Everything You Need to Know About the Potato Diet


In today’s fast-paced world, individuals lean toward crash diets to bring results in a short amount of time. As a result, it increases the rise of diets like the potato diet. The rules are simple in a potato diet. It is a short-term dietary plan where an individual has to eat only potatoes for three to five days, followed by a week or months, depending on the person’s requirement. 

This extreme eating plan focuses on consuming nothing but cooked potatoes for rapid weight loss. For instance, you might even lose up to one pound (0.45 kg) per day after following the potato diet for three to five days. However, longer-term versions of the potato diet might not have significant health benefits. It simply does whatever any diet tries to do: limits foods to lose weight. 

Foods to Eat in Potato Diet

Plain Potatoes

According to a study, plain boiled potatoes are highly satiating. However, it is always better to eat them in moderation. Then, if you want to explore more, you can move to other varieties.

However, it does not include sweet potatoes or yams in your potato allowance. You can eat boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes, as long as they’re not chips.

Whole, Plant-Based Foods

In its strict form, the potato diet does not allow the diet follower to consume food other than potatoes. However, in the lenient form, the individual can consume unprocessed and whole food sources, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains with low-calorie content.

Condiments and Seasonings

The potato diet has condiments, sauces, and seasoning limitations in its purest form. While in the non-strict diet plan, the individual is allowed to intake a small number of low-fat condiments such as mustard and spice powders or herbs.

Drinks

Black tea, coffee (without milk or sugar), herbal tea, and water are the only beverage drinks allowed to consume while following the potato diet. However, since it is essential to stay hydrated, individuals are encouraged to drink plenty of water.

Foods to Avoid in Potato Diet

Added Fats

The potato diet does not include vegetable oils, butter, nuts, seeds, and avocado due to fat content. Even though fats help absorb nutrients, they also have a high source of calories, making you gain weight quickly.

Processed and Refined Foods

The potato diet does not add processed food items, including pasta, bread, chips, muffins, doughnuts, cereals, and crackers, as they have high fat, sodium, and calories. So, for instance, you can eat baked potatoes instead of french fries.

Animal Based Products

The potato diet is a part of going vegan. Hence animal products including meat, poultry, seafood, fish, dairy, and eggs are prohibited.

Potato Diet: How to Go About It?

Most people generally consider potatoes unhealthy. However, it is not because of the vegetable itself but due to its cooking techniques that substantially increase the calories.

So, instead, the potato diet explores healthy cooking alternatives such as baking and boiling. Some versions of the potato diet only allow white potatoes and involve skin-on preparations. At the same time, others include a wider variety and require peeling. Some potato diets are less strict, allowing for small amounts of non-dairy milk, roast, and sauté.

The HealthifyMe Note

There is no specific schedule to consume meals in the potato diet since it is generally for 3 to 5 days for quick weight loss. Likewise, the number of potatoes consumed in a day also depends on the individual. However, a general recommendation is two to five pounds of potatoes daily, which will help you get enough calories and nutrients.

Pros of a Potato Diet

Potatoes are gluten-free and rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and other nutrients. The diet puts you in a calorie deficit state and resets your appetite, aiding in weight loss.

Prevent Overeating

Research shows that potatoes have a high fibre content of around 3.7 grams and have resistant starch, which takes more space in the gastrointestinal tract, slowing down digestion and ultimately preventing overeating. It will also help to prevent insulin resistance and facilitate weight loss.

Support Exercise Performance

Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates and various nutrient sources, making them an excellent fuel source for exercise. A study found that consuming small to medium baked potatoes will power up your workout sessions, eventually aiding in weight loss.

Helps in Weight Control

The resistant starch present in the potatoes is said to undergo fermentation once it reaches the large intestine, stimulating the body to burn fat content. Moreover, the high potassium content in potatoes helps prevent water retention, effectively aiding in weight loss. 

Even though there is no recommended level for resistant starch, nutritionists recommend consuming at least 10 grams daily, whereas most people only eat around 5 grams.

Boost Metabolism Rate

Potatoes are known as a rich source of antioxidants like polyphenols. They play a significant role in enhancing the rate of metabolism, thereby breaking down complex sugar substances at a higher rate. In addition, the resistance starch content also helps grow good bacteria, promoting gut health.

Reduce Appetite

The presence of proteinase inhibitor 2 in potatoes will help the individual lower food intake. It works by producing the satiety hormone called cholecystokinin. It means you will feel satiated for a longer time and likely eat only when hungry.

The Powerhouse of Vitamins and Minerals

The micronutrients found in potatoes will help support the body’s normal function. For example, it has abundant vitamin B6 that converts the non-carbohydrate source into a usable form of energy. It is also vital in producing RBC (red blood cells) and neurotransmitters (chemical messengers). 

Affordable and Easy to follow

Compared with other fruits and vegetables, potatoes are authentic yet readily available and affordable. Also, the potato diet is a straightforward process with simple rules, like adapting to mindful eating practices, which are relatively easy to follow.

Cons of Potato Diet

Potatoes have a significant role in our everyday diet, but besides numerous advantages, following the potato diet for a long time might cause drastic health consequences.

Highly Restrictive

The potato diet has strict planning that might lead to disordered eating and unhealthy dietary practices. In addition, due to its restrictive and limited nature, this diet makes it impossible for the body to absorb all the micronutrients.

Hard to Sustain Results

A potato diet might cause adaptive thermogenesis, making it challenging to maintain the obtained new weight after moving to the standard eating method. Moreover, a study shows that 90% of diet followers have bounce-backed to their previous weight after suspending their diet plan.

Lacks Certain Nutrients

Even though potatoes are rich in various nutrient sources, they also lack a few essential nutrients for optimal health. For example, they are deficient in vitamin A, B12, calcium, zinc, and protein. Therefore, it becomes impossible to obtain all the essential micronutrients from just potatoes. 

Toxin Exposure

Starchy food like potatoes cooked at high temperatures will release the toxic chemical component called acrylamide. The high content of this chemical substance will affect the human nervous system and might lead to cancer. 

Tips to Remember While Following a Potato Diet

  • Instead of consuming deep-fried potatoes, opt for air-fried, baked, mashed, or boiled potatoes to reap the potential benefits of the diet.
  • Let your potatoes cool down after cooking before you consume them. It is because the amount of resistant starch is higher in that form, which aids in burning fat in the body.
  • Avoid peeling the skin of potatoes before cooking them. It is because the outer layer of the vegetable may protect its nutrients during the cooking process. If you peel the skin, the protein and minerals content will get lost after cooking.
  • While boiling potatoes, heat the water to the boiling point before adding the vegetables. It will help you decrease the cooking time and have less effect on nutrient content. 
  • Add only a little amount of salt to the potatoes.
  • Don’t go for heavy exercises while on a potato diet. Instead, follow light exercise patterns such as walking.
  • Don’t store the raw potatoes in the fridge for a long time.
  • Always soak the potatoes in water before baking them.

The HealthifyMe Note

No specific food or diet plan can help you lose or gain weight unless you focus on the overall calorie restriction and how to consume them. Choosing air-fried, boiled, mashed, or baked potatoes are healthy alternatives. Avoid peeling the skin of potatoes before consuming them to avoid mineral and vitamin loss. While adopting a potato diet, avoid going for heavy exercise.

Is Potato Diet Healthy?

The diet’s effectiveness on the individual solely depends on their nutritional needs, medical condition, and other related aspects. However, according to research, the potato diet plan will achieve maximum benefit when implemented correctly.

For instance, people with chronic kidney or final stage renal disease should not consume potatoes or potato-based products. Similar to that, people with diabetes mellitus should also avoid eating potatoes since the glycaemic index of the vegetable is relatively high, above 80.

Eating potatoes in moderation can help you reduce your cholesterol level, shed weight, and acquire the necessary nutrients the body needs. However, it is also important to remember that prolonging the diet or overlooking your body’s needs will bring more potential health issues than boosting your weight loss. The improper practice of a potato diet will also lead to eating disorders, health imbalance, and diet deficiencies.

Conclusion

A potato diet significantly affects gut health and helps the body reset its function when prepared correctly. However, even though the potato diet shows some positive results in supporting the weight loss process in the short term, the safety of the potato diet for the long-term approach is not proved by any scientific research.

Hence, check with your healthcare professional before going beyond a specific limit. Following experts’ guidelines and smartly applying them will help you get better results in the potato diet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What happens if you eat only potatoes?

A. Even though potatoes contain high fibre content and some essential nutrients, eating them alone will be highly damaging and result in serious health repercussions. The lack of specific vitamins and minerals in just eating potatoes will lead to pernicious anaemia and even irreversible damage. Moreover, the potato diet makes it hard to sustain results.

Q. Does potato reduce belly fat?

A. Yes, potatoes can help reduce belly fat due to the presence of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients. However, it is essential to prepare them healthily and incorporate them into a healthy balanced diet. Therefore, potatoes aid in reducing weight, helps in digestion, and reduce the risk of developing potential diseases such as cancer. But you should also follow a regular exercise routine. 

Q. How long can you stay on the potato diet?

A. The potato diet is generally planned for three to five days, where you are only allowed to eat plain potatoes. Though it helps you shed some weight quickly, following it for an extended period may result in unhealthy eating habits due to the restrictive nature of the diet and the absence of some essential nutrients.

Q. Can I lose weight eating a potato?

A. Yes, you can lose weight by eating potatoes. Most people claim that one can lose 0.45 kg daily just by eating potatoes. In addition, research shows that consuming fibre-rich foods like potatoes promotes gut health and significantly prevents obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. However, according to expert dietitians and nutritionists, while following the potato diet, one should not eat other foods except potatoes to achieve desired results. 

Q. Can you lose weight by just eating potatoes?

A. Yes, eating baked, steamed, boiled, or mashed potatoes at room temperature will help you reach your desired weight. However, there is no scientific evidence to detect the ideal nature of the potato diet. Nevertheless, eating only potatoes might help you lose weight because of their restrictive nature.

Q. How many potatoes a day is too much?

A. As a general rule in the potato diet, one can consume 0.9 to 2.3 kg of potatoes daily. A study shows that eating one medium-size potato, either baked or steamed a day, is a part of a healthy diet process that will reduce the risk of cardiometabolic risk, stroke, and diabetes. However, eating potatoes in their fried form should be discouraged as they will destroy the nutrient content and lead to potential health distress.

Q. How can I reduce my stomach fat?

A. Weight loss is a complicated process. Belly fat forms from consuming too many calories, leading to weight gain or obesity. But following a high-fibre diet plan that includes vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes help lose stomach fat. In addition, regular exercise, a good sleep cycle and the proper diet plan can significantly reduce visceral fat consistently.

Q. Why do potatoes cause weight gain?

A. No, eating potatoes in moderation will not make you gain weight. Baked or steamed potatoes will only aid in weight loss. Potatoes lead to weight gain only when you consume them in excess. Instead, try to eat them depending on the level of your day-to-day life activity and the nutrition your body needs.

The health benefit of potatoes depends on their cooking process. For example, cooking potatoes with butter, margarine, cream, or other fat-containing ingredients is not healthy. In that case, they will drastically affect your weight and health by enhancing the chance of developing hypertension and diabetes.

Q. Should I avoid potatoes to lose weight?

A. No, you don’t need to avoid potatoes if you plan to lose weight. However, ensure to consume them in a considerate amount and with a healthy preparation method. For example, cooking them with other fat-sourced ingredients will contribute to weight gain. In addition, potatoes contain a unique component called resistant starch and high fibre content, which is integral in speeding up weight loss.

Q. Is boiled potato fat-free?

A. Yes, boiled potatoes are virtually fat-free, low in calories, and rich in nutrients, making them an excellent addition to a weight loss diet. A study also shows that boiling potatoes produce a high amount of resistant starch, essential in regulating metabolism, preventing extra fat, and promoting myriad health benefits.

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