Potato Hack on Paleo Blogs - Anyone Doing This?
I read about the potato hack on Free the Animal, Mark's Daily Apple, Whole Health Source, and I think it might have started on Thermogenex/hypothermics but I am not sure. Well, probably 20 potatoes a day predates all this.
It has gotten crazy hard to lose weight for me on low carb. I did lose 100 pounds this way. After/while reading these blogs, as an experiment, I started 11 days ago and I'm down 10 pounds. I don't know if it will stick, but I am intrigued. I see some JUDDD folks are doing it for their down days, but I am not doing JUDDD.
I did it once in college (a diet I made up) when I saw a man on Oprah Winfrey explain the nutrition of a potato, but out of fear, for protein and calcium, I added 1/2 cup of skim milk to every potato and it made me extremely hungry (I guess adding milk messes up the satiety part of it because I have no hunger now). I lost 29 pounds in 30 days and it stayed off (I was 19), but I couldnt' face doing it again. I assumed I couldn't after becoming diabetic.
My blood sugar has normalized with fasting glucose in the mid 80s on potatoes after floating around 120s on low carb. I cannot believe it.
I am not hungry. I am stunned.
Has anyone else caught wind of the potato hack and tried it?
Please note this diet is NOT for anyone with kidney problems. Apparently, it could be dangerous because the kidneys have to be able to clear the high potassium of the potatoes. Also, I tried the Japanese/Okinawan diet (I think it is similar with the high starch component) when I was very heavy and my blood sugar was much higher and I could not make it work. I really don't think this is for diabetics.
I have to say I'd never come across this hack before your post sent me Googling the subject, and now I'm seriously intrigued.
I've been LC - currently finishing up my first ever Whole30 - since mid 2012 and not been especially successful (thanks to various reasons) before this month (though I haven't weighed yet), but the carb refeed posts on MDA as well as the potato hack threads look like it'd be a good idea? (Using the potato hack to upregulate leptin via carb refeed as well as perhaps the potato itself being a satiating monofood with generally sufficient nutrients…?)
Congratulations on your loss, those are amazing results! The threads seem to indicate the weight mostly stays off, apart from the percentage that's water weight? (I'm still a little confused as to the mechanics of why there's water weight loss when it's high carb, but well. Science!)
Thank you for this post; I might try this once my Whole30 is up!
Ah, yes, I am confused and intrigued as well - I call it the 'potato paradox.'
On water weight, it could be that one doesn't eat enough potatoes to restock the glycogen stores. Perhaps it is just wheat that makes me bloat. I don't know, but it is curious!
The satiety index seems to indicate potatoes are much more filling than other foods we think of as filling. 323% on the index - wow. This is obviously a big part of the reason it works, but the why is a black box for me.
The Satiety Index List
All of the following foods are compared to white bread, ranked as "100".
The list with the most
filling food at the top
Potatoes, boiled 323%
Ling fish 225%
Brown pasta 188%
Baked beans 168%
Whole meal bread 157%
Grain bread 154%
White rice 138%
Brown Rice 132%
White pasta 119%
Special K 116%
French fries 116%
White bread 100%
Ice cream 96%
Mars candy bar 70%
Table adapted from S.H.A. Holt,
J.C. Brand Miller, P. Petocz,
and E. Farmakalidis,
"A Satiety Index of Common Foods,"
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
September 1995, pages 675-690.
Aha, hello Key Tones! :D (I love your ID, by the way!)
Wow, I knew potatoes were high on the index but 323% sounds quite ridiculous, haha.
I did come across this following passage quoted from Hyperlipid(?) on one of the threads, which I think helps explain it somewhat - though as usual it's probably not the same for everyone (YMMV, etc) since some people did state they put on weight even as the majority(?) lost weight on the potato hack...?
Hyperlipid: Protons: Zero fat
The theory why people are calling this a “diet hack” isn’t because of calories. That would just be normal dieting. The reason why potatoes are the chosen food is because they’re basically zero fat and come with high quality protein, something very rare in a vegetarian protein source, and a lot of nutrients. The theory is because your body needs fat to manufacture insulin, if you are eating ZERO fat, it has to pull fat out of storage to manufacture insulin. Because white potatoes are so highly insulogenic and create such a massive, high GI response, it needs A LOT of insulin – which requires a significant portion of fat. Since you aren’t eating fat along with it, it is forced to go to adipose tissue as a source – and needs quite a bit – to make all that insulin.
So when you start combining potatoes with outside sources of protein and fiber – like egg whites, fish or vegetables – you are destroying the “hack.” You are greatly reducing the insulin spike you’re supposed to get, which lessens the immediate fat need from your fat cells to manufacture insulin. The whole point is because potatoes are so massively insulinogenic. If you add stuff, it doesn’t work. It has to be all potatoes.
You could surely do it with white rice too, but it’s not recommended because there’s virtually no protein (certainly no high quality protein) and far less nutrients. Potatoes were chosen because of the very high quality protein, the nutrient density, the high glycemix index and the fact that someone can survive a very long time eating simply potatoes – it is nearly a complete food – you will become ill much faster eating just white rice than eating just white potatoes.
The awesome thing is that it seems to be working for you, though? :D
(However it works!)
Thanks Dae. I like the play on words since I am a pianist (but not by profession - I'm actually an accountant/auditor/compliance officer in the financial industry).
Ha, yes, it is working! It is kind of scary how well it works. Ray Cronise at hypothermics.com seems to be saying he has someone that has lost 90 pounds in 140 days, a 10-year diabetic with now fasting blood glucose 80-90s. Wow....
I haven't read everyone's comments on the potato hack. I did start to read the blog of one guy that claimed to have done it and gained weight, but when I looked at the blog, he was eating other food too. It doesn't work that way.
But if you think about it, it seems like it would take disordered eating to take down enough potatoes to gain weight. 20 potatoes = 2000 calories. 20 dry potatoes. So, fitting in an extra 35 potatoes somewhere to gain a pound--good grief, how???
I have read Peter's article. The title of the article is a link that didn't come through, I think, in the post you read. The rest of the text is just some commenter talking, I think.
Hang on to your hats; Peter is very scientific, as usual:
Hyperlipid: Protons: Zero fat
OK, Im reading Ray Cronise's blog now. He's a NASA scientist with these novel ideas on how to hack weight loss. He says exercise really doesn't burn that much in calories, especially when you subtract what you would have burned anyway just being alive.
So, he recommends doing things like exercising in cold weather! You burn a lot more calories trying to stay warm than you do exercising. So I went for my bike ride last night with no coat. Think I'll wear gloves next time, good grief.
Also, he says to do little things at first like turn down the thermostat and wear fewer layers. Sleep with a light blanket. I'm doing all this starting last night. I'll have to read again - he does give temperature recommendations, like don't walk with no coat in freezing weather because youll get walking hypothermia. Also, cool baths or showers, not cold (I know, not sure I can do that anyway).
I think he started the potato hack. So this holding down calories with potatoes (honestly, you can't eat very many) plus chilling...it seems like it would have to burn some pounds!
I'm going to do another run this week with the potatoes.
KC, how fascinating. Congratulations on the WL! :up:
I already signed up at Ray's site.
In The Perfect Health Diet, the Jaminets consider potatoes a safe starch. They may be on to something. Can't wait to research more on this.
I would love to try it, but fearful of the insulin response.
Thank you for stopping by!
I have read Peter's take on the weight loss coming from fat stores utilized to manufacture the insulin. He starts off his article stating it is high speculation on his part. He really could be correct. Apparently, people are losing more fat than the calorie deficit would suggest. I am worried it is coming from lean body mass, but posters are saying they are preserving lean body mass.:dunno:
Ray Cronise believes it works because potatoes are a good source of amino acids and a poor source of energy. :dunno: He has said while they are high glycemic they have a low glycemic load. :dunno:
Stephan Guyenet believes it is because potatoes plain are so unpalatable that you can't eat many of them. This is easy to understand. I am trying so hard to find different ways of eating these things. So far the best method seems to make fat free chips out of them. I could be messing up the hack doing this. So far I haven't gone crazy eating chips. Mostly I have to go to work or go out on weekends so I can't be baking all the time.
I don't think anyone really knows the mechanism for sure! I realize I am taking a risk. I am willing to take it for more weight loss because I am out of ideas and my old methods don't seem to work anymore. I think the protein sparing modified fast would still work. I just don't want to do it again right now.
There are some threads on it here at LCF. I tried it for a couple of days. It didn't work for me, but did for some.
I went for a bike ride outdoors yesterday in cool weather (Seattle). I overestimated what I could do and hit the wall at 15 miles. The last 5 miles were really hard and I could barely petal the last mile. I got really cold in the last 3 miles!
I went to a friends house afterward for dinner and ate chicken broth. I found sticky rice and put two scoops in the soup. This tasted too good; I know I could eat a lot of this. Cronise says rice is a secondary option, but my feeling is the mechanism that stops you from eating it isn't there. I tried stewing potatoes in chicken broth and....blech. Not the same effect! I had some bread, unfortunately, because in a pinch I had to put something in my stomach to take ibuprofen because that stuff rips up my stomach, and I was in trouble after the bike ride with pain.
I came home last night and ate a sweet potato made as oven fries with red cayenne, sprinkled with erythritol (I read a recipe to use real sugar). OK, those were too good too. I'm going to have to stick with potatoes proper.
I really think palatablility is key. I think Stephen Guyenet nailed it. I could not eat enough potatoes to maintain my weight as long as I don't use fat or protein to go with them.
I was worried about what my blood sugar might be after the rice and bread last night. Fasting glucose: 88. I do have insulin resistance, so I am being careful to at least check morning fasting glucose. It has always been a bit high, even when my A1C looked normal.
I'm down another two pounds; that is 12 pounds in 2 1/2 weeks. I still feel very comfortable and am not craving anything.
Very impressive hack!
I'm reading that some people use sweet potatoes. Any experiences here?
I'm using sweet potato as a once per week treat. I'm not sure I want the fructose daily or each meal. I know they are higher in vitamin A and potatoes are low. I don't know if the hack works with sweet potato, however, or if the amino acid profile is complete.
I do at least have information about Voight living on potatoes for 60 days and coming out in better health, which gives me a little comfort.
If you toss your question out on the marks daily apple forum, someone might answer there.
I think i'm going to just try the white first, before introducing sweet, although I see some have not had problems.
I just got on the scale - I'm down another pound since this morning. I think I really must have experienced a lot of bloating from the bike ride. Now I'm only 200. If tomorrow were not my birthday, I would probably crack into the 190s. Work lunch birthday party, dinner out tomorrow night and someone is baking me a cake, then lunch out on Friday, then a friend's birthday Friday night....man.
Oh well, I will be back to it so fast...there is nothing like the potato hack!
I'm using this thead to track information on what I've found on the potato hack.
Paul Jaminet Comment, Tatertot/Jaminet Exchange on the Perfect Health Diet site.
Tatertot November 10, 2012 at 12:41 am
I'm doing the 21 day sugar detox starting tomorrow.. But this deffinatly intrigues me alot and I will be following along with your progress...
When the nice weather comes we go on marathon walks around the city.. I'm thinking this would be a great time to try a few days on just potatoes for me. What a portable food.. bake some rapped in foil, throw in my backpack with a bottle of hot sauce and I'd be SET! not to mention that would be great fuel for my long walk!
:hiya: Key Tones! I haven't seen you around in ages!!! :hugs:
I tried the potato hack for about 2/3rds of a day and felt terrible...spent a couple hours eating everything I could get my shaking hands on, and had to give the rest of the potatoes to my neighbor, because I felt like crying/kicking them across the room every time I looked at them!!! :laugh:
But the subject keeps coming up, and I'm *so* fascinated by it. I'm trying to find any info on diabetics who have done it.
I stopped eating wheat two weeks ago, and my morning blood glucose went down immediately (I mean the next day!) from 120-150 (normal for me) to 105. A few days later I started getting readings like 91, 78, and 85. I've seen 85 a few times now, including after meals when my readings used to be about 100-120. :up:
So, I'll probably continue my wheat-free thing for a few more weeks before I make any other major changes like the potato hack. But in the meantime I'm looking for more info about diabetics who have tried it. :)
Good to see you again, KT!
I was just posting this link on the other tater thread and saw yours. I think I know what is happening for you and hope to help others have the same experience.
Would love to see anyone who is interested come to our PHD thread here on LCF as well!
I'm really curious to know what the bounce back is after one goes off of the potato plan and starts eating LC and or Paleo again? Interesting!
Kerry - good luck! I did hit the wall after the 15th mile on potatoes on a long bike ride. It is hard to eat enough potatoes to fuel exercise, but I think perhaps rice for breakfast might do the trick. It is supposed to be similar and a possible but distance second choice if needed for the potato hack.
Jenny - good to see you! I am diabetic. I have been posting in Cathy/Clackley's stall thread about my potato hack experiment. I did eat a lot of high sugar junk and woke up in the middle of the night with blood sugar of 158 last night (I panicked!). But I have been getting great readings with the potato hack of fasting glucose in the 80s! I am fascinated and have been looking at Dr. McDougall's youtube videos. He recommends a fat free starch vegan diets for diabetics. I know that causes cavities eventually and will not be vegan; I just want to understand!
I'm sorry it didn't work out when you tried it.
Pibble - I have not had a bounce back except for a few pounds of bloating from eating out. I didn't check my weight this morning, but yesterday morning it was fine.
Tomorrow I am back on it!!! I must do another run. It is fascinating!
Jenny - I mean I ate the junk sort of as an excuse to see how bad off I really am still as a diabetic since my blood sugar readings have been so good on the potato hack.
I found an interesting post in MDA - sharing here:
Join Date: Oct 2012Location: OregonPosts: 69
Primal Potato Diet (PPD)
Time for a new thread on potatoes for weight loss.
Many people on this forum have discovered that an excellent way to lose a quick 5-10lbs is to eat a PPD consisting of just potatoes for a period of 1-2 weeks. How this works is somewhat of a mystery, but has to do with satiety, calorie restriction, and nutrition.
My personal story is that I wanted to lose 10 pounds. I had been weight stable, eating primally, for several years. I couldn't shake the extra belly flab no matter how hard I tried. I PPD'd for 14 days, most were boiled or baked with just a little salt. No other foods. I drank black coffee and water. My results were a loss of 10 pounds total, and upon resumption of normal eating I lost another 2 pounds in 7 days and have been weight stable for 3 weeks now.
During my PPD, I experienced very little hunger, no water-weight gain, regular bowel movements, excellent energy levels, and great sleep.
Other forum members have embarked on their own PPDs recently. Some with added protein, some did IPPD (Intermittant PPD), some supplemented with BCAA and vitamins, and some continued to exercise vigorously. I think everyone who tried the PPD had some measure of success.
I think PPD will go down in history as one of the great fat-loss methods, right up there with the hormetic stressors Mark Sisson writes about frequently such as IF, Cold Water, Plant Polyphenols, and ketogenic diets. It is not meant to take the place of the Primal Blueprint Diet and Fitness programs, but to supplement them for short term fat loss.
Please use this thread to celebrate your success or tell about your failures.
Ah, someone on MDA also noticed that this seems to be McDougall's diet. I have been pondering this myself; I am aware of McDougall and am kicking myself for not trying this a long time ago. Here is the link
McDougall Newsletter June 2006 Mary's Mini-McD Diet
Tater tot seems to be the guide on the hack...another post, responding to someone with questions about adding things:
Join Date: Oct 2012Location: OregonPosts: 69
The Potato Diet consists of just potatoes (not sweet), eaten as plainly as possible, for max weightloss. The best success, in measure of weight lost and hunger, comes with eating boiled or baked potatoes with a little salt/pepper. When you start adding things like chicken breast and other veggies, your hunger will increase and weightloss slows.
I don't know anything about you other than you are fairly lean. If you have a background that includes glucose intolerance, eating disorders, or are wanting to do heavy workouts at the same time as the potato diet, it may not be for you.
Plan on eating somewhere between 2-4 pounds a day, but let hunger guide you. I find I am very comfortable eating no breakfast, 1 or 2 baked potatoes for lunch, 1 or 2 for dinner, and if I'm still hungry any other time, I like to have a supply of boiled potatoes on hand to munch cold. Do that for a week or so and you will see rapid weightloss.
Another post I found about how it is done:
11-28-2012, 09:39 AM#163
Join Date: Oct 2012Location: OregonPosts: 69
I saw a few people were cycling in some sweet potatoes. I don't think it's a huge problem, maybe just eat like one every other day or so, but not the bulk of calories. What is working really good for me, and my new favorite method, is to get 20lbs of really nice potatoes (pick them for size so you end up with about 40 potatoes), then just eat these til they're gone. Should take 7-10 days, and you'll be down 5-10lbs. Good luck!
it is like the fat fast for paleo lol
I so can't wait to try this.....
maybe after my hubby birthday (st pattys day)
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