An all-potato diet sounds crazy, but for Taylor, who weighed in at 334 pounds when his experiment began, it led to noticeable results. The Australian native dropped 117 pounds after one year of what he calls his Spud Fit Challenge .
Today, Taylor no longer only eats potatoes, but his tater-only diet did help him become a healthier man, he says.
"My Spud Fit Challenge was only ever intended as a short term intervention to treat my own food addiction," Taylor said in an interview during November 2019. " My behavior with food mirrored that of an alcoholic with drinking so I decided to get as close as possible to treating it with the same abstinence model: I quit all food except potatoes."
When that year was over, Taylor says he moved on to a diet that was more well-rounded. "I still include a lot of potatoes, but also plenty of other unprocessed plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes," Taylor says.
And the physical benefits of Taylor's Spud Fit Challenge remain, he says. "I've maintained the weight loss and I'm still free of the daily grind of battling with food addiction. I had a check up a few weeks ago and my doctor was very happy with the state of my health."
Taylor says that he was clinically depressed and anxious before undertaking his all-potato diet, "which is no longer an issue for me," he says. "My mental health is much better these days."
While his before and after photos are impressive, you may have some questions: Is the potato diet safe or practical? Where did Taylor derive his protein? And are the results he experienced actually sustainable or realistic for other people?
We delved into the nuances of Taylors diet, based on the details he dished on his FAQ page , and asked an obesity specialist for his input. Heres what we learned.
Is the Potato Diet Effective?
During his challenge, Taylor ate all kinds of potatoes, including sweet potatoes. To add flavor to his meals, he used a sprinkle of dried herbs or fat-free sweet chili or barbecue sauce. If he made mashed potatoes, he only added oil-free soy milk.
He drank mostly water, with the occasional beer thrown in (proof that no man can resist a great brew). Because his diet completely lacked meat, he supplemented with a B12 vitamin.
He also didnt restrict the amount he consumed. Instead, Taylor ate as many potatoes as he needed to satisfy his hunger. For the first month, he didnt work out at all and still dropped 22 pounds, but then he added 90 minutes of exercise to his routine every day.
To be fair, potatoes pack lots of nutritional perks when prepared properly. Theyre a great source of fiber and healthy carbs , which can help keep you feeling full, especially if you boil them, says obesity specialist Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., author of The Fat Loss Prescription . Potatoes are also rich in potassium and vitamin C . And certain kinds, like sweet potatoes, are also loaded with vitamin A.
But is there something special about the spuds that can make the pounds melt away? Not exactly.
Taylor's experiment doesn't prove that a bucket of spuds is the key to weight loss. Any diet that puts you in a caloric deficit will help you lose weight, says Dr. Nadolsky. So yes, you could eat just Twinkies, or pizza ( like this guy ), or pretty much anything else, and you could drop pounds if you are burning more calories than you are taking in. That doesn't necessarily mean its healthy, though.
Is the Potato Diet Safe?
To make sure he was doing everything safely, Taylor regularly checked in with a doctor and a registered dietician throughout his challenge. Throughout his journey, he noticed certain improvements in his health along with his weight loss. I had high cholesterol but now its low, my blood pressure has dropped and my sugar level has dropped, he told The Independent .
But thats not exactly surprising, since losing weight typically improves lots of health markers that put you at risk for heart disease. Its also very possible that the nutrients in potatoes helped play a part in that, says Dr. Nadolsky.
Following the potato diet may not harm you for the short-term, but when you look at the big picture, eating nothing but potatoes means youre consuming very small amounts of fat and protein , he explains, which can be detrimental over a prolonged period of time and can even put you at risk for deficiency. This can tank your energy levels, weaken your immune system, make you feel hungry, and mess with your concentration.
Plus, since potatoes just arent a great source of proteincoming in at just 4 grams per medium-sized potato, according to the USDAnot eating enough of the nutrient can make your muscles deteriorate, says Dr. Nadolsky. This means youll lose a lot of your definition, even if you drop pounds, he says.
Plus, muscle is important for your metabolic health and helps you function properly as you get olderthings like walking up the stairs and even carrying your groceries get a lot harder when your muscles get weaker. (Here are 13 Easy Ways to Get More Protein In Your Diet .)
Should You Try the Potato Diet For Weight Loss?
I personally would not recommend it, says Dr. Nadolsky. Its very restrictive. A vegan diet is very restrictive and a ketogenic diet is very restrictive, but a potato diet is one of the most restrictive diets you could ever do. (Here is Everything You Should Know About the Ketogenic Diet .)
Now, for Taylor, it worked. And to be fair, he says he feels great. I feel amazing and incredible! Im sleeping better, I no longer have joint pain from old football injuries, I'm full of energy, I have better mental clarity and focus, he writes on his site.
But that doesnt mean you wont experience any negative side effectslike constant fatigue or hungerespecially because the diet itself would be very hard to stick with for most people, says Dr. Nadolsky.
Could you try the potato diet to lose weight? Yes, but you really dont have to go to those extremes, he says.
Try optimizing a diet full of various whole, nutrient-dense foods instead, he recommends. If youre trying to lose weight, at least 30 percent of your diet should be coming from lean protein, like chicken or fish, he says. If you want to throw potatoes in there as your carb, feel free, but aim to eat a wide variety of vegetables you love. Healthy fats like avocado can also be satiating, and are even good for your heart, according to the American Heart Association.
The 5 Best Foods to Fight Heart Disease :
Bottom line? Potatoes can absolutely supplement a healthy diet, which can help you lose weightbut eating nothing but spuds is unnecessarily restrictive, says Dr. Nadolsky. For some people, this can become an issue, especially if you quit and feel tempted to binge on not-so-healthy options.
Make your food boring and your life interesting sounds easy, but for a lot of people there does come a point where we all like to enjoy food, its a very social part of our lives, says Dr. Nadolsky.
Taylor even notes himself that different things work for different people, so do your own research and make educated decisions, he says on his site. Dont just do things because you saw some weird bloke on the Internet doing it!