Potato Hack: Weight Loss, High Energy, Satiety, and Good Nutrition


First things first. Here’s a search link to find all the potato diet posts and thousands of comments from a few years back. That’s for ‘potato hack,’ what we were usually calling it. Here’s one for ‘potato diet‘ too. Lottsa stuff. This post is the 3rd in the series that began with Can Eating Mashed Potatoes With Your Meals Cause You To Eat 30-40% Fewer Calories? And my big tease of a couple of days ago: I’ve Dropped 13 Pounds In Four Days With No Hunger Or Cravings, And I’m Going To Tell You Precisely How.

And I am. Right here.

The first post covers the science of why potatoes work…from big and rapid weight loss to steady but sustained loss by eating less overall, to plain old maintenance: from doing a potato only diet periodically, to just upping your overall potato consumption in your diet and eating less overall as a consequence. I encourage you to read that post, but here’s 1,000 words worth.

Notice potato chips way down there on the bottom, both predicted and experimentally. “You can’t eat just one” was indeed a prophetic marketing slogan. But then, to see how experimentally, boiled potatoes blow everything else out of the water—including the prediction—is truly a remarkable finding that’s largely ignored in general, and derided and scoffed at by the low-carbohydrate community.

So, the takeaway is that boiled potatoes as a single food source are the most satiating food ever tested. That means that when eaten by themselves—compared with equivalent calories of anything else—test subjects waited longer to eat again and consumed less when they did eat, compared to any other single food. But that’s not all. When boiled potatoes are included as part of a meal (even mashed with sane amounts of butter & milk), test subjects consume far fewer calories overall in the meal, compared with any other starch…and I’d bet that would hold for any side dish. Your plate full of “leafy greens” that’s always all the rage in LC, where LCers eat more “leafy greens” than literally anyone else on the planet, including raw vegans? It’s a badge of honor; and plus, it allows them to up that steak from 6-8 oz. to 16 oz., thereby tripling the calories over a meal of mashed potatoes and a 4-6 oz. steak.

The Surprising 13-pound Weight Drop In Four Days

This wasn’t envisioned to be part of this post, but because of my utter mouth-gaping shock last Thursday, it has to be addressed preliminarily so that you clearly understand what it is, what it isn’t, and don’t feel hustled…because that’s what’s typically in play with those sorts of extraordinary claims.

Let’s get this out of the way, right away: It was way mostly water. I’d guess probably 11 pounds of water and 2 pounds of fat (performance at the gym was better than Sunday, so it ‘ain’t any lean that counts). I estimate 2 pounds because sustained weight loss from commenters in the past seemed to average 1/2 pound daily. The diet began last Sunday around noon, and Tuesday was the big whoosh! day, and without thirst. I knew I was dumping lots of water. Before going to the gym where I weighed in, I was expecting somewhere around a 5-pound loss. Nice surprise.

But what does it mean?

It means that even though 80%+ of my calories came from cellular carbohydrate in the form of plain boiled potatoes (salt, sometimes vinegar too), I was running significantly enough of a daily caloric deficit that I was depleting glycogen, lowering generalized inflammation, etc. As you know from Low Carbohydrate Dietary Holy Grails, muscle and liver glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrate) is bound up with significant water and when you restrict carbohydrate enough, glycogen depletes, releasing that water. But here’s what they probably either didn’t tell you, or it was simply convenient if you weren’t clear about it. Glycogen depletion is fundamentally a function of significantly lower food intake than energy output, regardless of macronutrient mix. It can be done three ways:

  1. Sustained exercising for long enough, with little to no carbohydrate intake. Long distance runners call it “hitting the wall.”
  2. Eating significantly less than you expend in energy, chronically. That’s calorie counting diets or starvation.
  3. Eating less carbohydrate than required to store or sustain glycogen. In other words, you can be in an excess energy intake state and still deplete glycogen and “lose weight,” theoretically.

Compare the three and chew on them from a physiological, evolutionary standpoint. The first two make perfect sense. The third has overtones of a gimmick, don’t you think? It may be perfectly fine to have somewhat depleted glycogen and eat low carb. But isn’t it a bit convenient when a person could initially go on a low-carbohydrate diet and overeat—even put on some fat weight in the process—but if glycogen is topped off at the start, then depletion and water loss might outweigh the fat accumulation from the new high-fat diet eaten to excess? And they’re jumping for joy. …Well, for ten days or so, anyway (I’m still shedding water, incidentally, 7th day in).

The big question for me is, how much glycogen/water is optimal or ok-fine? And, does a heavy-on-potato diet that keeps you satiated and not prone to overeat, result in a less than fully topped off glycogen stores and less water? I guess I’ll find out because I’m on this bus for a long time. Boiled potatoes will now always form a mainstay of my diet, from here out.

But that’s not all. Let’s address another kind of gimmicky thing about low carbohydrate diets. Ketones, which are by-products of fat metabolism. Now, follow me closely, here. Your body produces significant ketones under what normal circumstances (i.e., excluding Type 1 diabetes)? Let’s review.

  1. Energy restricted dieting.
  2. Fasting beyond about 12 hours.
  3. Starvation (a long-ass fast).
  4. Prolonged intense exercise (glycogen is depleted first, then you move into fat stores) or very long moderate exercise, like a day of hiking with lots of ascents.
  5. Carbohydrate restriction.

But again, look at those first four in the context of evolution, compared with carbohydrate restriction. Still kind of gimmicky, and I’ll tell you why. ketosis is plain and simple a starvation adaptation (just like gluconeogenesis—making sugar for the brain from protein). All those items, 1-4, are simply lesser modes or corollaries of starvation. Acute starvation, if you like.

…Conversely, de novo lipogenesis (making fat from carbohydrate) is rather an opposite. It’s a times-of-plenty adaptation to enable storage of fat when carbohydrate food sources are in abundance, like fruit in the summer and fall, before less available food during winter. Since the adaptation exists—but is meaningless unless 1) calories are in abundance, and 2) carbohydrate is a principle source of that abundance—it has been convenient to allow low-carbers to believe that almost any amount beyond trace in the diet will get pushed into fat storage, even in energy deficit! I address that in more depth here: A Mild Critique of the Low-Carb-Diet Encouragement to Add Fat.

Let’s go one gimmick further, though. Lots of people don’t show much in the way of ketones, even on a traditional Atkins Diet. That was me. I wanted to drop 10-15 pounds back in about 1991 (30 yo), so that was my first reading of Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution (it wasn’t “New,” yet). No matter what, I never, ever peed more than light pink. Except once. Years later, like 1996, I went on an all-day hike with plenty of ascents. I was low carbing and brought along some cheese & slices of pepperoni for the hike. Evidently, it wasn’t enough, because even into the afternoon of the next day, I was peeing dark purple. The only time ever. Ever.

See, it’s a survival adaptation under conditions of starvation or extended exertion under inadequate food to fuel the activity. Nothing magical about it. I did not hear angels in purple robes trumpeting from the heavens.

You can be in solid ketosis on a pure sugar diet if your intake is low enough for long enough. Say, 600 kcal deficit for a few days. Test ketones. You’ll have them. Now pay close attention:

You know that those ketones are a by-product of burning your fat storage and not dietary fat because you aren’t eating any fat.

Let’s compare that to low-carbohydrate, but especially, the most recent iteration of ketones-tell-the-whole-story ketogenic diet. Most simply, how do you know the ketones are from metabolizing the fat you’re eating, or the fat you have stored? Of what particular merit are the fingerprints of fat burning, if you don’t know whose hand to shake? A typical, conservative LC diet is going to come in at about 60%+ calories from fat (just beef alone, without adding fat, is about 50/50 fat/protein calories). Get the carbohydrate low enough and you might be lucky to see significant ketones (unlike me). But, another rub: what if the satisfaction of the LC diet induces you to eat less energy (partially to credit for lots of people with successfully sustained weight loss on LC)? Are the ketones a solid product of carbohydrate restriction, or of the acute quasi-starvation I already addressed, or some of both? What fat is being metabolized and throwing off ketones?

It gets worse. “”The New ketogenic Diet” appears to advocate something like 85% fat, 10% protein, and no more than 5% carbohydrate. And everyone jumps for joy because finally, objectively, unabashedly they detect lots and lots of ketones! No more of this trace stuff. They are indeed burning fat. Well, duh! When 85% of your diet consists of a single macronutrient—fat—then that’s what your body is going to burn, and the hierarchy of macronutrient metabolism is washed out by a flood of dietary fat. So duh! you’ve got lots of ketones. Smoke ’em if ya got ’em, but to what end, if it’s not burning stored fat and you need to burn stored fat? If your daily needs are equivalent to 2,500 kcal but you’re eating 3,000+ because that’s part of the LC hustle—and quite easy to do with energy-dense fat—I assure you that you are not burning an ounce of your body fat, and you’re probably gaining fat—lots of ketones notwithstanding. Sound dumb?

And to reiterate, on the potato diet or keeping-with-the-theme variations thereof, it’s very low fat, so to the extent you drop pounds beyond the water loss, you pretty much know it’s fat since you aren’t eating much in the way of fat. Moreover, if you’re full, not hungry, and due to the extreme satiation of potatoes you find yourself in significant caloric deficit, you will produce ketones and for the same reason, you will know they are coming from your fat. No gimmick, no hustle, no chance of failure for normal people employing very fuzzy LC logic.

…I know it sounds as though I’m attacking LC and Keto diets, but I do make what I consider critical distinctions in this post: Why Am I “Attacking” The Low-Carb and Paleo Diets?

My Speculation About Why and How This Works

So what’s so magical about boiled potatoes? I’ve been asked this a lot, recently. I don’t think the satiation experiments lie and in my case, they’re understated. I’m easily running a 1,000+ kcal deficit with zero trouble at all. In fact, I’m having one helluva good time. Such liberation.

Yes, I know I could continue to believe and trust that my shoe heel is the best and most effective way to pound that nail, but it’s very relieving to have at my disposal a tool—like a hammer—that works, and appears to be perfectly suited for the job. So what if I have Jimmy Moore’s Syndrome, uh, reactive hypoglycemia, uh, I get cramps in my hand when I use a hammer (I get confused about all my excuses over why I just can’t)? Hand cramps will subside once I get used to using a hammer, i.e., the right tool for the job. Or, I could just say “effectivenailpoundingwithshoeheel buildstyle,” a lot. Keep repeating it to reinforce my solemn belief and trust.

Yes, potatoes appear to be substantially filling, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. I think there’s a neurological element. It could have something to do with the gut—especially for cooked and cooled, with higher resistant starch—but let’s just lump all possible elements into one, call them something like “palatability feedback.” It reminds me of the story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears. The first bowl of porridge was too hot, thus unpalatable unless you wait; the second was too cold, more seriously unpalatable because more work is needed to reheat it, and the third bowl was just right.

But think about it. Food temperature is a large element of palatability, and it’s individual and sometimes, cultural too. To my dad, soup is cold unless it causes burn scar tissue on the roof or your mouth. I’m like the French. I like my soup just above warm. Gazpacho uses herbs & spice for cold palatability, and there are a few other kinds of soup specifically designed to be consumed cold, but otherwise, people find cold soup unpalatable. Its flavors and composition are the same, and this goes for all sorts of foods where temperature range strongly contributes to palatability.

…I love cold pizza. Beatrice hates it, so she nukes it, making the crust all awfully spongy.

But perhaps if you were out somewhere remote and had made a pot of delicious, soul-feeding soup, but then your gas ran out, you’d end up eating it cold. The question is, would you eat it all over the same space of time as you would have if you could have reheated every bowl to just right?

Initially, back when I blogged about The Potato Diet in league with Tim Steele, I just could not get my mind around eating boiled potatoes plain, or maybe with only a sprinkle of salt. You look at those posts and what you see is me doing everything to make them palatable enough to my mind, by various ways of preparing them, adding various bits of things. I didn’t eat a single whole boiled russet potato plain, not dolled up with anything, even salt, until last Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t awful. It wasn’t fabulous. I don’t know if “just right” is the correct description, but I knew I could do it.

But guess what? By the force of will of just doing it, they have become increasingly palatable by the day, and only with a sprinkle of salt, sometimes some malt vinegar too. But I eat more and more of them just plain, pushing out other options.

So, my conclusion is that boiled potatoes occupy some outlier niche where they’re mensch enough to give your stomach something substantial to feel, palatable enough to eat without choking them down (I drink plain, room temp water with them), but not so palatable that you’ll just normally gorge on them. In other words, when your stomach feels as though there’s enough of them in it, the palatability feedback shuts off, and you push it away.

And this suggests a potential cure for those few people who, in spite of eating lots of boiled potatoes, nonetheless feel ravenously hungry an hour later. What to do? Then you eat another potato, plain, no salt. Still a problem an hour later? Then eat another one, stone cold out of the fridge. In other words, every time you get that deep hunger eat the most unpalatable cold boiled potato possible until you’ve whipped your dumb dog brain into submission.

And verbalize it. “Ha, you stupid dog brain! You thought you were getting chocolate cake and ice cream, didn’t you? Ha, you dumb dog!” See, it’s rather like training your dog not to beg at the dinner table immediately after you fed him first. Sure, you can try to shame and submit him, order him around, etc. But what if you give him something off the table he doesn’t like at all?


But Aren’t You Flirting With Malnutrition?

Back in 2007 or 2008 when I first got into this whole food thing, you may recall that Art De Vany was my introduction into it (via a blog commenter; kudos). Art called potatoes “a bag of glucose,” and I just took his word for it (not technically, of course, since it’s a starch, but I “knew” what he meant). It wasn’t until a few years later when Stephan Guyenet was blogging about potatoes that I learned that they’re a complete source of protein and a host of other nutrients, such that people can live on them exclusively for very long periods of time. Hell, my dad lived mostly on potatoes in war-torn and post-WWII Germany. He just turned 78, is in pristine health (they’re currently on a long, 2-month vacation hauling around a massive 5th wheel with an enormous Ford F-350 Diesel), and still loves his potatoes.

I was 5 years old in 1943, living with my grandparents in Wriezen, Germany. Potatoes where a big part of the daily diet. My grandparents had a rather large piece of property where they grew all of our vegetables and fruit: apples, cherries, grapes (which were mostly used for making wine), and berries. The main crop: potatoes. We also had laying hens for some animal protein & fat. 

The thing that most profoundly sticks in my mind in terms of food is…potatoes, a lot of potatoes, at least during most of WWII. Later, toward the end of the war and after, food was so scarce that even potatoes weren’t very available. By then, I was 7 years old and was able to forage the fields and woods for anything that was edible. My grandmother—who lived to the ripe old age of 96—taught me what was good and what to avoid. I ate a lot of weeds made into sort of a spinach soup, flavored with bones and other stuff my grandmother scavenged from trash cans.

So let’s take a look at the nutrition. The other day, I decided to weigh my potato-only meals for the day, which was 2 pounds, 780 calories. For shits & giggles, I decided to run the nutrition on an equivalent caloric portion of beef steak. 785 calories is an 11 oz. steak. Before I show you the nutrition comparison, which one of those, 2 pounds of boiled potatoes, or an 11 oz. steak, is more likely to have you eating less of anything else that day?

taters and steak
Not so ridiculous now, is it?

So here again, we have absolute falsehoods being peddled out there. Why must people always substitute a nice-sounding, just-so narrative in place of facts or, more nefariously, to assure you that there’s no need to look even? It’s just a bag of glucose. But let’s set that aside and look at the bigger picture. What does that big picture up there suggest to you? How about meat & potatoes, for a nice, well-rounded nutritional distribution?

meat & potatoes
5 oz of beef steak and 1 pound of potatoes for 750 combined calories

Plugs up a few gaps, wouldn’t you say? It’s almost like we were meant to eat in more balanced ways. Incidentally, those two foods roughly split the calories. And hey, how about go to a 4 oz meat portion and take those fat and protein calories from that ounce of meat and put them in the potatoes as a little butter and whole milk. Mash ’em up?

Now who would’ve ever thought of that!?

May we dispense with the fallacy that potatoes are just empty sugar calories? You better, or I’m going to compare them to your 80% fat ketogenic diet where nutritionally, there’s just no fixing it. In that sense, you are talking about nearly empty fat calories, and your “leafy greens” aren’t going to be of much help unless you eat them by the pounds every day. What fun.

What I Ate Over Four Days That Caused Me To Drop 13 Pounds

I’ll preface this by saying this is what I did and what is very surprisingly working better than wild dreams, for me. You may be different. Or, you may be like the commenter who lost 26 pounds in a month. Keep in mind that once you begin to include plain boiled potatoes as something you eat often, you’ll likely lose your fear and loathing of them, and then the epiphany happens: I can eat a couple or more boiled potatoes in place of any meal in the world, at any time, no problem. This practice or habit is so liberating, and that’s what’s important. Keep the boiled potatoes in your fridge, and you have a complete meal in seconds, at any time.

Something else that’s important. If you have trouble losing weight you need to lose or have uncontrollable hunger, then double down and keep doubling down. Read the section about your dumb dog brain above, again. Also, let me remind you that Tim Steele is The Potato Diet master, literally writing the book on it, which you will all buy and read, no exceptions. Then you’ll buy copies for all your friends and family. You will not disappoint me in this matter. But whether you approach it like Tim, bottom-up style, or like me, top-down, just always remember that you can eat a boiled potato in place of anything, anytime.

So first of all, let me tell you what I didn’t eat or drink.

  1. No alcohol. In fact, my last drop of the stuff was the prior Wednesday, so I was four days dry before even starting these shenanigans. And you know what? I just might make a habit of dependency out of this—perhaps just a nice cold pint of Stella on tap, or a decent Old Vine Zin with a steak, now and then. Just the improvement in sleep is enough just to dump regular drinking entirely. Also, not even a whiff of heartburn, ever. Last time I went a whole week with zero alcohol was my Movenat experience, back in 2010.
  2. No drinks with calories at all. Water and black coffee—which is my standard way anyhow.
  3. No snacks.
  4. No added fat.

What I did eat mostly were my boiled potatoes. Plain, or with salt, or salt and malt vinegar. On average, 8-10 of those per day, and let me tell you how I ended up eating them. I boil them whole, in the skin. After I drain them, I let them cool a bit, and I’ll eat a couple nice & warm. I peel only the very outer layer of the skin with a pairing knife, and I eat them whole like one eats a hard-boiled egg. There’s something about biting off rather than slicing off what you eat.

The rest go into the fridge. Just toss ’em on a shelf. The skin is a great barrier, so they stay moist. I take out about 8-10 in the morning so they can attain ambient temperature and typically, I eat two at a sitting, sometimes three, and the first dose is sometime around 10-11:00, 14-16 hours since the evening meal.

…What’s this about high carbohydrate sending you trolling the cupboards and fridge over nagging hunger all the time?

I ate two big sweet oranges over the four days.

I ate one 14 oz. tub of Haagen-Dazs ice cream, split between 2 of the four nights (along with the two complete, 700-800-ish kcal balanced dinners I’ll show below).

And I ate my potato soup. Funny about that. In the first post, I had made a pot that I precisely calculated to 1,900 calories for the whole shebang. It was immediately apparent to me that I could not near eat that whole thing in a day, much less every day—even though doing so would put me at a 600 calorie deficit on average. I eat it two ways.

Soupy, right out of the pot.
Chunky, with an extra, peeled and cubed room temp potato. Bring the soup portion to a boil and pour it over the cubed potato. The heat exchange makes it instantly “just right.”

OK, here’s the recipe. Now let me tell you, this is very close to the recipe I grew up with, and I think my mom got it from my German grandmother, “Oma.” At any rate, in its original way, it was an inexpensive dish; peasant food, or perhaps war-torn Germany food…and if you could scrounge a little bacon, a little goes one hell of a long way for flavor. Now, unfortunately, it’s morphed into three times the calories per serving with a pound of cubed polish sausage instead of a few slices of bacon drained of fat, heavy cream instead of milk, and to top it off, a half handful of grated cheddar cheese.

What’s even worse is that either of those above bowls satisfy me for hours. Two, sometimes three ladle full, but most often just two. In the current morphology? It’s so damn insanely palatable that you’ll go back for a second huge bowl. So, in one step, you’ve taken what would be satisfying at X calories and ended up eating 6X calories. And you know what? I prefer it this way anyway. It takes me back, and perhaps that two is an element of palatability. I get just the right balance between soupy and creamy, I think.

Ingredients for one 1,900 total calorie pot

  • 3 pounds of potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped, or halved and sliced in onion rings width
  • 3 slices of thick-cut, smoked bacon; diced, fried, & drained (save the fat to cook something else)
  • 2 cloves of fresh, peeled and crushed garlic (crushing with the heel of your hand is sufficient)
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley (triple that for fresh)
  • Salt & ground pepper to taste
  • 1-quart chicken stock (I use Kitchen Basics; the best tasting on the supermarket shelf, and with 4g protein per cup—5g for the beef stock)
  • 1 cup whole milk

Preparation (~45 minutes)

Put potato, onion, bacon, garlic, and parsley in a large pot. Add chicken stock. For a thicker soup, add just enough water just to cover the ingredients by 1/3 inch. For soupier soup, cover by about an inch (you can always add water later…or reduce if you have to). I like it soupy to creamy, never thick, so I’m at an inch to start with and go from there.

Bring to a boil covered, reduce heat and go for about 30 minutes. Turn the heat to low and mash. If you dare use a stick blender and make a damn purée out of it, then we can’t be friends. Use a standard potato masher, please. Mash to about 3/4 creamy, leaving plenty of bits and chunks.

Add the milk, stir, then salt & pepper to taste. This is a dish that soaks up salt nicely. Best to add 1/4 tsp at a time until you get it just right.

So I made some nutritional comparisons. Here’s the nutrition breakdown of the pot of potato soup.

potato soup
High carbohydrate: Potato Soup (1,393 cals of potato). 1,900 calories total. 66% carbohydrate, 24% fat, 10% protein.
beef steak
Very Low Carbohydrate, High Fat: Beef Steak, 26.5 oz. 1,891 calories. 54% fat, 46% protein, 0% carbohydrate.
Ketogenic Diet: Beef Steak, 8 oz. (571 cal) Beef Tallow, 5.2 oz. (1,330 cal). 1,901 calories total. 85% fat, 15% protein, 0% carbohydrate.

I know it’s slightly “unfair,” because of course, one can also add other nutrients to the LCHF and Keto spreads, but this is just for a general comparative idea. That said, what do you have to work with? Proteins are super high in a few nutrients, as you can see, but also deficient in a not insignificant number. Fat is pretty nutrient vapid (“empty calories”), which is why, when you go from just standard LCHF to ketogenic—where you have to get protein way down—along with carbohydrate being near nil already, you’re significantly compromising nutrition. Better get in some beef liver, I guess.

Does it matter? Who knows? I prefer to go with the evolutionary record of man as an omnivorous dietary generalist who can migrate to almost anywhere and thrive. But more to the point, we do have excellent, modern day examples of the most long-lived, healthy people we’ve ever had any idea of. Blue Zones. I remember dismissing it when I first heard about it, 2008-ish. Nobody in paleo talked about it, kinda pretended it didn’t exist, wasn’t relevant, wasn’t convenient, too counter-narrative…whatever. Instead, people talked about tooth scrapings on fossils and discarded bones next to the latrine. Make sense? Not to me. Not anymore.

…Alright, to wrap this up, I mentioned above that I had two regular, nice dinners. Some weeks back, we got a subscription to Plated.com, which I blogged about here. Each Monday a guy drives up and hands me a box with three complete meals for 2 people. It’s beyond fabulous for us, given our off-grid living at a construction site in an RV with its micro-kitchen. So there’s that, and also a compromise with Bea, so she’s not overly burdened with my dietary peccadillos. In return, she eats some of the potato soup and has even joined in a time or two for an all-plain-potato meal.

So yeah, three times per week I’m doing regular, nicely balanced, 700-800-ish calorie meals. Nope, I’m not going all Don Matesz off the deep end on you. Here were Monday and Wednesday nights.

Pretzel crusted tilapia with a lemon & horseradish sauce; Sautéed green beans with scallions, minced garlic and lemon juice.
High-Carb-Vegan inspired seared flank steak with a tangy beef stock reduction sauce; boiled, smashed, and roasted red potatoes with onion and garlic; escarole with a honey & champagne vinegar dressing, and chopped hazelnuts.

Well, since this post is way late in getting to the first draft, here’s tonight’s Friday meal, a parting consolation to the low-carbers I’ve beat up on in this post.

Low-Carb inspired spaghetti squash bolognese, garnished with pecorino cheese.

Now, either I got lucky with those two meals over four days, still dumping all that weight, or it doesn’t matter, or it will matter. But at this point, making adjustments is zero problem. Should that, and even the potato soup, hamper anything where I’m not netting 2-3 pounds weight off weekly on the magic carpet ride to one-sixty-five, then one, two, or all three of those meals will be the first to go, pushed out by boiled potatoes.

Alright. Are we done, here? Yea, I think we’re done here.

Except one thing: I don’t typically beg that you share my posts on social media. I am this time. This can help tons of your friends and family. Just do it.

UPDATE: One week in, and down another 4 pounds last three days for a total of 17 for the week. I just posted this to my Facebook.

Potato Diet Update: Hit the gym this morning for another session of Dr. Doug McGuff’s “Big 5,” which is leg press, chest press, sitting upright row, lat pulldowns, and shoulder press. I currently do a single set of each, with weight for a 25-30 rep range. Over time, I’ll keep upping the weight until I’m in the 15-20 rep range and then up weight accordingly to stay in that range.

It’s a great and efficient weight program. Hits everything important very adequately. Takes 10-15 minutes. 1-2x per week is plenty.

So, weigh in. I began The Potato Diet (see freetheanimal.com for details) last Sunday this time, and tipped the scale at 203. Thursday, 4 days later, I was at a surprising 190, a 13 pound drop (mostly water, the blog post explains how/why) and today, another 3 days later, 4 more down, for a total of 17 pounds in a week, easily rivaling what you’d do on a water-only week long fast.

I did this without undue hunger. When hungry, I eat a boiled potato. Could not be simpler. Still hungry? Eat another. It’s food, and complete and nutritious food at that. Oh, your brain was expecting a reward of pizza and beer because life is so hard and you “worked out?” Well, here’s a nutritious potato, stupid dog brain. Adequate food for hunger, right, stupid dog brain? Or, were you lying to me again, like you always do?

Following the same line of thinking, I got this comment on Facebook this morning.

This really intrigues me now more than ever because I went from 154-125 rather quickly eating paleo and coconut oil+cream coffee. Well not so much anymore. I gained weight and I’ve been stuck at 138 since November going up 5lbs and back down to 138 constantly. Frankly I’m sick of it. I downloaded myfitnesspal and it suggests I need to eat 1200 cals a day to get back down to 125. I tried to eat nothing but potatoes for one day and I felt starving all day. Maybe I didn’t eat enough potatoes? I’m not sure but the hunger pains were unbelievable.

There were groups I relied on for advice but now I’m feeling a bit lost. I know what they’d all say just go on a fat fast and eat gobs more fat. Well that’s not working anymore and the idea of eating that much fat doesn’t satisfy me like it use to. I think I’m still eating too much fat for this experiment to work. According to myfitnesspal yesterday the grams of each looked like this 101g carbs, 48g fat and 46g of protein. I haven’t been adding any fat unless it’s too cook in the skillet (like brussel sprouts) but I think it’s the cream in my coffee that’s doing it. I just don’t know how to make coffee palatable without cream. I’ve cut back from who knows how much probably a good 4-5T of cream to 2T each cup (I have about two cups but today I’ll try one ).

My reply:

You have to try potatoes only, and dump the calorie counter. If you can’t drink coffee without cream or milk, dump that too. In fact, room temp water and hot black coffee in the AM is all I have been drinking. Of course, I’ve always had my coffee black.

Boiled (only), cooled in fridge, then room temp potatoes only, with salt and/or malt vinegar, if you like, with room temp water. Most importantly, eat one if you’re hungry, or two or three. Don’t be painfully hungry. This is not a cal counting potato diet. This is a potato diet where I dare you to eat enough that way to maintain your weight over the space of a week or two.

In fact, you should try to not lose weight, but only on potatoes eaten just like that. I bet you can’t do it.

Prove me wrong.

See the difference of approach?

I’ll expound upon this in a post next week. Seeing some human error problems being created for solving the underlying problems that potatoes only are designed to fix. Stupid dog brains always sabotage.

Update 2: The Potato Diet Day 10 Update: Weigh-In, Meals, Workouts, and Blood Glucose Measures

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  1. John on February 27, 2016 at 09:13

    My favorite – potato leek soup.

    Even with the dairy the calories aren’t high given the volume.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 09:51

      I’ve done this with leeks, but yellow onion is my standard go-to.

    • Chris on November 20, 2016 at 15:35

      Have you checked out Spudfit on Youtube? He has been documenting his potato driven weight loss journey for almost a year now. He has lost a substantial amount of weight with no apparent problems.

      I don’t have any weight to lose, but I started incorporating potatos into my diet as a staple food in order to maintain my ideal body weight. Zero effort required! Potatos are an amazing food!

  2. solver on February 27, 2016 at 13:15

    Add an ounce of gelatin to your potato soup for a protein boost –

    It also gives your soup a nice silky texture. You can thank me in your next post.

    • solver on February 27, 2016 at 13:25

      Be prepared for some of the most well formed poops you’ll experience too on the potato diet. Perfection. A wondrous joy to behold. Like a gift from baby Jesus.

      • Joseph Croft on March 9, 2016 at 13:49

        :-) !!!

  3. Tim H. on February 27, 2016 at 10:06


    Have you considered or investigated the impact of the significant change in your ratio of sodium/potassium intake? You are probably getting more than 10,000 mg of potassium when you are consuming several pounds of potatoes, and this might me part of the answer to shedding water weight.

    From your blog in 2009 (https://freetheanimal.com/2009/09/hows-your-blood-pressure.html#comments) there was some good discussion on this ratio issue in the comments, but it was largely focused on lowing blood pressure.


    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 10:59


      Meh, this is the second time I’ve heard this.

      Occam’s Razor and the fact of running a 1,000+ kcal deficit over 4 days tends to make me dismiss it as of major significance. ESPECIALLY if it’s any sort of defense of LC being The Only Way to dump water.

      Perhaps it contributes a bit, but I can’t for the life of me understand why I should give a single hoot.

      I do tend to have elevated BP though. Accordingly, the water dump plus the added P ought help with that…I’ll start measuring next week sometime just to confirm what I already suspect.

    • Robin H on June 26, 2016 at 11:14

      I know this is an older post, but my experience may be relevant here. I recently did the potato hack. By day 2, I had lost an enormous amount of water weight (peeing what felt like 10 times my normal amount). I became extremely weak and listless and recognized the feeling as a lack of electrolytes. Since I’d been using copious amounts of salt on my potatoes, I decided I might need potassium (despite knowing the higher potassium content of potatoes). I took a little spoon of potassium chloride in some water and felt totally revived after about 15 minutes. Richard, I too thought only LC could result in this kind of water dump, so I was really surprised. I actually really needed to lose some of that water, as I tend to retain too much normally, so maybe it was the elimination of all food intolerances that created this effect for me. As soon as I ate anything else (fat-free, low-starch vegetables, cooked in fat-free chicken broth), I regained the water and most of the weight. Post potato-hack, I’m still eating a decent amount of cooked and cooled potatoes, mainly because I believe they are healthy and might contribute somewhat to weight loss over the long-term. For me though, the potato hack weight loss was primarily (though not all) water.

  4. Jim Lamb on February 27, 2016 at 10:16

    Great post!
    So I’m sitting on the couch eating potato chips while reading this. (I know..idiot!) I read the previous article where chips are bad. I got to thinking, I have a list of potato dishes. It might be of help to others. I keep the list for ideas of what to make from potatoes in my garden ar harvest time. I know some are not allowed (chips!) If they aren’t allowed, can they be fixed?
    Baked Potato, Mashed, Fries, Home Fries, Hash Browns, Potato Pancakes, Scalloped, Pan roasted new potatoes, potato salad, au gratin, potato quiche, casserole, CHIPS, and last but not least, soup.
    Any ideas?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 10:55

      Yea. Whole boiled potatoes if you need to lose weight or reset your dumb dog brain.

      If you don’t need to do either or it’s mild, you can be more flexible.

      I have zero problem with the hunger, just another 20-25 pounds to lose. I sit here at 10:52 and have not eaten a bite of anyting since that spaghetti squash Bolognese last night at 7:30. Just getting mild hunger now and set out a half dozen large red potatoes I boiled yesterday, ate three of, and popped the rest in the fridge. So that hunger and cravings part I have pretty licked.

  5. Dubdub on February 27, 2016 at 10:20

    Great post. So in summary:

    1. You ate dumb dog plain potatoes each day filling in any of the gaps between the below meals or parts of meals.

    2. You had your potato soup on two of the days.

    3. You had 2 plated meals that luckily seemed to balance it with beef and other things.

    4. You ate 14oz of ice cream over two days.

    5. You had 3 or 4 big oranges over two days.

    6. You snacked on dumb dog plain potatoes as needed.

    7. You lost a lot of weight.

    Moral of the story: eat dumb dog potatoes. Sprinkled with occasional ice cream, oranges, potato soup, and beef.

    I just may try this.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 10:41

      The takeaway is that I ate mostly potatoes most of the time. BTW, you got a number of those numbers wrong. But no matter, I ate mostly potatoes with only salt &or vinegar most of the time. And even the potato soup is 3/4 calories from potatoes.

      Don’t miss the forrest through the trees.

      • Dubdub on February 27, 2016 at 13:00

        Hey Richard,

        Sorry, it was 2 oranges. I knew I couldn’t remember the exact amount and couldn’t be arsed to go back an reread which I should have done. I did reread everything once again just now.

        However, I don’t think I missed the forest through the trees. The whole thing we’ve been waiting for the past several days is what you ate over those 4 days, but all of the specific things you ate were scattered through the last half or 2/3s of the post. Hence why I wanted to collect it all into one place to examine and even admire in the context of the first half of your post where you explain everything. It was a great post, great knowledge passing.

        I do want to add I first tried the potato hack a few months ago and couldn’t abide it. I think the problem was that I was baking the potatoes and they were just too dried out to become minimally palatable without a lot of extra “help”. That clearly won’t be a problem with boiling so thats the next thing I will try.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 13:19

        Yeppers. That’s what I was trying to do way back, baking them, always. Never boiled a single time. Way different now. In fact, the reds are so moist I can easily down them without even water.

      • Joe on March 2, 2016 at 05:06

        This may work for you. Or you may not care. Thanks to you I’ve been eating lots of potatoes. Mostly plain for snacks. Them being dry was a problem but I handled it. I decided to wrap them tightly in foil before baking one night. I had them prepared like that in Italy with salt and olive oil in the foil. This time I decided to skip the olive oil and salt.

        I haven’t way overcooked them so I’m not sure it’s foolproof but both russet and golds work great so far. Especially golds. Since they’re wrapped tightly, I can just grab a couple and throw them in my laptop bag. Add salt and pepper.

        At home the spices vary, always salt plus something. Smoked paprika, turmeric and black pepper, Sriracha, garam masala, curry powder, malt vinegar. Been doing this for almost a year now. It’s great.

        Thanks to this post, may have to cut out all the other food during the week.

  6. Thomas on February 27, 2016 at 10:24

    Thank you for the post. I am also interested in your nutrional adventures and results. The follow may be a dumb question, but my background and degrees are in finance and economics, not nutrition. I just used two tablespoons of avocado oil to coat 5 lbs of russet potatoes, then grilled them. Would there be any difference in impact on weight loss, gut improvement, nutrition, etc. from using boiled potatoes? If you have written about this before, please point me to the post. Thanks for what you do.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 10:48

      So, you added 240 calories you had absolutely no need of.

      No added fat is the whole point of this. You’ll have a hard time retraining your dumb dog brain if you add fat to stuff. And even going forward. A little to cook with is fine when necessary. Otherwise, get your fat from the fat in the food you eat. Generally, beef is about 50% fat calories? Not enough already?

      There are myriad ways to cook potatoes without any fat. Try some of those first.

      Now, you may not need to lose any or much weight, in which case this might not be so crucial for you. But for those who two, two fucking hard & fast rulz:

      1. No added fat.

      2. Don’t drink any calories. In fact, room temperature water ought be your primary and only beverage if you are in dire straights.

      Eat your cooked, cooled, and then room temperature potatoes plain (not even any salt or vinegar at first) along with room temperature water.

      Train your dumb dog brain as the first order of business.

  7. kxmoore on February 27, 2016 at 10:26

    Some sources give the same satiety rating to both boiled and baked potatoes. Thoughts?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 11:03

      Wouldn’t doubt it. Baked are probably just as good. I dunno. I just like the idea of doing it old style, and boiling makes it very easy to peel off just the micro-thin outer skin. Perhaps I’ll build a fire in the fire ring and set out a bunch around the ring. Now that’s really old style. ;)

      Plus, if bake them, scoop out and eat the flesh, I will surely be tempted to flatten out the skins and fry them in butter, then sprinkle sea salt on them. Forget I told you about that.

  8. SMG on February 27, 2016 at 10:49

    Hi Richard, cool stuff.
    Is there a potato substitute you might recommend for people who don’t digest potato well. I’ve tried for many years with potato, all varieties, no skin, plain boiled, warm and cold. Even a 1/2 cup or so will bloat out my stomach and it will ache for many hours. Same for sweet potato. It’s a bummer, cuz I love potato and the simplicity. I seem to tolerate lentils okay. Beans, less so.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 11:13

      Have you tried it just plain boiled potatoes and water (cooked, cooled overnight, set out to get to room temp), nothing with except water?

      Try that first, if you haven’t. Eliminate all other variables, and do it long enough that anything you may have eaten in the last day is long past as any factor.

      • SMG on February 27, 2016 at 11:37

        I just salt on them. Never condiments. I only drink water, and just a little with meals. I will try strict potato only for a couple days. I’ll be hungry though, as like right now, I ate my small potato only meal yesterday around 7, and as of noonish, even though I am hungry, no way can I put more potato in. Stomach says ouch, NO. I will let you know how it goes!

    • Steven on February 27, 2016 at 11:38

      I had the same issue with potatoes as well. I would get aches and pains.

      I did a parasite cleanse and then a 12 day elixa.

      You may be surprised what you find you have in the way of various worms. It helped me out by a massive reduction in the body aches.

      Also, in Richards previous post someone mentions Boron for pain. Have a look in to that. I am.

      If this does not work you may have a SIBO.

      Oh and a lot of bone broth (home made) or collagen might be helpful.

      • SMG on February 27, 2016 at 13:18

        Thanks Steven. I can’t figure it out, as I tolerate other foods like fruits, lentils and even wheat just fine, but have a similar bad reaction to butternut squash and avacado. It’s confounding. I’ll just have to keep dinking around.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 14:21

        In spite of living in Japan and eating sushi very often (but this was in the 80s), when I go now, which is very infrequent, I get bad stomach pains for hours afterward.

        Lottsa years, now.

        However, over one stretch some years ago, we were going often, like every week usually. After about the third time, the post meal pains went away.

        No idea what was going on.

    • SMG on February 27, 2016 at 15:38

      Richard, I don’t tolerate rice well either. Even “super safe starch” white rice. But like you said, I was thinking that when I was young my mom served a baked potato at every fucking meal, at it was fine. So maybe it’s a “use it or lose it” deal with digesting some foods.

      Maybe I’ll try to introduce potato more slowly before going full on potato hack. For now, I finally had to take a couple teaspoons of sugar, just so I could “fart it out” and at least get some pain relief.

    • Hegemon on February 28, 2016 at 22:22

      Try yuca (also known as cassava or manioc). There is a spindle that runs through the middle that is easy to remove after boiling. Otherwise it’s just peel, boil, and eat!

  9. Steven on February 27, 2016 at 11:30

    I’m just waiting for the first LC poster.

    I like it when Richard goes all acerbic on them for being dishonest.

  10. Kyle on February 27, 2016 at 13:38

    Richard, great post (as usual when you discuss diet related issues)! Like you, I just can’t seem to lose those last 20/30 pounds. I have recommended a Paleo like diet to a number of friends (for some strange reason, almost always female) that have seen their weight just melt off – to the tune of the two to six dress sizes – amazing. For a male friend and I, no positive results weight wise at all – though I feel much better.

    My question – any other improvement in health markers you have noticed? For example, smaller waist etc? My biggest issue right now is belly fat….

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 14:25

      Oh yea, loss of puffiness all over, looser pants, leaner thighs. For guys like me who store their fat around the middle, that’s always the last to go. However, it is getting spongier. Way less dense feeling.

      • Amy on February 29, 2016 at 18:51

        Mmm, spongy belly fat. You sexy man-beast, you. Thanks for the visual. ;-p

        Seriously (and I really was kidding), thanks for the potato soup recipe. I may be eating a lot of potatoes lately, as I just got laid off from my job today. Cheap, nutritious, and filling? Perfect peasant food for someone who just dropped out of the bourgeoisie! :thumbsup:

  11. Daniel F on February 27, 2016 at 14:14

    Linking to Denise Minger’s long piece on low fat diets from late last year because it is very relevant in the context of Richard’s experiment here.


  12. solver on February 27, 2016 at 14:16

    why is this post not exploding? this should have been bigger than “no soap”.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 14:26

      Give it some time. It was just published this morning, and it’s a weekend. It will remain at the top of the blog until Wednesday.

  13. Charlie on February 27, 2016 at 14:22

    Ok, this is one of my favs with pre-boiled and refrigerated potatoes (russets) – grated and fried in a little (tsp +/- per spud) – good, bad or indifferent?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 14:58

      Depends on your needs.

      What I’m advocating for, really, is the inclusion of a lot of boiled potato in your diet. What your needs are in terms of hunger control and/or weight loss and how much, determines how best to use them as a tool.

      If you have hunger control issues and a lot of weight to lose, then please start with boiled, cooled, and up to room temp potatoes with room temp water only, please. If you’re not going hours between potato meals because too hungry, then you’re “stupid dog brain” is not yet on a short enough leash or caged.

      This is not the time for Freeing the Animal.

      In general, I would like to see people moving to cooking foods in such a way as to not require a lot of fat (like soups, stews, roasts, grilled, etc). But most of all, the minimizing of adding fat to anything, save a little raw olive oil on salads, or perhaps a sane amount of butter on whole grain breads or in mashed potatoes.

  14. Dan on February 27, 2016 at 14:40

    Seneca said we should live a few days on a simple diet to establish business relationship with poverty.

    From Seneca’s letters (letter 18 on fasting):

    For though water, barley-meal, and crusts of barley-bread, are not a cheerful diet, yet it is the highest kind of Pleasure to be able to derive pleasure from this sort of food, and to have reduced one’s needs to that modicum which no unfairness of Fortune can snatch away. 11. Even prison fare is more generous; and those who have been set apart for capital punishment are not so meanly fed by the man who is to execute them. Therefore, what a noble soul must one have, to descend of one’s own free will to a diet which even those who have been sentenced to death have not to fear! This is indeed forestalling the spearthrusts of Fortune.
    12 So begin, my dear Lucilius, to follow the custom of these men, and set apart certain days on which you shall withdraw from your business and make yourself at home with the scantiest fare.

    business relations with poverty.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 15:00

      A few years back I would have laughed at that passage….

      • Hap on February 29, 2016 at 12:11

        Strangely enough ….it seems that the “good life” is mostly about restraint….with occasional “flings”. It turns out to be healthy as well.

        Paraphrasing Solomon…”more shit….more worries”. I wish I had learned that 40 years ago.

      • Tim Steele on February 29, 2016 at 12:16

        Or Bob Marley: “No woman…no cry.”

  15. David on February 27, 2016 at 14:53

    Did you have any sweet potatoes or yams, or just russet potatoes?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 15:03

      Nope. The whole point is to have a significant portion, like about 8-10 potatoes daily (emphasizing that this is for me; I don’t have 60+ pounds to lose and my hunger impulses are well under control, going 14-16 hours minimum every single last bite to fist bite overnight without a single care) be from the least palatable form of potato.

      • Sean on February 28, 2016 at 00:44

        IIRC, a medium potato is only a 100-120 calories, right? So 10 potatoes a day would still end up putting most people at a 1000 calorie deficit, no?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 08:01

        Try doing that easily and without gnawing hunger on almost anything else.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 08:00

      Yea, I was probably getting 800-1,200 max daily from potatoes, on the days I did those meals, they were around 700, but I ate fewer potatoes. Still overall under 1500 and my average requirement is 2500.

  16. Tim Steele on February 27, 2016 at 14:53

    Nice post. I think anyone who is interested in seeing where they can go with the potato hack should strive to do a day or three of strict potato-only.

    Whether it’s the lack of all fats, the “perfect” ratios of nutrients that only a potato can provide, the megadose of potato antiioxidants, the KYNA, chlorogenic acid, or whatever, it frikking works. Very well.

    I think that a potato-heavy diet like you have been doing leads to lowered inflammation and a super-diverse gut flora. Easy ways to implement this are all-potato meals, potato-only days here and there, or a flat-out 3-5 day Potato Hack that I have been harping on for 4 or 5 years now.

  17. Tim J Penner on February 27, 2016 at 15:02

    You said, “…I love cold pizza. Beatrice hates it, so she nukes it, making the crust all awfully spongy.”
    This is on a site I believe I heard of from you. I have tried their recommended best practice. Covered in a frying pan on modest heat for a crisp crust. Be careful not to burn the crust. Works great.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 15:06

      I’ll be sure and let Beatrice know. ;)

      Pretty cool site, indeed. Lots of sensical stuff. Cool name, too. Almost as good as Free the Animal.

      • Sean on February 28, 2016 at 00:42

        If you put a cup of water in the microwave when reheating pizza, it takes the spongy away.

        But cold is the way to do it anyways.

  18. golooraam on February 27, 2016 at 15:20

    hmmm… this is all so interesting Richard…

    I’m thinking of alternating my keto days with all potato days (boiled and cooled) days…

    you may have just solved everything Richard…

    thank you! if I do this I’ll keep you posted as to my results as I’ve hit of a plateau myself in the mid 160s, I should really be about 15-20 less

  19. tc on February 27, 2016 at 15:32

    You keep going back to cooked and cooled and not reheated. Is the RS the linchpin of this exercise?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 16:46

      Reheating theoretically creates more RS3.

      However, in this case, I think the palatability issues outweigh those benefits. So, cooked, cooled, then let to room temperature.

  20. Jim Uppena on February 27, 2016 at 16:05

    Yet another thought-provoking and experiment-inducing read. Thank you for that.

    I’m curious as to your alcohol consumption(type/amount/etc) prior to this as well. You mention it in the post as one of the four things you didn’t eat or drink, and you gave it the most explanation in that list.

    I ask because in the past I’ve seen almost nothing but positives from periods of abstinence done several times in the past few years. Improved sleep, loss of puffiness, etc.


    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 16:50

      Well, given my results, it’s pretty clear to me that no matter the amount or frequency, it was simply too much, too often.

      For me, alcohol is generally more of a stimulant than a downer. The only time I’ll get tired is if I consume it with food, and then it risks brining on heartburn. So, basically, too much hassle to deal with.

  21. Jamesmooney on February 27, 2016 at 16:33

    I wonder if this is the hack for those no longer losing on low carb diets? Still, I have not seen one before and after photo of those doing this diet. Gonna give this a try and see what happens

    • Tim Steele on February 27, 2016 at 20:23

      Before and after photos are such a joke, especially for the last couple pounds. If you have a couple pounds to lose, just give it a try and see what you think. The worst that can happen is you save a bunch of money on food and enjoy a level of self-denial that few have ever experienced.

      To lose a bunch of weight, do the Potato Hack for 3-5 days at a time a couple times a month.

  22. Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 16:55

    “I wonder if this is the hack for those no longer losing on low carb diets?”

    Especially so.

    “Still, I have not seen one before and after photo of those doing this diet.”

    Ever seen Tim’s before & after? If there are others out there, he’s probably the best source for that. We had thousands of comments from at least hundreds of people doing this three years ago in the posts I linked and weight drop was near 100% for those who tried.

    I suppose someone could imagine that everyone was lying, or that I’d work that hard to write thousands of fake comments, then bide my time for three years, only to cash in, with nothing to sell except potatoes.

    Oh, and Tim’s book. See, all revenues go to me. ;)

    • tc on February 27, 2016 at 18:12

      You’ve been in the pocket of Big Potato this whole time!!

      • SMG on February 27, 2016 at 18:26

        Only a matter of time before Monsanto(R) Designer Weight Loss Potatoes.

      • Tim Steele on February 27, 2016 at 20:13

        “You’ve been in the pocket of Big Potato this whole time!!”

        Or are you just happy to see me?

    • David on February 27, 2016 at 18:58

      I can see it now- Primal Potato bars, processed from organic potatoes, with added kale and stevia. You’ll make millions!

  23. steveW on February 27, 2016 at 18:54

    “Plus, if bake them, scoop out and eat the flesh, I will surely be tempted to flatten out the skins and fry them in butter, then sprinkle sea salt on them. Forget I told you about that.”

    Why I’ve been reading for 7-years…

  24. Mycroft Jones on February 27, 2016 at 19:07

    The potato abuse continues.

    First recipe today, was mildly palatable, but not wildly so.

    5 pounds potatoes
    2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup water
    300 milligrams of borax

    Pressure cooked (boiled) 5 pounds of potatoes. Let them cool to room temp. Peeled them. Added the salt and borax to the water. Started the Kitchen Aid potato mashing machine, then added the water.

    The Kitchen Aid does a nice job of mashing the potatoes; they get a bit slick and slimy, but also small lumps are left in, so I get some texture to bite on. I suspect the lumps would go away if I mashed the potatoes while still hot.

    There was no flavor of borax. Just a really mild potato flavor, of a pleasing consistency. Adding the water seems like the key. Without it, the mash potatoes are too thick. Now I know why people added cream to their mash potatoes. I used to put a quarter cup of olive oil in, it had the same effect. I now know that was way too much.

    Recipe 2:

    Same as above, with this addition:
    4 drops of Lugol’s iodine solution
    1 tablespoon of bee pollen
    1/2 cup of warm water

    Mixed Lugol’s and pollen into the water (warm, not hot. iodine boils off easily) Result had no iodine taste, but there was a mild bee pollen taste. Tolerable, but not pleasant. I will try the iodine again, but not the pollen.

    I added pollen because of the miracles reported by this local beekeeper:


    • Tim Steele on February 27, 2016 at 20:11

      Mycroft Jones – Seriously, just try plain old potatoes for a day or two if you haven’t yet. It’s cool adding all the other things as you desire or deduce, but the simplest plan in this case might just be the best.

      • king of the one eyed people on February 27, 2016 at 20:21

        +1. FFS Mycroft. Get with the fucking program. It ain’t rocket science.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2016 at 22:01

        I gotta agree with Tim here. You know how long it took to eat that pot of awesome soup? All week long, almost. We had the last bit Thirsday night, and bea ate 1/4 of the pot.

        Once you get into it, too easy to just peel as needed, and chomp down on a room temp spud. Just take ’em out of the fridge in the morning, and you’re ready to go all day.

        …I recall an interview with Michael Crichton once, way back. He said when he was writing a draft for weeks on end, he had several sets of the same khaki trousers and polo shirt, and ate only tuna sandwiches.

        Get it?

    • gobedavy on February 28, 2016 at 07:54

      High larious Mycroft Jones. Thank you

    • Kyle on February 28, 2016 at 08:13

      Be very cautious Mr. Jones. Boron is one of those substances where dose definitely makes the poison. Which is one of the reasons it also can be labeled for use as a poison. You’ll want to know it’s upper UL, minimum toxicity level, excretion rate, retention, recommended intake as a trace mineral, etc.

  25. king of the one eyed people on February 27, 2016 at 21:47

    If you have some Mary Jane, do potatoes satiate you or is that time for burgers, pizza and fries??

  26. Aaron Ashmann (halotek) on February 27, 2016 at 22:58

    Richard, I was wondering if you had anything to say to people who claim that because a potato is a nightshade it’s a no go. Also, that there are compounds in the skin and or flesh that might cause issues in the gut. I’ve read literature from people that claim creaky knees and the like (I also seem to have issues with this, but I wonder if that would go away with time). Everything I seem to read from you and the person who went on a potato only diet seems to be a reduction of inflammation which is a great thing. I guess all of the conflicting info is tough.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 13:27

      “I was wondering if you had anything to say to people who claim that because a potato is a nightshade it’s a no go.”

      Not a damn thing. Look, they’ve found a way to temporarily cure peanut allergy in kids in Australia by introducing a specific gut bug and all the keep need do to keep it from reverting back is eat a few peanuts every day.

      Nobody says everyone ought avoid peanuts because they kill some people. This whole “nightshade” thing is bunk, as far as I’m concerned, beyond those it specifically effects, just like peanuts. I understand how convenient the narrative is for some LCers and Paleos, though.

      And even if one is susceptible, it appears the problem is really an abnormal gut, not some nefarious thing about plants that billions and billions eat without apparent problem.

  27. LaFrite on February 28, 2016 at 03:46

    Been reading the whole discussion. One thing that looks like only optional to me is the peeling.

    I usually boil a big batch of spuds every week and have a big bowl of boiled unpeeled spuds in the fridge I slowly empty throughout the week. Been doing that for like 2 years more or less. I eat them however I like:

    – 50% of the time, as is: take a spud, bring to mouth, bite, chew and swallow. If there is a little bowl of salt around, I will lightly dip the spud in the salt

    – a few times for breakfast, I stir-fry them in a little tamari sauce, with rosemary, a drop of balsamico, garlic bits (it is a fat-free frying)

    – other times, I will add chunks in an omlette (just eggs, potato chunks)

    – other times still, I will reheat chunks at the end of some root veggie steam cooking or add them in a bean stew inspired from my mother’s couscous recipe (meat free in this case but fat free and using north-african spices such as ras-al-hanout)

    But the constant in all this is that I never peel the spuds. I only buy local organic potatoes and I don’t see why I should peel them. I would do it for a mashed potato or soup dish but I practically never bother. In fact, I am so used to eating the skin that it feels odd when I eat potatoes at someone else’s place without skin on them :D

    • Glenda on February 28, 2016 at 08:10

      Leaving the skins on for mashed potatoes is tasty, too.

      • Glenda on February 28, 2016 at 09:36

        The only time I peel potatoes (if I remember correctly…) is when making gnocchi, and I dust the board with potato flour or potato starch (not wheat flour).

    • Amy on February 29, 2016 at 19:04

      Primary reason I peel is to catch the dark spots that can be lurking underneath the peel. They gross me out when I see them in peeled potatoes, Perhaps these are no harm, but I don’t like the idea of eating them.

      That said, I don’t always peel. Smaller, potato-salad sized chunks are pretty good for catching blemishes, as well as being handy to eat cold. But if I have time I prefer to peel, especially when planning to eat large quantities like for a hack. First time I ate 3lbs of unpeeled potatoes over the course of two days it definitely affected my finger joints. I’m thinking solanine. When I peeled the potatoes for the rest of the hack the pain and swelling went away. It wasn’t intolerance or gut problems, just joint swelling and pain. I think Tim Steele had a similar experience one time.

  28. Virginia on February 28, 2016 at 06:32

    Training the dumb dog brain reminded me of Seth Roberts’ Shangri-La diet, so I checked my memory at Wikipedia and found: “Roberts states that the diet is based upon connecting two unconnected fields: weight control and associative learning.” I tried all potatoes (reds, nuked) for breakfast yesterday, and was nearly immediately ravenous. Glad to know the solution is simply more potatoes, until the associative learning
    kicks in and the dumb dog lies down.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 09:21

      There you go, Virginia.

      I wish for folks to take a completely different perspective on this. Rather than try to lose weight, try to maintain your current weight on boiled, cooled, room temp potatoes with salt and/or vinegar only. Hungry? Eat a spud. Eat two or three. Still hungry, eat more.

      Then, when you fail at maintaining your weight, as almost everyone will under those constraints, light goes off.

  29. VW on February 28, 2016 at 07:07

    Reading and reading about this, and being the sort of guy who likes to tinker, I’m going to do this potato thing for the next 5 days. Nothing but potatoes. I’m doing this solely out of getting interested reading about it here. I’m at 15% BF, roughly, have always been at 15% BF my entire adult life, roughly, and am pretty fucking healthy.

    I can’t leave well enough alone. :(

  30. gobedavy on February 28, 2016 at 08:03

    I enjoy eating the whole potato including the skin. After all, the nutritional analysis probably includes the skin. If not, it should.

  31. Eric on February 28, 2016 at 08:13

    As I’ve said before I think the problem with fat is that it produces a more subtle kind of satiety that people are not used to. Most subtlety seems to be lost on most people these days anyway. What this seems to show is that potatoes alone can produce a satisfaction that is much more noticeable and similar to the “dumb dog” feeling of fullness they are used to from a belly literally full of carbs and fats with 3 times the calories, and the feeling from potatoes may last longer too. I suggest that extremely al dente, slightly crunchy, organic, un enriched semolina pasta also produces a very long lasting satisfaction though maybe not as nutritious as potatoes . In Sardinia where people live to over 100 they eat mainly bread, pasta, potatoes, potato pasta, and cheese, with some fish and meat, plus lots of olive oil just like the rest of the Mediterranean. They don’t seem to have lots of vegetables but there’s a lot of fruit and nuts, and of course the Cannonau!

  32. tw on February 28, 2016 at 09:22

    I think the gravity of your argument as far as weight loss goes would have more weight :0 if you also included what you normally ate prior to your potato experiment. Adaptation in both directions takes some time.

    The rapid weight loss you describe and a number improvements (puffiness and inflammation) could be related as much to reducing or avoiding grain (or some other item) for example.

    I think the claims regarding the nutritional value of potatoes is strong and a commentary that needs attention. I have never found potatoes to have the “sugar bomb” capacity that rice does. At least in my case.

    On an observational level potatoes vs yams, potatoes seem to have significantly more water and be less fiberous than slightly “older” pre cooked yams.

    • king of the one eyed people on February 28, 2016 at 11:41

      Richard’s prior diet consisted of 20 pound rib eyes, whiskey and the odd cigar. An enviable set of circumstances in my opinion.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 17:45

        Ha, yea. Trading in the whiskey for potatoes (and a lot lighter ribeyes).

        Seriously, this is something I kinda began a while back. Usually ordering the smaller cut of steak, like petite filet, or the 12oz instead of 16 oz prime rib, etc. Plus the baked potato, always with the fixings on the side. I found that a tsp of butter and tsp of sour cream poked and smashed into the potato was actually quite good.

        Hey! It actually tastes like a potato, not a vehicle to get a gob of butter, sour cream, chives and bacon bits in my mouth.

  33. clifton harski on February 28, 2016 at 09:48

    just wondering aloud here….any chance of a similar benefit of increased RS with the addition of cooking in coconut oil, like with rice. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/25/scientists-have-figured-out-a-simple-way-to-cook-rice-that-dramatically-cuts-the-calories/

    • Tim Steele on February 28, 2016 at 15:30

      For these short-intervention potato hacks, the RS and fiber are higher than most people ever get with their normal diet. 3-5 pounds of potato has 30-50g of traditional fiber, and another 20-75g of RS depending on prep methods. The only thing you need to do is eat potatoes. Keep the fat to almost zero, let the fiber sort itself out.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 18:36

      Ha, Clifton.

      You’re at 10% bf and you’re asking me about anything?

      (…here’s Clifton using his wife instead of a kettlebell for a Turkish Getup: https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/378800000694373109/c5cb452de2d3d96bbbbdadd22d5820b4.jpeg )

      I recall that thing with the rice. Doubt type of oil, or any oil makes a difference in RS3. The only thing I’m not sure about is whether nuking helps, hurts, or makes no difference, since microwave works at a water molecule level.

      As a PT, you might want to try it pure: boiled, cooled, room temp whole spuds (peel as you eat them, or eat skin, as preferred) with salt / vinegar only, and water, for 3-5 days so that if you believe it has merit for some of your clients, you can speak with complete authority.

      • J Edward Wynia on March 1, 2016 at 10:56

        Yesterday I had a single nuked russet for breakfast with salt and balsamic vinegar at 7:30am. That single potato carried me until 1pm. Then I picked up one of those pre-made sides of mashed potatoes (ingredients listed only potatoes, skim milk and butter). It was all I could do to finish the 550 calories worth in that container. In no way could I ever imagine eating 4 of those containers in a day.

        I need to make the time to boil some up in advance, but my schedule isn’t exactly cooperative lately.

  34. king of the one eyed people on February 28, 2016 at 12:05

    Ok, so here is my problem: one day on potatoes and the next morning I wake up ravenously hungry and devour 10 cold, unseasoned boiled potatoes for breakfast in one sitting. If this thing ultimately relies on calory restriction, I do not see how it will work for me.

    I will give it another 7 days and see what happens. I was still hungry afyer 10 potatoes btw. I ran out and need to cook some more.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 17:58

      Weird. Soonest I’ve begun eating is 10am. Most potatoes in that first sitting is three russets, but usually 2, with 2pm being a bigger meal, like 2 russets and 2 ladles of the soup.

      Next time, try this. Take the bowl of potatoes, set them on the table with your salt shaker & vinegar, peel each one meticulously. Use a pairing knife to peel that micro-thin outer skin meticulously, like you’re carving a sculpture. Then eat it casually. The, do another one just like that. Stop when you feel satisfied.

      Keep doing it that way.

      I’m beginning to suspect that people, based on hunger, are gorging what they think they need and what the stupid dog brain is hearing “wow, lot’s of food, keep sending hunger signals.”

      Look at it rationally. There is absolutely no reason to be hungry after 10 potatoes. You have a brain problem. The potatoes are just fine.

      • king of the one eyed people on February 29, 2016 at 00:15

        I’ll give it a go. Btw, anyone notice an improvement in their skin condition? Mine looks a good 5 years younger. My mouth has a great silky smooth feel to it too – not getting furry throughout the day.

    • Amy on February 29, 2016 at 19:09

      King One-eye :-), give it time. Indulge until you are sated. This actually happened to me during my second or third hack. I didn’t lose any weight on that one but I also ended it early (in disgust, I think). However, things with appetite were a bit different and better after it. It’s like I developed more of an appreciation for plain potatoes or something. Now I eat them regularly on my “fast days”.

  35. Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 13:19

    Just posted this update. Just back from the gym another 4 pounds down, so a total of 17 pounds in week #1.

    UPDATE: One week in, and down another 4 pounds last three days for a total of 17 for the week. I just posted this to my Facebook.

    Potato Diet Update: Hit the gym this morning for another session of Dr. Doug McGuff’s “Big 5,” which is leg press, chest press, sitting upright row, lat pulldowns, and shoulder press. I currently do a single set of each, with weight for a 25-30 rep range. Over time, I’ll keep upping the weight until I’m in the 15-20 rep range and then up weight accordingly to stay in that range.

    It’s a great and efficient weight program. Hits everything important very adequately. Takes 10-15 minutes. 1-2x per week is plenty.

    So, weigh in. I began The Potato Diet (see freetheanimal.com for details) last Sunday this time, and tipped the scale at 203. Thursday, 4 days later, I was at a surprising 190, a 13 pound drop (mostly water, the blog post explains how/why) and today, another 3 days later, 4 more down, for a total of 17 pounds in a week, easily rivaling what you’d do on a water-only week long fast.

    I did this without undue hunger. When hungry, I eat a boiled potato. Could not be simpler. Still hungry? Eat another. It’s food, and complete and nutritious food at that. Oh, your brain was expecting a reward of pizza and beer because life is so hard and you “worked out?” Well, here’s a nutritious potato, stupid dog brain. Adequate food for hunger, right, stupid dog brain? Or, were you lying to me again, like you always do?

    Following the same line of thinking, I got this comment on Facebook this morning.

    This really intrigues me now more than ever because I went from 154-125 rather quickly eating paleo and coconut oil+cream coffee. Well not so much anymore. I gained weight and I’ve been stuck at 138 since November going up 5lbs and back down to 138 constantly. Frankly I’m sick of it. I downloaded myfitnesspal and it suggests I need to eat 1200 cals a day to get back down to 125. I tried to eat nothing but potatoes for one day and I felt starving all day. Maybe I didn’t eat enough potatoes? I’m not sure but the hunger pains were unbelievable.

    There were groups I relied on for advice but now I’m feeling a bit lost. I know what they’d all say just go on a fat fast and eat gobs more fat. Well that’s not working anymore and the idea of eating that much fat doesn’t satisfy me like it use to. I think I’m still eating too much fat for this experiment to work. According to myfitnesspal yesterday the grams of each looked like this 101g carbs, 48g fat and 46g of protein. I haven’t been adding any fat unless it’s too cook in the skillet (like brussel sprouts) but I think it’s the cream in my coffee that’s doing it. I just don’t know how to make coffee palatable without cream. I’ve cut back from who knows how much probably a good 4-5T of cream to 2T each cup (I have about two cups but today I’ll try one ).

    My reply:

    You have to try potatoes only, and dump the calorie counter. If you can’t drink coffee without cream or milk, dump that too. In fact, room temp water and hot black coffee in the AM is all I have been drinking. Of course, I’ve always had my coffee black.

    Boiled (only), cooled in fridge, then room temp potatoes only, with salt and/or malt vinegar, if you like, with room temp water. Most importantly, eat one if you’re hungry, or two or three. Don’t be painfully hungry. This is not a cal counting potato diet. This is a potato diet where I dare you to eat enough that way to maintain your weight over the space of a week or two.

    In fact, you should try to not lose weight, but only on potatoes eaten just like that. I bet you can’t do it.

    Prove me wrong.

    See the difference of approach?

    I’ll expound upon this in a post next week. Definitely seeing some human-error problems being created over solving the underlying problems that potatoes only are designed to fix. Stupid dog brains always sabotage.

  36. tc on February 28, 2016 at 14:35

    Richard, have you altered your vitamins/supplements to compliment the potato diet? In 5-7 days it surely wouldn’t matter but if someone went long term do you think they’d need a complimentary suppliment stack? Tim, what do you think?

    • Tim Steele on February 28, 2016 at 15:25

      I have been recommending a 3-5 day potato hack for quite some time now. I always advise to stop all of your supplements. Give potatoes a chance to show you what they can do without the “help” of modern pharmaceuticals.

      Between the potatoes and your gut flora, I’m sure that the potato hack provides everything you need to thrive. Erring on the cautious side, I think folks should eat a more sensible diet consisting of plants and animals for the most part, with short spurts of potato hacking in between.

      • Steven on February 28, 2016 at 15:44


        Again, if we look at history and with a mindset of rarity/lack of dietary diversity etc… especially in the cold months it makes sense to have spans of “starch only foods” along with something pickled/preserved.

        I do not look at a 4-5 day hack as a hack but more in line with what humans had to deal with in a historical sense. My old world parents have told me there were times that almost all they ate was bulger wheat and or some bean spread schmutz like hummus or another dish made with fava beans. Then on occasion they would have eggs or milk and if really lucky pigeon or mutton.

        Of course they had tons of pickled foods as well. but being from the 3rd world that is all they had.

        As a sample of health my 88 year old father who was a welder for 30+ years when asbestos was all the rage is suffering from cancer but he is not going down even with no treatment whatsoever. He refuses to die. When he initially went to hospital they asked what meds he was on and he said none. Ever. And the doctors were floored that an 85 year old person was taking nothing.

        Let that sink in…

      • Tim Steele on February 28, 2016 at 15:51

        Steven – Great observations, I agree 100%. Also, think about the “spring tonics” each culture traditionally enjoyed. Things like birch water, maple syrup, spruce tips, willow shoots, dandelion greens, leeks, etc… were not just packed with nutrients, but also beneficial bacteria.

      • Steven on February 28, 2016 at 16:01

        I remember mom coming in with hands full of dandelion greens. Making a salad with a drop of EVOO, salt, pepper and lemon or sumac. She waited until we feasted to get to the bottom of the bowl… Her tonic as she would say. She would grab that big bowl and start slurping down all the fluids that drained out.

        Then she would pass the bowl to us. We all drank from it.

        Same thing with tabbouleh but that was mostly parsley.

        I did that with my honkey girlfriend and at first she looked at me like I had 3 eyebrows now she can’t wait until I have had my fill to “pass the bowl” to her.

        Sorry everyone the only high is from the food!!!

    • James H. on February 28, 2016 at 16:46


      “Honkey” girlfriend?

      • Steven on February 28, 2016 at 16:51

        She’s a whitey. I’m an A-rab.

        Think of it as one of the many affectionate nicknames I use fire her.

      • James H. on February 28, 2016 at 17:21

        LOL, okay.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 18:29

      Basically the same. D, K2, Turmeric, Mag.

      I sometimes experiment with a supplement I’ve heard about. Right not, that’s garlic and also, Boron (some very interesting stuff about Boron out there).

      Probably won’t re-order the garlic once gone (just got the Boron today). I’ve been swallowing 4 cloves every morning for a while, which I slice in half lengthwise, and swallow like a 1 gr capsule.

      You will never have better morning TMI, guaranteed. Plus it smells like garlic, not like shit, which is quite the upside, I think.

      …Imaging coming out of the bathroom in the morning and someone nearby says, “what’s cooking?” Lol.

  37. David on February 28, 2016 at 15:41

    On day 1, it looks like 3 lbs of potatoes will be good enough. (Boiled, with a little sea salt) Plus a handful of blueberries. 5g fat from 1 tbsp cream w/coffee. Another 5g fat from 1/2 cup organic whole milk. I plan to ditch the coffee+cream on days 2-3, keeping total fat at 5g. We shall see.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 18:50

      I’m sure a few Gs of added fat isn’t going to derail too many, I have simply become convinced in what Tim has always said. Just do potatoes only (+ water) for 3 days just to show yourself you can.

      • David on February 28, 2016 at 19:30

        Like you, I don’t have a ton of weight to lose. I remember Paul Jaminet talking about milk and potatoes (Irish diet) as being an almost complete diet. So I’m adding a little milk. It feels to good to be at the end of Day 1, and keeping to the plan.

  38. Corey on February 28, 2016 at 16:59

    So what you ate Richard looks like just a bit less strict than a potatoes-only diet for that period, yet you lost that much weight.

    I’m amazed; I’ve tried the strict boiled potatoes for 10 and then 12 days straight at different times, and at most lost 8 pounds. Nothing to scoff at, but I just can’t grasp how you lost 17 pounds in one week’s time. It must just be down to differing physiologies.

    At any rate, what I got from this post is how beneficial it can be to add potatoes overall, to push out less satiating, higher-calorie foods. So I’m going to do that.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 19:07

      I think it’s all about the water. I normally drink a lot of fluids. Plus, I love my home made club soda with 1/2 tsp of baking soda per liter. I normally drink 2 liters daily.

      The potatoes completely put me off drinking anything except morning coffee and just the few swallows necessary for helping the taters down. When I started pissing up a storm on Tuesday, I had no thirst.

      Still none. my fluid intake has crashed like 80-90%.

      I believe that’s the real story. So, if you halve my loss to account for that, not so crazy.

      And sure, I’m capitalizing on it to drum up interest, but with no nefarious motives. No, you don’t have to pay only three easy payments of $19.95. And, I’m being as honest and open about it as possible. But even still, better fluid balance is a beneficial result. May not be fat loss, but I’m sure it has a good effect on BP, among other things.

      For instance, since my back surgery last May, I’ve has an annoying numbness in my left big toe. Turns out it’s pretty normal. Annoying, not chronic pain, I’ll take it. But in the last week, it’s 90% improved and now I almost never even notice it.

      Water retention, inflammation, both, potatoes per se? Who knows.

      • Corey on February 29, 2016 at 10:27

        Wasn’t questioning your integrity or veracity.

        And I had the same experience on the diet – I had absolutely zero thirst. I found myself going the entire day without anything to drink. Unfortunately, I was hoping for some relief from the 4:00 AM wake-up-to-piss routine, but saw none. That’s amazing when you think about it; extremely low fluid intake, but I still can’t get through the night? How I yearn for my thirties, when this wasn’t an issue.

  39. Midgy on February 28, 2016 at 20:00

    Thanks for the great post. I’ll beat that damn dog brain into submission yet! Ha

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2016 at 20:50


      I want people to think of it this way: so your brain says you’re hungry, but is it saying that you really require food, nutrition? Some are telling me here and on Facebook that even shortly after eating substantial potato, their brain says they’re hungry, often described as deep, ravenous.

      There is nothing that gives you the resolution of just how stupid your dumb dog brain can get than this little hack and it!s for this reason primarily that I’ve come around to Tim’s way of thinking on this.

      Probably there are a number of approaches to potatoes in the diet that will have people dropping pounds, provided they don’t have stupid dog brain problems and there’s nothing like this that shines a light on it for you. This is a single, complete food you can thrive on.

      So, when eating a substantial portion, you can know it’s perfectly clean, sustainable, nutritious. It literally does fill you up, and when your brain tells you otherwise, you can be certain that it is the problem.

      I believe that for lots of things, simply knowing that clearly and understanding it puts you on the path to overcome it. You may not even need to figure out why your brain is doing it, just knowing about it is enough.

      Those familiar with John Sarno and his work on how the brain can cause real physical pain, called TMS or Tension Myositis Syndrome, might get a hint at what I’m getting at.

      I have a lot to chew on for the next post, but I have a solid direction now.

      • Tim Steele on February 28, 2016 at 21:02

        From The Potato Hack:
        “It’s amusing how people react when they first learn of the potato hack. Denial, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. Never fails. People always say, “Won’t work for me!” Then they become angry because they are firmly attached to their present diet, even if it is not working. People actually get mad at me. How dare I propose such a radical plan, it must be flawed! But then they try it. They do the potato hack, lose a bunch of weight, find they are not starving, and just eat their potatoes.”

      • Tim Steele on February 28, 2016 at 21:05

        It’s the “bargaining” that really makes me chuckle. People see that value, but want to do it on their own terms.

      • TimothyD on February 29, 2016 at 02:27

        Richard – this comment! I was just thinking about John Sarno as you were referencing the “stupid dog brain”. Then you bring up John Sarno! I’ve been reading your blog forever!

      • VW on February 29, 2016 at 10:35

        “You may not even need to figure out why your brain is doing it, just knowing about it is enough.”

        Simply notice.

        See,e.g., “Taming Your Gremlin.”

  40. sdiguana on February 28, 2016 at 22:19

    So i have just come off of a year long binge of extremely high hours (sometimes sustaining 90+hrs for several weeks at a time), high stress work with copious whiskey and awful food to handle it all. Now that life is mostly normalish again, i had been contemplating the trusty potatoes to fix the horrible damage i did to my waistline, and decided to go with it.

    On eating potatoes themselves:
    I’m finding myself struggling much more this time than the previous two times I have done it, probably the dog brain you mention (My dog dogs have a very keen interest in my potatoes too ha ha… probably far more palatable than their kibble). I’m 6 or 7 days in, so not exactly in the transitional period. Salt and Sriracha seems to make them adequately palatable, though the Sriracha may make them go down a touch *too* easy, i only picked some up today. Evenings had been augmented with a fistful of mixed greens with a splash of balsamic vinegar and a couple of fermented pickles. Perhaps I’ve gotten a touch too creative this round, and may need to go back to simple boiled.

    I think the coping mechanism i developed to handle to crazy workloads is more to blame than anything this time through. So, a quite timely post as I hadn’t really connected that my dog brain was more broken than normal. I’m almost convinced its all dog-brain now… the brain says i’m dying of starvation, and the body says eff off, i cant handle another bite of anything, or I’ll pop. Odd internal dichotomy.

  41. Konstantin on February 29, 2016 at 03:45

    In my house, the way I grill things is by lighting up the fireplace in the living room using real logs (not charcoal). It’s not your typical floor level fireplace, but rather sits 50-60cm above. I throw a grate once the wood has turned to ember and grill away. Now here is the great thing about this – because the fireplace retains much of the heat throughout the night, I usually throw some whole potatoes, skin on, after I’m done grilling. I cover them well with the hot ashes and let them slowly cook overnight. Best breakfast side ever… and it’s so primal in a way, reminds me of how people used to cook meat back in the day. You can do this in a fire pit with sufficient, in a pizza oven, even in a whole in the ground… but residual heat is a must.

  42. Tim M. on February 29, 2016 at 05:40

    Richard, You’ve made it big time. Someone must have sent this post to Karl Denninger. He did a post yesterday, “Mr. Potatohead, Fork You”

    He’s had great success going very low carb for the past 5 years and has kept off the weight well. I personally think he looks emaciated and is probably what they call “skinny fat”. He’s getting that Al Sharpton look.

    It probably would be a waste of time to try to have a discussion on his blog because most likely he will give you the ban hammer which he so proudly wields. I got banned a few years ago simply for asking an honest question. He looked me up and found out I was a real estate agent and apparently he thinks real estate agents are the devil’s spawn. He ends up with a group of suck-ups telling him what he wants to hear because they know otherwise they will be banned.

    But he is a very smart man who I read religiously. I would find it very informative to have two of my favorite bloggers discussing their opposing points of view.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 29, 2016 at 08:01

      “But he is a very smart man who I read religiously. I would find it very informative to have two of my favorite bloggers discussing their opposing points of view.”

      Ha, well, “discuss” we did, yesterday afternoon. See our respective Twitter feeds.

      He’s a lying creep, the least tolerable sort of person for me.

      I’ll save it for later.

      • Tim Steele on February 29, 2016 at 10:44

        Haha, I have been getting emails all morning about this “Mr. Potatohead, Fork You” blog post, so I wrote a small critique on it:

        Mr. Potatohacker: Thank You!

        The irony is that low potassium is often directed at a ketogenic diet, even being blamed for the brain fog. This guy is worried we are getting an extra 30% potassium, while a keto diet gives you like 90% below the RDA.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 29, 2016 at 13:02

        Ha, Tim. Thanks, Man.

        This frees me up (though I wasn’t going to cast pearls before swine anyway) to just give him “the standard treatment.” It’ll be fun. Unusually brutal, and entirely without alcohol breath. :)

        Later today, after I get through the important stuff.

    • cremes on February 29, 2016 at 09:01

      I tried to link the two of them up via twitter yesterday. Karl blocked me after 3 tweets when it was clear that he hadn’t read this blog posting.

      I’ve been following him a long time and agree that he’s smart, but as I’m certain he would agree, when presented with new evidence that may change an opinion it’s important to give that evidence a fair hearing. He won’t. That’s a major indictment of *everything* he has ever said on his blog.

      I’d join his website to continue the discussion, but I don’t give a fuck what he thinks at this point. He can continue in his echo chamber where he’s the King.

    • MOlly McGee on February 29, 2016 at 13:03

      Denninger’s post doesn’t make any sense. He basically is saying “You can’t eat whole food carbs because junk food carbs exist in the world”. Isn’t that the same argument Jimmy Moore made a while back? Like, if you eat a potato, suddenly you’re down at the 7-11 stuffing Ho-Ho’s in your face like crack?

      It’s a pretty weak, lazy argument. As well as the usual, “any rise in insulin/leptin response is eeeeevil” bunk.

      In fact, creating a strong leptin spike is one of the best ways to trigger natural HGH and pack on lean mass.

      Of course, Denninger also seems to think that running is the only form of exercise in existence. Do you even biology bro?

      • golooraam on March 3, 2016 at 11:23

        agreed – it is a weak, lazy argument… but for some, let’s be specific… me – I am one of those people who gets lost in carbdom once I start… but I love this thread and once I get through this keto month will start incorporating potato hack days into my week every week

  43. Alex on February 29, 2016 at 08:44

    Good stuff.
    I am curious to see how your second week treats you in terms of weight loss and sustainability.
    I am planning taking this for a test drive myself. With my insane work schedule I am actually looking forward to the simplicity of just potatoes.
    Some of the other dieting philosophies I have tried damn near require having a personal chef follow you around.

  44. Karen on February 29, 2016 at 08:55

    Wow. A few potatoes, small bowl of your soup, green tea, and water yesterday. Mega-dehydration headache this morning! Usually get that when start back eating low carb. Two glasses of water to wash down Elixa and headache gone by the time I got out of the shower. Brown bagged taters into work. We’ll see if my dumb ‘dog brain’ can handle it!

  45. Konstantin on February 29, 2016 at 09:31

    Started today, skipped breakfast and ate around 6 boiled taters total – 3 for lunch (I was stuffed) and 3 throughout the day. Had to call it a day at 7pm, because a severe headache kicked-in. Some meat and cheese slices later and it’s all fine. I guess it’s blood sugar related and I was out of Metformin the last week. Gotta stock up on potatoes and try again, this time maybe measuring how my blood sugar will respond.

  46. Tim M. on February 29, 2016 at 09:51

    I’m sorry, but everyone who states how many potatoes they are eating is driving me crazy. Is there a standard size potato? Just how much is “ten potatoes”? I’ve seen single potatoes that are one pound and I’ve seen some tiny potatoes. Can we speak in a common unit of measurement so that we can convey information that might actually be useful?

    • Tim Steele on February 29, 2016 at 10:38

      Tim – I find that most people regardless of size or appetite have a sweet spot of potatoes in the 3-5 pound per day range. This is the weight of potatoes they buy, or start with, not the weight they eat.

      An “average” potato is about 1/3 of a pound and roughly the size of a tennis ball. Next time you are at the grocery store, play with the scales. It’s easy to eyeball potatoes that go “three-to-the-pound.”

      The best thing about the potato hack is that you really do not need to count potatoes, calories, or pounds…just eat. The poundage is good for planning purposes, knowing how many pounds to buy. For a 5 day potato hack, most people will do well to buy 20 pounds of potatoes.

    • David on February 29, 2016 at 12:30

      Today is Day 2- I felt good this morning, hungry but I could tolerate it. I made it to my IF window starting at noon for my potato lunch. I have a bike ride and workout so I’m curious about my energy level. I’m finding 3-4 lbs per day of potatoes is enough for me to eat until full.
      I never understood the critique about “only losing water weight”. Isn’t it true anytime you lose weight some will be water and some fat? Isn’t it a good thing to drop that water weight?

  47. G on February 29, 2016 at 11:47

    Any concerns about losing muscle mass?

  48. sassysquatch on February 29, 2016 at 12:22

    Something I’ve noticed is that if I happen to ‘fall off the wagon’ and eat some junk food one day, this high starch diet is very easy to get right back on.

    On a LCHF diet, if I ever slipped up, I didn’t just fall off the wagon – I fell off the CLIFF! Very tough getting back on track….because those carbs tasted so damn good!

  49. Madeleine on February 29, 2016 at 12:42

    Why do you peel your potatoes?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 29, 2016 at 13:21

      “Why do you peel your potatoes?”

      Good question. I consider it a matter of personal preference. I always peel russets, but when ready to eat, and I like to meticulously peel just the micro-thin outer brown skin. It’s like a ritual, and I like to peel one at a time, eat, then decide whether I wish to peel and eat another, and so on.

      For reds and golds, sometimes I enjoy the peeling ritual, sometimes I eat them. My last batch of potato soup was with reds, skin on (and I used beef stock instead of chicken).

      • Corey on February 29, 2016 at 16:01

        I’ve seen many people recommend peeling them because of the high levels of salicylic acid in the skins. I’ve read where people have complained that they’ve experienced significant joint pain when starting the potato diet. Not sure whether eliminating the skins actually rectifies the problem.

  50. Jamesmooney on February 29, 2016 at 17:15

    Started today- I had some canned potatoes that I had lying around so started with those. I forgot how much I loved canned potatoes . I haven’t really Eaten that much as I am not very hungry. We will see how this works!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 29, 2016 at 17:22

      Canned potatoes? Interesting. I’ll have to check. Didn’t know there was such a thing but could be a nice diversion / alternative.

      I did buy a box of instant potatoes and did that one night. Just trying different alternatives.

      • J Edward Wynia on March 1, 2016 at 11:00

        For years, one of my quick go-to dinner side dishes was canned sliced potatoes fried up in lard and seasoned with whatever matched the rest of the meal.

        I use the whole canned potatoes in my Vitamix blender with chicken broth to make a non-dairy (wife can’t tolerate dairy) base for potato soup.

  51. Corey on February 29, 2016 at 17:28

    I know this post is about potatoes, but are there any thoughts on how alternating between potato days and oatmeal-only days might work? Oatmeal is another food that I find extremely filling, and I imagine it would be difficult to eat enough of it to maintain your weight. Three dry cups a day is only 1,000 calories, and that’s quite a bit of food once it’s cooked. It does have some fat and some protein, but I haven’t taken the time to look at the nutrient profile yet.

    • Tim Steele on February 29, 2016 at 18:30

      I think that’s a terrific plan. I’d recommend using a blend of whole oat groats, oat bran, and steel-cut oats, thick-cut rolled oats occasionally, and not any instant oats.

      • Jim Lamb on March 1, 2016 at 07:44

        Is there a reason to mix them other than “for variety”?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 29, 2016 at 19:19

      See the comment in the post linking the guy who lost 26 in a month alternating potatoes and oatmeal.

    • Hap on February 29, 2016 at 22:21

      How about intermittent fasting…..then potato gorging?

      • kayumochi on March 1, 2016 at 06:41

        I fast intermittently every day of the week and when I go full on potato I keep the same meal pattern with no problems at all.

      • dan on March 1, 2016 at 10:52

        it works great. my first meal is around 7 pm. a fruit or some lean protein. this pushes my potato feast another 2 hours. this puts everything togheter: the tim ferris 30 g protein breakfast, martin’s leangains approach and richard’s potato hack

    • Tim Steele on March 1, 2016 at 08:24

      “Is there a reason to mix them other than “for variety”?”

      Yes, it’s in order to get the whole-grain. Most people think of oatmeal as the stuff that comes in little packets and tastes like strawberries or maple&brown sugar. Rolled oats, even the unflavored or thick-cut kind, are the least healthy of the oat variations. The most healthful part of an oat is its bran, removed in most processes. The milling process for rolled oats heats and changes the starch structure. I have come to be a big fan of whole oat groats, cooked about 1/3 the recommended time. Then just before they are done, I stir in some oat bran and let it boil about 30 seconds, and eaten a bit on the watery side.

      • kayumochi on March 1, 2016 at 08:28

        I’ve cooked the groats in a pressure cooker before. A slow cooker might be the way to go however.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2016 at 08:28

        Way back in 1994 when I read The Zone (one of the more sane versions of LC), I stumbled into a forum where people were doing quite well on steel cut oats by doing the crock pot overnight, adding whatever of preference in the AM, like milk, even protein powder for some.

        They tasked pretty damn good and nutty, as I recall.

      • Jim Lamb on March 1, 2016 at 08:31

        Good to know. Thanks.

      • Tim Steele on March 1, 2016 at 08:45

        Oat groats, Like these, from Amazon, are pre-cooked. They do not require a pressure cooker or overnight simmer. I cook mine maybe 10 minutes and they are nice and chewy. You can even eat them raw by the handful.

        If you tried this with uncooked, whole oat berries, you have a completely different experience. When they process oat berries into oat groats, they steam them to remove the hull and some of the bran. Described here:

        “In the conditioning process, moisture content is increased before the groats pass through a kiln where they are heated using dry heat radiators to a temperature of approximately 215 degrees F. During the heating process, steam inactivates enzymes present in raw grain, the groats are given a roasted nutty flavor, starch gelatinization occurs, and moisture level is reduced to a point acceptable for product storage. Adjustments are made to the conditioning system depending on the desired finished product characteristics.”

  52. Rose on February 29, 2016 at 18:21

    Never bothered with the potato hack discussions a few years ago. The word ‘hack’ conjures up imagines of fitflops and people sitting in ice baths, but this time I’m going to try it. For two reasons: The idea of meal prep being to just boil potatoes sounds very freeing and the ‘dumb dog brain’ thing. Mine is dumber than a pug on Sunday. Will experiment how this works for me. Thanks Richard and Tim for sharing your knowledge and experiments.

  53. Why Does Karl Denninger Lie Like That? on February 29, 2016 at 22:02

    […] to put together some excellent information on sodium, potassium, and the balance thereof, vis-a-vis The Potato Diet. Otherwise, it’s just a damn chore that I ought just […]

  54. Jim Lamb on March 1, 2016 at 06:22

    Day 2 done on potato hack. I’m down 6 pounds! Looks like so far I’m close to the numbers Richard got. Hopefully this will continue. Thanks!

  55. tc on March 1, 2016 at 06:36

    Starting day 2. Didn’t sleep well last night. So i did the math and I only got about 700 calories yesterday. I’ll try to up that.

  56. kayumochi on March 1, 2016 at 06:38

    “Don Matesz” is a name I haven’t heard in a while. He got the piss taken out of him for leaving the Paleo fold, didn’t he? Some people were not kind.

    Did the potato diet at the first of the year for 5 days. Won’t go into all the details but will say that the first day I could have eaten a lot more than 5 lbs but by the last day 5 lbs was too much for a single day.

  57. DLunsford on March 1, 2016 at 08:14

    OK Richard; I’ve been intrigued by your previous references to the “potato hack” and now this post. Perhaps it’s time to give it the two week (N=1) college try; maybe even dust off the old glucometer and calipers to provide some additional data. Plus it will be more entertainment for my family as dad introduces yet another dietary intervention. No doubt my “dog brain” certainly needs another slap down anyway.
    As is often the case with your posts, the link to Denise Minger’s “In Defense of Low Fat” post has my head spinning again. In terms of your current experiment: what’s your end game? I’m assuming that you are using this for a fast and convenient weight drop to an optimal target. That’s cool. But any thoughts on how you’ll plan to transition back to your standard menu? Will there be a “maintenance mode” whereby you might work in a “lean-and-green” once a day (a la Medifast) and use potatoes to fill in the holes?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2016 at 08:22

      Great question DL, one I have been pondering.

      I have no doubt that I’m finally going to get to that place, which I guess is somewhere 160-165 on my 5′ 10″ mesomorph frame, and it’s going to be more rapid and effortless than I could have ever imagined, and this tool will keep me there wherever it ends up being ideal, for the remainder.

      Since I’m not there yet, I really don’t know what my attitude over food will be. Certainly it will be omnivorous, include plenty of potatoes in a more relaxed way, and be principally whole and quality.

      Beyond that, we shall see and you’ll be one of the first to know after I figure it out myself.

      • Jim Lamb on March 1, 2016 at 10:16

        You make it sound like hitting your goal will be a piece of cake. I hope it is, because I’m right behind you. I first ran across your posts on Art DeVaney’s site, then again on Mark Sisson’s site, then again in reference to Martin Berkhan. It seems we have followed a similar path. (BTW, I happen to be Libertarian too) My point is, think about how your life might be different if you started out with the potato hack instead of paleo… The amount of time, energy, research alone… unbelieveable!

      • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2016 at 10:31

        It’s one of those no regrets thing, for me, even though I have lamented the waste of time for a purely life & health standpoint.

        But man did I learn a lot by being wrong (as I still am), but striving to be less wrong over time (as I’m still plugging away at).

        I often like to say: “You can’t get there from right here. You have to go over to that place, first. From that place, you can get there.”

      • Jim Lamb on March 1, 2016 at 10:48

        Good attitude. I guess sometimes its the journey that counts. Its cliche, I know, but without that frame of reference, it hard to appreciate the facts as they are. -Its kind of like when a kid gets advice from an adult, vs. learning it the hard way.

    • DLunsford on March 3, 2016 at 09:26

      Started last night; going to wait a couple of days before taking a weight.

      I too have been a bit concerned about reports of insulin resistance arising from LC diets. Has anyone looked at long-term A1c levels to see if they correlate? At first the whole ancestral eating thing made sense to me particularly if paleolithic clans moved around a lot. You would expect intermittent fasts broken by longer periods of “whatever-was-around” hacking. Physiological insulin-resistance could have been fairly common at times. But then they also were on the move or working to harvest the latest hack stuff.

  58. Austin on March 1, 2016 at 09:54

    Day 2, first time eating potatoes slightly chilled still (took out of fridge in the morning and left them at desk until lunch)
    They’re way better than expected and almost better tasting with a little salt than warmed spuds. I think I get why you said to keep them cooled. I think warming the potatoes kept me hungry as I ate them even though the stomach was full.

    Is there a feedback system that links hot food with gorging other than just gluttony?

    Something else I’m trying is cooking them in a slow cooker during the day and then letting them cool when I get home and putting them in the fridge before going to bed.

    Also looking forward to trying your non vegan potato salad (https://freetheanimal.com/2014/10/potato-salad-chicken.html) for a little change up for dinner.

  59. Jamesmooney on March 1, 2016 at 10:59

    I wonder if the whole key to this thing is the cycling of low fat high starch, regular eating, and zero carb until you get the body comp you desire. switching it up with every stall, but always breaking up the extremes with a mixed whole foods diet. It has been years since I have seen any improvements as a primary low carb eater (5-6 days per week for years)

    • David on March 1, 2016 at 15:42

      I was wondering this myself- use the PD 3-4 days per month, the rest a whole foods diet. I have only tried the PD for 3 days at a time, but I may try for longer just to reach an optimal weight.

      • Jamesmooney on March 1, 2016 at 16:41

        I was thinking two weeks to get ” adapted ” like they say when going low carb for the first time.

      • Mark J on March 3, 2016 at 11:29

        I’ve been wondering the same thing. Like a more extended version of Jason Seib’s AltShift diet (which is basically low carb for 3 or 4 days, then low cal/higher carb for 3 or 5 days)…Although going for longer periods (say a couple weeks or longer) of lower carb and HCLF makes more sense from a seasonality POV, and easier from a meal prep POV as well.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 3, 2016 at 13:36

        Of course it makes sense.

        Protein is the relative constant, say 15-30 depending, not higher for most people. So, that leaves 70-85% to partition between fat and carbs, so they should be inverse. LCHF or HCLF.

        The problem with SOOOOOOO Many LCers is that they think fat is just the most wonderful thing, even though it’s much like sugar: empty calories and moreover, it’s more than twice as energy dense by weight than both protein and carb.

        So what do LCers do when they cheat on carbs? They ALWAYS cheat like this: HCHF, and they wonder why they stall and rebound.

  60. kxmoore on March 1, 2016 at 11:42

    I make a soup almost exactly like this except i add chopped clams. I call it “chowder”.

  61. Sara on March 1, 2016 at 17:20

    I’ve been in maintenance for a few years now (lost around 50lbs with IF), and I use the potato hack to correct any blips that happens (2-3 times a year I seem to creep over my maintenance range). I usually just slice white potatoes and crisp them in the oven, and then drizzle ketchup on top of them. I don’t mind eating them and I’ve always had good results with the hack. I also don’t tend to gain back whatever I’ve lost either. I’m actually wrapping up day 2 of my latest hack and after one day, the scale was down 1.5lbs this morning, and I’m anticipating another drop tomorrow, going by how my rings are fitting right now :) Anyways, I’m a firm believer in the hack and it’s been a great maintenance tool for me!

  62. Sally Erickson on March 2, 2016 at 05:30

    Hi. I’ve not commented before. Been reading about low carb induced insulin resistance. My own and husbands blood glucose never goes under 100 after a couple of years of paleo/low carb eating and am finally getting some understanding of why. So we tried 4 days of 85% potatoes. The result? My fasting bg dropped from aver. of 114 to 108 this morning so I was encouraged but his was 190!!!! Yikes. We’ve been doing resistant starch but not super consistently and Elixa and Prescript Assist and Primal Defense in turns. I so want to get this blood glucose under 100 even though it hasn’t risen above 140 for me very often and not stayed there at all. Do we need to actually eat MORE high glycemic foods to get the insulin secretion going again? I’m so over the low-carb thing and want to just focus on whole, healthy food. I was really hoping the 4 days of potatoes might fix the glucose problem. Plan to start monitoring glucose much more consistently, especially for him. Any thoughts from anyone?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2016 at 13:51


      Before I weight in what is the history? Do you have any recollection of what FBG was prior to the Paleo/LC thing, either from clinical testing or your own testing, say within a year or so prior to beginning that diet?

      • Sally Erickson on March 2, 2016 at 15:47

        Thanks for asking Richard. I don’t have any FBG history prior. Have been on and off of LC and VLC for about 4 years. I got lots of blood work done Jan/14 and FBG was 96 (husbands was 108 so I started to get concerned.). Then 5/15 mine was 104 (his 101). I couldn’t understand it with both of us having been “so good” for so long with eating largely Paleo and maintaining at slightly overweight but not gaining for a couple of years. Then got a meter and starting keeping closer track: 1/16 with FBG at 126 following Mark Hyman’s The Blood Sugar “Solution” taking handfuls of supplements, eating extremely cleanly but quite low-carb and FBG didn’t budge in 6 weeks nor did I lose any weight. So I’ve been reading FTA and trying to figure it out.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2016 at 16:07

        Yep, seen it a million times. Read this:


        Happened to me too. 115-125 FBG and over 200 with a heavy carb meal. I’m still not perfect, but a lot better. In fact, I just measured today for the first time in nearly a year (my lance that came with the One Touch is one of those sissy girl things….just got a man’s lance today that issues a nice sting and creates a man-sized drop of blood so that it can be wasted and spilled!!!).

        FBG in 90s (and I was fasted 18 hours with a lifting session at 16-17 hours. Then I scarfed a full damn pound of mashed potatoes in 5 minutes (1TBS butter, 1/2 C milk) and man did I enjoy it.

        1/2 hour PP – 159
        1 hour PP – 163
        1.5 hour PP – 129

        Not perfect, but WAY better than before. The question is, can prolonged PIR actually damage you such that you never return to FULL function and insulin sensitivity one perfectly normal levels of carbohydrate are reintroduced?

        Anyway, perhaps back off and ease into it.

        I doubt 4 days is enough to restore normal function in any case. Perhaps do a stepping stone with beans which are great for PP BG on a carb gram-gram comparison.

        Let us know how it shakes out. Be patient.

  63. Teo on March 2, 2016 at 07:11

    If paleo, lchf, keto are all bs and your way of eating is better, I wonder how did you get the 17lb extra weight to apply the potato hack? Do you gain weight on purpose to test different nutrition concepts?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2016 at 07:26

      No, I won’t really hang that part of it on them. Last summer I was pretty good, about where I am now, low to mid 180s, but I was living on the tip of Baja off grid. No A/C, just abient temp water with temp and humidity in the 90s. Tends to curb apetite.

      Now, since August I’m off grid in N CA and once it got cold in October and with limited heating (I spend the day outdoors) and living in 40-50 temps 24/7, you tend to put on some fat. Makes sence, if food is available. Primary concern is tolerating the cold. Good news is I’m sitting out on the RV patio right now in a t-shirt and light flannel over-shirt, and it’s under 50 and no probs. Hands aren’t even cold. Haven’t had to wear gloves since sometime in December. So, now I’m well adapted to it and am eating the diet for it, body seems fine with letting go of the excess.

      • Teo on March 2, 2016 at 10:41

        But you are a very special case. Your base metabolic rate must be huge and you also have a lot more braun fat than a regular person. In this case, you can burn off all the carbs that come in immediately.
        I wonder if a couch-potato person will be able to deal with that influx of carbs without storing fat. Maybe with purple cold potatoes that could be up to 20% resistant starch. I doubt than can happen with russet potatoes that have really high GI. They will convert carbs to fat since their glycogen stores are full.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2016 at 13:41

        “Your base metabolic rate must be huge and you also have a lot more braun fat than a regular person.”

        Very unlikely (I used to weigh 245 on 5’10”) and if you say that to prop up the absurdity of VLC or ketogenic diets on non-thereputic or clinical grounds (extreme obesity, bona-fide diabetes (not the “diabetes” caused by too LC for too long, i.e., chronic physiological insulin resistance like I used to have, brain issues like epilepsy, etc.) as some sort of “lifestyle” that’s hunky-dory for most, then it’s just par for the course of LC belief and trust over normal and effective.

        …I’ve far less against the original Atkins version of LC which, after the induction, explicitly added enough carbs to be out of ketosis and also comfortable which could be in the 120g range. Imagine that. There was a saner time when 120g of carbohydrate was low carb. Now just the idea of that many sends people to the fainting couch.

        Moreover, they confirm it every day because they have ‘couch-potatoed’ their metabolism via too LC for too long, such that they have high fasting BG (mine used to be 110-120, wife too) and if they dare to eat any significant carbs, or a damn piece of birthday cake, WHAM! 200! so they confirm that they can’t handle carbs, just like the couch potato confirms he can’t handle exercise because when the elevator is out of service twice per year and he has to take the stairs, WHAM! heart rate 200+.

        It’s so goddamned ridiculous, potentially unethical, that it really sends me into a rage sometimes—all just to sell some books, seminars, and “food.”

        As to the latter part, you’re not reading carefully. Perhaps you were focused on the fact that I’m seriously critiquing your belief and trust worldview.

        “I wonder if a couch-potato person will be able to deal with that influx of carbs without storing fat. Maybe with purple cold potatoes that could be up to 20% resistant starch. I doubt than can happen with russet potatoes that have really high GI. They will convert carbs to fat since their glycogen stores are full.”

        Complete load of nonsense. Read the post more carefully without worrying about the critique. That entire paragraph is completely demolished.

    • golooraam on March 3, 2016 at 10:39

      take slight objection to that… it works great for a lot of people but stop working for a lot of the same people, and can be improved on… I think that’s part of Richard’s point… it’s not a grail that is holy, but a tool, one of many, like all tools, that has it’s limitations…

  64. Leslie on March 2, 2016 at 08:44

    I’m new to this site. Great information! I’m curious to try boiled potatoes. I have sometimes had reactions to eating potatoes and thought maybe I couldn’t digest them.
    I tried to find this info in the archives but no mention. In your opinion, is there a particular type of potato that is best to eat?


    • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2016 at 15:07

      For this, just stay away from the sweet potatoes initially.

      Basically whites, yellows, reds, whichever you prefer. Or mix it up.

      • Leslie on March 2, 2016 at 19:45

        Thank you Richard! Funny you should mention that, the potatoes I don’t do so well with are sweet potatoes.

  65. Brian on March 2, 2016 at 09:26

    I’ve been steaming my potatoes in a veggie steamer in the same way that I hard boil my eggs. Anyone do this? I find it easier to prick them to tell if they are done and also I heard from cooks illustrated and serious eats that steamed vs. boiled potatoes make for fluffier potatoes. Just curious if they are as healthy as I’d think they might hold equally as much moisture as boiling. Would be easy to test with scale. A microwave on the other handled shriveled up my potato last night so I am going to abandon that approach.

    • Madeleine on March 2, 2016 at 14:59

      I just made a potato soup with previously boiled red and gold potatoes. I got curious about weighing the 3 pounds already cooked, but I just tested, and there’s no weight change when I boil reds and golds.

  66. Brian on March 2, 2016 at 13:07

    I was a bit skeptical at first, but I did a 3 day hack last week and currently on Day 3 this week and I’m down a little over 10 lbs. What has really surprised me is my appetite. Here I sit at 4:00 in the afternoon have had only 2 potatoes today and not feeling hungry or tired at all. I can’t say I find the potatoes all that tasty, but they are becoming more palatable. Not enough so that I crave to go back from more though.

    • Madeleine on March 2, 2016 at 15:03

      I bought organic red potatoes, and find them delicious. Plain, or with salt, or cut into slices and spread very thinly with miso.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2016 at 15:20

        Another good simple one is boil about 2 cups beef, chicken, or whichever broth you like. I have tasted them all and Kitchen Basics is far and away best tasting, and is the only one that has protein from actually using meat. 4g per C for chicken, 5g per C for beef.

        Boil the broth, cube your cold potatoes out of the fridge of on the counter, then pour the broth over. Herb & season as desired.

        You can also reduce your stock by 1/4 to 1/3 to up the flavor intensity a bit, but be careful when using the salted stock. Why I always get unsalted if available.

  67. Daniel on March 2, 2016 at 23:03

    I’m sitting at 10% body fat atm, looking to shed those final 5-10 pounds. Has anyone reading successfully used the potato diet to do this?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 3, 2016 at 07:47

      Wow Daniel. You have serious problems. ;)

      In one of the threads priot to this, a woman commented who used to work at a gym that catered to professional BBs.

      She said that to shred prior to comp, beyond the dehydration, they would eat dry skinless chicken breast and plain boiled or baked potatoes right out of the fridge…of course no salt.

  68. Jonathan McRae on March 3, 2016 at 10:43

    I started the hack yesterday at lunch by making mashed potatoes just like the recipe you posted. I had dinner a couple of hours later with he family, though i could have skipped it. At about 9 pm I wanted to dive into the fridge for food instead I told myself you dont need anything but this giant spponful of potatoes. Which I ate and it is close to lunch time the next day and I could go a couple of hours if not longer before i am truly hungry. All I had this morning was 2 cups of black coffee.

    • Jonathan McRae on March 11, 2016 at 11:01

      Went four days and lost 11lbs.

  69. […] The Potato Diet Practicalities: Dropping Big Weight Fast With High Energy and Without Hunger […]

  70. David Brown on March 6, 2016 at 05:48

    Hi Richard,
    I must confess I haven’t been following your blog for nearly a year. Too busy doing my own thing. This morning, however, I clicked and scanned the options. This post looked interesting so I started reading. Reminded me of The Martian starring Matt Damon which I watched about a week ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQqhfq87FgY
    I grow and consume lots of potatoes. After reading this post, I’m feeling really good about what I do.
    We have a 24-year-old Downs syndrome son who absolutely loves potatoes. He has hip dysplasia so running is difficult. He’s pretty sedentary but remains lean and somewhat muscular on the diet we feed him. Incidentally, we seldom brush his teeth and when we used to, it was always with plain water. He tended to swallow tooth paste. He’s never had any cavities so we must be doing something right. Thanks.

  71. […] approach. And guess what other diet might just be excellent too? How about The Potato Diet? The Potato Diet Practicalities: Dropping Big Weight Fast With High Energy and Without Hunger. While 800 calories are probably tough, no matter what you’re eating, I’d be willing to […]

  72. Susan on March 8, 2016 at 00:25

    I so wanted this to work for me, but by day 3, I had so much joint pain, I thought I was going to die. As someone who never had joint pain before, I was extremely surprised by this. It may be only oatmeal for me.

    Or will beans or corn work for the starches?

    • kayumochi on March 8, 2016 at 12:02

      By chance I ate nothing but tiger nuts for 3 days recently. It was like a supercharged potato hack: normally, eating nothing but potatoes for 5 days straight I am ravenous on Day 1 with little or no appetite by Day 5. On tiger nuts, Day 1 was like a Potato Hack Day 5 … and I seemed to have lost as much fat in three days as I would eating potatoes for five.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 8, 2016 at 13:50


        How do you eat them? Havent had any in a while, but I like them just soaked in water, 24 hours +. They take on a water chestnut texture quality.

      • Susan on March 11, 2016 at 22:07

        Thank you! I’ll give them a try.

    • Amy on March 12, 2016 at 13:11

      Susan, try peeling the potatoes before you boil them. I get joint pain after a couple days if I eat nothing but unpeeled potatoes, too. No pain at all if I peel before cooking. Something to do with the solanine in the skin, I think.

    • Susan on April 2, 2016 at 20:08

      I’ll try peeling, too. Thank you for the recommendation.

      I’m getting some pine nuts, as well, but they are too expensive to eat on a daily basis, for me, anyway. So, I’m giving potatoes another go.

  73. […] case, the total amount rendered—being about two and a half of those separators—was perfect for another pot of my potato soup for the […]

  74. kayumochi on March 8, 2016 at 14:07

    I ate them raw, unsoaked and unpeeled. I was going to SLC for a business conference and brought a sack just in case knowing that in that town the fast food restaurants are better than fine dining. Next to my hotel was a In and Out Burger. I ate there on Thursday night. Friday morning I knew I couldn’t go three more days eating that crap so ate only tiger nuts when I was hungry. The more I ate the less hungry I became. My normal appetite only came back on Monday with my first “normal” meal.

  75. Jazzy on March 10, 2016 at 16:43

    I’m keen to read your post on the dumb dog as someone who battles with binge eating disorder. I’m a LCer and am sick of hearing eat all the fat you want to kill appetite but it’s not always appetite. You can eat a hell of a lot of calories in fat by the time the dog is subdued – and then overeating triggers the binge. As you wrote to someone, you can’t be hungry after 10 potatoes, you’re dealing with a brain issue. Spot on! Sounds like you understand fully, it’s not hunger, it’s the act of eating, it’s that reptilian dumb dog urging me to shove food in. I’ve tried the PH and never lasted half a day due to hunger, hypos and hives but maybe I need to battle through. I guess as a LCer I’m just scared of my BS going nuts. There is no therapy for BED; sorry none of it works, same old same old. If eating boiled potatoes day in day out can reset the dumb dog I really need to give it a good try.

  76. Jazzy on March 10, 2016 at 16:56

    PS: your advice to take the potato out one at a time, peel it slowly is a good idea worth trying. When I did the PH I had them peeled and cut in fridge, it was so easy to overeat. Huge boiled ugly taters in skins will be my plan of attack if I do this again. Great advice though!

  77. […] when I was drafting this big post on the practicalities of The Potato Diet, I was already receiving comments on some other posts that caused me to add this […]

  78. coconutty on March 14, 2016 at 00:23

    Hello! I’ve been following the potato threads here and on MDA with great interest for at least a couple months now and have been meaning to weigh in, so here goes.

    A little background. Female, peri-menopausal. Been doing LC on and off for about 15 years, mostly on. While this got and kept me out of land whale territory, it has definitely lost some effectiveness over time. I’ve been doing battle with the same 10 or so vanity pounds for years.

    I’d been wanting to do the test Kresser recommends on his website where you eat 8 oz of potato and test BG after one hour. Was aware that my FGB is always in the 70’s or low 80’s but wanted to know what would happen if I ate carbs for any length of time and/or if LC eating was masking a problem – T2 runs very strongly in my family. So I bought a couple bags of organic gold taters from TJ’s and a meter from Walgreens. Of course, in the back of my mind was that if my one hour BG result wasn’t outrageous, then I could eat the rest of those taters and do the hack. :-)

    Frankly, at first it seemed y’all had totally jumped the shark, then it only seemed semi-nutty, then finally my curiosity got the better of me. Also, I began to recall how Atkins discussed low fat eating in a not-so-unfavorable way in the very first edition of his book. Does anyone else remember that? Not to put words in the late great Atkins mouth, but my vague memory is he said something to the effect that a very low fat, high carb diet wasn’t all that bad in his opinion as another strategy, where people get in all the trouble with CV problems, hyperinsulinemia, metabolic syndrome, and obesity is with a combo of high carb and high fat (especially garbage fats), especially if the diet is also high calorie. SAD in a nutshell. Then I also recalled some of Lyle MacDonald’s writings, particularly his Ultimate Diet book where when one carbs up before depletion workouts, it is kept low fat as possible. So it all began to make more and more sense to me as a possibility.

    Since my one hour BG was 109 after 8 oz of plain spud, and I had the meter anyway, all systems were go on a 2 day trial of the hack.

    Day 1 – Starting weight 144, size 6 jeans too tight for comfort, though wearable. Ate about 2.5 lbs cooked, cooled and peeled spuds, gently heated with salt, ACV, and/or some fat skimmed bone broth. I used the 2 teaspoons of allowed fat in teas using coconut oil as creamer along with a little Great Lakes gelatin (orange label) for froth. Nothing else but water and 10 BCAA capsules.

    Day 2 – weight 143, ate about 2 lbs of spuds in a similar fashion to day one, except I had 2 T of TJ’s organic ketchup with one meal. Skipped breakfast, wasn’t hungry until about 2. Ate all my taters in a 7 hour window.

    Day 3 – weight 141. Getting a bit bored of eating taters and besides the plan was just two days. But 141! Hard to argue with that especially since size 6 jeans fit perfectly, not overly snug. And there were a few spuds left in the fridge. As with day 2, not much interest in eating until later in the day, finished up last of the spuds which ended up being about 1.5 lbs peeled. Got a little hungry before bed so last meal was a can of boneless skinless salmon from TJ’s, 180 cal/0 g carb/39g protein/3g fat with 2T kraut.

    Day 4 weight 140. Went back to how I was eating before more or less for the next week. Low-moderate carbs, moderate-high protein & fat, portion control, 2 meals a day. Maybe a few more carbs, didn’t obsess too much but generally stayed below 75g/day. Likely hit close to 100g carbs a couple of days.

    Seven days post-hack – weight 138.5. Nice! Continued to lose a little w/o even trying, which is the exact opposite of this normally plays out. Size 6 jeans were loose and got into size 4 ‘tho a bit tight. Energy is up, feeling good, mood generally mellow. Time for some more tater days.

    Hack #2 – two days, similar food items as before + BCAAs. Again, focus was on cooled RS taters to satiety, minimal condiments and fat. 2.5 lb first day, around 2 lb the second day. End weight 136. Size 4 jeans now fit perfectly, even slightly roomy in the waist. In deep ketosis (80mg/dl dark pink) on morning of day three. Haven’t been able to achieve that in many years no matter how high fat or low carb I go. Frankly, felt a little lightheaded but wasn’t BG, tested and it was neither hypo or unduly high. Almost like I was losing too fast. Fluid and sodium intake was good in case you’re wondering.

    Of particular significance to my mind is-
    1) I haven’t been able to lose actual fat at nearly this rate for *years*. It’s been impossible no matter what I do OR it rapidly returns.
    2) WHR has dropped from almost .75 to .723. The last time I was at this weight and clothes size, my waist was over 1/2” bigger and that was about 8 years ago before I was peri-menopausal. Couldn’t be more pleased to see some of that belly fat go buh bye, both for health and aesthetic reasons.
    3) Energy was high, mood good and I wasn’t ready to gnaw my arm off unlike every other time an attempt at progress was made. Even exercised a fair amount – trail walking up steep inclines most days on hack and even some lifting the first day.
    4) Got me over the fear of carbs, which is somewhat irrational at this juncture. While I will still likely continue to eat a carbohydrate controlled diet for the most part, it’s great to have something else in the toolbox b/c the VLC tool has increasingly become a dead end.

    Started another hack today, about 3 weeks have passed since the last one. Weight is still 136. Ate 2.5 lb straight outta the fridge today peeled as needed with some ACV and salt. Just going to do two days this go-around. Pretty much where I want to be or close, just want 3lbs of wiggle room. No rush for that last 3. Cheers!

    • Kreese Hiljac on March 27, 2016 at 06:13

      amazing are u like 21! U are dropping weight like a kid! How old are you?
      Kreese! greetings from NYC

  79. coconutty on March 14, 2016 at 11:30

    Corrections – FBG, not FGB. On hack #2, 1.5 lb first day, 1 lb second day.

    Didn’t get around to weighing this morning, will weigh tomorrow and also at the end of this two day hack. FBG was a little higher for me this morning than it is on a lower carb diet, but at 91 is still within normal range.

  80. […] you already have My Potato Soup in your toolkit, and it’s crazy good. I’ve done a couple of days where I eat just that, […]

  81. Kreese Hiljac on March 27, 2016 at 06:03

    hey Man I never heard of you Greetings from NYC…I got to you via Rusty moore and Kinoibody…Greg loves his potatoes..Great article..last week just for fun I said fuck it!!!!! I was doing keto for while epic failure…Then HCLF nearly vegan…worse!!! Lol …but last week I declared No more dieting for the rest of my fuckin life…
    Oh Im 47 ^ foot 3 205 lbs but want to lean down to like 190 and expose the 6 pack!….so I said When was I the most fit happy and lean..well..it was when I was eating a lot of carbs and some fat!!! So I instinctively went to the Diner and ordered a baked potato plain..went to the store bought some full fat sour cream and some cheddar cheese …put a bit on not too crazy…and I ate it …..I tried the “loaded baked potato the next day…
    bam lost 4 and half pounds in 2 days…I even ate some ice cream and chips and chocolate …..There is MAGIC IN POTATOES….BTW I WAS SO FULL AFTER HAVING THE SINGLE BAKED POTATOE..which I estimate the calories were like maybe 500..with toppings!!
    Happy easter from NYC

    • Kreese Hiljac on March 27, 2016 at 06:05

      sorry meant 6 foot 3:)

  82. Juli on March 27, 2016 at 14:12

    Do you use any type of potato…russet, new, yellow, red or do you stick to one type and avoid others?

  83. Alina on April 22, 2016 at 20:33

    Thank you Richard,
    Are there any types of people for whom the diet might not be effective in terms of losing weight? Just curious.
    3 years ago I had a rapid weight gain (25 lbs. in 2 to 3 months). I was eating healthy at the time: no junk food, homemade meals, grass fed meat etc. I was 45 when it happened. There was nothing different at the time that would explain the weight. I have gained few lbs. since as well. I have never had weight issues in my life.
    I hope the potato diet will work for me.
    I am looking forward to your response.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 23, 2016 at 07:19

      Hi Alina:

      In our experience, seems to work for just about anyone. Give it a try.

      Also, did you get Tim’s new book yet, The Potato Hack? There’s an image on the right sidebar you can click to get it. Tells you everything you’ll ever want to know.

  84. Jin on August 8, 2016 at 05:42

    Hey Richard,
    I just noticed the paragraph regarding pure sugar which is funny because I just finished a two week period where I ate nothing but 150 grams of sugar dissolved in 1 litre of filtered water every day. Whenever I felt hungry I would warm up a cupful and sip it like a cupful of very sweet tea.
    I should also mention I am type two diabetic.
    Results were lower fbg, 1 pound weight loss every day, improved vision, inflammation in mouth gone, toothache gone, lower blood pressure, earache slowly faded to nothing.
    It was much easier than a water fast because there was no feeling dizzy so I functioned higher than I would have on a water fast.

  85. […] The Potato Diet Practicalities: Dropping Big Weight Fast With High Energy and Without Hunger […]

  86. Edward Edmonds on September 16, 2016 at 11:45

    Not here for the weight loss just the potato soup recipe, you’d have to be a moron to think a diet consisting of potatoes would make you fat.

    Made the potato soup yesterday afternoon, 2 three pound pots (other one for my wife). Ate a whole pot 2 scoops at a time, over a few hours, and I was satisfied for the entire day (though I did enjoy it with some buttered slow fermented bread from Berkshire Mountain Bakery featured on the “Cooked” documentary) tastes even better when it starts to get to room temp, even cold, wife is having a cold bowel at work today for lunch and said it tastes even better (though it probably would be too thick for me). Then I proceeded to ATG squat 350lbs for reps and didn’t feel the need for any post workout food. And BTW you are right, the Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock is the best tasting. For added nutrition you could add an egg yolk or two which is what I do for my mash but why mess with a fantastic recipe.

    I was in Germany for 10 years while serving and had some German potato soup at restaurants but this tastes simpler and better as I’m sure the restaurant versions had cream and butter in them. I had to add about 3 full teaspoons of salt to get it right but I am sweating all the time and wife salted post mashing so there is a lot of room for salt if that is your thing.

    Richard, do you have any good German potato salad recipes? Also OT in your journey’s around the world did you ever visit Russia?


    • Richard Nikoley on September 17, 2016 at 10:03

      Hey Ed. Great comment. You get it, appreciate it.

      You know, I don’t recall Oma making potato salad, so no recipe. My mom’s is standard sort of mayo thing, but requires hard boiled egg, bit of yellow mustard and most especially, chopped dill pickle.

      Visited Sevastopol on the Black Sea in 1990, when it was still USSR.

  87. […] of the so-called Potato Hack or Potato Diet. We even showed how on a calorie-for-calorie basis, a plain potato edges out red meat in terms of average micronutrients. That’s something all those screeching monkey in trees, above, are wholly ignorant of. In […]

  88. Thomas Wilkens on February 22, 2017 at 10:41

    Apropos resistant starch: apparently, you can kick up the resistant starch content a few notches by heating/reheating a couple of times after cooking. See Dr Michael Greger’s discussion about this on nutritionfacts.org:


    (And look at the effect of this process on beans!)

    I usually steam my potatoes. Even after being steamed/cooled three times, they seem to hold their consistency.

    Good health!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2017 at 13:16

      With all respect to Greger, who puts out some excellent videos (I’ve blogged a few of them here, like “lentil effect,” also amla), we’ve covered the heating/cooling/reheating….rinse, wash, repeat…extensively here.


      …You have to get up very early….

  89. Kerrie Dolan on February 24, 2017 at 20:31

    Hi Richard & Tim: I am very intrigued with this whole potato hack. I love potatoes so I could probably tolerate potatoes for 3 days. Here’s my situation:
    1. I DO need to lose weight: I figure about 50 lbs (I’m 5’4″ & at my heaviest at 180 lbs).
    2. I am 54 & post-menopuasal but on supplemental estrogen & progestertone b/c I couldn’t stand the constant hot flashes, mood-swings or the thought of shriveling up at 45 when it all started.
    3. I have always had problems w/ hypoglemia – since I was a kid. It might be more reactive from caffeine, over-processed carbs & sugar; had issues with it on super calorie restricted diets in my younger & dumber days. It also seems to be related to how long I go in-between meals. It isn’t all dumb dog-brain stuff: the drop in blood sugar is real.
    4. How has it impacted your energy levels, mood, desire (or not) to exercise, etc?
    5. Will it make me look 10 year younger? (Kidding)
    6. I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol (even in my 20s when I was fit, thin & ate fairly healthy). I’ve recently had an increase in triglcerides & blood sugar (the blood sugar could be partly due to being on statins for about 30 years). Have you or your followers noticed changes in these areas?

    Also, what about the CHICKS??
    1. Do you see big difference betweem weight loss between men & women?
    2. How about the ages of the women? – ie, a 30 yr old woman is likely going to lose weight more readily than a 54 year old such as myself.
    3. How about the influences of what can be the cluster-fuck of hormonal changes on fluid retention, loss, & general weight loss as related to the potato?

    I would really love to hear from more women who’ve done the potato hack: especially women experiencing similar situations in my age group!

    I have really been enjoying this blog. I am sick of dieting. I do want to be healthy & trim again but I don’t want to have to weigh & measure everthing I put in my mouth.

    Thanks so much for your time!


    • KWMathews on May 9, 2017 at 06:51

      Kerrie (and Richard!)–I’m female and about to celebrate by 69th birthday. I’ve been eating-disordered most of my life, first bulimic and later just an out of control binge eater. LC/Paleo works generally but doesn’t handle binge issues. I do like “eating clean.” I can definitely overdo red wine with the grass-fed critters and dandelion greens.

      I tried Tim’s potato hack for five days. Black coffee, water, and potatoes. Mostly reds and russets, steamed in an InstantPot and cooled in the fridge. Salt. Sometimes vinegar. Happiest way to eat them was jo-jo sliced and re-baked for about 20 minutes at 400.

      I am already an “intermittent faster”–eating one meal a day, at night. It’s a relic from my disordered past, but one that serves me well. My body is simply not hungry during the day. If I feel “hungry” mid-day, it’s usually boredom.

      I didn’t lose any weight beyond a couple of pounds at the beginning.) And I didn’t give a rip. My disordered eating completely disappeared, even in front of the TV. Beast Brain whispered, “we’re hungry.” Adult Brain said, “there are potatoes in the fridge.” Adult Brain said, “nah, we’re not hungry.” Beast Brain had gone back to sleep, perhaps dreaming of pizza.

      I slept well, and on the fifth morning woke in such a good mood–just plain happy. My little gut farm was sending me the best thank you message I’ve gotten in ages.

      Another GREAT benefit: my job is high-stress with long hours, made longer by a half-hour each way commute. So, five days of no cooking, NO kitchen mess, no garbage–absolute heaven. I’m thinking of making this my go-to “trial diet”–when I’m in trial, I’ll eat nothing but potatoes. The first experiment showed me my brain works just fine.

      Any other silver-back females out there?

    • Richard Nikoley on May 9, 2017 at 07:44

      Nice testimonial KW.

      Thanks for sharing it

  90. Kerrie Dolan on February 25, 2017 at 16:32

    Hi Richard:

    Kerrie again:

    I thought I would send these pix of canned potatoes since it was mentioned above.


  91. lili on March 11, 2017 at 10:35

    Dear Richard

    I want to follow a diet of not processed food, no grains, low and maybe no sugar.

    I have a nice weight so I don’t want to lose weight. I want to eat better. Can your book help me? If I have question about your book where I can ask?


  92. Liz on May 23, 2017 at 20:21

    I know I am late to the party here but I am just starting the potato hack. Up until today, I was adding lots of potatoes to my diet but not boiling and cooling them. Tonight I ate my first boiled and cooled potato which caused massive heartburn. I was shocked because I noticed that the regular potatoes didn’t cause heartburn which too many grains do cause.
    Coincidentally, this morning I was scoped as a six month follow-up on the damage to my esophagus from GERD. There was a little improvement.
    I have over 50 pounds to lose, I’m 48 and peri-menopausal. I quit smoking almost five years ago. I developed GERD and gained 60 pounds when I did. And losing that weight (which I need to do to control the GERD) has been almost impossible. I tried alternate day fasting and only lost 10 pounds in five months.
    Complicating this hot mess is my autoimmune disease which reacts to gluten, dairy, soy, legumes, and oats. But low carb is not an option for me because it is really bad for my depression and I gain weight on it.
    I am so fricking frustrated it’s not funny.
    Has anyone else gotten heartburn when eating boiled and cooled potatoes?

  93. Cynthia J Kurre on August 1, 2017 at 14:00

    Just started eating boiled red potatoes yesterday…1 cup of coffee and a yogurt in the morning…then hard boiled eggs & boiled potatoes the rest of the day, and water…that’s it. Hopefully I’ll drop some pounds!

  94. Cynthia J Kurre on August 1, 2017 at 14:12

    Edward Edmonds…and Richard…my Oma’s German Potato Salad recipe is as follows…boil, peel & slice red potatoes (or, if you like chunky, chop~your preference) Cook bacon … I use 1 pound package per bag of red potatoes, chop bacon…..cook a chopped onion (or two if small) and cook in bacon grease ’til browned..I also add a bit of sugar to the onions as they cook. Put potatoes, cooled onions & bacon in bowl together….add oil & apple cider vinegar per your taste. Also add salt & pepper as per your taste. Yummy! Enjoy!

    • Richard Nikoley on January 28, 2018 at 12:22

      Of course there are additional nutrients in the skin.

      How come you don’t eat cowhide and oyster shells?

  95. Chris on September 8, 2017 at 11:09

    I want to thank you for this info. I just read Penn Jillette’s book and wondered if I could tolerate it for at least six months and THEN, horror of horrors, move to a vegan diet. I was going to give it a try starting on 9/18 because I have two potlucks and a wedding to go to before then. But with your modified version, I can start tomorrow, eat normally at the events, and by 9/18 be down at least 8 lbs. I’m actually looking forward to it!

  96. Kendra Adams on January 27, 2018 at 13:41

    Hi Richard!
    I am wondering, why do you not eat the skins of the potatoes? I was always taught that most of the nutrients are in the skins. Is this not true?
    I know this post is almost a year old, so hopefully you will still see my question and be able to respond.

  97. Thomas Wilkens on February 5, 2018 at 15:49

    Potatoes rock!

    I like golfball-sized Yukon Gold tatties. I wash and steam ’em right after purchasing, then keep them in a bowl, either on the counter or in the fridge. I eat them for quick snacks, and they’re really great on road trips, better than apples, which always seem to get messy.

    You can also quarter them, and bake at 425F until brown–instant french fries!

    Thanks for the post.

  98. HoraceJules on May 11, 2018 at 09:28

    A very nice and informative article.
    I think more stress should be given to the fact that the potatoes should be eaten cold. Chilling the boiled potatoes changes some of the starch into “resistant starch” which is not digested.
    As regards long term health effects, Dr Martin Hindhede, a Dane, lived on potatoes for two years a little while after WWI.
    Any comments on eating mashed potatoes made with cold water and potato flakes?

    • Richard Nikoley on May 13, 2018 at 09:27

      Horace, no comment on eating mash that way (a bit of butter and milk don’t increase fat that much).

      However, on Resistant Starch, you’ve come to the right place. More than 100 posts about it in the archives. Here’s a roundup post.


      You are right about eating them cold (chilled below about 40F over night). What you might not be aware of is that reheating them actually increases the RS somewhat. Incidentally, same thing with pasta. Cooking, cooling overnight, and reheating renders a much lower BG response because RS.

  99. Gaby A. on May 14, 2018 at 20:10

    Revisiting this post after you re-linked it on Facebook…Putting it in Myfitnesspal, divided into 6 servings, and served with a 5oz steak (5% fat after trimming), that’s about 520 calories, 45g protein, 11g fat, and 64g carbs…x3 (or substitute chicken or fish), I can hit under 1600 calories, meet my protein and stay low on fat.

    Damn…I’m going to try this. Thanks again!

  100. Michelle Topham on May 1, 2019 at 09:48

    I’m currently on a mostly potato diet. Not really for any reason, other than I like them, it’s very fast to make a meal out of them and they’re cheap.

    I tend to eat a bowl of cereal, or nothing, for breakfast, then lunch and dinner is mashed potatoes (made just with water and no butter as I’m vegan) with some chopped raw onion mixed in, then topped with cooked broccoli or carrots and half of a vegetable buillon cube in water. Sometimes I have boiled potatoes instead of the mashed, with the same broccoli or cauliflower, carrots, green beans etc on top. Tastes amazing every time, and I’ve been eating this meal almost every meal for about 3 weeks. Not sick of it at all.

    I’ve also lost about 7lbs in those three weeks. Would have lost more, but I drink rice milk in my coffee and I drink a lot of coffee throughout the day. So I need to dump that, and go to the black coffee you’re drinking.

    A very informative post, though, and happy to see you go through all the nutritional value of potatoes. So many people have no idea how they are almost a ‘perfect food’, or at least just about as close as you can get to one!

    Thanks again, because even if it’s an old post, I enjoyed it.

  101. Tom on June 18, 2019 at 08:00

    The killer feature of the potato hack imo is how it reduces cravings for things like diet coke & alcohol.

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