Pick the Potato Diet Variation That Works Best For You

There are many ways to do the Potato Diet.

A strict Potato Hack involves eating nothing but cooked and cooled potatoes. Nothing else. No fixings or even salt. This hack can be done for 3-5 days. Or you could do a single day. Or you could eat nothing but cooked and cooled potatoes all day, followed by a regular dinner.

I created a variation of the potato diet called Potatoes and Protein. Add a lean protein to the cooked-and-cooled potatoes.

Which one is best? I think this depends on two factors. How much weight do you need to lose and how motivated are you? If you have a lot of weight to lose and are highly motivated, go strict. If you don’t have that much weight to lose or have less motivation, try a half-tater variation.


Penn Jillette was in terrible health. He was over 100 pounds overweight, on lots of prescription medications, and was at high risk of getting a heart attack. He picked the hard version of the potato hack.

Penn Jillette lost over 100 pounds in 3 months. He began his diet by consuming nothing but potatoes for 15 days. After that period he completely lost his taste for all the junk food that made him heavy and was so readily available in his hometown of Las Vegas.

Like myself, he has maintained his fat loss over several years. Read his book Presto! to hear his story.

Half Tater

SMTM asked me recently my thoughts on the “half tater” approach.

After I did a few strict potato hacks to jump-start my fat loss, I shifted to a diet of skipping breakfast, eating cooked-and-cooled potatoes for lunch, and then a typical dinner.

As I got closer to my ideal weight, I felt it was more important to increase my protein to defend against muscle loss. See my P-Ratio post for an explanation of why increasing protein becomes more important at a lower body fat percentage.

Potatoes and Protein is a half-tater variation. Start with a bowl of potatoes and then add lean protein on top. Add some veggies and hot sauce. I still do this frequently.

Resetting Your Palate

I stress the volume effect of potatoes a lot in this blog. But there is another equally important benefit of the potato. Plain cooked-and-cooled potatoes don’t have much flavor. By themselves, they don’t taste bad or good. By engaging in potato hacks, you will appreciate the flavors of healthy normal foods much more than before.

My notes after my first potato hack in 2015:

I imagined myself eating a lot of food after 3 days of potatoes, but I didn’t. It was Thanksgiving Day and I never ate less food on that holiday. I also didn’t desire sweet foods. There is a big bowl of Halloween candy in our kitchen that I didn’t touch once. In the week after Halloween, I was visiting the bowl a few times a day.

If your diet is processed or highly flavorful and you want whole food to taste good, I recommend going on a strict multi-day potato hack to start your diet. If you already eat and enjoy the taste of whole foods, then a half-tater approach might be enough for you.

Gagging on Potatoes?

I’ve read reports that some people start gagging on cooked-and-cooled potatoes. I had this happen once early on. I was eating too fast. I was slamming the potatoes to shut down the hunger as quickly as possible. You can do that with other foods, but not potatoes. Eat them slower.

Is eating cooked-and-cooled potatoes slowly boring? Yes. That is a feature, not a bug. Learning how to slow down when eating is a skill that will help you achieve and maintain leanness.

Last Words

I think this will be my last post on the Potato Diet. I believe I’ve covered it all. You are either motivated to try the diet or you aren’t. I was highly motivated. Now I’m 40 pounds lighter and it feels effortless.

If you have any questions, drop me a comment.


Potatoes by Peter Schad


Add yours

  1. just curious. read some of your old posts and seems that you used to live in Florida. Why did you leave? i always read about how people are flocking down there but would like your respectable analysis of why you moved. unless you were somehow forced by job or relationships, could you maybe make a post about that?

  2. @trey – My GF at the time was finishing a masters degree in DC. I got a job offer there, so I moved up. When her degree finished, we picked California over Florida. I liked my time in Florida. I prefer the outdoor daytime culture of the west coast to the indoor air conditioning culture of Florida.

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