“Boiled mashed potatoes for miracle satiety?” Why, Yes, Peter.

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Petro Dobromylskyj aka “Peter,” has put up a post that I think is wrong but I also think is very cool and essential to understanding where we’re going. I’ll explain. First of all, nobody will ever match Peter’s ability and drive to get to the atomic level of biochemical deconstruction, and it’s essential that we have that. It tends to sort out a lot of unwanted debate debris from the get go.

From the Protons point of view the relatively low carb BMP [boiled mashed potatoes] and FFF [fried french fries] are supplying glucose from potatoes to drive complex I. However butter also supplies FADH2 at ETFdh, so generates a resistance within adipocytes (and elsewhere) to an excessive insulin facilitated calorie ingress during the period of maximal blood nutrient levels. When calories stop falling in to adipocytes, satiety kicks in. Using FADH2 this happens after eating 508 kcal. With FFF based on canola oil, ie potatoes steeped in 18 carbon omega 3 and 6 PUFA, the beta oxidation generates a much lower input at ETFdh (one less FADH2 per double bond) and so insulin sensitivity at peak nutrient uptake is maintained for longer, fat pours in to adipocytes for longer and almost twice as many calories are consumed (912 kcal) before satiety kicks in. I expect satiety to rise as blood nutrients rise. Not sequestering them in to adipocytes seems the best way to do this. More physiological insulin resistance. I’m guessing the brain does the actual sensing of both glucose and FFAs.

See what I mean? Peter goes on to suggest, as I understand it, that the principle driver of the differences we see in satiation in a meatball meal, combined with different carbohydrate side dishes, is the butter used in preparing the mashed potatoes. I did blog about this.

Here’s where I’m at. I’d buy it—and I trust Peter is honest in his biochemical deconstructon—if we’re talking about a 5-10% difference in satiation, measured by how much subjects consumed in entire meals with different carb-based side dishes with various added fat. But we see 30-40% difference with potatoes conspicuously and uniquely, and over some healthy child test subjects.

You can decide for yourselves. In various comments here & there, it’s suggested by interlocutors that a potato lobby was participatory in funding the study, and I’m sure there’re no buttery fingerprints anywhere. Nonetheless, funders can never be dismissed out of hand, on all sides and always, goes all ways—just wait. On the other hand, chalking up a 30-40% difference to butter rather than to Occam’s Mandoline and then dismissing it by whose pockets, has me, at least, wondering just whose faces are colored redder, and whose pants are shorter.

Do we have other data to help us figure out who’s the least wrong?

Well, regarding previous trials, there’s this. Don’t have a clue about any attempts to discredit the work, yet. Perhaps later. We can always hope. Maybe someone who loves potatoes will hit the tip jar, unsuspectingly tanking the whole deal because someone reached into one of two pockets—and science ought only get done for “free.” If anyone paid people to come to work, dismiss it. Right? Or what? We prefer to have all employees working for a single-paycheck-provider? Will that make everything OK? We could, then, all have one single whore-voice we could, then, all rally behind.

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So, what’s more likely? There’s something about potatoes, or is there just something about butter we just can’t figure out, like how satiating a baked potato becomes because of the butter, sour cream, bacon bits, and chives? Yes, when you triple the calories principally via fat, it will indeed be forced into satiation parameters. This is a win?

Here’s what I see in comments here and at Tim’s. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of people doing this DIY at home, no added fat as recommended to start, and they report in our comments.

This “study” was funded by nobody but me, the ex-Navy Officer, and Tim, the retired Air Force Chief Master Seargent. We have a sincere desire to get to the fucking bottom of a lot of bullshit, military style. Your countries are in good hands. We eat our young, Darwinian style, which is the unique aspect of military competence. The best and brightest do truly rise. You’re witnessing it. …Well, at least, that’s how it used to turn…

For myself, I went for a week of plain boiled potatoes with nothing but salt and/or malt vinegar.

I lost 13 pounds in four days, 17 in a week, and rebounded 10 for a net loss of 7 by day ten, three days after returning to normal eating (understandable, right, given caloric deficit?). No alcohol confounder. I was dry three days before starting and it continued for days beyond my test period.

Other people have similar and different results. Long Time Low-Carber is Finally Successful Shedding Vanity Pounds on The Potato Diet. Among many other things in that post:

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 the 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.

Lets’ be fair. Her deepest level of ketosis ever is a consequence of evolutionary ketogenic adaptation. She just confirmed what ketogenesis is really all about. Get it?

It’s in a comment, which is linked—but you’ll have to go through many posts over the last few months and even hundreds of comments from DIYers, if you have any genuine interest…I’m not going to help beyond this simple lifeline. I truly don’t care, except to care enough that I’d prefer to see lots of good folks expand thinking a bit. I think you know what I mean.

I’m just trying to be less wrong, in a contest against many others who, even over the space of time, insist they have always been right. In my worldview, I have the downhill battle.

But I do not want to quibble with Peter unduly. If you add some butter to mash and make it 1,600 calories instead of 1,200 plain and dry with far less pleasure, then go for it. What? You’re going to complain it takes a few weeks longer? Taking Peter’s post at face value, he has given everyone the green light to use some mashed potatoes and a little butter as a weight loss hack.

Look, you have Perter’s stamp of approval, so far as I can see. ;) It’s a way more weighty stamp than mine.

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  1. Kevin Moore on March 23, 2016 at 21:27

    Peanuts rank low in satiety on that chart yet some studies say differently and if I recall the Woo credits her ingestion of peanuts as part of her weight loss strategy.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 23, 2016 at 22:54

      Woo ha; peanuts. Gotcha.

    • Steve Smith on March 24, 2016 at 08:10

      Uncontrolled peanut consumption (hey! they have to be healthier than French fries right?) caused the 5 kgs of weight which I have just lost on the potato hack.

  2. Gemma on March 23, 2016 at 14:19

    Haha, this will be keeping all the hyperlipids busy…

  3. COX Negative on March 23, 2016 at 14:46

    As far as I understand, Peter states that the only difference between french fried potatoes (FFF) and boiled mashed potatoes (BMP) is the fat type, saturated in butter, unsaturated in canola. Hence, the satiation must come from this difference.

    From the top of my head, all traditional recipes with potatoes here in Spain are made with fatty meals. Maybe tradition meets proton gradients here.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 23, 2016 at 17:00

      I understand his curiosity in seeking a 1+1=2 biochemical explanation and who knows, perhaps there is one. After all, SOMETHING motivates us to gorge to 3-4 times caloric intake on deep fried potato (fries, chips, crisps, whatever) vs. plain boiled potatoes. Add no fat to the latter and this is why on the graph, the unique and almost surreal disparity.

      Rather than try to unpack it, with no animus towards those who do, I wish to humbly sit here and remind people that plain potatoes, just boiled, are the most satiating food by far that has every been tested, and it’s no added fat that makes them the most satiating.

    • Hap on March 29, 2016 at 12:23

      I have to agree with Richard. Unpacking the molecular chemistry and dipping down towards electron exchange is like descending into a rat hole of reductionism. As it is said by the natives when asked about what’s holding up the turtle that supports the world….”why it’s turtles all the way down!” So much for a superturtle.

      I mean why not go down to the next molecular chemistry level and finally smash into the quantum physics?

      We generally live in a world of large scale phenomena and it pays to know that these phenomena are emergent, although turtles all the way down. the evidence supports the value of plain potatoes to satisfy hunger with reasonable caloric efficiency, and not , unfortunately, cheesecake.

      Dietary item obsession is just that. I am coming around to less concern for eating and what to eat, as to when to eat and not to eat. Although not giving up on what to eat, when or not. In the end you have to throw some curve balls to your physiology or it will lapse into a rut…..perhaps like increasing insulin resistance or some panoply of molecular chemistry reactions gone wild.

      I find it interesting that those I know who survived the Nazi death camps are some of the longest lived in the community. Just a thought.

      In the meantime, back to Richard, I think I see where he is going. He’s now starting to see “feeding” as play and experimentation and willing to put the time into it. this is the beginning of putting food in it’s “place”. In our scheme of food abundance, this is a good antidote to both processed foods and face stuffing or grazing.. I’d like to “evolve” to his level some day….or be able to hire someone to make the stuff he eats.

  4. lampoon on March 23, 2016 at 22:04

    Reading that scientific vocabulary babble gave me a headache. What I have experienced is that I cannot eat more than 40 ounces of cooled boiled potato in a day, plain with only non-fat condiments, even when that is the only thing I eat that day. It’s not just that I am not very hungry, I am completely satiated. That is less than 1000 calories, right? I really tried to hit 48 ounces; really I did. Not happening. And this is from someone who has a history of very low discipline with food. If I am hungry, and there is food around, I will eat it. Actually, I sort of like boiled potatoes, and will be incorporating them into my regular eating routine to keep my DBB at bay. Thank you, by the way, for the introduction to Mr. Humans Are Not Broken. He makes sense and has inspired me to a new ways of thinking about how I eat. After a long string of failed diet attempts, I think his approach will work for me.

  5. lampoon on March 23, 2016 at 22:07

    Actually, dumb dog brain is DDB. Never was much good at acronyms.

  6. Drully on March 24, 2016 at 05:08

    I”ll be growing potatoes for the first time ever come planting season. If the world economy takes the nosedive suggested by Gail Tverberg in her chilling blog “our finite world” potatoes will be the world’s most important food crop.

  7. Karl Schmidt on March 24, 2016 at 09:15

    @Richard Nikoley

    You are confusing carbosis with what they did in this diet.

    Read this — http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2015/10/protons-and-ultra-low-fat-once-more.html

    There is one more effect that people knew about at one time but seem to have forgotten.

    Wurtman ( the husband) did the papers that showed the high carb diets increase serotonin – the safety/comfort neurotransmitter. There is a real reason that comfort foods – comfort people. The problem is it has an addiction potential – post synaptic serotonin receptors down regulate. This discovery led to the development of the SSRI drugs – which in some age groups the majority of the population are taking. ( Imagine a drug – that if you stop taking you feel worse – people making $$$ – not opiates – but SSRIs – legal exploitation )

    Anyway, you can see that potatoes are sort of a poor-mans SSRI – and the down-regulation of serotonin receptors creates a likely addiction system. Short term SSRI(and potatoes?) reduce appetite – (my hunch before the down-regulation occurs) – but fails long term.

    My take is if I could eat potatoes and have my post-prandial BG staying below 110 I wouldn’t worry – but I can’t – my hunch is that the consumption of LA is likely breaking the insulin/BG/adipose endocrine system of the public and most people should think very carefully about what elevated BG from a high potato diet might do to their long term health.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 24, 2016 at 10:50

      Hi Karl:

      I’m really not trying to be particularly disagreeable and as I mentioned in my post, one way to take this is that adding a couple or few extra hundred calories via added fat like butter or cream will work too…or hell, a fried, boiled or poached egg on top. Just don’t maybe go butter gone wild or “Bulletproof Potato” in combination with high carb. More and more, it seems to me that LCHF and HCLF are a yin-yang sort of deal where that’s the proper tradeoff balance in play. One or the other, not HCHF. Protein is a relative constant, 15-30% typically.

      I’m not particularly interested to a level of fanatical devotion to understanding all the particulars. I really have to lay my trust in Peter to do his best sorting it all out, as he seems willing, able, and enthusiastic to do. Division of Labor. I prefer to report what people are telling me in my little blog-comment lab and have the fortune of being able to induce lots of people to experiment such that there are enough anecdotes that one gets a real sense of what might be going on in practice.

      In terms of the underlying mechanisms (Denise’s post and Peter’s take on it are interesting, BTW, exactly the sort of stuff that move everyone forward, towards being less wrong, as I like to say) what I did find is that some of the people—and this is great because it adds to the trustworthy weight of going by self-reported anecdote—report crazy hunger on plain, no-added-fat boiled potatoes even eating lots and lots (most people do no, many most I would say).

      This got me thinking of John Sarno, of all things, a doc pretty legendary for getting people to get over various back, neck, shoulder pain, etc. The pain is real, but once he shows them there’s no real injury and for whatever reason, their brains are simply restricting oxygen to muslcle tissue and causing real pain, but they are not indeed importantly injured, they compartmentalize that, pain goes away over time. I did it myself with a small cervical herniation with chronic pain over many months.

      Anyway, here’s the post that came out of that and by damn, some are reporting that it helped get over “irrational hunger,” which I think of the brain demanding ice cream or pizza, giving you knawing hunger, when you are indeed well fed and nourished.



      It’s all speculative, but so is just about everything. Being a little less wrong every day is where it’s at.

    • Gemma on March 24, 2016 at 11:10


      “most people should think very carefully about what elevated BG from a high potato diet might do to their long term health.”

      Are you extrapolating your own personal experience with disturbed blood sugar to “most people”?

      As far as I know, for most people that tried nutritional adventure called “potato hack” the results were the opposite: improved blood sugar levels and control. Even true for some people, previously on long term LC diet. Some food for thought, don’t you think?


    • Richard Nikoley on March 24, 2016 at 11:39

      Since doing potato hacks myself, my FBG normalized from 110-130 to 80s and 90s.

      First time I did a pound of mashed potatoes downed in five minutes, BG topped at 156 at about an hour. Second time, later that day, it topped out at 129.

      I get tired of couch “potatoes” telling me that a stair claim and racing heart means I shouldn’t exercise.

      This is perhaps the biggest thing I have with VLC because I saw it in myself, my wife, all of my family. It’s a convenient little gimmick where you make everyone so physiologically insulin resistant that they are the equivalent of couch potatoes who can’t climb stairs anymore, and every climb they do because the elevator is out of service, just confirms that they are uniquely unsuited to any exercise.

      I try to be charitable about it, and I’ve seen what metabolic exercise with carbohydrate without loads of fat did for me, readers, my wife and family on all levels, FBG and post-prandial. At a point, I’m probably going to have to use the fraud word, because I see little in the way of those in positions making critical clarifications and distinctions, having it be so convenient that all their fans believe they’re truly diabetic and pre-diabetic when they’re not.

    • Jazzy on March 24, 2016 at 16:11

      It’s comments from Karl here that make me despair, turn off the computer and not listen to anyone anymore. Everytime I think I am finally doing the right thing someone will chime in with doom and gloom. I don’t know what to eat anymore and even the experts can’t agree. All I can do is find the diet that keeps me satisfied so I don’t overeat for entertainment, and so far plain cooked potatoes have been far better than the high fat & meat I used to inhale. But now I’m down regulating my 5htp in the long run….. I was listening to a Ray Cronise podcast recently and that was depressing as well. Can you blame the general layperson out there for just giving up.

    • Gemma on March 25, 2016 at 06:23


      Do not despair. The world is full of people manipulating other people’s minds (or the whole nations sometimes) with their own beliefs, masqueraded in noble or incomprehensible words.

      If you do fine on potatoes (satiety, sleep, body composition etc.), go for them. Karl above is missing many pieces of the whole puzzle, so does Peter – for instance not acknowledging the role of gut flora, and failing to see that a potato is more than a “bag of starch and sugars.” So I doubt that he does “his best sorting it all out.”

    • Gemma on March 25, 2016 at 08:40

      “at the atomic level”

      Indeed, surely some confused protons…

      • Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2016 at 16:18

        Gemma, couldn’t resist:

        Richard Nikoley said…

        @ctviggen and e-s.

        Funny, your two comments reminded of back in the Paleo and LC alliance days when the common enemy at the gates was vegans.

        They used to post comments about how their kids hated meat and spit it out. This was met by lots of folks posting YouTubes of their kids chewing down on ribs & brisket.

        So I suppose now, to restore yin-yang balance to the universe, I have to post a YouTube of kids burying face in mashed potatoes…unless you figure such a thing doesn’t exist. Myself, I can’t remember either loving or hating mashed potatoes…all I know is my mom caught me eating a stick of butter, once. Does that warrant a lifetime membership in the hyper-lipid cool kid club, or what? I do know that I love both butter and mashed potatoes some 53 years later.

        …Or, how about videos and memes of kids rejecting the teet, juxtaposed with the boy you’ve all seen, with a look of amazed wonder on his face, captioned, “Are Those For Me?”

        Then perhaps we can get back to the point where it’s generally taken for granted that the likes and dislikes of children and infants aren’t to be taken at a cognitive level and that’s why they reside with adults for guidance and learning.

        25 MAR 2016, 22:09:00

    • Anand Srivastava on March 28, 2016 at 02:05

      Karl Schmidt you said the following.

      My take is if I could eat potatoes and have my post-prandial BG staying below 110 I wouldn’t worry – but I can’t – my hunch is that the consumption of LA is likely breaking the insulin/BG/adipose endocrine system of the public and most people should think very carefully about what elevated BG from a high potato diet might do to their long term health.

      I am pretty sure that you have not tried this diet. I think you need to read about blood sugar effects of very low fat diets, with an open mind. Its not like they are crooks. They are convinced that fat is the evil, and you are convinced carbs are the evil. Truth is somewhere in between. Potato hack is a very low fat diet, and so will cause reduced Blood Sugar levels. Do it with boiled and salted potatoes only if you are worried about your sugar levels.

  8. Kevin Moore on March 24, 2016 at 09:46

    i like to microwave russets, cool them and then grate them into a hot nonstick pan. The skins easily fall away and they get a nice golden crust without adding fat

  9. golooraam on March 24, 2016 at 15:27

    Richard – I agree with your thinking – the establishment gets scared by ‘new’ knowledge
    when I first learned about low carb I felt threatened because it was against low fat… still being a low carber most whole fooder, I realize I feel ‘threatened’ by carbs because I think carbs = pizza/ice cream (still the carbs I love btw)… but I’m getting there and coming around :-)

    yesterday I had a ‘carb up’, the bulk of which was mashed taters and baked (no oil) tater wedges… with sriracha

  10. Journeywoman on March 24, 2016 at 16:33

    I like the “less wrong” stance. It allows for new knowledge and research to be given its due.

  11. thhq1 on March 29, 2016 at 11:23

    I came in here yesterday, following the trail of that satiety graph you have up on top. I’m working on a set of conflicting claims. The first is that eating a high fat diet is satiating. It’s the basis of every HFLC diet, from Atkins to Taubes to Eades. The second is the stark evidence, shown by that graph, that fat is not satiating at all. Apples and boiled potatoes are satiating but fried potatoes are not.

    The HFLC community has set the nation’s health back by 15 years with their “eat more fat” mantra. In the context of a ketosis diet the claim has some merit, at least in the sense of a treatment for obesity. That’s not the message people get in an op-ed “investigative” piece they read on the subway though. The way to eat more fat is to grab a donut or another slice of pizza. And the HFLC community, with all best intentions, has blessed this. We were drowning in fat before (as evidenced by the graph), now we’re drowning in more fat thanks to Gary, Mike and Mark.

  12. Jazzy on March 29, 2016 at 12:40

    Another “study” – increased risk of T2 with potato consumption and although they mention french fries they have thrown in boiled/mashed taters in there as well; no mention of toppings used but you can bet they weren’t eating plain


    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2016 at 12:56

      Oh, another where they poke through a database of thousands of food questionaires and pick out associations.

      Yawn. And that goes for any foods they care to associate.

    • Matt on March 29, 2016 at 13:27

      Wow, it’s hard to eat a lot of boiled plain potatoes? I’m shocked.

  13. Matt on March 29, 2016 at 13:28

    I would posit that dirt might top potatoes as the most satiating food.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2016 at 15:02

      False premise.

    • Matt on March 30, 2016 at 13:49

      Maybe I’m missing something because I’m stupid, but I would guess the weight loss would be due to automatic cal restriction from not being able to eat very many plain potatoes, and not the satiating properties of potatoes. I guess you could argue that plain potatoes not being very palatable is a form of satiation, but then you are getting into food reward.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 30, 2016 at 15:47

      For many people it’s both, and this is the point. At first, it’s tough, but over time, plain potatoes become surprisingly more palatable. Tastes change. For example, I don’t much care for bacon anymore, and I used to could eat a pound easy. I’m usually done with meat after a few ounces.

      More examples but what’s going on is a shift in taste and preferences, over time, and eating plain potatoes has a remarkable, uncanny ability to do it while providing full adequate nutrition..

    • Matt on March 30, 2016 at 16:33

      I’ve never liked bacon. I think pork is generally one of the worst foods you can eat. I also definitely think animal protein in general should be consumed in modest quantities. I’ve tried eating plain potatoes before however, and it sent my blood glucose and insulin into the stratosphere and made me feel like shit for hours after. Same goes for plain white rice. Granted, metabolic syndrome was an issue at the time, but I generally don’t do too well with plain, high glycemic starch.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 30, 2016 at 18:15

      So, what you’re telling me is that your metabolism is a couch potato. That since climbing a set of stairs after years of sedentary behavior and your heart races to 300 bpm that it means you can’t exercise.

    • Matt on March 31, 2016 at 13:10

      Actually this was after eating a high carb diet for around 2 years, not a random reintroduction of high glycemic carbs. Even eating the high carb diet, I found that high glycemic, plain starch [calrose rice, russet potatoes] did some crazy shit to my blood sugar that I didn’t experience from other foods. Even if I added fat, I would still get the spike in blood glucose, but to a much lesser degree depending on the ratio of fat/carbs and the GI of the starch. If you don’t mind having high blood sugar, i.e. you exercise a lot or are pretty thin and muscular, and have good glycemic control, it probably wouldn’t be that much of an issue. Not sure why it would be optimal for anyone though.

    • thhq1 on April 1, 2016 at 05:45

      What does optimality have to do with anything? We eat when we’re hungry and we eat what’s available. The beauty of carbs is not that that they were optimal but that they were available and easily digested. A potato or an apple is a lot more desirable than a caribou. The importance of nutrients – vitamins and minerals – came after millions of years of eating everything.

    • Matt on April 1, 2016 at 11:39

      I’m not sayin that potatoes being optimal was what led cavemen to eat them, I’m asking why they would be considered an optimal food when all other foods are taken into consideration, considering that they are pure, high glycemic starch. I think they are fine as part of the diet, but what makes them special enough to be eaten in exclusion to everything else?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 1, 2016 at 12:11

      Fortunately, someone just wrote the book on that, so you can easily have your question answered, and more.


    • Matt on April 1, 2016 at 12:26

      Cool, might check it out. Do you personally think a healthy diet can be constructed around mostly potatoes, or is the extreme potato-ing more for weight loss?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 1, 2016 at 12:42

      I think it can certainly fill the role of staple. On the spectrum I’d say it makes a better staple than rice, bread, corn or other grains, perhaps not quite as goods as legumes.

  14. Jazzy on March 30, 2016 at 17:30

    ” I would guess the weight loss would be due to automatic cal restriction from not being able to eat very many plain potatoes”

    I wonder if percentage of WL is malabsorption of cals from the RS if one is doing the cooled potato hack. Just like they now believe almonds have 20+% less calories than they thought they had. Would the RS in taters work the same way? Wouldn’t that be great – fasting with a full gut!

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