Andrew Taylor only ate potatoes for the entire year of 2016. His potato diet included a few stipulations: he ate both white and sweet potatoes, and he occasionally blended in soymilk, tomato sauce, salt, and herbs. In addition, he took B12 supplements. He did, however, eat potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in general. Over the year, he had four blood tests, all of which he claims came back normal. He also lost weight and felt more energized as a result of his efforts.
“If you have to choose one food, if you’re going to Mars, choose potatoes,” Taylor advises. “I’m not trying to be a potato evangelist, but it was a fantastic experience for me.”
To begin with, eating only one type of food is not a good idea. We require 20 amino acids to thrive, nine of which are essential, meaning we cannot produce them and must obtain them from food. In addition to a slew of minerals and vitamins. (Of course, we need water in addition to food to keep our cells hydrated and prevent them from withering and failing to function.) We’ve regularly combined meals throughout history, such as rice and beans, yogurt and almonds, and to some extent, macaroni and cheese, in an attempt, or by mistake, to consume the correct mix of nutrients that you can’t generally get from eating a single food item. However, in times of famine, fasting, or weird double-dog-dares, a human can exist on a few foods, at least for a while.
Diet of potatoes
One good example is the potato. Andrew Taylor isn’t the only person in history who has subsisted almost entirely on potatoes. Around a third of the Irish population consumed most of their calories from potatoes in the early 1800s. In 2015, the average American consumed 113 pounds of these starchy tubers. “You can’t beat a typically baked spud for the money and your blood pressure,” says Joan Salge Blake, a clinical nutrition professor at Boston University.
Technically, the conventional white potato includes all of the essential amino acids required to form proteins, cell repair, and disease resistance. And if you ate five of them every day, you’d be there in no time. However, if you only ate white potatoes, you’d eventually become deficient in vitamins and minerals. Sweet potatoes play a role in this. These orange potatoes in the mix belong to a different taxonomic family than white potatoes. The potato eater is more likely to get their prescribed daily dose of Vitamin A. The organic molecule in carrots that your mother claimed might make you see in the dark, and Vitamin E. Scurvy is a notoriously awful disease caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C that causes the victim’s teeth to fall out. No one on a diet of sweet potatoes and white potatoes would acquire it.
Even with this combination, you’ll need to eat many potatoes to get the correct amounts of everything. You can get all of the necessary amino acids you need to make proteins, repair cells, and fight diseases by eating five potatoes. However, unless you ate 34 sweet potatoes or 84 white potatoes every day, you would have a calcium shortage. To achieve the recommended quantity of protein, you’d have to eat 25 white potatoes every day. Soybeans are higher in protein and calcium. However, they lack Vitamin E and beta-carotene.
Of course, potatoes have some health risks, mainly when consumed in large quantities. White potatoes include a type of carbohydrate that causes your blood sugar to rise and then fall, putting a load on your insulin system. According to many studies, people who ate many of these tubers were more likely to develop diabetes and become obese.
Andrew Taylor lost weight, which wasn’t his primary goal. He did it by eating less overall and cutting off sugar. He gave up most foods to teach himself to find comfort and joy in other aspects of his life. Even though his spud experiment ended, he continues to be enthralled by potatoes. He says, “It was merely an experiment that turned out precisely as I wanted.”
Foods that will keep you alive
Any dietician would not approve an all-potato diet. They wouldn’t advocate one made entirely of coconut, kale, seaweed, or yogurt. There’s a reason why consuming a mix of vegetables, cereals, proteins, fruits, and oils is recommended in the US dietary standards. If you eat any of these by themselves, you’ll quickly get the same nutritional deficits as if you ate a potato. Variety is crucial, and it’s critical in this case. So don’t simply eat a baked potato; pack it with other nutritious foods as well.