Can Eating Mashed Potatoes With Your Meals Cause You To Eat 30-40% Fewer Calories?

Mashed Potatoes

I’ve had renewed interest in The Potato Hack lately, emerging here just over three years ago, producing a bunch of posts and comments once Tim “Tatertot” Steele brought it to my attention. He’ll soon have a book out, specifically on The Potato Diet, or “Hack,” as we like to call it. I’ve skimmed through his draft and offered a few suggestions. You’re going to love it. There’s actually nothing particularly new about it, as you’ll see.

Lots of folks gave the intervention a shot to various degrees way back then, and so far as I recollect, lots of people dropped a lot of pounds and those who’d been having blood-sugar issues from chronic, low-carbohydrate induced insulin resistance saw improvement there as well. Some ketogenic dieters even remained in a ketogenic state, owing to the chronic caloric deficit (what ketones are really for, physiologically…starvation). For myself, I had become pretty disillusioned with seeing fasting BG at 115-130 day after day for a long time, kinda just becoming an LC eater by default, I suppose. A few days of mostly potatoes and no more problems. But I really hate going more than a couple days eating bland potatoes only. Is there a better way?

Maybe. I recall very well one commenter, Marie, who had excellent results even including a little protein and fat. See this post (meal pic included). She wrote:

See picture. Shouldn’t this be making me fat? And yet…. down 2.2 lbs this morning after 4 days of this diet.

On a caloric deficit of only about 500-600 C a day.

And I’m well hydrated (not thirsty, skin plump) as you’d expect from topped-up glycogen stores.


  • 1.2 lbs microwaved then ‘fried’ potatoes in 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 marinated mushrooms
  • 3 grape tomatoes
  • 4-5 roasted garlic cloves
  • 3 slices bacon

Twice a day, but the other time no meat and a bit less potatoes, about 1 lb. Can’t handle more than a total of about 1.8 – 2.2 lbs a day. Sometimes instead of bacon, I use strips of liver (6oz) or strips of steak (4oz). First day was straight-up boiled potatoes, but still with the goodies.

Obviously, boiled potatoes are highly satiating. How do we know that? Because it has been experimentally tested in a pretty clever way, and that was way back in 1995—so 21 years of low-carbohydrate advocates generally being wrong about [some forms of] potatoes (a potato is a potato, french fried or boiled, see…it’s a carbohydrate…which is just a carbohydrate, you know…just like soy protein is exactly the same as ribeye steak…and corn and soy oil…no different from beef tallow or pork lard…fat is fat…oh, wait…).

Here’s the abstract.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to produce a validated satiety index of common foods.

DESIGN AND SUBJECTS: Isoenergetic 1000 kJ (240 kcal) servings of 38 foods separated into six food categories (fruits, bakery products, snack foods, carbohydrate-rich foods, protein-rich foods, breakfast cereals) were fed to groups of 11-13 subjects. Satiety ratings were obtained every 15 min over 120 min after which subjects were free to eat ad libitum from a standard range of foods and drinks. A satiety index (SI) score was calculated by dividing the area under the satiety response curve (AUC) for the test food by the group mean satiety AUC for white bread and multiplying by 100. Thus, white bread had an SI score of 100% and the SI scores of the other foods were expressed as a percentage of white bread.

RESULTS: There were significant differences in satiety both within and between the six food categories. The highest SI score was produced by boiled potatoes (323 +/- 51%) which was seven-fold higher than the lowest SI score of the croissant (47 +/- 17%). Most foods (76%) had an SI score greater than or equal to white bread. The amount of energy eaten immediately after 120 min correlated negatively with the mean satiety AUC responses (r = -0.37, P < 0.05, n = 43) thereby supporting the subjective satiety ratings. SI scores correlated positively with the serving weight of the foods (r = 0.66, P < 0.001, n = 38) and negatively with palatability ratings (r = -0.64, P < 0.001, n = 38). Protein, fibre, and water contents of the test foods correlated positively with SI scores (r = 0.37, P < 0.05, n = 38; r = 0.46, P < 0.01; and r = 0.64, P < 0.001; respectively) whereas fat content was negatively associated (r = -0.43, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: The results show that isoenergetic servings of different foods differ greatly in their satiating capacities. This is relevant to the treatment and prevention of overweight and obesity. [emphasis added]

…So, basically, you feed a bunch of people 240 kcal servings of different foods when fasted and hungry, wait a couple of hours, and let them tackle an all-you-can-eat buffet. Then you document how much they ate. And of all foods tested (including meat and fat), boiled potatoes caused people to consume the least, voluntarily, ad libitum. Stephan Guyenet blogged about this four years ago and I made a mental note of it, probably why when Tim approached me that I was so open to it. Also, here’s a good explanation of all the ins & outs, along with this nifty graph.


Notice potato chips way down there on the bottom, both predicted and experimentally. “You can’t eat just one” was indeed a prophetic marketing slogan. But then, to see how experimentally, boiled potatoes blows everything else out of the water—including the prediction—is truly a remarkable finding that appears to have been largely ignored in general, and derided and scoffed at by the low-carbohydrate community.

As you might have guessed, I have something new to show you, hot off the presses: The effects of potatoes and other carbohydrate side dishes consumed with meat on food intake, glycemia and satiety response in children (full free text).

From the introduction:

Over the past 40 years, the consumption of potatoes has decreased by 41%, [1] which may be a consequence of movements aimed at decreasing serving sizes or the removal of French fries from school cafeterias and other quick service restaurant meals for children. [2, 3] This may be due, in part, to the increasing evidence in the literature where observational studies show potato consumption may lead to increased risk of obesity. [4] Moreover, it has led to an increased demand for general dietary advice to replace potatoes with rice and pasta, which may or may not be of lower glycemic index (GI). However, these carbohydrates (CHOs) are rarely eaten alone on a daily basis, [5] but are commonly consumed in a meal with other foods that lower the GI of the meal when compared with CHO sides eaten alone. [6] For example, the GI of potatoes was significantly reduced from 93 to 39 when boiled Estima potatoes were served with 62 g of cheddar cheese and from 108 to 54 when mashed potatoes were served with oil, chicken breast and salad in amounts that represent a meal. [5, 6] Similarly, the GI of rice-based meals is markedly reduced through addition of other meal components such as tofu, eggs and vegetable [7] or chicken breast, vegetables and oil. [8] Therefore, these studies lead to the hypothesis that advice based on the GI of fixed amount (50 g) of available CHO, may not be representative of post-prandial satiety and glycemia when CHOs are consumed freely in a mixed meal. [9] Yet, only one study has reported the effect of providing ad libitum access to CHO sources in a meal on energy consumed and postprandial glucose. [10] Food intake by men given a fixed portion of meat ate 31% and 23% less with free access to mashed potatoes compared with pasta and rice meals, respectively. [10] No similar study of children has been reported.

The rationale behind the present study was twofold; first, current dietary recommendations regarding CHOs suitable in meals for children are not based on meal studies and second, are heavily dependent on their high GI and their fat content, and not on their overall functionality within a meal. We hypothesized that energy intake, postprandial subjective appetite, blood glucose (BG) and insulin in children following ad libitum meals with meat is not predicted from the GI of the CHO. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of commonly consumed CHO side dishes such as potatoes, pasta and rice along with a fixed portion of meat on food intake, satiety, BG, insulin and gut hormone response among children (aged 11–13 years) with healthy body weight over a 2-h period. [emphasis added]

I’ll toss you an association: The 41% decrease in potato consumption over 40 years corresponds rather well with the onset of the obesity epidemic. Moreover, in the old days, most potato consumption was likely boiled, mashed, and baked or roasted potatoes; whereas now, it’s chips and fries. But, just an association in advance of The Big Punch Line, representing one potential line of hypothesis; such as 1) type of carbohydrate, 2) how it’s prepared, and 3) what it’s eaten with.

The abstract:

BACKGROUND: The effect of carbohydrate (CHO) foods on blood glucose (BG) is ranked by their glycemic index (GI). Boiled and mashed potatoes (BMPs) are ranked as high GI foods, whereas pasta and rice have moderate GI rankings. The objective of this study was to compare ad libitum consumption of common CHO dishes consumed with meat on meal-time food intake and post-meal satiety, BG, insulin and gut hormones in 11- to 13-year-old normal weight children.

METHODS: Two randomized crossover studies were conducted. At weekly intervals, children (experiment 1: 12 males (M), 8 females (F); experiment 2: 6M, 6 F) received in random order 1 of 5 CHO side dishes of rice, pasta, BMP, fried French fries (FFF) or baked French fries (BFF) eaten freely together with a fixed amount of lean beef (100 g). In experiment-1, food intake over 30 min and subjective appetite were measured for 120 min. In experiment-2, the same outcomes were measured along with BG, plasma insulin and gut hormones.

RESULTS: The results for boys and girls were pooled as sex was not a factor. In both experiments, children consumed 30–40% less calories at meals with BMP (P o 0.0001) compared with all other treatments, which were similar. BMP increased satiety, expressed as a change in appetite per kilocalorie, more than all other treatments (Po0.0001). FFF resulted in the lowest (Po0.0001) glucose and insulin at meal end and post-meal and peptide YY (PYY) post-meal. Blood measures were similar among all other treatments.

CONCLUSIONS: The physiological functions of CHO foods consumed ad libitum at meal time on food intake, appetite, BG, insulin and gut hormone responses in children is not predicted by the GI. [emphasis added]

…So, give 12-hr-fasted kids the same morning meal (cereal with 2% milk, and OJ); then for lunch, a fixed portion of meat (they used meatballs), and as much of one of 5 carbohydrates as they want. Document total consumption. Total consumption with rice, pasta, or deep-fried or baked french fries was about the same…but 30-40% less with boiled mashed-potatoes. All the carbohydrate dishes were served hot to avoid starch retrogradation—i.e., resistant starch variations—and the mashed potatoes included butter and whole milk (3.25%), so hardly unappetizing.

I’ve gotta say. This is just yuge: 30-40% difference, side-by-side!!! and when we see it be dismissed by paleo and Low-Carb communities, blithely “acknowledged,” or just waved away or ignored—as I’m absolutely sure will happen—then what can we really say about the integrity of those communities? Can you tell me what you say about the integrity of those communities in that scenario? Please?

I mean, for example, this paper on acellular carbohydrate was published in 2012 and has been pretty much ignored since (saw Robb Wolf emphasize it, so there’s that): Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity. Hint: a calorie is not a calorie; but calories count. Mercifully, it’s not being ignored by all. Here’s a presentation by Dr. Ian Spreadbury, given to the Ancestral Health Society of New Zeland: Acellular Carbohydrates: Are Our Bacteria a Detector of Dietary Refinement? Its 20-minutes have been viewed a whopping 825 times, which is the maximum occupancy of the restrooms at Paleo f(x).

So how about some practical matters?

  1. Well, you can do the straight and strict potato hack, and there will be Tim’s book for that soon (and it includes a lot of cool stuff on the history of folks who’ve sustained on it). You can use it to lose a lot or a little in various intermittent ways.
  2. You can do a modified version, where you add trace fat and/or protein to boiled potatoes to make them more palatable; especially, if like me, the satiety is so high, or palatability so low, or both, that you’re miserable otherwise.
  3. You can get into your kitchen laboratory and create yourself a few kinds of mashed potatoes that are mostly mashed potatoes, and not a vehicle for insane amounts of butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, salt, etc.
  4. Then, in terms of #3, you can use that as your exclusive potato hack, combine it with #2 as a hybrid, or simply eat as always—except you include one version of your mashed potatoes with most meals and see if as predicted by the experiments, you simply eat less, and perhaps less often (the ultimate key to a steady loss to a new set point).

I’ll cover all of those in more detail in the next post, including a couple of recipes, one of which I just made today. Here it is: 1,900 total calories (my average need is 2,500). It’s 3 pounds of russet potatoes, plus a few other things. It’s very satiating, combined with enough palatability to really enjoy it. A perfect combination.


Think I can eat the whole thing in a day? If I could, I’d still be 600 below average requirements. Now, how hard would it be to eat 1,900 calories in pure ketogenic fashion, which would be an 8 oz. steak bathed in 5 oz of pure fat? See where I’m going with this? And wait until you see the nutrition profile of the whole thing, compared with some LC and Keto surrogate equicaloric samples.

One request for commenters. Let’s confine discussion to the science as much as possible (if you can, no hard & fast) and then tackle the practicalities in the next post in a few days. That way, all the helpful hints and hacks are in one place.

Update: The Potato Diet Day 10 Update: Weigh-In, Meals, Workouts, and Blood Glucose Measures

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Tim on February 20, 2016 at 18:54

    That soup is making me hungry! And you say potatoes make you not hungry. How can this be? I love that satiety chart, just sort of speaks for itself, eh?

    The strict all-potato hack is easier for lots of people, and probably has more to do with Guyenet’s food reward theory. As soon as you start adding other foods and flavors, you subconsciously give yourself permission to keep eating normally. If you keep it to “just” potatoes, it seems to bypass all hunger signals and the hunger just stops. This may not be an issue for everyone, but for those that tend to overeat, the stricter potato diet seems to stop all cravings.

    But any diet where potatoes form the bulk of calories seems to be a weight loss diet. Within reason.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 20, 2016 at 20:05

      Yep, Tim, that’s probably another way. Just eat lots of potatoes, with whatever else in a sembence of sanity–whole foods mostly–and not by means of potato chips and french fries.

  2. solver on February 20, 2016 at 19:14

    Was it here I read about the fortified iron hypothesis for weight gain? It’s back to potatoes now, hey. I like potatoes. That soup looks fucking great. Yum, yum!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 20, 2016 at 20:10

      We’re approaching this from different angles that don’t involve “a carb is a carb,” essentially.

      There is a common denominator, perhaps, and that’s processed foods. So, potato chips and french fries, but also fortified baked goods. Then there’s insane fat and sugar combined and of course, various forms of myserty processed meats…think hot dogs and chicken nuggets.

      And the frankenfats probably play a role too.

      Bottom line, real, whole food eliminates all these problems when paying attention to what that means.

      • solver on February 20, 2016 at 20:28

        Agree. While we can never be sure of the exact cause, ‘evolutionary’ based principals, which can defined as simply as you say, ‘real food’, have the advantage of being test for a few million iterations prior to the development of our present day ‘knowledge’ of food/diet/weight.

        Deviating from evolutionary based principals/real food requires a strong burden of evidence in my opinion.

        There was an experiment done on mice which showed that they would not over eat if presented with unlimited pure carbs or unlimited pure fat but would overeat if presented with both combined in one source. Now tell me, how many natural sources of high fat & high carb foods are there? Yet a vast majority of processed food has this high fat & high carb combination, does it not? Coincidence?

  3. Nenad Kojić on February 21, 2016 at 00:14

    I’d like to share my “potato experience”!

    I “set aside a certain number of days, during which” I’m “content with the scantiest and cheapest fare”.

    I sometimes do 3 days of “potatoes only” and on the 4th day I add cabbage and beans to the potatoes. After 3 days of only potatoes, I’m always discover a whole new appreciation for the simple “potatoes with beans”. Nowdays people would probably think you are crazy to even have one such a meal, let alone look forward to it.

    Normally I do a few days of mixed food like meat , eggs, tubers and such. Never add any fat (seems crazy to me to bathe your food in oils – even more crazy when someone calls it “paleo” – i don’t think caveman knew how to press coconut oil – or any other, for that matter. When I feel like eating fat (maybe once every few days) I just roast a slab of meat and eat just this for the whole day (probably LC). Then at least once every week I do a day of “potatoes&beans” (high carb would be my guess).

    This keeps my metabolism happy and very flexible. Even though I average 200-300 carbs a day I have no problem skipping a meal or even a whole day of eating any food. To me, being able to go for a long period of no food and without any “hangriness” is an indicator of flexible metabolism. And it’s more than obvious you don’t need to be LCHF to be a “fat-burning machine”. I’d even bet a whole lot on the idea, that “food” is not even the most important thing for “healthy methabolism” – it’s a whole bunch of other things aswell – like microbes, movement practices, sleep & other circadian rhythms, community & relationships, stress control and such…

    I work as a PT and consultant, and I sometimes do nutritional regimes for people. Mostly I “prescribe” a bunch of tubers and potatoes – especially for the active people . And almost every time I get a response in the line of: “are you f*cken crazy? I can’t eat so much potatoes” or “everything else I could finish, but I just feel to full to finish all of the potatoes.” So much about fat being the “most satiating nutrient”…. sigh…

    • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2016 at 08:11

      Excellect Nenad. And, with a little pro experience too.

      Fat is not satiating. It’s just not, and it packs more than double the energy per gram and is far easier to be stored that this LC de novo lipogenesis saw.

      One just need look at the logic, as I wrote in my post last week about Mild Critique of LC Adding Fat. Only in chronic overeating does the body begin taking advantage of excess carbohydrate, convert it to fat, and store it…like a bear already fat from the salmon skin then gorging on the fall berries in preparation for a 5-month nap.

      • Wilbur on February 21, 2016 at 17:30

        “Fat is not satiating. It’s just not, and it packs more than double the energy per gram and is far easier to be stored that this LC de novo lipogenesis saw.”

        Context is everything, and I might misunderstand yours.

        In the context of my current situation, I find fat very satiating. Fat is not an emphasis of my diet, but is a part of it. Carbs are likewise. I just eat, and don’t care about macronutrients. In general, anyway.

        But I watch. I find it interesting, for instance, that I eat the same amount of smoked salmon for lunch day after day. Then I go to an upscale butcher, and they have beautiful lardo. Pure fat. Amazing. I get 2 ounces. This replaces my salmon for 4 days, and I’m guessing it’s 1/4 the weight I’d normally eat per day.

        It seems a priori. I just look at it and know I will eat far less. It’s a visual satiation, not an experiential satiation.

        Again, there is context. But in my experience (after fixing my gut), fats, proteins, and carbs are equally satiating given their calorie loads, but I place no emphasis on one source over another and in fact use all without prejudice.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2016 at 15:19


        I’m not sure what 2 ounces over four days can show about anything, for any food.

        Hell, someone wants to eat 2 ounces of table sugar over 4 days, doubt it’s ay big deal or shows anything in any direction.

      • Wilbur on February 22, 2016 at 18:59

        Except this: My body makes instinctive adjustments like this all the time. Yes, eat two ounces of sugar for 4 days, and nothing shows up on the scale. But eat 2 ounces of sugar for 4 days, 2 ounces of extra pasta for 4 more, 2 ounces of white bread for yet 4 more, etc., and suddenly you’re talking 225 extra calories per day for an indefinite period. In contrast, 1/4 ounce of lardo and 2 ounces of salmon are close in calories (allowing for the fact that I do not usually weigh my food). For 4 days, something inside me told me – before I’d eaten any lardo – to reduce the volume so that the calorie count was about the same. If I had not, the calorie count would have been about 500 instead of around 125. Rinse and repeat…

        If I were to eat lean chicken breast instead, I can picture in my mind exactly how much to eat. I’d bet the calorie count would be roughly the same.

        I’m thinking about your potato soup. It seems a crime to make it without butter. I’ll add the equivalent of two sticks of goat butter. I know right now that I’ll eat half as much as I would without the butter. Equally satiating both ways.

        In my case, the composition of (real, not SAD) food is irrelevant to its satiety. I lived a long time without this being true. I just see statements like “Fat is not satiating. It’s just not…” as equivalent to similar statements about carbs. But I think it requires being in a space that does not demonize or prioritize one relative to another.

    • laFrite on February 22, 2016 at 01:24


      It’s because it’s not so much about macros but appetite regulation in the brain. Your appetite is probably well regulated, the signals from your energy stores are well understood and your brain regulates appetite and physical activity accordingly. I observe the same thing with me. I don’t gain weight at all and I don’t watch anything, but I mostly eat whole foods, preferring tubers, whole grains, fruits and legumes as the caloric bulk and using meat and fat as condiments (not every day at all, these items are rather expensive these days, when you go for high quality foods) , I sleep well and regular, move my butt every day (biking, weight lifting, walking) and don’t stress every detail. When you have all these factors combined, your body works well (e.g. I haven’t been sick for a long time now, many year ago, I would at least get a very runny cold every year, my skin would look bad, and since I was sleep deprived, I felt tired most of the daytime).

  4. Tim Maitski on February 21, 2016 at 07:27

    Glycemic indexes are good as a starting point but you have to remember that they are not absolutes. They are averages of individuals, and sometimes they aren’t based on that many test subjects. Just because a food might spike glucose levels for a majority of people doesn’t mean that it will do the same thing for you as an individual.

    There’s nothing better than getting a glucose meter and testing yourself. That is really the only thing that matters. How does something affect you.

    You also need to check how a total meal affects your glucose levels and not just individual foods, unless you are doing the potato hack. The complexity multiplies quickly but you hopefully find combinations of foods that work for you as an individual.

    I found that retrograded boiled potatoes spiked my glucose quite a bit but when I eat them with some lentils it’s a lot better. So I do a lentil-potato hack and feel much better.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2016 at 08:03

      I agree, Tim. GI or GL are just calculated numbers used to make predictions, not representative of metabolism, physiology, and they don’t play well with other variables.

      I think that’s what these studies showed. And for boiled potatoes even in isolation, their predictive prowess appears to be squat.

  5. sassysquatch on February 21, 2016 at 09:08

    My satiety from potatoes is very good. It’s even better with oatmeal. I’ve been alternating 1 day of potatoes and beans (and a few tiger nuts), with 1 day of oatmeal (and a banana and whole milk mixed in).

    I’ve lost 26+ pounds in about a month and have not felt the least bit deprived.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2016 at 12:54

      Hey, you could even switch it up and save the whole milk allotment for creamier mashed potatoes.

      Wow, almost a pound per day sustained for a month without having gnawing hunger and feelings of deprivation. Amazing.

    • tatertot on February 21, 2016 at 13:06

      The diet in pre-famine 1800’s Ireland was potatoes, oats, and milk. Fueled a population explosion. Their problem was that they started relying too heavily on potatoes of one variety that had no resistance to the potato blight.

      I have not plugged “potato, oat, milk” into a nutrient calculator, but I’d bet it has an incredibly nutritious profile.

      • Mycroft Jones on February 21, 2016 at 13:18

        I wonder if that is what happened to the honeybee populations. Asian and African varieties are immune to varroa, but have some quirks. Sort of like the sweet banana situation.

      • Mycroft Jones on February 23, 2016 at 14:32

        I’ll try Bob’s Red Mill next time. Thanks.

    • Mycroft Jones on February 21, 2016 at 13:15

      Is the oatmeal boiled? Does it work when you do “oats in a cup” uncooked oatmeal? When I was a kid I loved that; raw oats, soaked in milk, larded with brown sugar.

      • sassysquatch on February 22, 2016 at 03:21

        Mycroft Jones – I microwave mine for about 6 minutes. I can eat quite a bit – so I mix 3 and a half cups of dry oatmeal with about 6 cups of water (and cinnamon). The banana and milk are added to the finished product.

        I can go 20 to 24 hours on that meal – and it’s one of my favorite foods.

      • Mycroft Jones on February 23, 2016 at 01:56

        Thank you. I had the urge to buy oats last week, and haven’t eaten oats in years. I haven’t eaten it, because it looks like all the oats here in Canada have iron added. But if you are getting the benefits even with iron added, I’ll give it a try too. Be nice to have a source for un-enriched oats here in Canada.

      • sassysquatch on February 23, 2016 at 07:48

        I use raw, organic oates – usually ‘Bob’s Red Mill’

        I’m pretty sure they are not iron fortified (at least in the U.S.). The ingredients just shows organic oates.

    • Mark on February 21, 2016 at 15:29


      What was your starting weight?

      • sassysquatch on February 22, 2016 at 03:13

        Mark – I started at 275 pounds. That is not a weight I had recently ‘ballooned’ to – it is a weight I’ve carried for 5+ years. I’m a 6’2″, 61 year old male. I’ve lifted weights for almost 50 years, so the 275 was not a big pot belly and blubber.

        Too much weight, yes, that’s for sure. As of last Friday, I weighed 248.5.

        And believe it or not……..not all 30 days were ‘perfect’. I had at least 6 days of eating what ever I felt like – but just jumped right back on the wagon when Sunday or Monday rolled around.

        It’s not too tough, when you are eating foods you enjoy….as opposed to LCHF. If I can eliminate a few more of those ‘cheat days’, I think the weight decline will continue on track! 🙂

    • Charles on February 22, 2016 at 07:34

      I’ve always done well with oatmeal, and I’m pretty carb-sensitive, otherwise. I keep reading in the LC world how oatmeal is so high-glycemic, but it has never been that way for me. A bowl of oatmeal (with or without other stuff) in the morning generally keeps me non-hungry until after noon. And just as an aside, I’m much less carb-sensitive in general since I started on all the microbiome repair.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2016 at 07:50

        Yep, what a shocker. So many who’ve adopted LC to lose weight suddenly forget that they used to do fine on carbs. While they ate crap, too much of it, and likely too much in general to pack on the pounds, most did not have BG and insulin problems.

        Fast forward months to years and even looking at a carb sends their BG into the heavens and they conclude that’s the problem. Carbs per se, not the kind, and how they are paired with other foods.

        But then, just like someone who has a couple weeks of sore muscles after returning to the gym no longer has them, and they make gains, so too can former LCers learn to properly exercise their glucose metabolism and after a wonky period, make gains.

      • George on March 14, 2016 at 16:48

        I have done wheat belly for some time and all grains are no-no. Is oats ok?

      • Richard Nikoley on March 14, 2016 at 17:35

        Doing wheat belly is fine. Dr. Dave is doing the best he can, but the problem is people get caught up in religion because that is what people DEMAND!!!

        They search for the next Savior, having the experience being disappointed with the last. Repeat.

        It’s not wheat, most likely. More likely in what form you eat it, with what, etc.


        In other words, it’s probably not wheat per se, it’s how you were raised to consume it.

    • Mycroft Jones on February 27, 2016 at 11:14

      Any chance you could weigh out the (dry) beans and let us know how many pounds of beans go with those 2 pounds of potatoes?

      • George on March 14, 2016 at 17:47

        I have been thinking about introducing freshly ground stone milled wheat. We’ see. Started with your soup today, potatoes for snack 🙂 I have those extra lbs that wheat belly won’t touch.

  6. Lasse on February 21, 2016 at 09:17

    Very interesting!
    My Hungarian girlfriend often tells me how her parents gave her boiled potatoes and nothing else when she was sick as a child. Sometimes with a little cheese on top. Sounds like it’s a common thing to do in Hungary.

    Think I’m gonna try that at some point!

  7. laFrite on February 22, 2016 at 01:33

    For me, potato-legumes-tuber-fruits-grains is a constant, permanent hack 😀

    When I have money, I will add condiments such as eggs, cheese, meat / fish, butter or EVOO but that’s really not every day: meat or fish is probably happening once a week on average, even less frequently sometimes, eggs a little more often, cheese is according to “cravings” and as I said, wallet. I also load up on non caloric veggies but I am not fanatic about those, it’s just for the colors.

    Combined with daily physical activity and proper sleep, good company and little stress, I feel on top of things most time.

    I was toying around with regular fasting 2 years ago or so and TBH, I feel better with eating regular meals (2 to 3 meals a day, or sometimes, I would eat small items throughout the day without thinking). I do fast once in a while but not for very long, maybe 24h and not because I want to optimize something in my body. It is a more spiritual endeavour: my mind feels clearer and refreshed after that. I have no problem fasting by the way 🙂

  8. Jessi on February 22, 2016 at 08:01

    I love potato soup and yours looks tasty. Looking forward to the next post!

  9. Hap on February 22, 2016 at 10:02

    This all reminds me of the great Yaakov Smirnov (comedian) who said during the days of the Soviet Union…”In Russia…pick up line in bar is….”want to share a potato”?

  10. Amy on February 22, 2016 at 12:19

    Richard, so when’s your next post? I want the recipe for that soup. It looks deeply yummy.

    I’m guessing besides potatoes there’s bacon, milk, little bit of butter…?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2016 at 15:20

      Coming around probably on Wednesday.

  11. Robin on February 22, 2016 at 14:05

    Richard –

    There’s a lot that’s wrong with the Paleo community (excluding legumes comes to mind) but even loren cordain came around to potatoes.

    So is there any prominent leader of Paleo that is anti-potato? I don’t follow them all that closely – but they all seem to be gung ho about potatoes.

    By the way – as a Type II diabetic, I can say that starchy foods in general don’t fill me up. I tried the potato hack and was only able to tolerate it if the potatoes were sufficiently cooled over night which drops the GI and increases fiber.


    • Richard Nikoley on February 22, 2016 at 15:37

      Where did Cordain come around on potatoes? The only thing I’m aware of is sweet potatoes, and that was only for “athletes.”

      The last article on regular white potatoes I can find on either Google search or his own blog is this, from only a year and a half ago (and it’s an utter mess of bullshit, in my view, typical of most of his stuff, in my view).

      I can’t fucking stand Cordain, and I’ve chatted with the pompous ass over a drink in a bar, which only confirmed my suspicion of him.

      • Robin on February 23, 2016 at 17:27

        Richard –

        I stand corrected 😉

        I did some google searches and it seems like Cordain still has a tater phobia.

        I tend to just follow Chris Kresser & Mark Sisson – I must have gotten them confused.


  12. Eric on February 24, 2016 at 08:47

    I finally got around to making potato soup. I put a big piece of beef joint/bone, salt and water in a crock pot over night, and then used some of the broth and water to boil chopped potatoes and leeks the next morning, and then mashed up a lot of the potatoes with a “ricer” and mixed it all back together with a pint of organic heavy cream and cracked black pepper and simmered until it thickened some.

    I was blown away by how great it tasted and how satisfying it was with just a small bowl and a half for my main meal of the day. And it tasted just like New England clam chowder without clams so I could substitute a bunch of clams and their juice for the beef broth.

    I’ve read a few of these potato hack posts and I still don’t understand why it’s not good to add fat to the potatoes, it’s just stated as fact, why? Sounds almost like mainstream LFHC dogma.

    Also satiety from pasta depends so much on how it’s cooked. Eating nearly crunchy rigatone in Naples was a revelation. I started cooking extremely al dente pasta along the road side while bicycle touring in hilly country and found it gave me the most long lasting energy of any trail food I’ve tried, besides pemmican maybe, I didn’t get into that until years later.

    At this point we’ve lived through so many macronutrient balance recommendation fads that I think it’s time to just get back to eating what tastes and feels right and let other factors determine the rest, like budget and seasonal availability. In this day and age however we do need to make a conscious effort to avoid poisons and/or foods that trick our bodies like refined sugar, refined seed oils, iron enriched grains, artificial sweeteners, GMO, etc… Other than that avoid things that don’t taste good, like over cooked pasta! Focus on good food combinations, traditional cuisine, and quality, natural ingredients. A diet high in saturated fats and quality starches seems like one good choice, it’s very enjoyable and well precedented. I suppose you might want to just vary protein intake based on how much strength training you do, protein dense muscle meat is the most expensive nutrient anyway. Potatoes are cheap and I get grass-fed suet for next to nothing, for now….

    • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2016 at 10:25

      Eric, the no added fat is for those trying to lose weight.

      The key is having plain boiled potatoes, perhaps with a little salt and/or vinegar, be palatable enough to eat until feeling satisfied, not palatable enough to gorge on.

      In ways more important than people realize, the potato hack is more about palatability / hunger response / reward dysfunction reset for people who tend to seek out highly palatable and rewarding foods, eat too much of them too often and too long.

      For those who are fine on that, potatoes are a great addition to the dietary mix, and have them any way you like, though french fries ought still be in the same place as an indulgence.

      • Eric on February 24, 2016 at 10:36

        Ok so then the term potato “hack” means a short term weight loss, metabolism resetting kind of diet as opposed to a long term alternative for people who already eat pretty well, though those people can still probably benefit form potatoes too for the same reasons as the hackers?

      • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2016 at 12:27


      • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2016 at 12:28

        Plus, potatoes are damn decent nutrition. Compare euqicaloric portions of boiled potatoes with beef steak. You might be surprised.

        You might have a meat & potatoes epiphany. Combined, it’s killer nutrition.

      • Eric on February 25, 2016 at 07:53

        Yeah that’s what us Americans used to eat before we all got obese, right? Potatoes grow almost anywhere (even on Mars!) and we’ve got a lot of open space for cattle to roam, so it makes sense since it also a very enjoyable and satisfying combination.

        I’ve been experimenting with other starchy foods in the form of bone broth based soups and stews, specifically barley and split pea, but they both seem to give me a good amount of gas if I eat very much, not the potato soup though. My old staples of plantains and yuca seem to always agree with me also but those are hard to find outside the ‘hood, I was wondering what I would eat if I decided to move…

  13. […] Can Eating Mashed Potatoes With Your Meals Cause You To Eat 30-40% Fewer Calories? […]

  14. Richard Nikoley on March 3, 2016 at 12:47
  15. Ana on March 4, 2016 at 08:39

    “You might have a meat & potatoes epiphany. Combined, it’s killer nutrition.”
    The Estonian father of my earliest friend, who still lives a few doors down from my mum, is 93 and in amazing shape. He’s lean, alert, agile and still drives. I saw my friend a few weeks ago and couldn’t help asking her what her dad eats. She said he doesn’t eat a great deal and is basically a meat and veg man, with the veg always including potato, which he eats every single day.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 4, 2016 at 08:49

      Cool. Another one to include in today’s post.

    • George on March 14, 2016 at 17:03

      I am from Sweden and potatoes has always been a staple food. You eat, or should I say ate, potatoes with every meal. Then burgers came, pizza and all the other processed food and then obesity.
      Eating a lot od,carbs, doest that create a lot of triglycerides?

  16. Joseph Croft on March 9, 2016 at 13:20

    Hey Richard,
    Is there any data that you know of, on other tubers and satiety? Sweet potatoes, African yams, ancestral tuber varieties?

  17. thhq on March 28, 2016 at 17:27

    It all comes down to mortality. The fact that Jack Lalanne, Ancel Keys, the Italians/French/Sardinians/Okinawans lived practically forever impresses me and I focus on them. Not Atkins, Davis, Fixx, Jobs or Pritikin. The secret is how long you can stay out of the cemetary. Go with the ones that stayed out the longest.

    Results trump theory every time. When I asked Henry Blackburn for reasons why Keys lived to 100 he responded “Why does anyone live to 100?”. And then he answered all my questions, and more.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 28, 2016 at 19:50


      You know what? I’m old enough and have been around long enough to remember that way back in Paleo fantasy days, that was a principle way to dismiss lots of stuff, and it was always the best way.

      Total mortality. Why the fuck do you particularly care what you die from? Who wins, between the guy who dies from an MI at 70, vs. a guy who dies of cancer at 80? Given quality of life, the latter. Duh?

    • thhq on March 29, 2016 at 14:43

      Here’s how I want to go. Living in Naples on a little farm, drinking cocktails and wine with my bread, pasta, mollusks and olive oil. Just like Ancel and Margaret. Give me sunny Naples.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Follow by Email8k