Overview Baked Potato Diet
The Baked potato diet — or potato hack diet — is a short-term mono diet that claims to bring rapid weight loss. Though there are many variations circling around, the most generic version claims to help you lose up to one pound (0,45kg) daily by eaeting nothing more but plain bake potatoes. It is well known that potatoes are a good source of nutrients, but you surely came here to see whether eating them can help you in your weight loss efforts.
In this article we answer questions like: “How does potatoes help you lose weight”, “Are baked potatos good for weight loss”, “Can you drink coffee on the potato diet” and “Can you eat vegetables on the potato diet”. This article reviews the pros and cons of the baked potato diet and whether it can help you shed some weight.
The baked potato diet lasts three to six days and only allows you to ingest plain potatos. It may help you to lose some weight but it´s downside is that it is extremely restrictive, lacks important nutrients, and may lead to unhealthy way of eating.
What Is The Baked Potato Diet?
The popular baked potato diet is claiming to help you lose up to one pound (0.45 kg) per day by ingesting nothing more but plain potatoes for three to six days. This concept was first discovered in 1849 but found popularity again when the author Tim Steele published “Potato Hack: Weight Loss Simplified” in 2016.
In his Book, Tim Steele suggests that potatoes are the “strongest diet pill ever seen”. He alleges they are able to improve your gut health, strengthen your immune system and provide many nutrients to keep you powerful and strong while losing weight.
Others have taken this diet to a new level of extremes – increasing it´s popularity even more. The magician Penn Jillette for example, published “Presto!: How I made over 100 pounds disappear”.
His Diet consisted of nothing more but plain potatoes for the firsts 2 weeks, during which he lost 18 pounds (8 kilograms). Though there are many reviews like this out there, there are no current scientific studies which support these claims.
The baked potato diet is a mono diet that promises rapid weight loss by eating nothing but potatoes for three to five days. These claims have not been scientifically proven. If you look for a proven way to lose weight, check out “The Custom Keto Diet“.
Who Used The Baked Potato Diet?
The baked potato diet movement revolved around Paleo Diet circles, with a lot of Paleo bloggers giving reviews of the potato diet. Actually this is a departure from the typical focus of Paleo on eating a lot of meat. There also have been some prominent potato dieters in the recent years. Here is a list of the most known persons in the potato diet world.
- Australian native Andrew Taylor who ate only potatoes for a whole year. He lost 22 Pounds in the first month of his all-potato diet, over the course of the year, his weight went from weighing 334.4 pounds (151.7 kg) to 218 pounds (99 kg). He claimed that he started this diet as a way to combat his food addicition which was out-of-control food. According to him, he got 98% of his calories from potatoes and only 2% from spices and seasonings and spices. He’s then went on to write the book called DIY Spud Fit to help other prospective long-term fellow potato dieters.
- Prominent and known magician Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller fame) ignited a year-long, 100-pound weight loss regime by only eating nothing more but five potatoes without skin a day for two weeks. He has lost 18 pounds during that period of two-weeks. Afterwards, he changed to a “nutritarian diet” and lost around 100 pounds over the course of a year. He also has written a book about his weight-loss journey, it is named Presto! How I Made 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales.
- Chris Voigt, Potato Commissioner of the Washington State, has spent 60 days eating 20 potatoes daily in an attempt to prove that potatoes are healthier than society give them credit for. He included only some salt, oil, and seasonings. While his goal wasn’t to lose weight, he did lose 21 pounds and amazingly saw other improvements.
- Tim Steele, author of the potato hack, is another prominent potato diet figure. He claims that potato hacking helps the gut by making microbiome life to become more active and that this can help with digestion. He has an entire blog and a self-published book dedicated to potato hacking.
Baked Potato Diet Rules
The baked potato diet doesn´t come with much instructions. Though plenty variations exist, Tim Steele outlines this seven fundamental rules in the book he published:
Rule 1. Eat only plain, baked, steamed or boiled potato for weight loss, for three to six days in a row.
Rule 2. As a common rule, eat 2–5 pounds (0.9–2.3 kg) of potatoes every day.
Rule 3. You are not allowed to eat any other food sources, including sauces or toppings, such as butter, sour cream, cheese or ketchup.
Rule 4. It´s ok to use Salt if you absolutely must, but try to avoid it, because it keeps water in your body and fat cells.
Rule 5. When you’re need to obey your thirst, only drink water, plain unsweetened tea, or black coffee. ( you can use sweeteners with no calories )
Rule 6. Heavy activity is not recommended. Instead, stick to light exercise such as walking or jogging.
Rule 7. Take your usual medications as directed by your physician.
These are the seven fundamental rules to the potato diet according to Tim Steele, but the main rule remains to eat nothing but plain potatoes for three to six days in a row. Only white potatoes are allowed in Steele’s version of the diet. Some options include White Russet, Yukon Gold, and red potatoes. Other variations of the diet are more lenient.
For example, on the Spud Fit Challenge you are allowed to eat sweet potatoes — a popular variation of the diet created by Author Andrew Taylor. In this concept, minimal spices, herbs, and fat-free condiments are allowed as well. Remember that also the cooking method matters. Overly processed or deep fried potato products such as potato chips or french fries are prohibited.
Can Potatoes Help You Lose Weight?
There are no studies available on the potato diet, but it may help you to lose weight simply because it is a low calorie diet. Research shows that diets that restricts calories likely lead to weight loss – as long as you can adhere them.
However, in our article on “How much weight can I lose in 3 weeks“, we made clear that there is much more to weight loss than just restricting calories. More important than that is your hormonal state when dieting. Check out the article to learn more.
Though 2-5 pounds of baked, cooked or steamed potatoes each day seems like a lot, it only contains 530-1,300 calories per day – far less than the average adult´s daily intake recommendation.
Interesting fact: Potatos contain the compound proteinase inhibitor 2 that may can help in decreasing hunger feelings by slowing down your digestion.
One stude for example, found that mice treated with this compound found in potatoes, ate significantly less food and lost more weight compared to mice which weren´t treated with the same ingredient. However, these effecets have not yet been translated in human studies.
This diet regimen was created to motivate you to go even longer than 3 Weeks by providing fast results. Research has shown that people who a good amount of weight in 3 weeks are more likely to stick with a diet in the long term.
Furthermore, very calorie restricting diets have shown to slow down the metabolism and decrease muscle mass. Muscle mass is crucial for a high calorie burn effect, even in your resting state. When resorting to a “crash diet” like the baked potato diet, you are more likely to gain all the lost weight back when returning to your usual eating habits.
To summarize: The baked potato diet will likely cause short-term weight loss, as it provides a very low daily calorie count. These vegetables also contain a compund that has shown to decrease hunger, but keep in mind that research on this is limited.
You have seen there are some reasons to critize the baked potato diet, but that doesn´t mean this diet doesn´t come with some potential benefits.
Though there are many reasons to criticize the potato diet, it does have some potential benefits:
- Potatoes are high in nutrients. They are an remarkable source of many essential minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin C, potassium, iron and folate.
- It’s easy to implement. Though this diet is restrictive, it is fairly easy to implement. Simply stick to eating plain, baked or steamed potatoes for three to six days.
- It’s not expensive. Potatoes are one of the cheapest natural and unprocessed foods available, making the baked potato diet relatively inexpensive.
- High in fiber. Research has shown that diets high in fiber diets can promote gut health and may play a role in preventing being overweight, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Despite these benefits, potatoes don’t provide all the nutrients needed for optimal health — there isn´t simply no single food which can do that (eggs come close to this but also lack Vitamin C to provide you a full spectrum). Potatoes lack calcium, zink and vitamin B12 – which are all essential to maintain optimal health (Source).
Following a well-balanced diet plan like The Custom Keto Diet which include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein is better for your overall health and promotes sustainable weight loss.
Potatoes keep you saturated: Because of its unusually high satiety index. Meaning that people feel fuller for longer periods of time after eating potatoes than compared to many other foods. If you feel more saturated you won’t need to eat as often. This can lead to eating fewer calories. Fewer calories equals going into a caloric deficit and burn more energy than you are taking in.
You’ll get tired of potatoes: Eventually, you will get tired of potatoes, which will also cause you to eat less frequently and in less quantity. You won’t be stuffing yourself with extra calories when you are already full because you’ll be bored of eating potatoes. And you won’t obviously want to do a lot of snacking when your only option is reduced to a boiled potato for weight loss.
There are significant downsides If you rely on potatoes to your sole food source there are however some significant downsides. The following list elaborates on this: It is Extremely Restrictive!
The baked potato diet seems to be one of the most restrictive diets out there, which can make it very difficult to follow. What´s raising more concern is the fact that this type of restrictive diet may lead to you developing an unhealthy relationship with food.
In other words, restrictive dieting like with the baked potato diet is a form of eating disorder that can lead to other unhealthy behaviours, such as binge eating and/or anorexia nervosa. This makes it very difficult to follow. Even more concerning, this type of strict dieting may lead you to develop an unhealthy relationship with food.
Other restrictive behaviours such as skipping meals and fasting are also encouraged on this diet. This is highly unnecessary, as the diet is already very low in calories.
The Author of “Potato Hack: Weight Loss Simplified” even suggest that when following this kind of diet to embrace hunger and only give in if you must, which, in our eyes, is a questionable statement.
It doesnt offer enough Protein, Fat, and Other Essential Nutrients
Potatoes can undoubtedly be a good nutritious source of an overall balanced diet regimen. However, they simply fail to meet all your nutrient needs. The major two ingredients being fat and protein.
A medium sized potato contains only 4 grams of protein and barely any fat. Altough they provide a high amount of certain vitamins and minerals – such as vitamin C, potassium and iron – they are low in essential nutrients like vitamin A, calcium, and important B vitamins.
The Good News is: Since the baked potato diets intention is to be followed for three to six days, it is not likely you will develop a nutrient deficiency, but with all extreme mono diets we advise you to talk first to your doctor and get a overall health check before starting these kind of diets. It is not impossible to risk developing several nutrient deficiencies if you choose to follow a mono diet like the baked potato diet in frequent bouts or for the long-term.
You are at risk to May Lose Muscle
Mono diets like the baked potato are a popular choice because they promise the user fast weight loss. However, loss of muscle usually accompanies fat loss while dieting – especially when you drastically cut down on calories.
One study found that 18% of the weight lost by test subjects on a very-low-calorie diet, like the baked potato diet, was from lean and metabolic active body mass. Those on a low calorie diet with 1,250 calories per day only lost 8% of their weight from lean and metabolic active body mass.
Several studies are indicating that eating extra protein can aid in muscle loss while dieting in extreme caloric restriction diets, which the baked potato diet lacks.
Most Likely you will Gain Back the Weight
When following a diet plan very low in calories – such as the baked potato diet – your body is at risk to adapt by slowing down its metabolic activity which in turn lets you burn fewer calories even at resting. Some studies claim that this slowdown can persist for many years – even long after ending these kind of diets – which will make it hard for you to lose body fat in the future, which isn´t a place you absolutely doesn´t want to be.
The scientific term is “adaptive thermogenesis” and can make it extremely difficult for you to maintaing weight loss in the long run. As a matter of fact, this is a major reason why researchers estimate that over 80% of dieters return to their previous state of weight over time. You can have more sustainable results by following the Custom Keto Diet in combination with Trimtone, even with a small caloric deficit by optimizing your weight loss hormones.
To summarize: Since the baked potato diet is extremely restrictive, it can lead to a unhealthy relationship with food and can lead to nutrient deficiencies, weight regain and muscle loss.
What you are allowed to eat?
Potatoes obviously, but they can be prepared in several different ways including:
- boiled potato for weight loss
- backed potatoes
- steamed potatoes
- oven-baked, oil-free home fries
- oven-baked, oil-free hash browns
- oven-baked, oil-free French fries
The only seasoning permitted is Salt on the most common version of the diet. However, there are other variations out there which are allowing fat and sugar-free condiments and spices. Additionally, chicken and vegetable broth is used by some dieters to make mashed potatoes, mash the potatoes plain, or let them boil in broth.
You´re advised to drink only water, black coffee and plain unsweetened tea (you can use calorie free sweeteners though) as beverages.
To summarize: Common white potatoes are allowed on the baked potato diet and can be prepared in several ways. Stick to plain unsweetened tea, coffee and water when you need to drink.
What Foods Should Be Avoided?
There is a endless list of foods which should be avoided at all costs when following the baked potato diet. After all it is a mono diet which allows only for one ingredient – Potatoes. Certain ways of preparating the potatoes should be avoided as well – especially any way that involves frying in oil or overprocessed industrial potato dishes. Some examples of potato foods to be avoided are:
- sweet potatoes
- hash browns
- tater tots
- french fries
- potato chips
If you are not taking part in the Spud Fit Challenge or any otehr related variation of the diet, you are allowed to eat only plain, white potatoes, which means no yams, cooking oils, sweet potatoes, spices or condiments except for salt, which should be used sparingly though.
Here are some ideas for a three-day sample meal plan that is compliant with the rules of the baked potato diet.
This meal example plan for the first day of the baked potato diet consists of 9 medium-sized potatoes (3 pounds or 1.4 kg) and provides around 785 calories.
Breakfast: 2 water boiled or broth boiled potatoes and a cup of black coffee
Snack: 1 boiled potato, served mashed
Lunch: 2 boiled potatoes, served cold
Snack: 1 Baked Potato, sliced
Dinner: Oven-baked French fries without oil and a dash of salt
This meal example plan for the second day uses 12 medium-sized potatoes (4 pounds or 1.8 kgs) and provides around 1,100 calories.
Breakfast: A cup of unsweetened grean tea with baked hash browns
Snack: 2 broth boiled potatoes
Lunch: 2 steamed potatoes seasoned with a little bit of salt
Snack: 2 oven baked potatoes
Dinner: 2 plain, air fried potatoes without fat
This meal example plan for the third day uses 14 medium-sized potatoes (5 pounds or 2.3 kgs) and provides roughly 1,200 calories.
Breakfast: Home fries baked with a cup of lemon water
Snack: 3 steamed potatoes, served cold
Lunch: 3 plain baked potatoes
Snack: 3 in broth boiled potatoes
Dinner: 3 air fried potatoes with a pinch of salt
To summarize: This meal example plan uses 9–14 medium-sized potatoes each day. These may be steamed, baked or boiled, and provide round a bout 780–1,200 calories daily.
On mono diets like the baked potato diet, you are limited to eat only plain potatoes for a short amount of time ( three to six days ). Claims indicate it can result in weight loss, enhance gut health and boost immunity.
Though it may can aid you in your weight loss efforts, there are not many studies which are backing up this particular diet and it´s long term effects, it is obviously quite restrictive, and lacks certain important nutrients and can lead to unhealthy eating behaviors.
Hello, My Name is Cassie Jones and I am the Main Content Author for Weight Loss Journal. I am a mother of two precious boys and have a Bachelor in Nutrition & Dietetics from the University of Barcelona. I struggled with obesity for 21 years, when during my studies I was able to lose 45 pounds in 10 Weeks with the knowledge I have gained. My Goal is to share my knowlege with you, in order for you to live a healthier and happier life.