In the past fifteen years, no shortage of bizarre and unconventional dietary options have been thrown about, yet recently, Australian Andrew Flinders Taylor has developed his own one: “Spud Fit”. Taylor plans on eating nothing but potatoes for 99 percent of his calories for 366 days, the other 1 percent coming from seasonings and sauces with the spuds. So far, his program has worked, and Taylor claims to have lost roughly 22 pounds in the first 32 days of the experiment.
While Taylor has dropped an impressive amount of weight in such a short time, he says that the potato diet is more about improving his relationship with food. He started the challenge weighing about 334 pounds, the most he’s ever weighed. Taylor has noted that no oil will be used in cooking the potatoes, and has been exploring the variety of ways that he can prepare potatoes. Potatoes are inexpensive, and Taylor feels they can help him control his food addiction and eating meat. Yet according to the research he’s done, potatoes have got every nutrient the body needs, and a diet of strictly potatoes has been done before. He hopes to stay with the diet for a whole year, but isn’t “100 percent stuck on that”.
Potatoes may have vitamins C and B6 and are a good source of potassium, manganese, phosphorus and niacin. Yet healthy eating is all about balances and choice, so a restrictive diet of potatoes will make it hard for Taylor to maintain daily nutrient requirements, namely protein deficiency. If Taylor does end up getting bored with potatoes, he can try to increase fruits, vegetables and whole grains without aiming for a specific calorie limit.
Their filling nature and the fact that they’re so easy to care for and cultivate have made the potato a wildly popular staple crop. Originating in South America, they were gradually introduced into Europe after the Spanish discovered them in the 16th century, and by the mid-18th century they had become a staple crop throughout Europe. In Ireland, a single acre of potatoes and the milk of a single cow was enough to feed a whole family a nutritionally adequate diet. So when Taylor says that a potato diet has been done before, he isn’t wrong. Yet how long he can tolerate this diet, especially when other food is just as easily available, remains to be seen.