To find out,
spoke to registered nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert.
Lambert is registered with the
Association for Nutrition
(AFN), and has a first class Bachelor (BSc) and Master’s (MSc) degrees in Nutrition as well as Diplomas in Nutritional Interventions and Excellence in Practitioner Skills for Eating Disorders.
Potatoes do contain plenty of fibre, Lambert explained, but the lack of other nutrients in a potato only diet can be extremely damaging.
I would be very worried if someone were to embark on a very restrictive regime like this, mostly because of the nutrition you’re missing out on.
If you’re having nothing but potatoes you’re missing out on the other macro nutrients in your diet; you’re missing out on your fatty acids, omega 3s, complete lack of protein, and the essential nutrients your body needs for cellular repair, different types of energy every day, cognitive function, it has a drastic impact.
Although a person can survive on this diet, and Taylor evidently did, Lambert says a person's health will deteriorate in other areas, particularly the gut.
Although potatoes do contain a lot of fibre, and vitamin C, and there's anti-oxidants in them as well, they don’t contain the varied amount of nutrition obviously for the body to function properly.
Lambert warned against these sorts of fad diets, and diets in general.
I’m not a fan of diets. Diets are a short term, quick fix, and not sustainable and they can damage someone’s relationship with food.
Apparently a restrictive, one food diet, can also harm your taste buds, meaning they suffer when you do try to
Moreover, the way the potatoes are consumed will change how useful it is as diet. Lambert says that cold potatoes, for instance in a Nicoise salad, would be more beneficial for someone who wants to lose weight, than a hot jacket potato - but these benefits are purely for satisfaction and blood sugar levels, not health gains.
Taylor claimed that his spud only diet left him with lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, but Lambert suggests this is not directly linked to the potatoes.
He probably had high cholesterol, high blood pressure , he goes on diet and loses some weight - and of course they drop, it’s a correlation, it’s not a direct result of the potatoes, it’s a result of the energy decrease in food.
She said it could have happened if he just eaten peas everyday for a year, or eaten apples every day.
Taylor also noted the lack of calcium he was getting from the potatoes, and said he was therefore using 'calcium fortified organic soy milk' to make mashed potatoes.
Lambert said that calcium supplements are never as good as the real thing.
No supplements will never replace real food. While you might get a small, kind of minute, helping hand, there are numerous studies that say they are simply not enough and you can’t rely on calcium supplements if you’re not eating any calcium forever.
She also pointed out that the body sometimes passes supplements without using them, and also that supplements are often expensive.
We asked if the potato diet was the sort that only suited a certain body type.
It's certainly not suitable for diabetics, any diet like this that involves a lot of insulin release...[but] I would really advise anyone
to do it.
Going on any kind of drastic diet like this is not a good idea. It can be dangerous, it can damage your health, and it can have a poor effect on your mentality around food.
I can’t really say anything positive about it, other than potatoes are a nutritious foods.
As expected, a well rounded nutritious diet containing a variety of foods is best for your health and your figure.