26 April 2016

Paul Smith

Australia’s leading dietitian has cast doubt on the long-term benefits of the potato-only diet adopted by a 150kg Melbourne man with the backing of his GP.

Andrew Taylor, who has become a minor media sensation across the world, has managed 100 days on the diet, which consists of eating potato and sweet potato boiled, mashed or baked.

Having lost 30kg so far, Mr Taylor says he will stay on the diet for a year in his attempt to break “his bad relationship with food”.

His GP, Dr Malcolm Mackay, last week dismissed claims the diet was dangerous.

However, dietitian Dr Rosemary Stanton (PhD) has questioned whether the diet could be maintained long term.

“The healthfulness of the diet relies on him eating a lot of potatoes,” she said. “[vitamin] B12 is missing entirely, but I understand he is having a supplement.

“The inclusion of sweet potato is a help and provides more of several nutrients, especially carotenoids.

“The calcium content is very low and even if the [recommended daily intake] is high — which many people consider it is — the level in this diet (170mg/day) is way too low to meet his body’s needs.

“Adding some regular yoghurt would help a little. I’d be checking his bone density. Essential fatty acids are also low because his diet is so very low in fat.”

Dr Stanton said Mr Taylor’s 100 days on the diet was “way more than anyone might have predicted”.

“[But] this potato diet therefore doesn’t prepare him for maintaining his weight loss” she added.

“I also think he is missing out on the social aspects of sharing and enjoying food. I’d also be concerned if others thought this was a good idea and followed suit.

“The diet would not be adequate for children, teenagers, or women and the real danger may lie in those who couldn’t get through the big quantity of potatoes.”

Last Reviewed: 26/04/2016

Reproduced with kind permission from Australian Doctor