (and the occasional beer!)
Andrew’s Exercise Routine
For the first month, Andrew did not include any exercise, choosing instead to focus on his transition into the potato diet. Once he was settled into his new eating routine, he began spending about an hour and a half on a bike each day. Andrew continues to share lessons from his weight loss journey on his Youtube channel, Spud Fit. You can watch highlights from his potatoes-only year and how he’s staying healthy currently with exercise and a whole foods diet. Check out his exercise tips in the video below!
The Downside to the Potato Diet
Aside from the lack of variety that accompanies eating only potatoes and potato varieties for a year, there are certain things that being on such a restrictive diet makes more difficult. Andrew often had to take potatoes to friends and family members’ houses when going over for dinner or special events, and always had to call restaurants ahead of time to ensure that the chef could accommodate his requirements.
“My health just continues to improve. I had high cholesterol but now it’s low, my blood pressure has dropped and my sugar level has dropped,” he explains. “Every time I get a new blood test, it just gets better.” You can watch one of his favorite potato and cauliflower mash recipes from the time after his potato diet here:
Should you try the potato diet?
While Andrew’s success might make the potato diet seem like an easier plan for weight loss than trying to properly balance your diet, we do not advise that you try to mimic his experiment (which probably doesn’t come as a surprise).
Extreme Diets Don’t Work Long-Term
Andrew lost a lot of weight, but at the cost of eating nothing but potatoes. Obviously, this was not a plan he could stick to his entire his life, and it remains to be seen whether he will successfully keep the weight off as he transitions back into a more typical diet.
Extreme diets are not sustainable because they don’t actually teach you how to eat and live in a healthy way. People who try them gain back the weight (and often more!) when their diets are over because they don’t understand basic healthy living skills, like how to balance a meal, portion control, or knowing when to indulge and when to say no.
Extreme dieting also means you’ll be missing out on many healthy foods. In the case of the potato diet, you will be missing out on the phytonutrients that come from leafy greens or colorful vegetables, healthy carbohydrate sources (e.g. squashes, quinoa, and long-grain brown rice), and important proteins and fats that come from lean meats, fish, and eggs. In addition, while everyone around you is enjoying flavorful, colorful, fun meals and foods, you will continuously have to restrict yourself to very limited options. Not being able to participate and enjoy events such as birthdays, holidays, or celebrations will be hard, not only for you but also for friends and family who want to celebrate with you.
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned!