The potato diet is a diet in which participants eat only potatoes for a select amount of time. Some may do it for 3-5 days while others opt to stay on the diet for a longer duration.
A person is not allowed to take condiments, deep fry or process the potatoes. Several people have lost weight based on the program. Therefore, it delivers results. However, these individuals may be prone to potato diet side effects.
Most of the challenges with this diet come from the nutritional value of the food. Additionally, the sustainability of the diet is questionable.
You also have to consider the psychological effects the program has on your body. Some side effects are so damaging that they merit a reconsideration of the diet plan.
Hidden Potato Diet Side Effects
1. Slows down your metabolism
One of the key challenges with restrictive diets is that they slow down metabolism.
In the potato diet, you eat significantly fewer calories than before. You are only allowed a maximum of 5 pounds of potatoes a day. This means that your body will learn to survive on fewer calories by reducing its metabolic rate.
Once you get off the diet, the low metabolic rate may persist. Chances are that you will gain weight if you eat more than your reduced metabolic rate.
In this study, it was shown that most people regain weight because the body actively opposes dieting. It does this by altering the leptin hormone, which controls hunger. Additionally, it makes metabolic changes that preserve energy through fat storage.
2. Causes muscle loss
One of the worrying potato diet side effects is the loss of muscle mass. Most crash diets cause muscle loss, which in turn slows down your metabolism.
The less muscle mass you have, the fewer calories you burn. If you lose muscle, you could also increase insulin resistance, have limited mobility and strength and low energy levels.
In this study, it was shown that the people who lost weight quickly (they ate 500 calories for 5 weeks) lost plenty of muscle mass (18% of weight lost). In contrast, those who lost weight slowly (they ate 1250 calories for 12 weeks) lost less muscle mass (7% of the weight they had shed).
You can prevent muscle loss while losing weight rapidly by doing these 15-minute home workouts.
3. You may experience protein deficiency
A potato diet glaringly lacks protein, which is essential for weight loss and good health.
If you consume potatoes alone for a long time, you may develop protein deficiency. This extreme state causes malnourishment, fluid buildup and a bloated belly in kwashiorkor patients.
Even if you don’t stay on the diet for long, you may experience muscle wasting and slow wound healing. Proteins make up most body structures and cells. Therefore, cutting down on it could significantly compromise your body’s constituents.
4. Compromises your immunity
Your body needs essential fatty acids (fatty acids that it ingests but can’t synthesize). Most come from fish, olive oil, soya oil, chia seeds, and nuts.
One of the key potato diet side effects is the lack of these critical nutrients. If you eat potatoes alone, you are likely to experience the consequences of deficiency. Having a compromised immune function is one of the outcomes. Others include skin dryness, liver and kidney abnormalities, and depression.
5. Could cause eye and bone problems
Potatoes do not have several vital nutrients. Feeding on them alone can cause a deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins like A, B, E, and K. You would also have a low supply of calcium in your system.
If you lack Vitamin A, you may have blurred vision or problems with your eyesight. Vitamin E helps with antioxidants while lack of vitamin K leads to hemorrhage.
Potatoes also lack calcium, which is critical in bone formation. As a result, you may have a higher risk of fractures and bone-related diseases.
6. Is hard to follow and leads to attrition
There is nothing more monotonous than eating the same food over and over again. Human beings derive pleasure from food, so when you eat only one type of food, you are likely to get bored. Boredom often leads to frustration and may cause you to get off the diet.
What’s worse is that even the way you cook the potatoes is restricted. You can’t flavor them or fry them. Baking and steaming are bland methods of cooking, which take the fun out of such a routine part of life.
7. It leads to continuous hunger
Extreme diets that advocate for only one type of food in low amounts cause a lot of hunger.
In this study, it was shown that people adhered to food plans when the plan had high levels of satiety. And they fall off the wagon if they were constantly hungry.
One of the potato diet side effects is poor compliance due to low satiety. If you only eat 2-5 pounds of potatoes, you are likely to feel hungry. This means that you will feel deprived and crave for more food (usually not potatoes). Some people binge after caving in to their urges.
8. It can cause constipation or bloating
If you eat potatoes without the skin, you would have too much starch in your system and little fiber. The result would be constipation.
On the other hand, if you eat potatoes with skin on, you would get sufficient fiber. However, many dieters have experienced bloating from ingesting the skin. Either way, you’d have to contend with gastrointestinal problems.
9. Low energy levels
Lethargy and fatigue are common potato diet side effects. Since you will restrict your diet severely, you won’t have enough energy to function normally. This is why proponents of the diet discourage adherents from exercising.
Most likely, you won’t have the energy to work out. Also, chances are that you’ll feel sluggish throughout the day.
10. You may develop Anemia
Men may not have a problem with this. However, women who menstruate may become susceptible to anemia on the potato diet. Potatoes have no iron, yet this is a critical nutrient in blood formation.
When you stay on the diet for a relatively long time, like 1 month or more, you could become predisposed to anemia.
11. Mood and irritability
A highly restrictive diet such as this one lacks vital nutrients. The lack of folic acid and iron makes you vulnerable to mood swings and poor cognitive functioning. Sometimes, this can escalate to depression.
Also, continuous hunger changes the chemical serotonin which regulates sleep and appetite. Eating very low calories increases cortisol, which is a hormone that heightens stress.
To prevent irritability and mood changes, you need a diet that allows you to eat sufficient amounts of calories for all your daily needs.
12. Blood sugar
If you have problems with your blood sugar or have diabetes, then the potato-only diet would not be a good idea.
Unlike sweet potatoes, white potatoes have a high glycemic index. This means when you take them, you spike your blood sugar levels and you could develop insulin resistance.
The Bottom Line
A potato diet restricts calories, nutrients, and variety. Very restrictive diets often lead to binge eating, bad mood, lethargy, slow metabolism, and hunger.
Additionally, diets with one type of food cause nutritional deficiencies like anemia and low immunity. And if you have no variety in your meals you are likely to feel bored and binge eat.
While the potato diet may have short-term benefits, the side effects are quite dismal. Therefore, it is not a sustainable method of losing weight.
You’re better off combining a healthy diet with short fat-burning workouts to lose weight rapidly.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]