The Potato Hack is based on a diet described in an 1849 medical journal simply called “Potato Diet”. It’s exactly as it sounds – basically this is a diet where you eat nothing but potatoes, for as many days as you need to lose the weight you want to lose.
Sounds faddy right? I thought so too. Well stick with me because I’ll explain that there is a lot of science surrounding the potato hack, and the benefits it can bring to you.
The Potato Hack has one main rule – eat only potatoes for 3-5 days.
You can continue it for longer if you need to lose more weight, or you can repeat it every week or month if you prefer/need to. There are variations on the diet that are all explained in the book, but essentially this one rule is the only rule. You can’t get much simpler or easier than that!
What Sort of Weight Loss Can you Expect?
Tim claims in the book that you will lose ½ to 1 pound of fat per day, so during a 5 day potato hack you could lose as much as 5 lbs. The great thing is that this is not water loss, so you shouldn’t gain it back the minute you stop eating only potatoes.
How to Do The Potato Hack
The book has very clear explanations of how to follow The Potato Hack with advice for different people such as “serial dieters” and people needing to lose different amounts of weight, advice on which potatoes to buy and how to prepare them. But the main advice is the same – you eat only potatoes!
Believe it or not there is even an extensive recipe chapter with lots of innovative ways to cook potatoes to ensure you won’t get bored during your hack. Although good old roast potatoes just won’t be the same without goose fat!! Mmmm roast potatoes…just thinking about them makes me hungry!
Part 1 of the book ends with a chapter on troubleshooting. As Tim explains – The Potato Hack is not a “diet”, it’s a short-term intervention to lose weight, with the added benefit of reducing inflammation and having positive effects on your gut bacteria.
But we’re all different and as we’ve said before there is no one-size-fits-all approach to diet, so there is the chance the potato hack might not work for you. You’ll never know unless you try it!
Anyone can try The Potato Hack for 3-5 days, whenever they need to lose a little weight, and repeat it as many times as they need to over the course of weeks, months or years.
Benefits of The Potato Hack
- It’s simple and easy to follow
- It’s cheap
- Anyone can do it
- Weight loss is fat loss not water loss
Science Behind the Potato Hack
Part 2 of the book contains extensive references to how the potato hack benefits the body. Everything Tim claims in the book is thoroughly backed up with scientific research.
As Tim says in the book “the holy grail of health is the prevention of inflammation.”
Potatoes contain compounds that are anti-inflammatory (and also anti-carcinogenic), so over the course of a 3-5 day potato hack you will see a reduction in inflammation. This will bring positive health benefits.
One of the most important components in potatoes is a substance called resistant starch, which is food for gut bacteria.
Resistant starch is starch that does not get digested in the stomach or small intestine and enters the large intestine intact.
Resistant starch plays a huge part in health and weight loss. A large proportion of the trillions of bacteria that live in our large intestine favour resistant starch as a food source.
In return these bacteria produce short chain fatty acids, in particular a fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate is fuel for the cells that line the intestine. When these cells are healthy our gut lining functions as it should and our overall health improves.
According to the World Health Organization:
“One of the major developments in our understanding of the importance of carbohydrates for health in the past twenty years has been the discovery of resistant starch.”
This should tell you something about how important this overlooked substance is! We should all be focusing on resistant starch in our diets and trying to consume more of it than we do. Eating potatoes, especially cooked and then cooled potatoes, is one of the easiest ways to do this.
There is also a chapter on Potato Starch, which is a good prebiotic due to its high levels of resistant starch. If you are going to use potato starch, it needs to be raw and unmodified for you to see the benefits. Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch is a good option. Some other flours are also good sources of resistant starch – Green Banana Flour and Tiger Nut Flour. Raw tiger nuts are also a good wholefood source of resistant starch.
At the end of the book there is a fantastic chapter summarising what we know (and don’t know) about the human gut microbiome. This chapter is sufficiently detailed to give you a good overview of what’s going on, without making any unsubstantiated claims about what our current understanding of the gut biome can tell us.
The Potato Hack is written with great humour, and considering it’s a whole book about essentially just eating potatoes you’ll be surprised how entertaining it is and how much you will learn.
I am a bit of a geek when it comes to nutrition so this book was right up my street!
I love learning new things that we can try that will have a positive impact on our health, particularly our gut bacteria, and I’m always looking to add things to my bank of resources for helping people lose weight and get healthier. This book is definitely one of my new favourite resources and I urge you to give it a read. You can buy The Potato Hack on Amazon.
The author Tim Steele can be found at one of his two blogs:
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