Monday, February 1, 2016

Potato Hacking for Weight Loss or Maintenance

It's been fun so far seeing lots of new folks around here, and even some old-timers, trying the potato hack. We'll get into the science later in the year, I wanted to start out with the practicalities of using the potato hack to lose some weight. Later, we'll discuss using the potato hack to reset your metabolism, reduce inflammation, and other effects, but for now, we'll focus on weight loss.

The potato hack has undeniable physiological effects on the overweight body. We can use these effects to lose and maintain weight effortlessly. Weight loss is normally achieved through some strict calorie counting scheme or manipulating the macronutrients (protein, fat, carb) to force a calorie deficit. Weight loss without a change in diet or a deficit is usually an empty promise.

Compared with starving oneself for months or years to lose weight, using the potato hack is a whole new kind of dieting experience. The “HCG diet” uses drops or injections of a human hormone that allow the participant to eat very few calories without feeling hunger. Many people who have tried both the HCG diet and the potato hack have told me that the potato hack has the same effects as the HCG diet, but at a fraction of the cost and without side effects.

Side effects have also been reported with the HCG diet and include fatigue, irritability, restlessness, depression, fluid buildup (edema), and swelling of the breasts in boys and men (gynecomastia). Another serious concern is the risk of blood clots forming and blocking blood vessels (Mayo Clinic, 2015).

Weight Loss

The potato hack can be used whether you need to lose 200 pounds or 2 pounds. Many people like to do a round or two of the potato hack in preparation for a class reunion, wedding, or photo-shoot. The fast acting potato hack is absolutely incomparable for losing a few pounds in short order.

If you have considerably more weight to lose, you will want to do subsequent rounds of the potato hack until your goal weight is reached. Here we’ll explore several different ways to pull off these repeated hacks. If your diet is horrendous, ie. you constantly overeat and traditionally make poor food choices, the potato hack can help get these cravings under control. However, no amount of potato hacking in the world will overcome bad eating habits, but it may help you see the folly in your ways.

The bane of most diets is that the weight lost comes right back on when you stray from the diet. The potato hack is not a “diet” but a fast fat-reduction method. Fat loss is the end goal of all diets, the potato hack focuses on this aspect of dieting while keeping your body adequately nourished. In food-form, the potato is hands-down the best diet pill ever designed.

Most diets make you focus on a completely new “way of eating,” often abbreviated “WOE,” it is indeed woeful to have to learn and adhere to new rules of eating. Diets that make you avoid starches, or meat, or fat indefinitely are destined to fail miserably. Our bodies are designed to eat a wide variety of foods. We can only fight nature for so long. Generally, these diets are plagued by strong cravings for forbidden foods, of course if you are reading this, you already know.

Quick Fat Blaster; 1-5 pounds

This is almost too easy. As most of you know, losing a pound or two to fit into those skinny jeans can be murder! Not so with the potato hack. You can generally get the results you want in a week. Done just prior to the engagement where you want to look your best, you’ll have the added benefit of reduced inflammation which gives the appearance of much more weight loss than the scale shows.

The plan:

For 3 days, eat nothing but potatoes. Do not fall for the lure of the “variations” we discussed last month. Do this “old school.” You have strong desire on your side.

Pre-hack – Buy a 20 pound bag of the best potatoes you can find. Organic if possible. Hopefully you know what kind of potatoes you like, having experimented earlier. If you are unsure, I suggest you start with smallish red potatoes. These will be tennis ball sized or smaller. The peels are very thin for easy peeling, if desired. They are very tasty and suited for all recipes.

Day 1 – Pre-cook about 10 pounds of potatoes in any manner you desire. For breakfast, try oil-free pan-fried hash browns. For lunch, if you work, pop a couple potatoes in the microwave or just eat them cold. No one will even notice. For dinner, more potatoes, however you like. If you get hungry during the times between meals, keep calm and eat potatoes. Remember, it’s not a potato eating contest, it’s a fast fat loss diet. Being a bit hungry means you are burning fat. Learn to embrace the hunger and only give in if you must.

Day 2 – Skip breakfast. Maybe gnaw on a small cold potato if you absolutely must, but try waiting as long as possible. Much of the fat loss that occurs on the potato hack happens in that magical time between dinner and your first meal of the day. Extending this time period will lead to more weight loss. Eat a hearty potato lunch. Try a big pile of oven-baked oil-free French fries. Even cold or reheated these taste great. Try not to eat again until dinner. For dinner, eat a hearty serving of potatoes however you like. May I suggest a large serving of mashed potatoes? By now your pre-cooked potatoes supply is dwindling. On the evening of day 2, cook as many potatoes as you think you’ll need for the next day. Go to bed hungry.

Day 3 – Breakfast only if you like. For lunch, a cold boiled potato. Your dinner should be a nice warm potato entrée. Savor the taste. By now you should find yourself actually enjoying a well-prepared potato meal. If you’ve been choking down cold boiled potatoes, you are undoubtedly getting tired of them. If this is your first try at the potato hack, 3 days is a great accomplishment! Congratulations. 

Day 4 – If you like, add another day to your potato hack, if not, today is your first post-hack day. Eat what you like on this day, but I want you to notice how that first bite of food tastes. Your taste buds and the reward centers of your brain have been numbed by 3 days of bland potatoes. Most likely, you woke up not hungry and, in fact, hungry for potatoes. A great first post-hack meal is hash browns, only this time cooked with a bit of oil and spiced with seasoned-salt. Your taste buds will sparkle as the spices and oil-crisped potatoes slide over your tongue. Have a small piece of chocolate or an orange, you will think you’ve never had anything so tasty.

Results – If you weighed yourself on Day 1, you should find yourself 2-5 pounds lighter on Day 4. Your clothes will feel looser; people may notice a leanness in your face. But best of all, you will have an appreciation for food. A respect for yourself.

If there’s time before your big event, do the potato hack again after a couple days of normal eating. Try one of the variations this time and compare results. Two 3 day hacks a week apart are just perfect for a high school reunion. When people ask how you stay in such good shape, tell ‘em, “The potato hack!”

First Time Dieters - Twenty to 100+ Pounds

This is for the first time dieters who woke up one day and realized they need to lose some weight. Or possibly the person whose doctor said, “Lose some weight or else!” I love first-time dieters, especially when their head is not full of stupid advice. The potato hack is all you’ll need to make you, and your doctor, very happy. But, you must learn to eat right! If you’ve been on a diet of Mickey D’s for lunch and Taco Bell’s “4th meal” for a late night snack, you have a long, long road ahead. The potato diet will help you lose weight and keep it off, but you, my friend, need to learn how to eat.

The Plan:

You need a whole new relationship with food, but you don’t need to become afraid to eat. Examine your diet. Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? Are you eating lots of processed foods? Are you a sugar-holic? It’s tough to navigate this on your own, so download a couple of diet books. Dr. Phil’s 20/20 diet plan is pretty sound, so is the one encouraged by Jack Lalanne in “Live Young Forever.” Stop short of buying into the trademarked diets. If you need to buy special food for the diet to work, it won’t work. Don’t fall for the Vegan doublespeak. If you ask me how I eat, I would say that I’m a “vegan who eats meat and a paleo who eats wheat.” Getting all religious about a diet plan is the wrong mindset.

Get going on a diet, any diet, and see how you get along. Nearly any diet out there is better than how most Americans eat. The potato hack can help you establish your relationship with food by showing you how delicious real foods are. The potato hack also shows you that “cutting carbs” is a ridiculous idea, especially when wholesome foods such as corn, rice, and potatoes are included in the tally.

Week 1 – Once you’ve made up your mind to lose the extra weight you are carrying, there’s no going back. Use this first week to clean house. Get rid of all the junk food and greasy snacks in your house and desk drawers. At some point, buy a 20-pound bag of high-quality, preferably organic, potatoes. Make a couple of the potato dishes from the recipe section and have a couple potato-only meals during the week. Baby steps! Slow and easy wins this race.

Week 2 – Try to do a 1-day potato hack. Eat potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Still hungry? Snack on a potato.

Week 3 through 8 – Try eating “to plan” for the diet you’ve settled in on. Learn to shop “around the outside” of the grocery store, avoiding the inner aisles filled with processed foods and snacks. Don’t bounce back and forth between diet plans, such as low carb and vegetarian. If the plan seems too good to be true, it is. If it seems too difficult, it won’t work. This is also the time to evaluate your fitness levels, sleep habits, and stress. A good diet plan will encompass all of these core tenants.

Week 9(ish) – Sometime after you’ve been eating better for a couple of months, take note of your weight and how you feel. Has two months of the new diet helped you? If you are happy with your new eating style, try a 3-day potato hack to really get things moving. If you are consistently losing 1-3 pounds per week, don’t bother with the potato hack. If you’ve gained weight, re-evaluate everything you are doing.

Weeks 10-26 – After about 6 months of steady dieting, you should be nearing your goal weight. If, along the way, you experience stalls in weight loss that last more than a week or two, throw in a potato hack, as many days as you can stand. This is also a perfect time to try the many variations I showed you. Try some potato-only days or potatoes for breakfast and lunch days. The worst mind-set to get into is one of failure and defeat. If your health seems to be deteriorating, go see a doctor. Maybe you have a health problem.

Weeks 26-52 – As a formerly overweight person, you are hopefully now in “maintenance mode.” Be mindful of slipping back into your old habits. Use the potato hack here and there to keep you at your target weight. You may find that your goal weight was too low, and you’re better off a bit heavier. Develop life-long eating and fitness habits. Walk every day. Do some strength training.

Results – The potato hack is not a diet, it’s a simple hack to help your diet be more effective. As you’ve read here, the potato hack uses many facets of metabolism and weight loss to help you reset your body and mind to be more receptive to lasting weight loss. Don’t be surprised if sometime over the course of the year people start whispering about you, “Is he sick?” It’s a real shame, but in our society, it seems the only people who lose weight to any degree are the terminally ill. You’ll also be asked if you’ve “had the surgery.” Tell them all: “Nope! Just potato hackin’”

Weight Maintenance

The potato hack is second to none for effortlessly maintaining your weight through the years. The goal of every person who has issues with easily gaining weight should be life-long maintenance of their weight in a 5 to 10-pound range. Often when people gain a few pounds over a year or so, it goes unnoticed. After several years, and several pants sizes later, you find that losing those extra 10-20 pounds is not an easy endeavor. The best trick is to not let it get that far out of hand in the first place.

We should all have a subjective measure of our health be it numbers on a scale or the size of our clothes. Scales can be misleading, but if you have a rough idea of what you weigh when you felt healthiest, your weight can be a good indicator of your maintenance activities. Some people do not get along well with scales, they can’t handle seeing daily and weekly fluctuations and it causes undue grief. If this is you, throw your scale in the trash and use clothing or a “pinch test” to judge your weight.

The plan:

Here’s where last month's the variations shine. Once you are at or near your goal weight, try a 2 to 3-day potato hack and see how you respond. Once you've done it, plan on using one of the variations periodically for a couple days a month, or even just once a week. Many people will find they can simply eat whatever they like (ehm, within reason) as long as they do a potato hack 2-3 days a month. You won’t see big drops on the scale, and may not even notice anything, but you are indeed doing something!

A day of eating only potatoes creates a nice calorie deficit and burns a few ounces of fat. It’s always these “few ounces” that sneak up on us. The potato hack is such an easy solution. It’s not expensive, in fact, cheaper than your normal diet, I’ll wager. One of my favorite weight maintenance hacks is “Potatoes by Day.” PBD is a hack on another hack called “Vegan Before 6.” In VB6, you simply eat nothing but plants during the day and a normal dinner. This is perfectly suited to substituting potatoes for “plants.” Just because it’s a plant does not mean it will lead to weight loss. For instance, if your VB6 days contain lots of bread, nuts, and fruit it’s quite likely your caloric load will be higher. Good vegan diets require a lot of planning and forethought, eating potatoes does not.


The potato hack, with its many variations, should allow you to easily keep your weight in a 5 to 10-pound band year-round, year in and year out. Some like to “hack” before and after the holidays, at the end of summer, end of winter, or whenever you find you’ve gained a couple pounds. In this regard, no one can say the potato hack is a fad diet. Here we are using the potato hack to simply keep our metabolism, gut health, and weight in check.


If you just need to lose a couple pounds, a lot of pounds, or want to keep weight off long-term, the potato hack may be just what you need. 


  1. So there's a guy in Australia who has decided to eat nothing but potatoes for a solid year:

    1. Awesome advice, Well people always for new diet plans and exercises but never continue in a right way. I have lost 10kg with in 90 days by following an diet plan. This diet plan include foods like Nuts, whole grains, apple, eggs, green tea, hot paper, soups, lentils etc . These foods are great for weight loss.

      Find out here: How to lose weight safely and effectively

      Best rgs

  2. Dang, wrong link:

    1. I just contacted this guy (he goes by "Spud Fit" on Facebook). Maybe I can interview him soon.

  3. The authors of those sort ^^^ of articles always seem obligated to seek out "experts" to warn of the dangers ...

  4. Potato diet in the news:

  5. Nice new paper that may interest readers here
    Health benefits of the potato affected by domestic cooking: A review
    You can download the full text PDF from this link
    if you click the link ⇣ сохранить статью

    1. Thanks Ted! Great review. I put it up on the bulletin board as well with a free-access link so I don't get in trouble using Sci-Hub. Did you notice that nowhere in the article potatoes were compared to "worthless bags of sugar?" lol

  6. An old article, but still relevant I think.
    Microbiomics risks being drowned in a tsunami of its own hype

    Jo tB

  7. Tim,
    where can one find the potato hack recipes you refer to?

  8. Sorry, those will be in the next blog post! I keep forgetting to check for references to things in the future, lol.

  9. I know it's the year of the potatoe hack and this is the blog about it and in the post of potato hacking I apologize but this guy lost weight eating pizza seriously good wheat was discussed here last year

  10. Tim, What is the experience of people trying this for fat loss? I did the 5 day potato hack and lost 9 pounds. According to my impedance scales (admittedly how accurate are they?) of the 9 pounds, 5 pounds was fat and 4 pounds was muscle. Is that much muscle loss typical? Thanks and I enjoy your blog. Greg

  11. All weight loss is going to be a combination of fat, muscle, and water. I believe that the potato hack favors fat loss, though considerable water weight will be lost if there is lots of inflammation present.

    This is different from the water weight losses you see with initial entry into a low carb diet and fasting. When I used to fast once a week for 48 hours, I would lose 7-10 pounds, quickly regained upon normal eating. This was all water weight and after a year or so, it did not seem to result in any meaningful fat loss.

    With the potato hack, dehydration and loss of muscle water/glycogen is not a concern, so it does not tend to dehydrate and give the false impression of meaningful weight (fat) loss as many other diets do.

    As to muscle loss, I do not feel that any problematic loss of muscle can occur in just 3-7 days. Potatoes actually have many helpful compounds, such as chlorogenic acid, that body builders seek out for muscle mass retention: [see - ]

    Body-builders use green coffee bean extract to get chlorogenic acid, but the potato hack supplies a very hefty dose, too.

    I like to keep the potato hack to short spurts, ie. 3-7 days, with a return to normal exercise/eating in between. I am not confidant that a really long hack is a good idea if you also want to retain your hard-earned muscles.

  12. I am currently on day 3 of my first potato hack and am trying to decide where to go from here. I am most interested in help for my blood sugar dysregulation and also improving my GI/gut bugs. So far it seems to be helping the GI but not the blood sugar. I have been controlling it with a lowish carb diet and don't like to see it go above 120-140 after meals so it has been scary seeing it at 150-200 after potatoes. I am wondering how long it takes for most people to get good benefit from potatoes. I am not feeling very good while on this hack, I am not overweight either so don't really need it for that. Tim, I've seen you say basically if it feels good do it, if not, don't. I am sort of thinking of keeping the potatoes but adding back in low-fat foods so that I hopefully get potatoes benefits without feeling crappy and like I am starving. But how long should I go with high BS after meals before deciding it's not going to give me the results I want?

    1. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, as diagnosed by high A1C, and you are controlling it with low carb and not medicine, then that may be the best route for you to take.

      If you have been eating a low carb diet for a considerable length of time, and your FBG has crept up over the years, it's a whole different scenario.

      150-200 after a huge meal of potatoes is a normal response for people with no glucose issues. But the area-under-the-curve, response time, and time it takes for your BG to return to FBG levels also come into play. A spike to 200 at the 1 hour pp point which drops to the 100's at 2 hours and 80's at 3 hours is normal.

      Do you regularly test A1C? This is a better indicator of your insulin sensitivity. A higher fiber diet, especially containing resistant starch, has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity.

      In fact, the FDA is expected to approve a health claim presented by the manufacturers of Hi-Maize corn starch that says something to the effect that RS improves insulin sensitivity and may help prevent T2D. This will be a huge coup for food manufacturers as they will then be allowed to say "High in RS, may help prevent type 2 diabetes!" This will be the first FDA approved health claim for RS if it goes through.

      Back to your potato hack experiment, you are right - if it makes you feel bad, there is no problem with moving on to something else. Have you read Steve Cooksey's Diabetic Warrior blog/website (linked on the right sidebar here). At the end of the day, if you definitely have BG regulation issues, a 3 day potato hack may not be enough to reverse it. But if you were seeing very low FBGs while on the hack, it might be worthwhile to continue.

    2. My history is that I had problems with hypoglycemia on SAD as a young adult (I'm 58 now). I had a 4 hour GTT done back then and I was at 231 at 1 hour and only down to 134 at 2 hours (then of course I crashed to 47 at 3 hours). I found that I could control the hypos by just eating every 3 hours and went on my merry was as a high carb/high fat vegetarian for the next 30 odd years. 5 years ago I had my first access to a glucose meter and realized my fasting BS was high at 105. I educated myself about diabetes and pre-diabetes and adopted a moderately low-carb (~100g/day), high-fat diet.

      I never had an A1C done before my enlightenment 5 years ago and since then it has ranged from a high of 6.1 to a low of 5.3 and the last year or two has been around 5.6. Not really great but passable on the moderately low-carb diet. I don't do doctors so I buy my own blood tests and diagnose myself. I have not gone so low-carb as to have FBG creep. I sort of fence-sit, I guess. I do have an issue with my blood sugar staying high. The pattern is often up at 1 hour, down at 2 hours and then for some reason back up again at 3 hours. It's very strange.

      The moderately low-carb diet has not been the best thing for my gut though. I have had life-long tendency to constipation (poor consistency not poor frequency) and even though I eat a fair bit of fiber (~30g/day) it is worse on this diet than when I was a high-carb vegetarian (no surprise there, right?). I've been helping it with daily psyllium while maintaining the mod.-low-carb diet.

      So, I am torn. Should I eat the diet that controls my blood sugar better or should I eat the diet that keeps my guts humming a bit better? I read Denise Minger's post about how very-low-fat/very-high-carb diets can help or even reverse diabetes and your mention that a potato hack can help one's metabolism so I thought maybe I should give that a try once and for all. I have never eaten low-fat in my life. I love fat (and carbs)!

      My FBGs have not been bad although unfortunately I forgot to test it this morning before I ate so I only have the first 2 days' of the hack which were in the 80s, so not bad! But I run in the 80s or low 90s on my usual low carb diet anyway.

      I'll go read Steve Cooksey's blog. I've been there before - as I remember he was trying some prebiotic/fibers but had not given an update on how that worked out for him.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts!

    3. Quite a history! I know what you mean about being torn between a diet that helps one thing, but is not so good for the gut. An interesting experiment for you might be to continue your low carb eating, and take a hefty supplemental dose of potato starch, maybe 2 TBS, in addition to the 30g of fiber you are eating daily.

      If you don't like PS, try Hi-Maize corn starch if you can find it.

    4. Yeah, I need to revisit PS I guess. I did it in early 2015 but I actually don't remember what it did to my BG. I think I did 2T/day and got some painful gas but no transformation of my excrement. I got some Hi-Maize awhile back after you posted about it - it seemed to raise my BG, oddly. Maybe I'll revisit that too. I'm over at Hyperlipid now linked to from Steve Cookey's. Will wonders never cease? Peter endorsing low-fat?!

    5. No doubt that somewhere, buried deep in the comments of one of those blogs, is the exact answer you are looking for, lol.
      Happy reading! It's a journey.

    6. Diane

      I had hereditary hypoglycemia issues for most of my life (48).

      I tried lots of things. I finally beat it with my diet of the last two years. Not a single episode in that time, whereas I had multiple episodes per day previously.

      Being on the other side now, I'll say that you've not controlled hypo if you must eat every three hours. It still controls you. I can eat, not eat, exercise instead of eat. I can eat store bought birthday cake on an empty stomach with no issues.

      My diet has been extensively posted here. I don't know if you are aware of it. Basically, it is super high fiber with a broad range of fibers, lots of veggies (I prefer raw), and fatty meats. I've also discovered that raw onion might be an important part. I can give more info if you are interested. I'm cool if not!

      It's the oddest thing. My diet went from being the dominant concern in my life to being a nonissue - now I enjoy what I eat so much that diet has returned to being something I think a lot about.

    7. Wilbur,

      Thanks for your reply. I guess I haven't seen the full explanation of your diet before. I remember you back in early 2014 from FTA though - you were the one that said you don't just supplement with RS but a broad spectrum of fiber/prebiotics. It sounds like your diet is low-carb and high-fat, is that correct? So if I am correct you can do occasional excursions on high carb foods but generally you eat LCHF? Are you still supplementing fiber/prebiotics?

      I am not sure anymore whether I eat often to avoid hypos or whether it's sort of a habit. My main concern though is how high my blood sugar goes and the fact that it seems to stay up for a long time.

    8. I never tested my blood sugar, so I can't say definitively. I do remember my doc asking me if I had more or less energy. She looked concerned when I said less until I explained it was more constant and less boom and crash. Just the right amount all day long. Whether I eat or not. FWIW, I eat two larger meals per day and a lunch that's a bit more than a snack but less than a meal. Back when I had hypo, I did need to eat every 2.5 hours or if have blood sugar crashes. I know that prison.

      I do not think I'm LCHF. Truth is, I don't count. I take my fibers and eat what I want. I think a healthy gut directs a person to the right foods for that person, and what is right for one Is maybe not right for another, at least at that moment. I eat beans, potatoes, rice, pasta, whatever, but when I want to. I tend to eat nutrient dense stuff. So beans and potatoes often, but Astra and rice not so often. I eat several dried figs every day; I'm not sure how those fit in a LCHF framework.

      Oh yeah, I mention fat because I grew up be preached to that fat is bad. I avoided fats. All fats. My parents did too. They had bad heart disease. I started eating fats - animal fats - craving it fact, and my statistics went from the same as my parents to phenomenal in a few months. It may not be high fat, but it's higher than what I did before.

      I do indeed supplement RS. About 2T of potato starch twice per day, and about that again as plantain flour. But also about 15 others: inulin, arabinogalactan, galactooglicides, phgg, baobab, amla, flaxseed, dandelion root, powdered Jerusalem artichoke, chia seed, long chain inulin, psyllium seed, marshmallow root, . More I forgot. Plus cumin seed, black seed, fenugreek, cinnamon, ginger, and fresh herbs plus chiles. Black pepper. Also dandelion/leek miso and seaweed sauerkraut every day.

      I've come to believe that raw onion is incredibly important. I eat one every morning, plus eat more throughout the day.

      In looking over this, I come to realize that this might seem a prison like eating every 3 hours. It's not. I've lost so many other health issues related to inflammation and the like. I havent taken any meds in two years. No skin blemishes. Constant, predictable energy.

      Anyway, I think hypo can be beaten. The freedom from hypo is worth the effort.

    9. I'm getting sleepy here and heading to bed but I just saw your reply and want to at least ask - how do you ingest all of your fibers? Also, dandelion/leek miso and seaweed sauerkraut? Pretty interesting! Do you make those things yourself?

    10. What a generous overuse of such EMPTY labels like "low carb", or "moderately low-carb".

      What exactly do you eat, Diane? Could you give an representative example of your daily menu?

    11. The fibers are all mixed in water. I can't believe I forgot glucomannan since it's a favorite. I have a sequence of mixing them that prevents clumping. Anybody trying this needs to remember to drink plenty of water. I just drink when I'm thirsty, but it's a fair amount.

      I get the miso from South River Miso Co. They have lots of good stuff. The sauerkraut is the Woodbrine brand, which until this week was at Whole Foods. They have a fermented beets and their greens that I like a lot.

    12. Going through my routine, I thought of a couple things. I used to alternate between "constipation" (not being able to when I felt I needed to) and diarrhea. Terrible. I have no such issues now. Many people think all that fiber must do something weird to my poops, but everything has been perfect for a long time. It took a while to get there (months?), but life is good now.

      Also, I take my morning fiber after I brush my teeth. I do not know if it matters, but my dentist is amazed at how well I'm cleaning my teeth. He says that I'm even getting the hard to reach areas that most people miss. Ha! I'm only brushing like I've always done. He used to complain a lot. Maybe I'm feeding the bugs in my mouth too.

    13. Sure, Gemma. Before breakfast I have 2 rounded T. psyllium, lately with 2 scoops arabinogalactan and a teas. of Amazing Grass powder for flavor etc. For breakfast I eat 1/4 c of ground flax with 1-2T. of almond butter mixed with hot water to form a porridge. On it I put 2T. of frozen wild blueberries (picked them myself) and probably half a cup of almond milk. For lunch I have 2 ex-large homegrown eggs, a cup of cooked greens (kale this winter from my garden) or two cups of raw greens (arugula from my garden in the summer) plus about half a clove of crushed, raw garlic and usually a small apple or small amount of sweet potato. Afternoon snack is a green drink with 2 cups raw spinach and maybe 1/2 c. of parsley with a cup of komucha and 1 T. of MCT oil. For dinner it's either meat of some kind - chicken, beef, pork or turkey (all grass-fed or homeraised) with either romaine lettuce or some other cooked vegetables - broccoli, etc. and some root vegetables - rutabagas, beets, parsnips, potatoes or some baked winter squash (about 1/2 cup of things that are starchy, or a meat free dinner which is usually either "Mexican" with pinto beans and raw cheese with salad, or a soup with winter squash or pumpkin and cheese and salad or cooked greens. I do cheat once a week or so, I am not a purist. I usually have half of a small frozen organic pizza on Sat. nights (Amy's) and on Sunday I make pancakes out of "Carbalose" flour eaten with bacon or sausage and fruit sweetened with stevia/erythritol sweetener.

      Hope this helps clarify.

    14. That's a lot of psyllium! Especially for one sitting. Psyllium absorbs a LOT of water. That might contribute to constipation issues, but I'm just guessing. For comparison, I use about a rounded teaspoon per day. In fact, I separate my glucomannan and psyllium (1 t each) into morning (g) and evening (p) because they each absorb so much water. My stomach hurts just thinking about trying to get 2 T down!

      When I don't drink enough, my poop gets hard to pass and pebbly.

      That's also a lot more flax than I use.

      Our diets sound very similar in principle. We eat different things at different times. It's how I like to eat. Is this how you like to eat? Or do you find it a chore? For instance, I eat pizza, pasta, and bread but never consider them cheating. I eat them either because I want them or to compromise with the family. But returning to my usual diet makes me happy and I look forward to it.

      Have you tried raw onion? I find that i feel less hungry when I eat about 3 oz in the morning and incorporate it into my lunch. It's odd, but I can feel hungry but can't think of anything I want to eat.

      I also don't see fermented vegetables? Lunch is often kimchi and salmon for me.

      It's hard to say without knowing your preparation, but this might be a somewhat low fat day for me. I probably eat like that most days. But every once in a while I need more fat. A few ounces of pure animal fat (ribeye!) fixes me right up. I believe fat may be important for stopping hypo.

      I'll answer your other questions below.

    15. Thanks, Diane.

      Hmm, if this works for you... or doesn't it, concerning the blood sugar control in response to potatoes?

      It seems to be such a restrictive diet. Just quick: the breakfast is funny, sorry. The rest: I see no fish, no mushrooms, no grains, too little fruits and legumes, why no fermented milk stuff like kefir, why the artificial sweeteners, where is some honey?

    16. Gemma,

      No I am not sure my diet "works for me", that is why I am here. I keep my blood sugar marginally in-check with my, sorry, moderately low-carb diet. I would like it to be better and I would like my constipation to be better.

      My diet listing was not exhaustive. I eat with the seasons as I am a vegetable gardener (or pharmer ;-) and forager). But yeah, I eat pretty much the same breakfast everyday. My breakfast while it may seem weird to you is probably my most successful meal as far as my blood sugar goes. I feel the least hungry the least soon after that meal. I do eat most of the other foods you list on occasion. Dinners vary a lot in composition. Heck, I am a wild mushroom forager at certain times of the year so if it had been May when I was writing this I would've said that I eat morel mushrooms and asparagus daily. I don't eat fermented dairy much because I have a lot trouble with mucus from it although it goes in my pancakes every Sunday. But grains, legumes and honey I have to limit or eliminate because of my blood sugar and that is why I use alternative sweeteners too (they are NOT artificial by the common meaning of that term, i.e. Splenda et al but admittedly ARE refined). I do eat legumes at least once a week though, grains less often.

    17. "But grains, legumes and honey I have to limit or eliminate because of my blood sugar and that is why I use alternative sweeteners too"

      It seems that you really do have a problem...

      Good luck!

  13. Wilbur,

    I cannot choke down psyllium without something to flavor it so I use Amazing Grass powder for that. I have a collection of fibers that I want to work through - bought them and then had something bothering my guts so had to identify that and eliminate it (turned out to be the Ox bile that I was taking). I would be curious to know in what quantities you take each of the fibers and do you take them all daily or do you rotate or what? If it is too off topic here I would be happy if you would email me. Let me know. Thanks!

    1. I discussed psyllium above. That and the gums scare me because of the potential for blockages. So I take far less than you do. And I keep up the water intake too.

      I use Amazing Green Grass too. I hated the taste early on, but now my drink tastes funny without it.

      I take pretty much everything every day. My philosophy from the very start is that I want a little of everything. It started from Jeff Leach's (American Gut Project Challenge) to eat as many different species of plants as possible in a week, mostly raw and tough, which is also what I try to do. Also, he and others suggest that many tribal people eat 100-150 g day of prebiotics.

      We don't have the same plants. I read of a guy getting 120 g/day eating just broccoli - I think he ate about 5 lbs per day! Ugh.

      The fiber supplement is a way to do this without having to eat a ton of cultivated plants. A little of everything. The amount of psyllium you use, to me, is like eating 5 lbs of broccoli.

      In the very beginning, I didn't know how much to take of what. But over time, as my gut strengthened, it became clear that I favored some fibers over others. I take large amounts (4 T per day each) of RPS, baobab, and plantain flour (my gut has a definite preference for plantains over bananas). The others are in smaller amounts and vary more often. About 1 T of inulin, flaxseed, phgg, dandelion root. The smallest is galactooglicides at maybe 1/4 t. It seems funny to be putting such a small amount in, but my gut seems to demand it.

      Later I can give a link to a paper summarizing how the gut can influence our desires for food. One was by influencing taste receptors. I trust my gut. That's why I asked you above if you like your diet. If you don't, your gut might be telling you to eat something else that it needs. Sometimes I just need a few bites of something, and then I'm good for s long time.

      I also have a morning and evening drink. Some things go in the morning drink but not the evening, and vice versa. No logic for that.

    2. Here's the article discussing several potential methods for the gut manipulating what we eat

      I believe this to be true.

    3. Great discussion, guys! Diane's "real food" component looks fantastic, way better than my normal diet. And as she says, she's not overweight, just trying to work through some gut and glucose issues.

      I'd agree with Wilbur, 2T of psyllium is a lot. Maybe just ditch that and tweak the rest, maintaining a lower carb, high fiber diet. Maybe instead of "1/4 c of ground flax with 1-2T. of almond butter mixed with hot water to form a porridge" for breakfast, use oat groats or steel-cut oats sometimes and see if that makes a difference.

      But the rest of your diet looks enviable.

      No reason why you should not have the best of both worlds, good digestion and good BG.

    4. Wilbur,

      2 T. is the amount of psyllium it takes to make a good poop for me once a day, so, far from constipating. I used to take it split morning and night but because of my high blood sugar I have to get up a couple times a night to pee and I decided I didn't want to add a ton more water in the evening. I probably use about 2 cups of water with that amount of psyllium and it is not hard to drink at all. I am thirsty when I wake up so a big drink like that is good.

      No, I don't especially like my diet. I still have preferences for a high carb AND high fat diet and I have a wicked sweet tooth. I was a vegetarian for decades and don't really like eating animals, so, no, I don't like my diet much although it tastes okay to me.

      I do eat raw onion but not on a daily basis, I will try adding more onion.

      As far as fermented vegetables, I ate homemade raw sauerkraut every day for lunch for a year or so (in place of the cooked or raw greens I eat now) and I saw absolutely no benefit from it. I didn't mention though that I have a jar of kimchi right now that I also have with lunch sometimes.

      As far as fat goes, I forgot to say that I often put butter on my greens at lunch or olive oil if raw greens. I also left out my evening snack which is most often nuts in some form or sometimes cheese. I also eat a bit of chocolate - 85% or recently I found some stevia/erythritol sweetened chocolate chips too.

      As for the taste of Amazing Grass I buy the berry flavored one. There is one that is sweetened with stevia and one that isn't. I like the sweetened one better.

      As far as amounts go on fibers and prebiotics - I find that I need large amounts of things to make a difference in my poop. And I find that certain foods that I eat infrequently will have spectacular results for exactly one day. If I try eating them on consecutive days the effect is lost. My theory is that the good bacteria feast on the novel food but then the bad guys move in and take over. I need to get serious about identifying all the foods and substances that have this effect and coming up with some kind of rotation that will hopefully result in daily results.

      Your link didn't work for me but it is interesting the idea of the bacteria influencing our tastes. I believe it is true! I think I've got an imbalance, well actually I know I do - I've tested my poop via Genova a couple times. Very low in bifido and lacto. So I think that the bad guys are influencing my tastes and keeping me with a sweet/carb tooth. So I think that I cannot trust my gut but I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. The lower in carbs I go, the worse my constipation. The higher carbs the worse my blood sugar. I think you and Tim are right. I need to eat low-carb but use supplemental fibers until I get straightened out. Unfortunately, I am also a "non-secretor" which means I am not a good host for bifidobacteria so I have a distinct disadvantage.

    5. Sorry about the link. The title is "Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms". If I Google that, it gives me a link to the PDF which works. If I try to do it directly, I am denied permission.

    6. This discussion is interesting. I remember having to restrict water at various times because of needing to pee. I liked long walks... Also the issue of eating just the right foods in the morning to avoid a whole day of crashing. Oatmeal was the worst for me. I'd be chasing my blood sugar all day.

      I'm sort of stuck. The trouble is that I'm an anecdote. I don't know why what worked.

      But a couple of thoughts. You are at an equilibrium. Not what you want, but at a balance of issues. To get to a new equilibrium, maybe make small changes. Many prebiotics are known for improving blood sugar issues, like RPS. So do exactly what you do now, but add a small amount of RPS. If it hits you too hard, reduce or substitute. Partially hydrolized guar gum is also known to be good. Use that instead. If that works, retry the RPS. When I started, I looked for studies using "fiber and hyperglycemia" (figuring what helped hyper might help hypo). IIRC, psyllium is not one that helps. But start from where you are and move toward, not to, where you hope to be. Listen to your gut on the way. It might choose a better destination.

      Also, something I read - maybe the linked study - says diversity of gut bacteria is good because it prevents any one group from dominating the communications channel to the host. Balance of power. if the bad guys are in charge, maybe it's wise to appease them a little while strengthening the good guys. I dunno.

      Good luck. I promise that beating the hypo is worth the effort.

    7. Wibur,

      Thanks, yes, I think this is what I will do. I may even reduce my carb intake further while increasing my fiber/prebiotic intake. I am guessing high blood sugar is more harmful than the sort of constipation I have (poor quantity/quality, not infrequency). I think if I increase my fat intake and reduce my sugar/starch I can get away from the highs and lows until maybe I get where you got and I can return to eating starches again.

      And thanks Tim for this forum!

    8. Diane

      Just for grins, try doubling your water intake. See if that helps. I take my fiber in 24 oz or so of water, with much less psyllium. You should notice within say 4-5 days.

    9. Wilbur, interesting that you say oatmeal was the worst for you, you'd be chasing your blood sugar all day. I found exactly the same thing, in fact I realized (it took me a while, too because "oatmeal is good!") that I react to oats the way some people do to gluten - bloat, brain fog and wicked aches and pains. So it's out. And I'm pure Scots, crazy eh?

      Diane, the one thing that really helps me keep an even keel blood sugar wise is a goodly amount of protein at breakfast. Two good eggs, maybe with cheese, mushrooms and a bit of leftover rice or potatoes seasoned with turmeric, oh and a spoonful of kraut or other fermented veggie on the side. And strange as it may seem, if I find myself crashing between meals I have a spoonful of honey with a sprinkling of salt on it. I know it seems counter-intuitive but in some circumstances honey really smooths out the ups and downs. Another spoonful of honey w/ salt at bedtime helps me hang onto my fluids through the night so I don't have to get up to pee.

      One more anecdote - I've been experimenting with chaga and boy does it lower my blood sugar. (I don't measure, I go by feel). I have to eat all. day. long., which is no fun. Like you, I'm a forager, I harvested my own so I know it's the real deal, not a bad batch. As much as I liked chaga at first for other reasons, I've had to cut it out because I just keep crashing all day. But if high blood sugar is your problem, maybe give it a try?

    10. Wild cucumber,

      Funny, I originally wrote the same about oatmeal being good for blood sugar and cardiovascular health, but deleted it. That frustrated me to no end. But I think it simultaneously shows no one is the same and there is someone who shares your afflictions. The mantra "oatmeal is good" messed me up. Now I'm ok with it. Back then, not so.

      I truly believe good diet is personal. But life has deposited us very far from our ideal, and our tendency toward herd mentality keeps us from seeing what is right for us individually.

    11. A couple guys at work eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast "because it's healthy." But they are eating Quaker instant oats with crazy flavors, the smell makes me sick.

      I would love to see a side-by-side comparison of oatmeal eaten as instant, rolled, groat, steel-cut, or oat bran. When I make oatmeal, I bring some water to a boil, add in groats or steel-cut oats and simmer about 5-10 minutes. Just before I take it off the heat, I add in a handful of oat bran and let it sit for 5 minutes. This results in a nice, chewy oatmeal.

    12. Wilbur, too true. I'm a big believer, through experience, that dietary needs change with the seasons, too. You and I are both pretty tuned in to listening to our healthy cravings - do you notice changes in the way you want to eat throughout the year at all?

      Diane, is your blood sugar under better control in spring and summer than it is in the colder months? Might be something to look at. I find the extremely hot days of summer mess me up the most, spring and fall are the best, winter is a bit tricky too. I'm pretty sure that for me light (or lack of it) plays a role.

    13. Tim - Oats in any form are just not my friends any more. Even oatstraw infusion or milky oat tincture mess me up which is a darn shame. But then so do bananas, green or ripe, just can't eat them and neither can my husband, but he does fine on oats. We all have our idiosyncrasies.

    14. Wildcucumber Yes! I do find that I eat seasonally, sort of I guess. More roasts, sausages, canned or smoked fish, dried fruits, seeds, generally things that could be stored for winter. Also vegetables that still grow around here during winter like mustard greens, collards, broccoli, etc. during the summer I eat mostly fresh stuff.

      Which reminds me. I think I figured out why I didn't smell much with garlic. I was eating recently grown garlic from farms over the summer. Now I have to resort to the old stuff sold in stores. NOW I'm stinky, especially when I burp. My daughter loves my garlic guacamole. The other day I burped and she asked why the car smelled like guacamole.

    15. Wilbur,

      I am not sure what you are saying will be helped by increasing the water intake with the psyllium. It does a fine job already of helping my constipation the way I am doing it and anyway I think I do use around 20 oz at least as it is.

      Re: Oats - I think they are pretty good for my gut but not my blood sugar. I cringe when I remember that for decades I ate homemade granola for breakfast that was basically a dessert - the only saving grace being that I only ate a small amount of it, but boy, was it yummy!

    16. wildcucumber,

      Thanks for your thoughts. Your breakfast sounds a lot like my lunch. I am real happy with my breakfast. I am rarely hungry at lunchtime and in fact I sort of think that I set up a bit of a roller coaster after I eat lunch - I probably need to reexamine it. I don't know if it's the fruit or starchy veg I sometimes eat or not enough fat or too much protein - probably the first two. Chaga sounds really cool! I will try to find some. We have areas with lots of birches around here (northern Michigan) so it shouldn't be an issue to find some and I see it is harvested fall and winter so I can look for some now. Oh boy, a mission to accomplish on snowshoes! Interesting about your seasonal variations. To be honest I get too busy to worry about my health much in the summer so I am not sure. I know that the sort of hibernation I do in the winter is not good. I tend not to get enough exercise in the winter and that is a determent.

    17. Diane - For as long as I remember, I always forget that a cup is 8 ounces, not 4. I have no idea why. It's maddening. So, you said 2 cups above, I was thinking 8 ounces total. Not enough water for psyllium. So you you are already following my advice to double the amount I thought you were taking.

      I don't have blood sugar issues with oats any more -I used to - but I rarely eat them. When Tim had his post on oats and blueberries, I tried working bran into my drink. It didn't take long for my gut to the run my tastes against that.

    18. Why are you eating innocent animals..

  14. Wilbur - do you take the seaweed for the iodine?

    I don't know if my thoughts have any merit - but in case they do - blood sugar issues seem intertwined with hypothyroid. My wife according to the docs had no thyroid issues, but when we tested privately her t4 was fine, but her t3 was way down. In UK docs won't test t3 (we pushed enough but no joy). She's been on iodine for a week and obviously its early days, but she appears to have a marked improvement.

    Hypo also appears to negatively affect stomach acid production, which could obviously affect multiple things.

    Just my thoughts in case they help

    1. Rob - Thanks. I don't think there's much seaweed in the kraut. I thought it was an interesting combination. I DO take a capsule of kelp every day for the reason you mention, although I've no special tests.

    2. Rob, I don't seem to be hypothyroid - I too have checked. It sure would seem to be a fit with my symptoms though. If anything I am closer to hyperthyroid. I do take a bit of iodine though because it is deficient around here for sure.

    3. Our docs said the same thing about my wife, hence the reason why after researching, I paid for the test that measures both free t4 and free t3. The conversion from t4 to t3 requires an enzyme from the liver, which apparently 50% of hypothoid people have problems processing.

      I don't want to 'teach grandma how to suck eggs' (seems an odd saying to me!), just wanted to make sure it was something you didn't overlook.

    4. Diane

      I've been reading some stuff trying to remember what I was doing 2 years ago. I now recall that the Internet is full of crackpot advice on hypoglycemia.

      Out of curiosity, do you believe you have reactive hypoglycemia? I believe I did. Stress can induce an episode. I learned sometime back that hunger is a stress, so hunger can be the trigger rather than the cause. I'm not sure if that's useful except that it puts a slightly different spin on frequent meals. I always thought that the hunger was caused by low blood sugar, but maybe it's the reverse. Which might explain why fats and proteins work better than carbs.

      As I mentioned, some fibers are better for blood sugar than others. It's been a while, but my recollection is that psyllium and inulin (my favorite) are not that helpful. RPS and PHGG are. I think some of the pectins like in baobab and amla are too. I don't see that you get much pectin.

      Lots of herbs and spices, like garlic, ginger, cinnamon, etc. seem to help with blood sugar.

      I just read a study that alcohol at night would induce next day hypoglycemia in diabetics. Hypoglycemia is considered by some to be pre-diabetes. Even if you do not drink, maybe the consumption of starches at dinner has the same effect. It seems that's where you eat yours. Maybe try moving them to your lunch and going low carb at dinner? Oh yeah, apparently the hypo effect of alcohol is ameliorated by consuming water. I really hate too keep harping on water, but my gut says it's crucial.

      Also, I forget if I mentioned this above, but the timeframe is months. I don't think anything should make you feel bad (like the potato hack) but feeling good is about incremental changes and one day looking back in awe at the cumulative improvement. It's consistency. I'm Mr. Consistent. Others around me are not, and they haven't gotten the same benefits.

    5. Oops, I meant hunger can be the trigger rather than the effect.

    6. Wilbur,

      Interesting thoughts! Yes, I think I have reactive hypoglycemia too. If I understand what you are getting at, you are suggesting that getting hungry is a stress and stresses can trigger low blood sugar. Sounds believable to me and part of me thinks I need to really stay away from carbohydrates but part of me knows that that is where the RS and other goodies are found so I fence sit and eat some but not a lot. And that is why you don't see much pectin - too much sugar accompanies it! Our old farm is covered with apple trees and a gigantic pear tree and I feel like I can't eat them other than in small quantities. I also grow lots of raspberries and pick wild blueberries and I do eat more of those fruits than the sweeter ones. Although I have raspberries frozen I am not eating them much this time of year so I didn't mention before but while in season they are a daily addition to my salad. You don't seem to have a good opinion of psyllium and yet I have read a lot of good things about it lately and it is the only thing I have found that produces reliable results for me so I am not going to give it up but I am totally down with adding other fibers in addition. Fair enough? I do eat a lot of garlic and ginger but cinnamon can be a double-edged sword depending on whether you are insulin resistant or insulin deficient. It is an insulin substitute so if you are IR you likely have too much insulin circulating already and the last thing you need is more insulin but if you are insulin deficient then I am sure it can help. Actually I am not sure which I am. My fasting insulin was low, the couple times I had it checked so I think I may not be so much IR as have some pancreatic insufficiency, but I really don't know. Yes, I eat the majority of my carbs at dinner and I agree that I should probably not do that but I doubt I should add them anywhere else at this point either. As for water, I really don't think there is anyone alive that drinks as much water as I do. I am constantly thirsty/dry-mouthed. I am pretty consistent too but I do reserve the right to be inconsistent too. If I have to constantly battle with myself I will just be unhappy. I'd rather not be perfectly healthy than be unhappy. You know?

    7. Diane, (sorry Wilbur but I have to say this ..) is it possible that you are drinking too much water? Or, put another way, are you getting enough salt? There's a balance there where we can wash away our sodium and other minerals. People here have heard this story before, but I found out the hard way a while back that I wasn't getting enough salt and lack of it can lead to sleeplessness/fatigue, headaches, shakiness, thirst and yes, even constipation. And of course it's really important for production of stomach acid, which affects everything downstream .. just try adding more salt to your meals than you think you need for a couple of days and see if that changes anything. If you don't eat commercial food, there's a very good chance you're getting a lot less than you think.

      Also, you could replace some of your water with stinging nettle infusion, it's rather good at stabilizing blood sugar and energy levels and loaded with minerals that you might be washing away. Add a pinch of something like mallow leaf for dry mouth.

    8. Diane

      you report: poor blood sugar control, constantly thirsty... ==>> you are probably pre-diabetic.

      Possibly in result of your "low carb high fat" dieting. You should consider that you may have been badly mislead by all those LCHF "diet gurus". Open your eyes! You seem to be afraid not only of potatoes, but also of apples and raspberries!

      Good luck, once again.

    9. Diane

      I'm not anti-psyllium. I use it myself. I did a little reading, and it works great for constipation. It is popular because it is well-tolerated. It is well-tolerated because it does not ferment well. That is, it does not provide as big of a benefit to the gut as well-fermented ones like RPS and inulin.

      I don't think I'm coming across clearly here. Start from where you are and slowly make changes. Keep your psyllium. I'd say keep your carbs too, as long as they are good ones. There are so many other components in those foods that might be important for getting well.

      Then add good fermentable fibers slowly. Maybe 1/2 tsp of RPS per meal. Or inulin or phgg if RPS is too tough. Pectins are good too I think Or less if those bother you. Do it for a week. Move up in dose slowly week-by-week. big changes are going to wreak havoc.

      Above all, be consistent with the fiber routine. I don't mean perfect diet. I mean perfect consistency with the fibers. I miss maybe one or two drinks per month. I see those around me skip a week here, a few days there, even though they say they like how the fibers make them feel. Notice you can have a cheat meal of any type as long as you get your fibers.

      Then sit back and relax. If you start craving weird things, go with it. I had to drive all over town to find preservative free liverwurst. I hadn't eaten that since I was a kid.

      Oh yeah, avoid anything that threatens the good guys. Chlorinated water, food preservatives, etc.

      I didn't start out super dosing. I started just like this because I didn't know what fiber would do to me. It didn't fix me overnight. In fact, I'm still seeing improvements I think.

      Then it becomes easy. Five minutes per day and I can whatever and whenever I want. A cheat day is meaningless to me. I enjoy everything I eat and enjoy as much as I want.

    10. Thanks again Wilbur. I like the way you think and this sounds like very sound advice. One thing I did wonder about is whether to take any or all fibers in one bolus or broken up into 2 or 3 doses per day. I read somewhere in the past that somebody said it seemed better to bolus it which might increase the chances of some of it making it intact to the far reaches of the colon. Also do you think that I should increase slowly no matter what or if a given fiber doesn't seem to bother me in any way should I go ahead and ramp up more rapidly as long as there is no untoward reaction?

    11. Wildcucumber, thanks for your thoughts. I don't think I am drinking too much water and I use more salt on my food than most do, seems to me. Interesting ideas about the herbs. Mmmm, stinging nettles! I love them but unfortunately I have not seen any growing around where I now live. Would purchased, dried nettles work as well? Mallow - interesting. I'll check them out. I am going to try chaga too for sure. When I told my husband about it he said, oh, this guy I know gave me a bunch of chaga. I didn't know he had it! So I am all set there.

    12. Diane - Sounds like you are on a journey of self-discovery. A few years back, I was convinced fructose and sugar were from the devil, so stopped eating honey, fruit, etc... One day, I ate an apple, and my eyes swole shut! Almonds and cherries were next on the "could not eat" list. Eventually, I realized it was crazy to stop eating all this natural food because of it's sugar content. I started eating them again, small at first, and now can eat anything.

      I even stopped growing potatoes for a couple years because I did not want a garden full of "carbs." How crazy is that? Look at me now, lol.

      About the only thing I limit anymore is processed foods that come in packages, anything with added flavors and colors, especially, and enriched white flour products. I rarely eat anything that is deep-fried. But I partake in loads of fruit and starches daily, especially when I find them growing around my house. Mushrooms that pop up after a rain don't stand a chance (if I know what they are, of course). I now have my own bees for honey.

      I love that all of the advice you've gotten here revolves around real food!

    13. Diane

      Unscientically, I prefer bolus. I take two dinks per day because of the large amount. I started with just one. I also can't tell you morning or night.

      I think that until you start seeing effects, go slow. A couple of reasons. I read about a publication arguing that the our guts have become aggressors and cause disease. Nothing really new except thinking of it as an enemy. But if we think like that, the good guys are in hiding and the bad guys are entrenched. If we throw a little food in, they can utilize it strategically and begin working at the margins to overthrow the bad. The good can begin making alliances, etc.

      If we go too fast, then the guys grow too fast. They can't form structures and alliances to compete before the bad guys feel threatened. The bad guys attack too early. That article I posted earlier suggests that they can them by attacking you - how you feel, your tastes, etc. , - and getting you to stop the fibers. So sneak up on them!

      It may all be BS, but this is the way I started. I just thought it would better to have more fiber in my diet. I knew too much too soon would cause pain, so I did it slow. The cures were unexpected.

    14. Diane, yes, if you get whole dried nettles (not powdered, not tea bags which are generally adulterated) from a reputable supplier, make nettle infusion (steeped 4+ hours). There are nettles everywhere, once you know how to find the crafty beggars. They hide, but they are there near you, trust me. In my experience, eating/drinking something wild every day is extremely helpful with every issue you've described so far.

      And Tim and Wilbur are right on the money. Don't let fear limit your diet or things will only get worse. Experiment, go slowly and things will only get better.

      If you want more info on nettles, mallow & the like you can email me (take out the caps)

    15. I forgot the other reason that there might be a lag effect. That is, the bugs eating the prebiotic might be insuffient to eat the whole dose. As they proliferate, they'll eat more. So you might not notice any effect until they've multiplied, and by then you might've increased the dose too much. Then everything goes out of control. I like slow and steady.

    16. I know that most of you folks on here are ex-SAD, ex-LCHF eaters and have been successful eating a HCLF diet but I am not going to let my blood sugar be too high just because ideally I should be able to eat starches and sugars in larger quantities. I ATE THAT WAY FOR DECADES - I was a vegetarian - I ate whole foods. I have to smile at those that are just now discovering whole wheat bread made from home ground flour - I've been doing that for almost 40 years - still do it for my husband to eat. Unfortunately folks, that way of eating doesn't work for me. I have not wrecked myself with a LCHF diet, that happened back in my youth when I ate SAD. I do hope to fix my gut, get rid of my pre-diabetes and eat starches and sugars again but I can't kill myself with high blood sugar in the meantime. I've tried RPS and the potato hack and it didn't work for me. I am going to do as Wilbur did and use fiber supplements that won't give me high blood sugar and hope that those good guys can get a foot-hold in my inhospitable non-secretor gut.

      Wilbur, can you give me the order that you mix your fibers in please? I've used enough of them already to know that that information is very valuable!

    17. Diane

      Good luck! My only caution is that I also believe that the gut is smart and requests what it wants. So be open-minded. Yes, maybe carbs cause you problems now, but as your gut repairs it might need carbs. So maybe you need to retest your assumptions now and then to see if they still apply.

      Nobody seems to be impressed but me,but I knew things were different when I ate a store-bought sugary birthday cake, icing and all, on an empty stomach in the middle of the afternoon. And felt nothing except normal. No high. No crash. Just normal.

      Here's the secret sequence (shhh!): RPS first. Then inulin, larch arabinogalactan, phgg, and galactooglicides. These all sink. They might clump, but they break apart when stirred. Next is baobab. I use enough to cover the entire surface of the water. Anything put on top does not touch water until stirred. Things I put on top (but not necessarily in the same drink) are: plantain flour, amla, triphala, amazing green grass, glucomannan,psyllium, amla, dandelion root powder, etc. then I stir. My theory is that the viscosity created by the baobab keeps things from sinking and clumping. I might have a small lump of white stuff, but I think it is inulin. It is quite tasty and I regard it as a reward.

  15. Wilbur, would you mind expanding a little more on some of the seeds you take. Do you soak the chia seeds first? Re the other seeds, isn't cumin seed the same as black seed? and do you grind these up first?

    You've also listed fenugreek, cinnamon and ginger, are these spices you try to include with meals, or something you add to your drink? If so how?

    So many questions!


    1. I love seeds! Sometimes lunch is a handful of whole pumpkin seeds, just like they come out of a pumpkin. I drink chia in my fiber drink. Not really soaked, but wet. Flaxseed and psyllium are seeds. Black seed and cumin are different, albeit perhaps related. They look different. One is black (guess) and the other brown. I take 1/2 g per day of black seed in capsule form. I think they are ground.

      I found fenugreek, ginger, and cinnamon in capsule form. I prefer to eat in real foods, but find that my cooking style doesn't lend itself to that very often. So I use capsules. I try not to use extracts. John st the actual thing. Hope that helps.

    2. I can't give enough of a big 'thumbs up' for seeds. Whole seeds, especially. Within these whole seeds are living microbes that readily colonize in the gut, making seeds my #1 choice of probiotics.

      I also like to incorporate lots of seedy fruit, like berries, where we eat them seeds and all. A funny thing with seeds, when I first started eating flax seeds, I'd see them "the next day" if you get my drift. Now, not at all. I think we develop gut bacteria that eats the seed shells to unlock the resistant starch and microbes within, so don't worry too much about grinding the seeds...just eat whole.

    3. Thanks! Oops re cumin seed and black seed, yes they are quite different, I did a quick look on ebay prior to writing, and was obviously too cursory.

      So one more qu. do you find that psyllium seed better than the husk? Do you need to grind that or just take whole.

      Actually another qu, I've never tried artichoke powder, but have read it is quite bitter. Do you put some kind of sweetner in your drink?


    4. "I think we develop gut bacteria that eats the seed shells to unlock the resistant starch and microbes within, so don't worry too much about grinding the seeds...just eat whole."

      Interesting. Thanks. Didn't think of that. Stomach acid is probably involved too.


    5. Yes on the fruits! I enjoy dried figs in the winter with all the tiny seeds, and blueberries and blackberries in the summer.

      Not sure on psyllium husk vs seed. We have both. The psyllium seed has a nice smell that the husk powder does not.

      I have not noticed anything terribly bitter about Jerusalem artichoke powder. But understand it's a small part of a lot of stuff. The Amazing Green Grass discissed above hides a lot of flavors.

      I agree with Tim. I eat whole pumpkin seeds and, well, if you are going to see anything the next day, you'll see that. I never do. I've been eating them every day for a couple of months now.

      I keep saying that I eat beans somewhat infrequently. After not eating them for a while, I get gas when I do. Huge fiber, and beans make me gassy. But it's only for one day. I can eat leftovers with no effects. Like Tim, I think the gut shifts. Quickly too.

    6. "Whole seeds, especially. Within these whole seeds are living microbes that readily colonize in the gut, making seeds my #1 choice of probiotics."

      Absolutely! Seeds are full of microbes. See quinoa, bacteria found this time :-)

      Developmental Peculiarities and Seed-Borne Endophytes in Quinoa: Omnipresent, Robust Bacilli Contribute to Plant Fitness (2016)

      "Among potential climate change-adapted crops for future agriculture, quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), a facultative halophyte plant with exceptional nutritional properties, stands out as a prime candidate. This work examined how quinoa deals with extreme situations during seed rehydration. Quinoa distinguishes itself from other plants in multiple ways. It germinates within minutes, even under extremely hostile conditions. Broken seeds/split embryos are able to regenerate. Furthermore, quinoa seedlings are resurrection-competent. These peculiarities became in part explainable upon discovery of seed-borne microorganisms. 100% of quinoa seeds, from different sources, are inhabited by diverse members of the genus Bacillus. These endophytes are motile and reside in all seedling organs, indicating vertical transmission. Owing to their high catalase activities and superoxide contents the bacteria potentially manipulate the host’s redox status. Superoxide-driven cell expansion enables quinoa to overcome a critical period in development, seedling establishment. Quinoa’s immediate confrontation with “foreign” reactive oxygen species and bacterial elicitors likely induces a naturally primed state, enabling plants to withstand extreme situations."

    7. Thanks a bunch everyone. I'd totally overlooked seeds, so looking forward to adding them in.


    8. Gemma, would dried turkish figs (organic, whatever that means in fig land) contain good microbes?

      I have unsulfured apricots (brown things) and there's probably some fermentation of some sort going on after a while. Dried apricots but still, would they have yeasts growing on or in them slowly?

    9. 1) Yeasts are ubiquitous.
      2) How shall I know if your turkish microbes are "good"? (Remember I have my doubts concerning hidden turkish intentions, haha).

    10. I don't think Erdogan picks apricots. ;)

  16. Hi, Tim. I've tried the hack twice, both the variation with lean chicken/fish at lunch. I've lost a couple of pounds, but I've always been worried about muscle loss, since I try to lift weights two or three times a week and don't want to stop in order to do the hack. Plus I really don't like potatoes that much. I've noticed that I might sensitive to the alkaloids, because I feel nauseous if I don't peel them. I also live in a country where you basically you can only buy one type of potato, so it gets boring really fast. Because of these reasons, I was wondering if you think a "bean hack" would work (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, etc). More protein, lots of fiber and plenty of RS if I cool them. I tried a couple of times to eat 500 calories in a single day (as in the JUDD diet), and 500 calories of potatoes never really satisfied me, but 500 calories of chickpeas were more filling. What do you think?

    1. I really do not believe muscle loss is an issue, mainly because of things like chlorogenic acid in potatoes that serve to protect muscle. It's the same stuff that's in the green coffee bean extract pills that weight lifters take.

      As to another food for the hack, lentils/beans should prove a good choice. Try it and let us know. You could start a new fad: The Hummus Hack.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Great. I'll let you know if I ever try it. I guess gas could be an issue, as I'd be getting 50-60 grams of fiber in order to get about 1000 calories of beans.

    4. The Hummus Hack would be pretty delicious but far more expensive than the potato hack!

      Regardless, do let us know how it goes, Jess!

  17. Hi Tim,
    Just wondered if you have published nutrition info on cooked cold potatoes: calories, carbs, other nutrition, etc.? If not, any thoughts?

    1. I have not, but it would be the same as what you see for hot, cooked potatoes, for planning purposes, if you count calories.

      In real life, you could subtract maybe 10% of the carb calories, but then you'd have to add back in about the same amount in fat calories as your gut bacteria is turning the carbs to fat.

      Crazy, I know, but that's how it works. Nutrition labels only look at how a food reacts when you burn it in a test tube, not how it acts in your body.

      My advice, prepare your starches in a way that maximizes RS (cook and cool, reheat), but do not count RS grams. Just eat it, knowing you are providing food to your gut microbes, making them very happy.

    2. Thank you for your reply.
      Tom in Sarasota.

  18. Is cooking, cooling, and eating without reheating a crucial part of this plan?

    1. No, not at all. As part of the process, many people find it easier if you pre-cook a big batch of potatoes so you have some ready-cooked on hand. Even eating the potatoes all freshly cooked and hot, you get plenty of RS and fiber.

  19. What about baking potatoes in the oven or microwave?

    1. No problem. The only real "rule" is: Eat Potatoes

  20. Started my first ever PH on Monday, spurred by Richard's recent adventure. No booze, just coffee, water, seltzer, and boiled potatoes (sometimes with salt, sometimes mashed with a splash of whole milk). Can't believe how little I'm eating and well I'm sleeping.

    I'm using an admittedly ghetto-ish scale (the kind that gives you different results every time you step on it, but usually within a pound or so), so I'm averaging out my weigh ins, but this morning I weighed myself 9 times to be absolutely sure because the numbers were eye-popping. *Down 7.2 lbs in two days*.

    I also haven't had Richard's experience of shedding water with no thirst. I've likely drank more water than usual, and I've definitely spent far less time in the bathroom than usual.


    Context: usual is 3-4 glasses of wine per day, gluten-free, primal + RS almost every day, almost no sugar.

    1. 3-day potato hack ended this morning. I experienced no distress, no discomfort, no nagging hunger or cravings. I've dropped another 3lbs today, making my *total loss over three days 10.2lbs*.

      This has been an incredible revelation. As I continue toward my goal weight using exercise and clean eating, I can use this "hack" on a regular basis to jump-start another round of weight loss. I also can't believe how little it costs to eat this way.

      The real test will be how the next few days go, weight-wise. I'm planning to have a spinach omelette with some chicken for lunch and a pulled beef with RS bone broth rice for dinner. I'm hopeful that the experience of others who found no bounce-back will be my experience too!

    2. On day 4 I ate my usual fare, sans alcohol (meat + RS bone broth rice + veggies), and that resulted in an additional 1.5lb loss morning of day 5. This morning, day 6, I gained 10lbs back, so obviously I was somehow shedding water that I've managed to regain. Still down more than 2lbs in 6 days, which is great.

      I'm tempted at this point, to go back to the potatoes only, but I think it will be more instructive for me to continue with my plan to see how all of these fluctuations shake out over the course of 2 weeks.

    3. More yo-yoing today. After the 10lb gain yesterday, today I was down 4.2lbs! That makes an aggregate loss of 6.5lbs in 6 days.

      I started to miss how I felt on the potato hack, though, so I boiled up some spuds yesterday and started it again today. Going for a 5-day hack this time!

    4. It sounds like you are dealing with inflammation. Could it be something in your "normal" diet like milk, nuts, or wheat that seem to be the big 3 offenders?

      Back when I was trying to lose weight, after I first did the potato hack, I thought it would all come right back on but miraculously my weight not only stayed off, but I even lost a few more pounds after I returned to normal eating.

      Keep us posted!

  21. I'm 28 years old, 6 ft 1, approx 10% body fat. For my case, do you recommend the Potato Hack for dropping more body fat, or is this more suited for overweight/obese people?

    1. I'm no expert, but Tim has regularly cited the potato's ability to increase lean mass, so I suspect that you'll be fine. More importantly, a 3-day trial costs you nothing and you'll potentially learn something very interesting!

  22. I did two days of potato hacking and I am 6'1" 180. Not sure body fat % but it's defiantly lower now. It's been five days and I feel very lean still even though my diet has included lots of desserts. Although I've still been eating in a very prebiotic fashion. I remember being "paleo" and any high carb diet vacation had me feel very puffy around the belly. I didn't notice any muscle loss either. I also do a nightly cold shower (50-55F) for a couple minutes. I think this really helps also.

  23. I've gotten pretty lean with potatoes. I've been lifting weights for 18 years now so I have more muscle mass than the average guy. I've always struggled to get abs lean with a standard bodybuilding deficit diet. My sleep would usually suffer the most which would ultimately cause me to give up. Lowering my protein intake and increasing my carb intake from potatoes has made it almost too easy to get lean. My hunger is always under control and my sleep is a lot better. 50-60% of my calories come from starch. Rs2 powder has helped also..and popcorn!

  24. Tim, can you please comment on this BMJ study? some on the Perfect Health group (Jaminet's group) indicate it means we shouldn't consume potatoes in the absence of some kind of fat, to dampen GI - like butter or gravy....particularly if consuming potatoes as the major part of our diet.... thank you.

    1. I think it means we shouldn't consume spuds in the presence of cooking oils, or drown in butter and sour cream.

      There is too much wrong with that study to even begin discussing it as if there is a problem with a potato.

    2. If true, wouldn't sprinkling vinegar or cinnamon on taters help to dampen glucose effect? By the way I am one of the non-responders to the PH but adding a sweet potato to my dinner has made great difference to my satiety and well-being. I think I might do better on a SP hack as I don't find them as more-ish as plain spuds but I'm too chicken to try :-) Rose

  25. Do you cook the hash browns twice so they become resistant starch or just grate them raw and cook and eat?

  26. The 3-Week Diet has helped countless people lose weight. Just take a look at their testimonials on official product website:
    23 pounds lost in 21 days.
    11 pounds in just one week.
    17 pounds in 12 days.
    Keep in mind: The overwhelming majority of the feedback is positive