Potato Diet: Fad or Fab?


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Another fad diet going around in the market – the potato diet. The potato diet is a short-term diet that claims to help reduce weight in a short period. In this article, we’ll be sharing all the details of the potato diet.

We all are aware of the nutritional value of potatoes, but you might wonder if eating them will help you lose weight. There are many variations of this fad diet just like many other diets, the most common one states one should eat potatoes for 5 days. Nothing, but potatoes.

In this article, we’ll be sharing all the necessary details of this fad diet.

What is a potato diet?

The potato diet claims to reduce about a pound of weight every day, by just eating potatoes for three-five days.

The diet dates back to 1849 but was brought back into the picture by Tim Steele who published a book – Potato Hack: Weight Loss Simplified in 2016. In this book, Steels writes about the marvels of potatoes. He alleges eating just potatoes for a week helps strengthen the immunity system, improves gut health and provides plenty of nutrients, and keeps you energized while losing weight.

The diet is back into the business because of some people who took it extremely, further boosting its popularity.


There are certain rules to follow for this five-day diet. While there are certain variations in the diet, the seven fundamentals of this book are:

  • Rule 1: You have to eat only plain cooked potatoes for three and five days.
  • Rule 2: You have to eat two pounds (0.9 – 2.3 kg) of potatoes each day.
  • Rule 3: Don’t eat other foods, including condiments and toppings such as ketchup, mayonnaise, butter, cheese.
  • Rule 4: You can have salt if you need to, but avoid it if you can.
  • Rule 5: If you are thirsty drink water or black coffee or plain tea.
  • Rule 6: Heavy exercise is not recommended but tries to stick to light exercise and walking
  • Rule 7: Take your medications as directed by your physician.

In Steele’s version of the diet, only white potatoes are allowed. Other variations of this diet are a little lenient and involve different types of potatoes. One must keep in mind that the cooking process also matters and fries, chips, etc are not included in this diet.

Weight Loss

Studies backing this viral potato diet are unavailable, but it may help you lose weight since it is low in calories. Research shows that diet restricted calories show some weight reduction but as long as you adhere to them.

Though 2-3 pounds of potatoes may seem a lot of calories, it only amounts to 530-1300 calories far less than the average calories consumption of an adult. Potatoes also contain proteinase inhibitor 2 which decreases hunger by slow digestion.

Even Though the potato diet can help you lose weight on a short-term basis, it is not applicable for long-term solutions. Potatoes are nutritious but they do not contain all the nutrients required for a healthy body. Furthermore, low-calorie diets have shown a decrease in metabolic rate and also reduces the muscle mass of the body. Also, you are more likely to get back to your original shape once you stop the diet.

Other benefits

Even though there are many reasons to criticize the potato diet, there are some nutritional takeaways from this diet, which include

  • Potatoes are nutritious: Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Potassium, folate, and iron.
  • Not complicated: Even though the diet is very restrictive, it is easy to comprehend. Simply eat potatoes for 4-5 days.
  • Safe on the pocket: Potatoes are extremely inexpensive and are considered one of the cheapest foods out there. Hence, it does not blow a hole in your pocket.
  • Fibrous food: Potatoes are high in fiber and promote your gut health, prevents obesity and heart conditions

Despite these nutritional elements, potatoes do not offer all the required nutrients. No single food can. Hence, it is recommended to consume a balanced diet with all the nutritional elements present on the plate.


There are different downsides concerning this diet.

  • Extremely restrictive

The potato diet is extremely restrictive in terms of the food you eat, the vitamins to consume. It makes this diet difficult to follow. What’s more concerning is that such restrictive diets then lead to forming an unhealthy relationship with food. It can also lead to eating disorders like binge eating.

  • Lacks other essential nutrients

Agreed potatoes contain essential vitamins and minerals but they also lack other essential nutrients such as B12, calcium, and zinc. It does provide your Vitamin C, potassium, iron but it is low on Vitamin A, Vitamin B. It is unlikely you’ll develop a nutritional deficiency in three-four days of following this diet. But you’re putting yourself at risk in terms of the long-term aspect.

  • Loss of muscle fat

Fad diets promise rapid weight loss instead of muscle loss along weight loss. Since calories are drastically reduced, these diets can reduce a lot of muscle fat while losing body fat.

  • Likely to gain the weight back

A low-calorie diet allows our body to adapt to a low metabolic rate and thus burning fewer calories. Studies show that this persists even after you end your diet. This is called ‘adaptive thermogenesis ‘ which makes maintaining weight loss difficult for our body.

Foods to Eat

If you still want to try this viral fad diet here are foods you can eat while on diet. Though only potatoes are allowed in this diet there are several ways in which you can consume them. Here are some ways in which you can consume potatoes:

  • Baked Potatoes
  • Boiled Potatoes
  • Steamed Potatoes
  • Raw Potatoes

The only seasoning in this diet is salt. However other variations allow condiments such as pepper, oregano, etc.

You can stick to water, tea, or coffee for beverages. Additionally, some variations allow the use of chicken or vegetable broth on the side.

Foods to avoid

Here are some foods you have to avoid.

  • No oiled potatoes which means no fries, chips.
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Hash Browns

The list is endless but here are some items that should be avoided at all costs.


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