An Australian man trying to lose weight and curb his food addiction has decided he's going to get "Spud Fit" this year.
Melbourne resident Andrew Flinders Taylor plans to eat nothing but potatoes for 99 percent of his calories for 366 days, with the other 1 percent coming from seasonings and sauces on the spuds. So far, what he has dubbed "Spud Fit" has worked, as he said it's resulted in a loss of 10 kilograms, or roughly 22 pounds, through the first 32 days of the experiment.
He may have dropped 22 pounds, but says the potato diet isn't as much about losing weight as improving his relationship with food.
He started the challenge weighing 151.7 kilograms, or 334.4 pounds, which is the most he's ever weighed.
He noted there will be no oil used in cooking the potatoes and has explored all the different ways the world's fourth-largest food crop can be prepared.
"The last couple years I've not been anywhere near as fit and active as I'd like to be,'' he said in his initial video. "(I thought) perhaps I could choose one kind of food and just stick with that, so I'd be as close to going cold turkey off food while I can while still eating nutritious, healthy food."
Potatoes also are inexpensive, and Taylor feels they can help him control his food addiction and avoid eating meat.
"It's a very daunting thing for me to go without all the delicious things that I love to eat for a year, so that's scary,'' he said. "The research I've done, potatoes have got pretty much everything a body needs, and it's been done before. As long as I'm physically and mentally healthy, I want to keep going."
He hopes to stay with the peculiar diet for the entire year, but said he's "not 100 percent stuck on that."
Balance and choice is important
That's probably a good idea. Potatoes do have vitamins C and B6 and are a good source of potassium, manganese, phosphorus and niacin. If he's eating the skin, they're high in fiber.
But, as anyone concerned about nutrition realizes — healthful eating is all about balance and choice. A restrictive diet like Taylor is forcing on himself makes it harder to maintain daily nutrient requirements.
For one: protein deficiency.
"He will rapidly become severely protein deficient, with negative health consequences if he consumes only potatoes," says NBC News nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom.
Taylor feels the strategy of eliminating food choices "will be a positive thing and it will allow me to focus on other things and stop worrying."
But if (or when) Taylor gets bored with potatoes, there is a simple, scientifically proven way of eating that he might find helpful:increase fruits, vegetables and whole grains, without aiming for a specific calorie limit, according to 2015 research from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
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