Another Quick & Easy Hash Brown Potato Method and Potato Diet Speculations

It’s of great interest and intrigue to me to explore the depths of this deal, so for right now, the blog has been almost exclusively about this potato diet deal, or “hack” as I prefer calling it: because I don’t consider it a long term deal; probably a month or two.

A few days back I did some hash browns using a sandwich griller (a George Foreman would work too). Pretty easy, but here’s another method that in terms of getting crispiness is really quick.


  • 3 potatoes, peeled, & grated
  • 1/4 of an onion, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons butter or fat of choice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Malt vinegar
IMG 1322

Once the potatoes are grated, put them all on a plate and into the nuker. Nuke on high until the steam coming off them begins to diminish. This took about 10 minutes for 3 grated potatoes. For those who’ve done hash browns the traditional way, you know how long it can take to get the high water content out. Here, it’s all automatic.

While that’s going on, sauté the onion in your butter.

IMG 1323

Lay the microwave potatoes on top of the onions and butter. Add some salt to the top (or, you can just wait and go with taste). I gave it a pretty liberal shaking and just a dusting of pepper. While I almost never use non-stick pans, I have one around just for such applications, especially when not cooking with a lot of fat, and the hash is already somewhat desiccated. This is a recipe for a huge stick to the pan problem.

IMG 1324

Separately, I had this other pan on the flame to get it hot, then I used it as a press and then let it sit there until time to flip. Just use a hot pad on top to get a good press on.

IMG 1326

Slicing it into quarters made the flipping easy. I’m pretty good at just a pan flip of the whole deal, but didn’t want to risk a big break up on this first try. As you can see, the onions are nice & toasted while the potatoes, nice & brown.

Serve it with malt vinegar, which I dash on somewhere between skimpy and liberally. You can also salt to taste. It just sends it over the top for me. It’s like a plate of fish & chips, and you don’t even need to do the chips.

I ate about 2/3 of it (2 potatoes worth) and Beatrice ate the other third. We’re both stuffed. This was about 10:30 AM and neither of us had had a morsel since the mashed potatoes and fat-free gravy last night at 7 PM.

OK, now onto some musings and speculation. On that mashed potato post last night, Marie comments:

Richard, today (after 5 days) still losing apace, total is down 2.8 lbs.

Once I could verify that there is a bit of latitude with the fat and protein so that it’s actually enjoyable for more than a few days, I feel I can recommend it to family members, since it’s also nutritionally sound…especially with the liver that you had pointed out at the start.

Of course, even without the little extra fat and protein, potatoes are nutritionally decent, at least for the short term – a ‘hack’ as you say.

I’m fascinated by the thermodynamic ‘dissonance’ (no way can lose approx. 0.6 lbs/day on avg. 550C deficit), so looking forward to Ray Cronise eventually being able to release his results.

I’ll have to stop when I’ve lost 8 lbs, I can’t really afford to lose more weight than that, but at that point I’d be fairly sure there isn’t just a 3-4lb ‘starter’ effect (even though on other diets that effect is usually water and, er, ‘bulk’, which shouldn’t apply here with ~2 lbs of potatoes).

So here’s some of my random musings & speculations.

  • A 2.8 lb loss is about 10,000 kcal of energy, yet she has only restricted about 3,000 calories, so she should have lost only about a pound. What gives? Other people report similar results, a loss that’s orders of magnitude more than the calories restricted. Peter at Hyperlipid did suggest one mechanism, that of body fat being needed to feed pancreatic beta cells to produce insulin to keep blood glucose in line. Perhaps that’s what’s going on, or part of it.
  • It’s hard to believe it’s water. For one, people report consistent weight loss, not just in the first few days as in a VLC or ketogenic diet where you’re depleting glycogen and then peeing out the 3 grams of water per gram of glycogen depletion you no longer need. I for one have found myself decidedly not thirsty. Normally, I drink about 2-3 liters per day of sparkling water. Now, about 1/2 liter per day, and I no longer wake up in the middle of the night thirsty.
  • I have bouts of heat radiation from hands & feet, such as this morning after waking. It was low 60s in the house and my hands & feet are sweating. What’s that about? I hadn’t had a morsel of food in 12 hours.
  • I wrote that mashed potato post last evening right after dinner. Typically, with a plate of taters like that, I expect to be comatose in 1-2 hours, and quite possibly doze off if sitting in front of the TV. In this case, I blogged, then we waited for Sunday night football to wrap up, then watched the newest Spiderman film down in our dark & warm entertainment room that doesn’t even have windows. Both Bea & I were fully alert throughout and she almost always falls asleep during an evening movie like that (I kept asking if she was still awake). I hit the sac about 11:30 and it took longer than usual to fall asleep.

Unfortunately I seem to have more questions than answers but this is highly intriguing and becoming more so by the day. Perhaps the biggest mystery to me beyond the greater than expected weight loss is having steady, high energy after a huge load of carbs like that (2.5 potatoes last evening), and then this morning, 2 whole potatoes worth of hash browns a hour or so ago and still running strong. In scientific terms, isolating variables is a great way to figure stuff out. What I’m doing here is isolating carbohydrate and in this case, a special kind of carbohydrate in that while it has the high glycemic index I see so many folks up in arms about, it has a low glycemic load, i.e., quite a different thing when accounting for actual portion sizes. See:

GI chart
Glycemic Index / Serving Size in grams / Glycemic Load

Here’s a good explanation of GL vis-a-vis GI:

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of the degree to which a carbohydrate is likely to raise your blood sugar (glucose) levels.  The scale is 0 to 100 (based on either white bread or glucose), with 0 being low and 100 being high.  The GI compares equal quantities of carbohydrates and provides a measure of carbohydrate quality but not quantity. So the drawback with GI ratings is that they are not based on commonly-consumed portion sizes of foods.

For example, only about 7% of a carrot is made up of are useable carbohydrates. But because a 50g carbohydrate content is employed as the standard measure for a GI rating of individual foods to show how fast blood sugar level are raised, a larger than normal food portion is used for the GI calculation.  In the case of carrots, for example, the amount is equivalent to 1.5 lbs – far more, of course, than people normally eat as a snack or part of a meal.

As a result, the GI rating often overstates relatively small carbohydrate content in a food item like a carrot.

The reverse is also true, i.e. the glycemic effects of foods containing a high percentage of carbs like bread, can often be understated under the GI system.

So, now that I know that for potatoes—at the least—I don’t get comatose, meaning: it’s not the carbohydrate in this form, even lots and lots of carbohydrate. That is called falsification and when something has been falsified, there is nothing more to see there (at least in my case, my wife’s, and anyone else experiencing the same). So, it’s either protein, fat, the combination (high carb along with high protein, fat, or both), overall meal size, or some complex combination of all the above. But it’s certainly not this kind of carbohydrate isolated as a near single variable (both fat & protein very low). Incidentally, I can eat meat only, a lot of it, and have the same zero problem, and same goes for very high fat, very low carb.

What’s my suspicion? If you’re going to pound carbs, keep the fat & protein very low. If you’re going to pound protein, fat, or both, keep the carbs very low.

Alright, now it’s your turn in comments.

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  1. Nathaniel on November 19, 2012 at 17:42


    I have a great suggestion for a dish for your potato diet experiment: it’s a French dish called potatoes a la boulangere:

    Basically sliced potatoes baked in broth with just a bit of fat. Some recipes call for more butter than others, but I’m sure it’s workable.

    I plan to try this myself because hey, I love potatoes and they’re cheap so if it works, why not? That would be awesome.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 17:44

      Yea, Nathaniel. Both in last night’s post and then this morning I had intended to tell people: send me pic(s) of a potato dish you made, and I’ll blog it. I forgot, so here’ s the shout out. that looks pretty damn good.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 17:46

      BTW, Boulangere basically means: cooked with sliced onions in a casserole.

  2. jamesmooney on November 19, 2012 at 12:38

    Sort of like the late Don Lemmon’s Know How diet. He promoted food separation, so carbs had to be eaten with zero fat, and proteins with fat only. I always felt great when doing this style of eating but could never last more than a month.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 12:49

      Yes, it’s invariably a combination of carbs, fat & protein that will give me heartburn. I always though it was the carbs. Well, it appears not. It’s the combination because I don’t get so much as a burp eating several potatoes in any of the ways I’ve prepared them, with minimal fat (1 tsp per potato).

  3. Bobert on November 19, 2012 at 13:57

    How is the weight loss so far, I know it changes every few hours, but I havent, or have missed an update in the past few days? Also have you noticed a decline in your lifts? Finally on some of the MDA threads there is talk about how using MCT is the safest fat to use with this diet because it behaves like a carb.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 14:02


      No way to know as I’m up at our cabin in the mountains and we don’t have a scale. Last checked was Saturday and I think I was at 193.5, 6 pounds from the 199.5 I previously blogged about and 3 pounds from when I began the potato diet. Or something like that.

      No decline in lifts at all after something like 5 days on the potatoes and the first session since it began. I’m using the JEFIT app on my iPhone to log ever set and reps at the gym, along with the progress pic after every session (cool free app, btw).

      • Amanda on November 25, 2012 at 05:15

        Hi Richard, I’m pasting this in from a prior post in case you don’t look at those:

        What I keep wondering is whether there will be any rebound hyperphagia like you see with a conventional diet’s depletion of fat stores. I would like to know if anyone has had long term success removing fat stores from their bodies, without having to keep calories restricted plus intense exercise to maintain the lost weight. That’s what maintainers typically have to do. Do you know?

      • Richard Nikoley on November 25, 2012 at 08:30

        Don’t know, but probably a slower fat loss would help reset what fat levels one’s body is comfortable with. I think key would be to switch to a high nutrition paleo diet with plenty of seafood so the body doesn’t feel as though it’s starving.

  4. Tatertot on November 19, 2012 at 14:13

    I think the Potato Diet is a total blast! At first, I (and everyone who hears of it) think: What BS, just CICO, I will gain 10 lbs in 2 days, it’s all water weight, you’d be starving on Day 2, etc… Then when you try it, it’s like a light turning on. By Day 3, you have clarity and it’s like something magical happening to you. All you knew about carbs is all-of-a-sudden not so true anymore. I stopped thinking in terms of calories and macros and just ate. Sometimes, I’d start out with two potatoes on my plate and only eat half–that NEVER happens in normal life.

    I analyzed my weightloss ad nauseum, I at 35lbs of potatoes in 14 days. According to most calculators, that is 16,500kcal. Normally, i would have eaten 35,000kcal in that timeframe. This is a net reduction of 18,500kcal, which should have resulted in 5.2lbs of fat loss, yet, I was down almost 12lbs.

    In my future experiments, I’m going to see if I can correlate pounds eaten with pounds lost. It would be cool to be able to say, “You will lose 5 pounds of fat for every 10lbs of potato eaten” and be reasonably right.

    Good job on this, hopefully you can get better exposure than the boingo fiasco. I would love to see this get mainstream exposure. People will be picking this apart for years. The only people I’ve seen fail are ones who start out to disprove it and/or eat way off plan.

    • Austin on November 19, 2012 at 14:22

      I’m loving the momentum behind this and all the recipe ideas! Today is my first day and I feel a little off but that’s to be expected I figured and I’m glad to hear your insight on day 3 clarity.

      • Tatertot on November 19, 2012 at 14:39

        At first, I tried different ways to prepare the potatoes, thinking it would be too boring, but the last 8 or 9 days, I just ate baked or boiled, some hot–some cold. I used zero fat/oil. Most days I skipped breakfast, ate a hot baked potato wrapped in tin-foil from the salad bar at work. I would slice it, sprinkle with salt and eat while I read the paper. Supper was either a couple boiled potatoes still hot w/ salt and a cold potato if I was still hungry later, but hardly ever was. Super simple, filling, and hard to f— up.

    • rob on November 19, 2012 at 15:11

      It’s really just a question of math and the fact that it is hard to eat an enormous quantity of them because they are very filling.

      There are a lot of foods you can lose weight (or starve to death) eating, broccoli has about 130 calories per pound eaten, if you are shooting for 2000 calories per day then you would have to eat what, 17 pounds of broccoli a day? It isn’t humanly possible and you would blow out your rectum with all the crapping.

      The potatoes offer less poundage to eat and much, much lower chance of rectum destruction.

      It won’t work if you are reluctant for some reason to resort to math, there are people who are burning 1700 calories a day who will consume 2200 calories a day, figure “If I eat a potato before I go to bed I’ll still lose weight,” then when they gradually gain weight they will blame the one potato (or sweet potato) they ate rather than the other 2200 calories they consumed.

      • aminoKing on November 19, 2012 at 23:15

        “you would blow out your rectum with all the crapping”


    • marie on November 19, 2012 at 18:11

      Tatertot, “I’m going to see if I can correlate pounds eaten with pounds lost.” – Yes!
      I just started doing that today, after thinking more around Peter’s hypothesis linked above, which you also mention below.
      I’m backing off the fancy plates on the ‘edge of fat’ that one can use to make diet more tempting for a longer-term, since obviously it still causes weight loss and a thermodynamically-inconsistent weight loss at that.
      So now my only variable will be to increase potato weight. Today to 2.4lbs – by adding a snack in between, couldn’t do it in just two meals.
      Tomorrow going for 2.8lbs (did that on first day but nearly exploded – now will spread over three meals to help out) and keep monitoring weight loss.
      Then I break for Thanksgiving. And so on.
      I don’t have much room left, but may decide to overshoot lower weight limit just to confirm trend.
      With christmas coming, I’m sure it will re-equilibrate!
      Meanwhile, blood sugar readings from first 2 days were at ‘fasting’ and at every half hour for 6 times (ouch fingers) after the last bite of 1.2lb meal was in stomach. Highest postprandial was 158mg/dl and it levels off at 2 hrs (ie. same at 2, 2.5, 3 hrs) back down to fasting at 80mg/dl.
      Didn’t fall lower (didn’t go hypoglycemic)..
      Now (groan) I’ll have to do it again and measure body temp too – because I’m seeing same warmth that Richard mentions and because with More potatoes, More starch, more insulin demand etc…..
      Did you see trend in your original glucose measurements?

      • tatertot on November 19, 2012 at 21:12

        I was pricking my finger every 15 minutes, I know the ‘ouch’ well. I wish those strips weren’t so expensive. My FBG was always around 100, on the potato diet it got down to 90. Since then it’s gone back up to 100.

        I find myself eating more lately because I want to do the potato diet again, but don’t really have 10lbs to lose right now. It is very liberating knowing I can now lose 10lbs in 2 weeks whenever I want. The last 10lbs I lost dieting took almost a year of stressing over macros&calories.

      • marie on November 20, 2012 at 00:03

        tatertot, double ouch for you, I admire.
        I see what you mean about wanting to gain weight (!) so as to experiment some more with the potato diet, it’s truly interesting. I’m nearly half way to my limit and have only managed to falsify a couple of the mundane ideas up to now, but had to before looking at the interesting stuff. May run out of latitude before I can see clear signals on interesting things. We’ll see.

  5. Kris on November 19, 2012 at 16:31

    Richard, can sweet potatoes be substituted?

    BTW, I have been a low carber for several years and have struggled with high blood sugars as a borderline diabetic. I have gradually over the last few weeks, been adding carbs and cutting back on fat. I started this potato diet last night with a dinner of oven fries. Had your shredded potato for breakfast and again for lunch. I have been testing and watching my blood sugars come down lower and lower over the past 24 hours. I got a reading of 81 today, 2 hrs after lunch… my first time ever having a blood sugar that low!! The lowest I have gotten previously was an 89, after strict low carbing and then fasting for 22 hours. This is freakin weird!!

  6. Tatertot on November 19, 2012 at 16:55

    Peter at Hyperlipid wrote this yesterday :

    “Aside: Why might anyone want to run their metabolism on FFAs? Superoxide. I want more mitochondria to supply spare ETC capacity, to minimise the sort of levels of free radicals which wipe out mitochondria when the pressure is on. Physiological superoxide signals for mitochondrial biogenesis, without all of that tedious exercise to do the same job on a mixed diet. End aside. ”

    He is talking about fatty acid induced insulin resistance, something we WANT when burning fat. If you put this together with what he said about potatoes a couple weeks ago :

    “Once you get FFA levels low enough to inhibit insulin secretion you will start to move in to the sort of territory where insulin secretion might be blunted enough to allow hyperglycaemia. But the feedback effect of reduced insulin levels is also the re commencement of lipolysis. This will restore enough FFAs to maintain functional insulin secretion and so avoid potential hyperglycaemia, which the body tries to avoid. Of course you have to throw in the increased insulin sensitivity of muscles deprived of exogenously supplied FFAs too.”

    In these posts, he describes how a high carb diet induces unlimited insulin sensitivity, while a ketogenic diet induces insulin resistance. The fact that this potato diet even works is proof of what he says in both places. You eat a minimal fat potato, it is quickly assimilated into your mitochondria which then have to switch quickly over to fat burning. Not only does this blast through body stores of fat, but it allows more cellular activity in the Electron Transport Chain to fight free radicals, win-win. Eating a calorie restricted starch diet turns you into an Insulin Machine. Your highly insulin sensitive cells suck in all that potato-y goodness and just as quickly become insulin resistant to prevent hyperglycemia when the starch is gone and ffa burning commences.

  7. v on November 19, 2012 at 17:26

    [Stupid bitch comment, deleted. With delight & pleasure. -RN]

  8. gabriella kadar on November 19, 2012 at 17:47

    My theory is the potassium. Potatoes are potassium hogs of the biggest order. Imagine, a large potato can contain 1500 mg of potassium. How much sodium do you think you are consuming. Milk is also high potassium. Not only do they provide fuel but also flush the excess sodium out of the system. They keep on doing it so long as you are on a high potato diet. Voight lost 21 pounds overall. He STOPPED SNORING immediately on the diet. He started snoring immediately after he stopped. His sodium intake increased and his potassium intake decreased.

    On his return to ‘normal eating habits’ he got Fluid retention. Lying down at night equalizes fluids in the body, swells up tissues in the neck and throat and ta-daaa: snoring. (or even sleep apnea). People with partial or complete airway obstruction during sleep lack daytime energy.

    This also explains lack of thirst: sodium rich foods cause thirst because the body is using water to flush out excess sodium. High sodium imbalanced foods cause thirst. (Eat potato chips or sushi with soysauce dipping). Potassium at a ration of 2:1 to sodium will balance a person. Potato diet boosts it to ‘huge’ to 1, maybe 10:1 sometimes a it did with Voigt. Voigt was consuming about 10,000 to 15,000 mg of potassium per day. And possibly 2000 mg sodium. Sometime check out the SAD diet potasssium/sodium/magnesium ratios.

    If you are eating lightly salted potatoes, you are still way over on the potassium:sodium ratio.

    Ask Bea about your snoring. Of course you have more energy: you sleep better. No struggling with partially obstructed airway. Sinuses are not congested, mucous flows better. You are getting better tissue oxygenation on the potato diet. Excellent oxygenation results in increased energy.

    The trick to a healthy diet is high potassium. Eat sodium, just make sure your potassium levels are much higher. Play with that for a while once you are over this hack and find out where the tipping point is. Now that would be of incredible value.

    You can also eat your ‘normal’ food, just majorly decrease sodium and decrease thirst.

    Potatoes are not the easiest food to digest so it’s a slower process, doesn’t do an ‘insta dump’ of glucose into the bloodstream.

    Plus potatoes don’t cause dental cavities! Boooyah.

    I prefer to start with the simple stuff and get more Peter Hyperlipid later for the fine tuning of why potatoes work. It’s an Occam’ Razor sort of consideration.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 17:54


      I always so appreciate your input and over time, you seem to be very much into airway stuff. Very interesting.

      • gabriella kadar on November 21, 2012 at 04:22

        I think that Mr. Voigt’s case clearly illustrated that weight loss alone will not improve airway resistance (i.e. stop snoring or decrease sleep apnea episodes). Water retention due to electrolyte ingestion imbalance has a lot to do with how one sleeps. Supine position results in water redistribution from the lower parts of the body throughout and into the head and neck region. It’s sort of like laying down a half full bottle of water. Also the pressure of abdominal contents will restrict diaphragmatic activity to some extent. So I suppose the take away message on this also includes not consuming large amounts of food prior to bedtime.

        The other thing is ‘drunks snore’. Alcohol results in decreasing the tone of muscles including those in the throat. Everything gets floppy and normal muscle tonus is not present. I have no proof, but most likely part of the unpleasantness of a mild hangover has more to do with the lack of restorative sleep due to episodes of airway obstruction than it does simply to the presence of ethanol molecules in the blood stream. Reducing O2 and increasing CO2 in a closed room will have similar effects on a person who is awake: grogginess and headache. In addition, since ethanol has a profound effect on gastric emptying, a person could be going to sleep in the evening with most of their dinner still in the stomach and the above paragraph therefore applies to the situation. For those of us who enjoy a bit of a tipple, it’s always better to go to sleep as sober as possible.

        Facial anatomy also either increases or mitigates some of the above. Those with excellent airway space would experience less debility. (Just adding this in for those who will claim that none of the above applies to them. Most professional soccer players, for example, have excellent facial development. So do tennis players. They have to be able to breathe really well and sleep well or else they’d never survive the gruelling physical schedule. Snowboarders, not so much.)

  9. marie on November 19, 2012 at 18:30

    I said yesterday I’d switch the ‘somewhat loaded’ potato meal from night to lunch time in order to see if it made difference to sleepiness. Nope, no difference.
    Still energetic in afternoon after the, admittedly small, increase in protein and fat.
    So if your previous ‘comas’ had to do with combination of macros, I may well not have enough of them in what I’m doing for a signal.
    Meanwhile, for my part I’m still sleepy after the night meal even when just boiled potatoes with 2tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tomatini and salt.
    Started increasing potato amounts today (see note to tatertot).
    First will keep caloric deficit Same, just ratio higher towards starch, then actually decrease caloric deficit itself – I want to see how strong is that signal and also, possible correlation to absolute potato amount per day.
    I get the same warmth effect that you do, especially late at night in my case, and yah, no extra thirst as already mentioned.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 22:08

      “I’m still sleepy after the night meal”

      Don’t suppose it has occurred to you to go to bed and get 10?

      This is one aspect of modern humanity I have solidly out of my system. Sometimes I go to bed at 7 or 8. Usually sometime 9 -12. The other night I was enjoying music and musing and ranting to myself. Hit the sac at about 4 am. One wakeup at 8 to piss, next thing, it was 10:30.

      There is no bedtime.

      • marie on November 19, 2012 at 23:33

        Ha! Richard, you do know what you make when you make an Assumption, yes? :)
        (heh, try to say that three times fast, I dare ya!)
        Usually I sleep naturally, like tonight. Dozed off, woke a couple hours later, fooled around, changed oldest doggie’s diaper (he can’t go to piss by himself anymore;) , slept again, awoke second time, will probably pass out for next 5-6hours continuously.
        Other times take afternoon nap – siesta’s are my favorite.
        Unless I’m on the occasional deadline…or maybe exchanging numbers files with a collaborator on west coast :)
        I’m not sleep deprived. Brain doesn’t work well then. Measurable differences.
        But nice rant on state of humanity….

      • LeonRover on November 20, 2012 at 13:15

        When I saw “Marie” juxtaposed with “Assumption”, my next thought was “Dormition of the Theotokos”.

      • marie on November 20, 2012 at 13:34

        Perfect, as ‘she’ would sleep.
        But oh dear. First “un ange”, now downright holy. I must do something about this reputation……suggestions? ;)

  10. Kris on November 19, 2012 at 18:37

    Thanks for the clarification Tatertot. I was always suspicious that ketosis was a conservation state of being, not conducive to fat burning.

    • tatertot on November 20, 2012 at 10:42

      It’s an effective fat-burning strategy if you are on a calorie deficit, many seem to think it’s a free-pass to eating all you want. That’s where Atkin’s failed. Also, any sugar/starch ingested while on a long-term ketogenic diet seems to go straight to adipose.

    • Lark on November 25, 2012 at 13:15

      On the potato diet I’m in mild ketosis in the morning until my first meal and within a couple of hours after each meal. I generally have the warmth and smooth energy that I’ve experienced with being in ketosis on a very low carb/high fat. It actually feels just like Atkins induction, right down to the acetone breath.

  11. Dane Miller on November 19, 2012 at 18:56

    Dude, when are you going to stop using your lazy ass microwave? Made some potato cakes this weekend. I know it wouldn’t be on this specific experiment but I juiced em up with some shredded cheese, minced garlic and sour cream on top.

    • tatertot on November 19, 2012 at 20:54

      HaHa – I rarely use a microwave, but just ordered this:

      • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 22:15

        Laf. A nuker thingy just in case you have an inkling.

        I’m not a big nuker, either. I use it to warm coffee, mostly. Works well for potatoes, though.

        Water finds microwaves very exciting. It gets them off.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 19:23

      Lazy is contextual. Such is a potato diet.

  12. EatLessMoveMoore on November 19, 2012 at 19:25

    Most interesting. Someone needs to break the news to the lunatic low carb fringe.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 19:38

      Low carb is great. But perhaps it’s just a hack too, then a tool in the box.

      Thang is, we’re not generally limited by environment. We get to use everything that works for humans.

      What I’m generally all about.

      • tatertot on November 19, 2012 at 21:05

        Of all the weight-loss hacks currently out there ( IF’ing, CKD, Ketonic, Warrior Diet, low fat, carb refeeds, orange sunglasses at night, cold showers/baths, and intense exercise, etc…) the potato diet beats them all hands down for pounds per day, hunger, and weight staying off.

        The only thing better is HCG and purging.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 22:31

        I’m quite certain that fucking every waking hour would trump all diets.

        If you’re fucking, evolution doesn’t give a shit about your stomach.

        Let’s call it: The Fuck All The Time Diet.

      • Greg on November 20, 2012 at 07:14

        That’s bring me to an interesting question; how are your testosterone levels and sex drive?

      • marie on November 20, 2012 at 13:53

        Johnny Walker is Not good company late at night, look what it does to your judgment.
        Oh, not because you’d shock tatertot, he’s proven to be a spunky spud, but because what American male can do that every hour, even for their reported grand average of 7′ a pop?
        Quelle idée ! :) :)

      • Nathaniel on November 22, 2012 at 15:34

        “The Fuck All The Time Diet.”

        I think you may have a best-selling book idea there, Richard.

  13. Rhys Morgan on November 19, 2012 at 20:16

    Do you think weight loss would still occur without the caloric deficit? I haven’t gone enough days to tell myself. But I’m curious if the hack still works to burn bodyfat.

    • tatertot on November 19, 2012 at 20:59

      I think there has to be a calorie deficit for it to work. However, it is very easy to calculate the calories in 2lbs of potatoes, but very hard to calculate as accurately the calories in a normal day of eating regular food. I think most people underestimate how many calories they eat on a given day. Labels are notoriously wrong and weights are fickle.

      Someone who ‘thinks’ they normally eat 2000kcal/day will most likely lose weight on 2000kcal of potatoes.

      • marie on November 19, 2012 at 21:38

        not if the caloric deficit doesn’t come anywhere near to accounting for the weight lost.
        In other words, we might still need a caloric deficit in order to trigger the mechanism of rapid weight loss, but whether we do or don’t depends on the mechanism….which we don’t know.
        This is because there’s something very bizarre going on with the thermodynamics, it isn’t just some reasonable discrepancy. The idea of underestimating usual caloric consumption would take care of that, as might various thermic effects of food, varied water retention etc – lots of ‘usual suspects’ for a thermodynamic discrepancy.
        However, the weight loss is very Unusual, it’s a few multiples (2x, 3x, etc) of what you’d expect from the energy deficit alone.
        Something else is eating that mass ….cue ‘twilight zone’ theme :)

      • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 22:36


        I agree. It is weird’ too many anecdotes, too close together.

        Well, whatever. You and I will go with science. Of that, we’re sure. Yes, I’m speaking for you.

        Isn’t it so cool to have no sure idea of the science?

      • marie on November 19, 2012 at 23:21

        Yes, of that we’re sure.
        Your scientific mind appeals strongly to a scientist :)
        But yeah, our earlier work together wasn’t anywhere near this cool. Something unknown here. Gotta love it.

      • rob on November 20, 2012 at 04:33

        2000 calories a day is 5.7 pounds of potatoes, because nobody can eat that much, the more potatoes you can shove down your throat the higher the probability that you are running a caloric deficit.

        Eating 3 pounds greater probability than eating 2 pounds, etc.

      • Rhys Morgan on November 20, 2012 at 13:11

        “because nobody can eat that much”

        I can…

      • Rhys Morgan on November 20, 2012 at 13:11

        But I should add that the times I do is usually because I’m stoned and have the munchies. Not a good thing on the potato diet.

      • rob on November 20, 2012 at 15:15

        That is where you went wrong, when you have the munchies you should always eat pizza, if you go with potatoes you could go through 30 pounds of them before you find satisfaction.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2012 at 22:12


      Probably this is so profound because you probably cannot manage to eat your calories over many days, without fat to make you gorge it.

      There’s a lot to consider in the evolutionary why of that.

  14. Mark on November 20, 2012 at 03:57

    I jumped on the potato diet thing last Thursday and am down almost 4 lbs. I am amazed how satiated I have been and how the desire for snacks and such have been minimized. Energy has been good – I didn’t notice any difference in my workouts (heavy barbell squats and bench) the other day.

    I have noticed quite a bit of gas in the evenings. That’s been the only downside.

    (I’ve also added some of Ray Cronise’s cold exposure suggestions in 4HB (cold showers, ice water in the am). Sure, I’ve co-founded things a bit, but I just wanted to drop some weight gained over the last few months.)

    My question: is this just a temporary hack? Something you do every few months? Or are there some lessons here that can be applied to my diet going forward. Any thoughts on how to integrate these findings?

    • Rhys Morgan on November 20, 2012 at 10:27

      +1 to the gas. I’ve had to sleep with two windows open now because otherwise ill open my room door in the morning and the stink will flood the entire house…housemates don’t enjoy that!

      I also added fibrous vegetables which made it worse. So starting today I’m going back to potatoes and spices, nothing more. Not even coconut oil. I saw the best results when I did this the first couple days.

  15. Kris on November 20, 2012 at 04:51

    Ok, so theoretically a fat free high carb diet with limited calories would achieve the same results? Or is there some magic in the potato?

    Peter’s site has a stern warning against diabetics trying this diet and I’m not sure I understand why. Since my fasting BG would label me diabetic more often than not, I have some concern about this. Since one day on this diet, fasting BG came down 30 points. Does it have to do with diabetics on medication and their BG possibly dipping too much?

    Richard, the microwave step can be skipped. When I made them in a nonstick pan, they browned nicely with all the water cooking off. I cooked on medium heat and it did take a while to cook through and brown, maybe 10 – 15 minutes a side. I think the moisture is a good thing – it allows potatoes to meld a bit and form some solidity so it can be turned in one piece. I don’t rinse them and I think the starch helps bind them too. Another way to do this is to slice potatoes into very thin slices, as you would for chips, and layer them overlapping in pan in a circular pattern. This is actually a fancy French dish called potatoes Anna. The only difference is the French version uses a ton of butter. If you dont have a wide spatula to flip the potatoes, you can invert on a plate and then slide back in the pan. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think there is enough fat to do that with a nonstick pan. I imagine doing layers of sweet & white potato would be awesome with maybe a tiny bit of grated nutmeg.

    • marie on November 20, 2012 at 07:25

      Kris, “Or is there some magic in the potato?” . Yes, there seems to be an additional mechanism, if you’re interested have a look at the middle part of the post (beneath the last picture of a pan) and various threads above.

  16. Zach on November 20, 2012 at 07:04

    “because I don’t consider it a long term deal; probably a month or two.”

    If you feel so good, why stop?

    Not to say just potatoes, add maybe 6oz of a meat source (liver and seafood), add some veg throughout the day and you might never have to change your diet again. The potato might very well be the healthiest part of your diet from now on in terms of metabolism and hormonal health.

    Although you might have to add in extra calories if fat loss gets to low.

    • rob on November 20, 2012 at 07:26

      Back during the “to carb or not to carb” debate I started eating potatoes every day as the best way to eat starch, after about a month I never wanted to see a potato again, switched to rice, now back on the potatoes. Gotta have a little variety or it’ll drive you nuts.

  17. Elyse on November 20, 2012 at 09:42

    I recall reading that the potato diet simplifies gut flora which is a good thing. Why is this a good thing? Any thoughts on how this would affect someone who has had issues with Candida in the past (and maybe present)?

    • labbygail on November 21, 2012 at 04:12

      That’s not quite accurate. You might want to take a look at this blog for an explanation: I’ll summarize it because I’m working on understanding it myself.

      A simplified diet with a lot of soluble fiber actually increases gut flora diversity because the diet is not always changing and this allows the growth of many species of bacteria that can digest what food is available. If you keep switching up your diet every day, you will only have a few species of bacteria that are able to digest everything, and mostly your body can’t digest the food very well because the right bacteria aren’t present. (This all assumes that you have access to diverse bacteria through the environment. )

      The fact that it takes a while for gut bacteria to adjust to new diets is why irregular dietary habits cause digestive discomfort.

  18. eddie b on November 20, 2012 at 10:23

    Hi Richard, first comment here. I have really enjoyed reading these posts, even more so recently since this potato diet got a lot of play on MDA, very interested in your take.

    Curious about the effects on strength when you are working with the heavy weights, I imagine there must be a nice boost from the glycogen load this provides.

    Thanks for all of the great and inspiring info you provide.

    • Rhys Morgan on November 20, 2012 at 10:34

      I can chime in here with my results. I was able to increase my lifts after 4 days on the diet. What’s also strange is that I don’t feel like my glycogen stores are replete. I don’t have that super full feeling in my musculature that I usually do after leangains style carb refeeds on training days. I’m not sure if this is because of the calori deficit or what, but I like it. I don’t really enjoy the glycogen loaded feeling.

  19. eddie b on November 20, 2012 at 10:36

    thanks, im guessing maybe that lack of “pump” could somehow be attributed to the low protein intake while on this diet

    • eddie b on November 20, 2012 at 10:36

      @ Rhys, meant to reply to your last comment

    • Rhys Morgan on November 20, 2012 at 11:26

      Yes, that would make sense. My diet is usually very very high protein so this Potato deal has been a big change. However, I think with this much carbohydrate, the normal 1g/lb. of protein recommendation is definitely unnecessary. I’ve been taking BCAA and the Uni Liver supplements as well just in case, although I usually take BCAAs before fasted training anyways.

  20. Another Quick & Easy Hash Brown Potato Method and Potato Diet … | Weight Loss For Vegetarians on November 20, 2012 at 11:02

    […] on other diets that effect is usually water and, er, 'bulk', … … Read more: Another Quick & Easy Hash Brown Potato Method and Potato Diet … ← Weight Loss Diet Program | Body Building […]

  21. Cow on November 20, 2012 at 11:43

    I think potato diet is maybe troubles for bipolar. I go total manic by day 2. Probable because low calorie make for surge of the energy chemicals in brain. (Is maybe why everybody get high off potato diet!) Also, I very thirsty and hungry, I have to eat potato constantly. (I ate only boil potato.) My blood sugar never go over 120, but it never do, no matter what, and never go much less under 80. I end up gain 2 pound, but probable because I drink so much water. Given Cow penchant to go apeshit crazy with drug and alcohols and leave scorch earth and bodies in wake during manic phase, I force to abandon experiment, okay? I curious of mechanism why exactly not good experience for me, and I still interest in everybody else journey in potatoland.

    • LeonRover on November 20, 2012 at 13:24

      Over Summer, Irish Cow grass eat – they as Green as Cabbage – in Winter, Silage

      Now, Pig, he eat Potato, and grunt his satisfaction – in Autumn Pig search for Truffle, but only to get Lard-on.

    • marie on November 20, 2012 at 14:22

      Cow, “I curious of mechanism why exactly not good experience for me”.
      Oh, you mean other than apeshit crazy drugs and alcohol so you look all bloaty now like famous Baldwin?
      Well, firstly you Lazy Cow, try cooking, maybe one of many recipes here, then you won’t feel those plain boiled potatoes suck the moisture right out of your mouth.
      Two, alcohol+fat = good | alcohol+starch=bad. Ask any sophomore. So cut the alcohol. Maybe take a little vacay from Hollywood.
      Three, if you’re hungry you’re not eating enough of them….not surprising since hard to swallow enough plain boiled potatoes in one meal so never get ‘fullness’ effect everyone talking about.
      There, is all good now. :-)

      • Cow on November 20, 2012 at 16:10

        I sober right now, is mania makes me in danger of alcohol and drug. And no all Baldwins is fat and bloaty, Alec looking total hot again. Maybe he on potato diet.

      • marie on November 20, 2012 at 16:41

        Ahaha! You trying to give apoplectic fit to no-sugar, no-pasta Baldwin? Naughty Cow.
        But ya, he hot again.

    • Sharyn on November 20, 2012 at 21:52

      I also had to abandon the potato diet after just one day – 2 large spuddies for lunch, 2 hours later ravenously hungry so had the same again, then embarked on a binge on everything in sight. In case it was just a reaction to a pure carb meal, two days later I had a trial breakfast of toast and jam and juice – and was still sated 5 hours later.

      Maybe I should try a toast diet instead?

      • aminoKing on November 21, 2012 at 00:32

        Interesting. I’m going to try the potato diet starting next week. I’m logging my food intake at the moment so I can see if there’s any difference in calories etc. My biggest concern is that the diet may upset my bowl movement rhythm. I’ve got that timed to perfection at the moment and in the past potatoes have messed things up. My motto is perfect poop equals perfect health.

      • aminoKing on November 21, 2012 at 00:34

        doh! bowel, not bowl!

    • aminoKing on November 21, 2012 at 00:41

      Cow, I’m a bit of a nutter myself – especially on the carbs. I used to love the highs and the lows. For me I found as long as my protein intake was high 150 grams + per day my mood stabilized fairly well. Also I learnt in school that cows should eat at least 9% protein and no more than 13% otherwise their gut bacteria play up and cause problems with digestion. This of course would only apply if you were a real cow and I’m starting to suspect that you are only pretending to be cow. I mean, how can a cow type on a keyboard, right?

  22. annamalia on November 21, 2012 at 02:32

    Hey there!

    I have been reading your blog for over a year now and honestly, I really love that you just write whatever the fuck you want. It’s always worth reading.

    I’ve been eating lots of potatoes for the last few months, but not exclusively. I’ve always loved potatoes (I’m from Germany/Norway, yeah for meat-and-potato-countries). I tried the potato only diet, just for fun and I lost too much weight too quickly.

    Now one meal of the day consists of mostly potatoes and it’s usually just a huge bowl of mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and liverwurst all mixed together. doesn’t look appetizing at all but it’s bloody delicious.

    The other meal of the day is whatever I crave or want. Sometimes carbs (rice pudding e.g.) or sometimes a huge chunk of meat, liver or fat.

    I feel great, and if I don’t overdo it with my non-potato meal I’d still lose weight but in all reality, I don’t need to lose anymore weight so I have to be careful about that. This way of eating allows me to eat whatever the fuck I want when I’m at a restaurant or cook with friends, and I still maintain my, I daresay, frickin’ hot body. Plus, the cooking is soooo easy.

    Keep up the great blogging,

    Best regards from Berlin!

  23. blahblah on November 21, 2012 at 08:03

    Yeah Cow , you know if spuds diet doesn’t work its some behavioral issue with you, not some mysterious biochemical reaction. Get real you,,,,,you,,,you steak you.

  24. Ginger on November 21, 2012 at 10:45

    Long time lurker, 1st time poster, now on board to try the taters. I have about 15lbs to lose, fingers crossed to make a dent in that!

    I just finished up day 2, and I have to say, I notice that my head is much foggier, slower, and I’ve felt very fatigued, usually around lunch, but sometimes in between tater meals. Do you all think this will clear up in a bit more time? I can handle eating the potatoes, but I need my brain to work well. I teach elementary and middle schoolers all day and can’t afford the brain fog. :)

    I gave into 3 Brazil nuts after lunch today, and that seemed to clear my head a little. Maybe i’m just not used to so many carbs these days? I follow the PHD, so I wouldn’t say I was a VLC person previously…

  25. marie on November 21, 2012 at 11:01

    Hi Ginger. I don’t know about others, but I’ve been eating a little meat every day, especially liver. About 4oz. I’ve been doing this as an experiment and that seems to work just fine for me. The weight loss is about 0.6lb per day. I’ve kept the fat (olive oil) at 2-3tbsp for 2-2.5 lbs of taters total per day. After 8 days I am down 4.6lbs.
    Good luck and please say what happens with the fogginess. At least with the Thanksgiving break you maybe get a chance to deal with that before dealing with the lil devils again :)

    • AnaLucia on November 21, 2012 at 14:54

      Marie, first I want to say Thank You for sharing so much on your experiment. It’s been really informative for me and I’m going to try to do the same thing right after Thanksgiving.
      I also remember you’re a scientist and a mom and…..when do you get the chance to comment here?! Or cook for that matter, but then I noticed your dishes are really quick. Thanks for that.
      I really like the way Mr.Nicoley puts everything together, different recipes together with just the more important information and with practical directions. There’s so much hype all over the place and arguing and speculation that I couldn’t make heads or tails of this potato business before.
      I think what clinched it for me though was when I saw that a 45yr old woman at 140lbs (I think?) was happy with that and not looking to get ‘ripped’ or whatever, but was looking to figure out what works and what doesn’t, one step at a time. I thought, gee, that’s sane!
      Soooo, a couple of questions? I you have the time, I know you’ve already put a lot here.
      Have you found the fat amount critical?
      I thought I saw somewhere that you were going to start playing with that. I can do the little bit of olive oil for the boiled-fried potatoes, my grandma’s Italian and they don’t drown potatoes in oil there either. My husband though is a different story.
      Also, how’s your digestion and what were you eating before? I know ‘mediterranean’ but that gets so widely interpreted.
      Finally, how’s your energy? I noticed you were sleepy after dinner at night. I thought maybe, does it have to do with how many potatoes you eat at one meal? I can’t afford to knock myself out after dinner, two kids to help with homework, drive to sports and all that.
      Thanks again and happy Thanksgiving!

      • marie on November 21, 2012 at 19:15

        AnaLucia, you’re very kind. I really don’t know much about this, just started. So “use with caution”, eh?
        But I’ll be happy to answer your questions as soon as I get done with Thanksgiving. Thank you for the encouragement and happy Thanksgiving to you too!

      • marie on November 30, 2012 at 05:12

        AnaLucia, the most oil I used was 3tbsp one day for a total of 2.8 lbs potatoes. Most of the time it was 2tbsp for around 2-2.5lbs potatoes. I never did get to play with that, I couldn’t return to it after Thanksgiving, I haven’t been home in a week.
        Did you start it? Maybe with the conservative 1tsp/pound and tried adding after that? Your husband will probably like the version of boiled potatoes lightly tossed in a pan with 2tbsp olive oil, or one of the pan preparations above, a little oil can go a long way ;)
        My digestion felt slow on so much potato, stayed feeling stuffed for a long time, but fine otherwise. I take probiotics normally when I can’t get yogurt, so I did that during the potato experiment too, maybe that has an effect.
        Mediterranean to me is the original description based on the diets in southern Greece and other coastal southern Med regions. The mainstays are olive oil, lots of fish, lots of vegetables, lamb/meats, cheese and yogurt, some soaked legumes and some hard whole bread (which I avoid due to instant indigestion), with nuts for snacks and sweets/nutty sweets/honey reserved for special days. Wine and other liquors at will. I’d say it’s awfully close to an 80/20 primal or paleo-ish, especially once you skip the bread like I do.
        You got it on the nose with the post-dinner sleepiness, it depends on how big is that last potato meal. When I tried more potatoes earlier in the day and a smaller dinner (up to only 1 lb), it resolved.

    • Ginger on November 22, 2012 at 10:12

      Thanks for the advice! Fogginess was much better today, as was my energy. However I spent about 4 hours this afternoon excessively/unique chalky thirsty, and that worries me. Knowing you’ve added a tiny bit of protein/fat makes me think I’ll keep trying and add it in if need be.

      No holiday break from the lil buggers today since I teach overseas. But we have an awesome feast planned for the weekend that will be a nice break from 4 days of taters. I’ll be back at it again Monday!

      • marie on November 30, 2012 at 04:44

        Hi Ginger, how was the awesome feast last weekend? Did you keep at it with the potatoes afterwards and did the thirsty/chalky pan out? I found that tossing boiled potato slices in a pan with 2tbsp olive oil or drizzling that over them in a potato ‘salad’ with little veggie bits really took care of the dryness. Microwaved were the worst for dryness, really suck the moisture right out of your mouth!

  26. Ashleyroz on November 21, 2012 at 11:23

    Are you taking any supplements during this experiment? Fclo or the hv butter oil? My hubby might try this and I’m wondering if I should change the timing so he takes it separately like before bed instead of first thing in the AM with breakfast or would that little of fat not make a difference?

    • marie on November 21, 2012 at 11:53

      Ashleyroz, I haven’t been doing my usual exercise during this experiment (one variable at a time for me) so I didn’t expect to need any supplements, except D3 because it’s getting gloomy up here in upstate NY already.
      Otherwise, the potatoes themselves have a very good nutrient content, including vitamin C, and I know I can rely on the liver for the rest, because it has so many vitamins and minerals at such high percentages that even just a couple of times a week it’s a tremendous ‘supplement’ all by itself. Richard has a post or two on liver (!) and it was his liver-supplements now too with his potato hack that got me thinking to try this.
      I don’t think the little bit of fat in your husband’s supplements will make a difference, almost certainly not in the fermented cod liver oil capsules, though don’t know how much is in your hv butter caps. It’s not the quantity exactly, they are a few grams at most, but rather theres a question about the type of fat. So, why not plan on say first two days without them, so you can see the effect of the potatoes right away, then add back one of your fatty supplements at a time and see what latitude he has?

  27. Cow on November 21, 2012 at 12:47

    Jesus God, why everybody busting my chops! I make for honest postings of my experience and was true about delicate underlying conditions. Is you so full with potato, you no room for compassion?

    Cow as real as any of you! If you prick me, do I no enjoy it?

    • marie on November 21, 2012 at 13:14

      Ahaha naughty Cow! Shakespeare rolleth in his grave.

      • LeonRover on November 22, 2012 at 00:05

        “Shakespeare rolleth” – yeth, and Violet Elizabeth Bott thay:

        “The Undead trolleth.”

      • marie on November 22, 2012 at 02:45

        Oh no! Thcary.
        “I’ll thcream and thcream until…” I get a Dagon’hai robe ;)

      • LeonRover on November 22, 2012 at 03:59

        “I thcream, youth cream, We all thcream for Ithcream”


      • blahblah on November 22, 2012 at 04:15

        There there sweet tenderlion, lets both bask in the pleasure of not being a turkey today, amirite?

      • LeonRover on November 22, 2012 at 04:53

        Were I Pig, I’d really like the pleasure of my tender-loin being basted – preferably having first been skewered with cloves and lightly dusted with Demerara.

        Seek & ye shall find.

    • LeonRover on November 21, 2012 at 14:55

      Chops is from Pig, not Cow – Is you undergoing metamorphosis or even Apotheosis ?

    • blahblah on November 21, 2012 at 20:15


    • Pippy on November 24, 2012 at 19:48

      Potatoes are linked with serotonin production; serotonin levels are linked to mood disorders like bipolar. So, imho, it is entirely plausible that eating all potatoes all the time may be problematic for people with bipolar disease. Interesting observation, Cow.

      There is a book, “Potatoes, Not Prozac” that came out in 1999 that advocated eating a potato before bedtime in order to encourage serotonin production and stabilize blood sugar. I read the book a couple of years ago, but did not try it because I discovered the paleo diet and it was working for me at the time. But after eating many potatoes last week, I see the benefits. I lost 5 lbs in 4 days before the holiday and felt great. (I ate white potatoes, sweet potatoes, nori, liver tabs, calcium & Vit D supplements, plenty of salt and spices, but no fat.) Amazingly, I ate Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers on Friday and Saturday pretty freely (including lots of cheesecake) and I gained none of those 5lbs back. I was actually looking forward to going back to only potatoes today because I feel so good on this diet and am getting great results so far. I wonder if the hidden ‘magic’ of this diet may have something to do with increased serotonin levels.

      Thanks, Richard, for blogging about this potato hack and getting me curious enough to try it. Liver tabs are great idea.

      • Cow on November 25, 2012 at 08:30

        Thank you Validating Pip, I never think of that. Is maybe case. I experiment more, but has to go careful.

  28. AnaLucia on November 21, 2012 at 15:15

    Mr.Nikoley, thank you for this series on potatoes and just your whole blog. I think you really try to put things together in a sensible way, starting with data or evidence and not getting hung up on too much speculation. It really works for me. With this potato business there’s so much hype everywhere lately that I couldn’t figure out what to pay attention to.
    For your approach, I got that the fat should be about 1 tsp per potato and that liver supplements or a little meat balance things out with the potato’s own nutrition, but they still let this ‘hack’ work. Also, that there is no well-known scientific explanation for why eating so much potatoes works so well to lose weight.
    Is this correct?
    On the other hand, I can’t do a Fast to save my life, even though I hear it might! I also don’t do any heavy exercise but lots of low-key daily activity. So I’m leaning towards Marie’s variation on your theme, she sounds more like me and I asked a bunch of questions, I hope it’s not too much. The commenters on your blog though are so often so helpful and so knowledgeable and well, funny. Why do they hang out with a foul-mouthed argumentative sailor again?!

    • aminoKing on November 21, 2012 at 17:27

      Good question. Why do we hang out with a foul-mouthed argumentative sailor? We’ll for a start, he’s honest.

      • marie on November 21, 2012 at 19:07

        AnaLucia, laf!
        Richard’s putting “things together in a sensible way, starting with data or evidence…” is a big draw for me too. But like aminoKing, I’d start with honest.
        Then I like that ‘argumentative’ style itself :) It maybe be the most thorough way to figure out something, when done honestly.

      • rob on November 22, 2012 at 12:01

        The difficult part of writing is to be interesting. When I was in college I took an advanced writing course and my first submission didn’t get me the grade I was used to getting.

        I went and had a talk with the professor and she explained that while it was very well-written, it was a boring read, and if I wanted a good grade I had to turn in something that was well-written AND interesting.

        Imo all really good writing is argumentative, it’s how you make it interesting.

  29. Craig on November 23, 2012 at 06:45

    Does anyone know if Peter’s theory about the potato diet makes sense quantitatively? How many grams of fat are required to synthesize 1 gram of insulin, and is the increased insulin requirement then consistent with the relatively large amount of fat loss (relative to calorie deficit) being observed?

  30. EatLessMoveMoore on November 23, 2012 at 14:10

    For me the jury’s still out until CarbSane and/or Stephan weigh in on all this (especially since it seems built on his Food Reward theory).

    • LeonRover on November 24, 2012 at 00:45

      So who exactly is on this “jury” – is it your jury?

      Is it a binding decision? Can one appeal to another “jury” if one does not agree with the jury?

      Be your own jury – after all you are prosecutor, defendant and judge in the decision – why not be the sole juror also?

      • Bets on November 24, 2012 at 12:42

        LOL, Stephan needs to pronounce something? Because hash browns are SOOO unrewarding? AND unpalatable?

        And Evelyn needs to weigh in? Why? Because she’s overweight?

      • EatLessMoveMoore on November 24, 2012 at 17:47

        Re. Evelyn: People tend to forget, but once upon a time Taubes was Holy Writ in LC/Paleo circles. He was followed unquestionably (indeed, with many lining up to be “John the Baptist to his Jesus”, as Kurt Harris memorably put it). Jimmy Moore and his webpire was likewise accepted uncritically as a scientifically-sound source of information. Evelyn really changed all that, and she played a large role in exposing the fake gurus and advancing alternate theories to challenge the Carbohydrate-Insulin Hypothesis. We take that for granted because, thanks to Stephan and others, the CIH is now itself a fringe theory – except maybe among the poor overweight multitudes re-starting Atkins for the umpteenth time and wondering why it’s not working…

      • Ed on November 24, 2012 at 23:19

        You are a crackpot.

      • LeonRover on November 25, 2012 at 01:55

        “LC/Paleo circles” ??

        Paleo as in Lithic ? Right, I guess you mean Stone Circles, technically Henges – or is it stoned?

        “Fringe theory”, “overweight multitudes”.

        Really, if you Moved More, you have fewer contradictory thoughts.

        The Jury is really confused!

      • Richard Nikoley on November 25, 2012 at 02:44

        Interesting. I’ve never read a sngle one of Evelyn’s posts that wasn’t about me. Boring. She has an Alexa in the 800,000s. She has a small handful of readers and always will because she’s a shill bore.

      • Gene on November 25, 2012 at 01:38

        Oh, she’s not fat, Bets, she’s a “BMI outlier”.

      • Gene on November 25, 2012 at 02:08

        It looks like there’s a few things at play here, but Peter has it about right. This is probably a really good hack as it taps in to our bodies’ basic survival mechanisms. Our body fat is there to feed us when times are “lean”. A run of bad hunting luck, say, and our body fat stores are mobilised to provide the 100% essential FFAs needed to run our metabolisms. Our bodies work hard to maintain the last 15% percent of body fat for a very good reason. Our modern vanity and narcissism notwithstanding.

        Also, a lot of our fat sources are not things that could be found in plenty – if at all – by a hunter gatherer – i.e. nuts by the bag, avocados, dairy, olive oil, etc. So a lack of meat would’ve meant a sudden drop in protein and fat. The result = a shift to mobilising stored substrates to repair and maintain essential systems. Is that optimum over the long term? I dunno, and I’m certainly not going to take CarbSane as an example/expert.

        Simply losing weight via a particular diet is not a sign that it is optimum or sustainable. There are a lot of reasons that the body will tap into stored fat and/or muscle tissue; the latter being really bad for your health. It seems to me that by body tends toward homeostasis. All too rapid changes aren’t necessarily a sign that everything is hunky dory. In fact, that usually suggests a stressor of some kind in my experience. The people championing this diet as The Truth are conveniently editing out the fact that many people in this discussion and elsewhere have already lost a lot of weight via a high fat/protein diet and – better yet – radically changed their body composition to include far more life-serving muscle mass – regardless of the amount of fat that might be sitting on top of it. Of course exercise is a component in that.

        Perhaps the key is in some kind of cycling that mimicks the natural seasonal and situational changes in our diet necessitated by climate and availability. Hell, even body builders understand macronutrient cycling. This is isn’t exactly cutting edge. So, perhaps we don’t need fat prime rib every day of the year. But I also don’t buy the ideology – and it is ideology – that we ought to be sucking down starchy tubers like they’re going out of style year-round. The Irish didn’t do it by choice. The potato became the staple diet of the lower classes for economic reasons.

      • Tatertot on November 25, 2012 at 09:18

        Gene – I like your thinking. I have been trying to work that line of reasoning out in my pea…errr new-potato-sized brain for quite some time.

        I love the thought of seasonal eating. Bulking up all summer on sugary fruits, fatty fish, eggs, and sucking down greens. In winter, I like to stick to meat, low carb veg with lots of butter, and some nuts.

        I read an interesting study that diabetes is really just an adaptation to the cold and enabled humans to move into northern climates, but our year-round watermelon-eating contests have turned it into a disease.

        Here’s the article I was talking about, just abstract, but I have full art somewhere:

        “The reasons for the uneven worldwide distribution of Type 1 diabetes mellitus have yet to be fully explained. Epidemiological studies have shown a higher prevalence of Type 1 diabetes in northern Europe, particularly in Scandinavian countries, and Sardinia. Recent animal research has uncovered the importance of the generation of elevated levels of glucose, glycerol and other sugar derivatives as a physiological means for cold adaptation.”

        OK, I think I have this comment section figured out. You have to say something deep and meaningful followed by something salty and degrading, so here goes:

        Why shouldn’t you fuck Evelyn from CarbSane in a potato field? Because the potatoes have eyes! And you thought the answer was, ‘because itsthewooo would get jealous’

      • Gene on November 25, 2012 at 09:46

        I also eat seasonally for the most part. Plenty of exceptions, but part of the reason I do it is cost and quality and the ability to eat from as close to home as possible. Right now, I’m really enjoying lots of tubers, root veggies and cabbage. Ask me again in March when I’ll wish I’d never seen any of them.

        Going to have a browse at your article now. Looks very interesting at first glance.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 25, 2012 at 10:59

        Not sure I buy that ice age evolutionary adaptation for diabetes. Check out the global epidemiology plotted against latitude. From a 2008 post.

      • Bets on November 25, 2012 at 12:30

        Tatertot: “OK, I think I have this comment section figured out. You have to say something deep and meaningful followed by something salty and degrading, so here goes:

        Why shouldn’t you fuck Evelyn from CarbSane in a potato field? Because the potatoes have eyes! And you thought the answer was, ‘because itsthewooo would get jealous’”


        It’s helpful if you’re funny in the process and not just disgusting and moronic. And why you’re crapping on Wooo, I have no idea.

        Well, at least you gave Melissa something new to deplore.

    • Gene on November 25, 2012 at 01:33

      CarbSane is too busy worrying about Jimmy’s weight.

  31. rob on November 24, 2012 at 06:29

    Eaten large quantities of rib roast the past two days and felt like King Kong at the gym, going back to my 1 1/2 pounds of beef a day hack, with a couple of pounds of potatoes for energy.

    I can eat pounds of chicken or fish and it doesn’t have the effect that beef does.

  32. Laura on November 24, 2012 at 08:09

    “If you’re going to pound carbs, keep the fat & protein very low.”

    Score one for Dr. McDougall.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 24, 2012 at 08:11

      “Score one for Dr. McDougall.”

      I never give any points to fucking liars, and he is one.

      • Laura on November 24, 2012 at 09:48

        What’s the lie?

      • Richard Nikoley on November 24, 2012 at 17:25

        That humans evolved on and their primary diet is starch. Utter lying bullshit and all you need to do is look at a map of human migration since out of Africa.

        He has an agenda and that is number one. I see Paleos adopting starch as part of the diet all over the place and this has taken place over mere years and months.

        But they are vegans. By definition, they must continue to be dishonest, filthy liars and as far as I’m concerned they can all eat shit and die.

      • A.B. Dada on November 24, 2012 at 17:40

        Please, Richard, don’t mock the vegans. I recommend the vegan diet to everyone I can.

        The fewer people that buy pasture raised ruminant meat, the cheaper the meat will get.

        Low demand = lower prices.


      • aminoKing on November 24, 2012 at 17:59

        The strongest visible evidence that I can see (as a lay person) against the vegan theories is man’s relationship with dogs. Relationships form because there is a mutually beneficial outcome – both parties end up better off, or at the very worst, no worse off than either would be alone. Now riddle me this: why would dogs hang around humans? For food of course. Why would man need a dog at all then? For hunting of course. Man eats the flesh, dog eats the bones and knuckles and both end up catching more than either would alone. Win, win.

      • Gene on November 25, 2012 at 02:12

        Shortsighted, A.B., push the price down too far and grass-fed ruminant meat producers will shift to another industry. It’s hard enough for them to survive at current demand levels.

  33. blahblah on November 24, 2012 at 13:15

    If memory serves , lightly carmelized hash browns taste like ambrosia. For me at least, a spud has to be free of any oil, seasoning and cold before it can strike my palate as anything near bland. YMMV

    • rob on November 25, 2012 at 11:47

      Hash browns are delicious but the reason they are delicious tends to be the fat

      Calories in a cup of hash browns made from fresh

      Calorie breakdown: 42% fat, 53% carbs, 5% protein.

      I think that when your potatoes are giving you 42% calories from fat, you are no longer eating potatoes. Potatoes shouldn’t be delicious, when they are delicious, it is because they are being used as a medium to deliver fat and salt, such as

      hash browns
      french fries
      potato chips

      In each case a bland foodstuff is used as a medium to deliver fat and salt in proportions that will keep the consumer eating more and more of them.

      I think it is better to get your fat from animal flesh than from a starch.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 25, 2012 at 16:14


        Agreed, in terms of how usually made. But I’m doing the same 1 tsp fat per potato, regardless of the cooking method.

  34. Kris on November 25, 2012 at 07:30

    I started rinsing the shredded potatoes before cooking, mostly because it rinsed away the discoloration, and wanted to see how it would change the texture. It is just occurring to me that the potato meals haven’t been as satiating, and sometimes feeling ravenous by early evening. I also noticed I was starting to have BG readings much higher such as 130 2 hr post meal, instead of an 80-something. It could be a coincidence, I could have been stressed that day, but am wondering if satiation and BG has anything to do with rinsing away much of the starch. To rinse or not to rinse… anyone notice any similar differences?

  35. Gene on November 25, 2012 at 09:11

    “indeed, with many lining up to be “John the Baptist to his Jesus”, as Kurt Harris memorably put it).”

    Ah, yes. Good ol’ Kurt. The most Sacred Cow of them all. Just evoke his name for a the sheen of credibility…

    • EatLessMoveMoore on November 25, 2012 at 19:55

      “Ah, yes. Good ol’ Kurt.”

      Because he’s one of the few people that everyone can agree on – from Livin’ La Vida Low Cred-land to Colpo & CarbSane. His stature, if anything, has grown in his absence. His silence says more than most bloggers who post every day (or even every week).

      • Ed on November 25, 2012 at 22:06

        You are a complete, total nutjob.

        Your need for deities and your pathetic attempts to enforce a pantheon are weird beyond belief.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 26, 2012 at 07:00

        Kurt sold his imaging center and is enjoying an early retirement. In the big scheme of things, he found that spending that time getting drawn into blogging and commenting was not how he wanted to spend it.

      • A.B. Dada on November 26, 2012 at 07:02

        And that’s all a man should strive for: succeed early through hard work and perseverance, leave a small mark on history, enjoy the fruits of one’s labor.

        I hope he’s sitting on a sailboat in good weather, or hunting when the snow falls.

      • aminoKing on November 27, 2012 at 00:21

        @A.B. Dada

        “leave a small mark on history”

        Most would describe my mark on history as a skid mark at best. I still have some time left though, so who knows. Guess, I’ll give it a few more tries before I throw in the towel.

      • EatLessMoveMoore on November 26, 2012 at 18:53

        Regardless: Sure don’t see anyone talking bad about the man. That says it all.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 26, 2012 at 20:34

        You don’t? Then you haven’t looked. Hell, there’s shit about Kurt in comments on this blog, one reason he doesn’t participate anymore, and he told me that explicitly in an email a while back.

        ELMM: I’ve given you more leeway that almost anyone for a long time, but I’m beginning to think I have been too generous and that you’re pretty much just a typical fuckwit. Perhaps you should consider a shower, getting out of that jamies for regular clothes, stepping up from your mom’s basement, and giving daddy back his computer.

        You are becoming a one-line bore.

      • Gene on November 27, 2012 at 01:32

        My problem isn’t with Kurt. He is bright and honestly did his homework on the science and on himself. His ideas about what and how we ought to approach food (and it’s relative importance to health) are very close to my own. It’s the use of “Kurt Harris MD” by others in his absence as a Cloak of Authority that I find tedious.

      • Gene on November 27, 2012 at 01:33

        ^^^ Should read, “His ideas about what we ought to eat and how we ought to approach food…”

      • Richard Nikoley on November 27, 2012 at 06:59

        I draw a distinction between using someone’s credentials to those who know who he is and those who don’t. So for example, don’t use them in comments with those who know him, but I do in blog posts because of all the traffic from those who don’t, and it might make it harder to dismiss.

        I think credentials can be useful in the right context. But of course, it means nothing beyond “perhaps you should extend enough benefit of the doubt to have a close look.”

      • Ed on November 27, 2012 at 08:21

        I think credentials can be useful in the right context. But of course, it means nothing beyond “perhaps you should extend enough benefit of the doubt to have a close look.


        Most MDs, of course, think everyone should be on some combination of wheat, statins, and soybean oil.

  36. rob on November 25, 2012 at 14:59

    Can anyone eat a plain potato?

    • rob on November 25, 2012 at 15:23

      Mission: To eat a potato. Should you accept this mission, you will have to eat a potato, the entire damned thing.

      Response: Aw hell no! You talking about eating a potato that ain’t been fried? Hell no twice! Cold day in hell when I eat a potato that ain’t been fried, shit tastes like a fucking potato, no way I am eating that shit.

      • John on November 25, 2012 at 16:05

        With salt at your side, you can accomplish anything.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 25, 2012 at 16:26

      Sure, with a bit of hunger. Baked or nuked, of course. The idea here, rob, is to make it palatable enough that people want to do it, not so palatable they can eat sufficient calories. It’s a unique food for that purpose (try it with carrots or any other root).

      Plain, it’s starvation food. A bit of palatability via a smidgen of sat and liberal salt, it’s. hack.

  37. aminoKing on November 25, 2012 at 16:55

    No new posts from Richard in 7 days. He’s up to something I bet. But what?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 25, 2012 at 18:14

      That I am. Or was. I was up to enjoying my wife’ dogs, her family and just 8 days away, culminating yesterday afternoon at a suit on the cliffs at Pismo Beach, where it was 75 degrees. It was 89 in LA as we drove through from the south.

      But, yes, I have some designs I’ve been thinking about, but mostly as relates to my business life. Haven’t gone so long without a post in a long time. There’s probably something there too.

      Truth is, there is almost nothing interesting me in the paleosphere, anymore. Real food. Got it.

  38. Lark on November 25, 2012 at 17:34

    Adding to the mix: potato-oyster stew. Sorry about the vague quantities, it’s how I cook.

    Several potatoes, peeled and halved (I used organic russets, 8 or so)
    Put in stew pot and cover with stock plus a couple of inches (I used home made fish stock but chicken, pork or mixed bone broth would do)
    A bit of onion (I used a tablespoon or so of dried onion flakes)
    Simmer for a while (half hour or so, til spuds are soft)
    Beat to a smooth consistency with an immersion blender (love my Cuisinart Beatstick)
    Add some white wine, salt, black pepper to taste. I also added Old Bay seasoning. Quite a bit.
    Bring back to simmer and….
    Dump in a bunch of raw shucked oysters (xsmalls from Costco)
    Bring back to simmer again. Serve.

  39. kate on November 26, 2012 at 11:53

    Just curious- any noticeable differences in oral health while on the potato diet? That was a big interest for me re: the low(er) carb diet and increased vitamins/minerals.

  40. Troy on November 27, 2012 at 08:48


    Is there any particular reason you’re peeling the potatoes and not including the skin?

  41. Ginger on November 28, 2012 at 10:33

    Another good and easy tater recipe:
    -Take leftover boiled sliced potatoes
    -Season with what you like. I go with S&P, some rosemary, thyme. Also tried garam masala one night and it rocked.
    -Put on a roasting pan/sheet covered in parchment baking paper, without crowding them, and roast in the oven around 200C for 15-20 min, or until they start to get cripsy around the edges to your liking.
    No extra fat needed for roasted and tasty! Plus it’s a great way to revive boiled potatoes that are a little overdue to be eaten.

  42. Lark on December 4, 2012 at 10:32

    Oral health and digestive issues seem to be the main downside of potatoes for me. I get more crud on my teeth, more flatulance (not used to that, I normally have none at all on VLC) and a couple of bouts of severe diarrhea (maybe from the initial gut flora adaptation). But losing weight at about 1/2 pound per day when I’ve been slowly gaining for the past few years despite various exercise and carb cycling schemes, that’s worth the minor issues. Also I have less skin and voice roughness (hypothyroid symptoms) less water retention and when I do get hungry, it’s just normal hunger without cravings at least for the first few days on potatoes. After that I start craving meat/fat and I’ve decided to take that as my cue to cycle back onto meat/eggs/VLC for a couple of days. So far doing so has not interrupted weight loss.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 4, 2012 at 10:35

      I hate posts and comments about bowel movements, so I’ll just say that after a few days, everything normalized for me.

  43. Leo desforges on December 9, 2012 at 11:55

    Anyone have any thoughts on muscle wasting (catabolism) while on VLP (very low protein) diet as a possible contribution to rapid weight loss?

    • Richard Nikoley on December 9, 2012 at 14:19

      Potatoes have a quality amino profile, I also add small amounts of meat (a couple of ounces per day) take BCAAs supplementally as well as desiccated liver, and have one reefed day that includes at least a liter of milk, post workout. I’ve not lost a bit in the gym and in fact have gained a small amount.

  44. Leo desforges on December 9, 2012 at 16:45

    Thanks. Curious to see how folks feel longterm with VLP.

  45. Kitty on December 13, 2012 at 13:32

    I may have missed this, but does anyone mention including greens in their potato hack? Is there a reason/theory why not? I’d be very happy to include some steamed or sauteed greens (spinach, kale, etc.) in potato dishes.
    Is plain rice okay to add as occasional variety, or will that throw everything off?

    P.S. I’m a first time poster, and have been trying the potato hack for 4 days, with 1 small exception in the middle.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 13, 2012 at 13:46

      Kitty, I don’t think greens make a difference one way or another. Some nutrition, and what macros there are is carb.

  46. Julia on December 26, 2012 at 05:20


    Reading your thoughts on this reminds me of a concept of Food Combination. I had given up on the idea when I did some more research and realized the science (about pH levels in the stomach, proper digestion, etc) seemed fairly inaccurate. I still think that particular explanation is faulty, but I have a feeling food combining may work for similar reasons to the explanations you give in your post.

    Have you ever heard of this and what are your thoughts?

    • Richard Nikoley on December 26, 2012 at 09:47

      I really have not much idea, except that I have a sense that when lots of starch is involved, best to keep the fat & protein low.

      • julia on December 26, 2012 at 10:08

        Thanks for the reply. I also wonder if high carb/low protein/low fat idea would apply mostly to a easily total or uh individual meals.

        Seems some n=1 self expermentation is in order!

  47. julia on December 26, 2012 at 10:09

    Whoa major autocorrect issue, sorry. Apply mostly to a daily total or individual meal was what I meant to say.

  48. The Super Secret Potato Project - Page 50 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 50 on September 4, 2013 at 14:49

    […] and oceangrl: check this and links therein: Another Quick & Easy Hash Brown Potato Method and Potato Diet Speculations | Free The Animal Reply With […]

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