When Australian Andrew Flinders Taylor said he was going to adopt a potato-only diet for a year in a bid to lose weight, many thought he was mad.
But for the father-of-two from Melbourne, the method worked – he lost an incredible 50kg over the course of a year.
Most doctors, nutritionists and dietitians wouldn’t recommend following such a restrictive eating plan – you should make sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit, dairy and fats. So how did the potato-only diet work?
It’s important to note that Taylor did take on the challenge only after studying scientific papers and finalising a plan with the help of a doctor and a dietician.
He believed he could get everything he needed from potatoes, and ate a mixture of sweet and white varieties:
“I’m getting over 600 per cent of my daily iron retirements and over 400 per cent of vitamin c as well as heaps of fibre – all things that so-called experts have said I’d be low in today,” Taylor told The Independent during his challenge.
“The only thing of concern was calcium, potatoes have calcium but maybe not enough. To be sure I’m using a calcium fortified organic soy milk to make mashed potatoes.”
And experts say the plan isn’t entirely dangerous (even if it’s not the healthiest diet in the world).
Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert calls potatoes “a nutrition powerhouse”, explaining that they’re full of fibre, filling and have a low energy density.
“For the money and your blood pressure, you can’t beat a traditional baked spud,” says Joan Salge Blake, a clinical nutrition professor at Boston University.
White potatoes do contain all the essential amino acids you need to build proteins, repair cells and fight diseases, but eating white potatoes and white potatoes alone will result in vitamin deficiencies.
This is why it was so crucial that Taylor ate sweet potatoes too, which count as one of your five-a-day.
They’re also high in vitamins A, E and C.
Taylor has revealed that in the first month of his potato year, he did next to no exercise. He then started doing about an hour and a half a day on a foot bike.
Despite the fact that he had to take his own potatoes to friends’ houses and call restaurants in advance to check chefs could accommodate him, Taylor is still a potato fan a year on.
“My health just continues to improve. I had high cholesterol but now it’s low, my blood pressure has dropped and my sugar level has dropped,” he said.
“Every time I get a new blood test, it just gets better.”