Have you guys ever heard of the potato hack? I’m not sure how I came across it or why, but of course I was curious and had to try it!
First up – what is it?
Briefly – you eat nothing but potatoes for about 3 to 5 days – no oil, no butter just a bit of salt and pepper if you like and just water, and black coffee/tea and nothing else. So you can boil them or bake them dry, or mash them with a bit of bone broth. Eat them cold or reheated.
(This totally goes against Ray Peat recommendations of only eat potatoes with a fat to slow down the rapid glucose assault on your body and only drink tea/coffee with lots of sugar and milk so as not to stress your body out. I get that, but bear with me!)
Reason for only potatoes during the Potato Hack? Supposedly does the following:-
- reduces bloating
- replaces good bacteria in your gut from the resistant starch
- helps you get back to true hunger cues
- stops binge, boredom and emotional eating
- apparently you lose 2-3lbs in a few days.
There are great reviews all over Amazon and YouTube videos of people who have tried it and supposedly did it without feeling hungry at all.
So what was my experience?
First of all, I couldn’t last a complete day on it. I did it for breakfast and lunch and by dinnertime I was gagging for anything else. It was like a piercing need – not pleasant at all.
I had felt light headed and super hungry throughout, even though I didn’t restrict myself on how many I had, but it just never felt satisfying – not even in the slightest. Which is supposed to be one of the positives of this thing – that you are never hungry – well I tripped over that benefit quick smart!
Some say the first day is the hardest, so I thought ok, day 2, lets go again. So breakfast and lunch all potatoes – still starving and feeling weird – no energy and just really, really irritated.
So this is so not me at all, as I am a pretty laid back kind of person, nothing really phases me. But I had to go to the supermarket to pick up a few things and I went through the self-checkout. As I was pushing all the buttons, the attendant who normally stands all the way over there at the end, started to pace up and down behind me and I just felt like turning around and screaming “get the hell away from me!!!”
The intensity of that feeling really shocked me.
So when I got home, I quickly took a Vitamin B12 tablet and thought no way, health is not supposed to feel like that and thus ended my potato hack experiment.
I’m glad I did it even for a short time though, because I did learn a few things:-
- reduction in bloating was true for me
- gut did feel really good. I’m not sure if that was particularly the resistant starch or just the fact that a mono type diet helps the body with digestion, as it only has one type of food to work on at a time and thus it is easier
- helped to reduce water intake to get to true thirst cues
- my body temperature increased during this time – not sure if it was the carbs or the stress hormones causing this
- learning the true nutritional value of potatoes that are pretty amazing. You get nearly everything except Vitamin A & D and most of the B vitamins. The truth is people only make them bad for you or fattening when they cook in too much oil or butter or add too much sour cream or whatever
- unless you suffer from nightshade issues, potatoes are a healthy addition to the diet – probably better than any other forms of savoury carbs like grains etc
- I really liked the simplicity of not having to think of what to cook or eat
What I didn’t like about it
- the craziness I felt
- the fad diet type promise of weight loss. People are encouraged to do this only like 3 days at a time etc but if the rest of the time their diet is crappy, it’s really not going to help all. In fact you are probably stressing your body out, which is actually super bad for your health long term
- while it has lots nutrients, it doesn’t have them all, so this mono diet will have you deficient in something pretty quick smart if you stay with it too long.
So moving forward, I might create my own Mini Hack of the Potato Hack which suits me better something like:-
a) Replace only one meal every few days with just potatoes – it reduces your fat intake, replaces good bacteria, gives your digestive system an easy ride for at least a meal
b) …or make my own 3 day option and add a few more things, so it’s still simple but has a more complete nutritional profile, so I’m not tempted to stab someone!!!!
Have you tried the Potato Hack? What did you think?
I’m going back to fruit! (And everything else!)
PS: I’ve finally written my complete eating guide following Dr Ray Peat principles on how to eat for health and weight loss. It has a 7 day meal plan, and instructions on how to create your own meal plan. Only AU$9.95 and available here.