# What is this? This is a weight loss study where the subjects eat an all potato diet for 4 weeks. It's being run by SMTM and is explained in their [blog post](https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2022/04/29/potato-diet-community-trial-sign-up-now-lol/). I've signed up to be a participant. Why? - Weight loss: I've been trying to get down to a healthy BMI for the better part of a decade. I've made steady but slow progress and I'm now about 5-10 pounds away from the normal range. That said, this isn't a super strong reason because I think the diet probably won't work. After all most diets don't work and there is very little evidence to support this one. There are some interesting anecdotes (see the blog post), but every diet has a few stories of wild success that turn out to not be representative. That said, it *might* work (perhaps because [potatoes are very filling](https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7498104/)) so this is still a reason, just a weak one. - Contributing to citizen science: I love the spirit of citizen science, and I've done lots of [[Blood pressure and caffeine|experimenting]] [[Geiger Counter#Radon|of]] [my own](https://twitter.com/beala/status/1516872172689526784?s=21&t=adOcHE8LDJaOVMeOB9CVeg). Further, this study seems particularly well suited for it. Well funded institutions are unlikely to study the potato diet, at least not until there's stronger evidence for it. How do we get stronger evidence? Well someone has to go out on a limb and run an experiment. This is a particularly important motivation for me. If this were not part of a larger study, I wouldn't spend my energy on it (after all, it probably won't work). But the fact that it might yield useful data makes it much more appealing. I think I'm also well positioned to help out because I have a higher than average tolerance for weird diets. I've been vegetarian for a long time, and have stacked that with all sorts of restrictions over the years (low carb, keto, meal replacement shakes, low sodium, calorie counting, etc). - Fun: I want to see what happens! Will I feel terrible and drop out of the study after 2 days? Or will I feel great and lose those last 10 pounds? Let's find out! I get excited about weird stuff like this. It's also a good time for this type of experiment. I'm on parental leave for my first child, so I don't have to worry about a weird diet affecting my work. # Daily Log In this section I will record daily entries on anything I think is notable. Quantitative data will be recorded in the spreadsheet provided to me by SMTM. ## Day 0: 2022-04-29 I've signed up for the experiment. Tomorrow will be my first day on the diet. I've prepared 5 pounds of roasted potatoes (cut into cubes and tossed with olive oil) for tomorrow, which contains about 1,700 calories. I'll likely need more calories, so perhaps I'll bake a few more for dinner. I plan on using a variety of hot sauces to try and keep things interesting. I also plan on continuing to keep the data I've always kept: - Blood pressure, measured with an automatic Omron cuff. - Body fat, vascular age, as measured by my Withings scale. - Resting heart rate, exercise data (such as duration, pace ,etc), as measured by my Apple Watch. Am I worried a strange and extreme diet will damage my health? Slightly, but if I feel bad I'll just stop. I'll also take a multivitamin (as recommended by SMTM) so I don't become deficient. Perhaps I'll also [[Plan for Medical Labs|order some blood tests]] to see if it's doing anything horrible to my glucose, A1C, cholesterol, etc. ## Day 1: 2022-04-30 I started off the day with a bowl of [[#Roasted Potatoes]] and hot sauce and had another around noon. I neither enjoyed nor hated these meals. So far so good, I suppose. ![[61435D16-78AF-4FA9-8570-E6CE9DFFCAB3.jpeg]] Then things started to go off the rails in the afternoon. I went for a 5.5 mile run and came back hungry. Unfortunately, potatoes sounded _horrible_. I solved this problem by not eating, but this came back to bite me as my energy level dropped from lack of food and I started to get grumpy as a headache set in. I had to eat something so I tried a different tactic: I made the potatoes really crispy under the broiler, and added pepper so they tasted like peppery potato chips. That helped, but I wouldn't say I enjoyed them. At dinner, I just couldn't stick to it anymore. I was incredibly hungry and potatoes sounded disgusting. I had a cup of salad my wife made and then tried to continue the diet by preparing another bowl of potatoes. The only way I could get this bowl down was by coating them in BBQ sauce, which is too sugary to be considered part of the diet. So it's day one and I'm already struggling. I'll try to stick with it for a few more days to see if it gets easier. I'd hate to drop out of the study so early, but I suppose my dropping out would still be useful data. This shows some portion of the population cannot stick to this diet for even one day. I'll be interested to see how common this is once the data is analyzed. ## Day 2: 2022-05-01 I've decided to drop out of the study after less than 48 hours. This diet kicked my ass. I started experiencing strange symptoms this morning. The first two were low mood and low energy. I was very tired and it was hard to concentrate. As the morning wore on, I had a thirst that I couldn't slake, my lips and mouth were dry, my head hurt, and my urine was very yellow. Somehow I was dehydrated? Drinking more water didn't seem to help, and I can't think of what would have caused me to become dehydrated. I wasn't outside in the hot sun, and I don't think I was drinking less water than normal (granted, I was not tracking it). On top of that, I had a loose bowel movement verging on diarrhea (sorry if this is TMI, but we're doing science here). Oddly, my appetite for potatoes actually did improve. I had them for breakfast and I didn't hate them. If appetite were the only obstacle, I might have been able to muddle on a bit longer, but I wasn't willing to put up with weird symptoms on an extreme diet. Do I think these symptoms were related to the diet? Yes. About 30 minutes after having a nutritious shake, I felt better. My thirst and headache went away, and my mood and energy rebounded. My shake consisted of 2 scoops of Huel, a cup of salad spring mix, and a cup of frozen mixed berries. I chose this because I knew it was a balanced food. I'm very curious to know if my experience or SMTM's experience is closer to the average. I suspect potatoes are not magic and, just like other foods, most people will get sick of them quickly if it's the only thing they eat. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Update from the self-experimentation trenches: <br><br>Tried nothing but baked potatoes, no oil, and only a tiny bit of seasoning for the last two days. <br><br>Still bizarrely, laughably easy to keep up with the diet. Feeling much more energetic, have lost a bit of weight.</p>&mdash; SLIME MOLD TIME MOLD (@mold_time) <a href="https://twitter.com/mold_time/status/1520814883071217665?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 1, 2022</a></blockquote> # Recipes ## Roasted Potatoes Currently my opinion is that red/yellow potatoes are best for roasting. Save the russets for mashing. 1. Preheat to 425F. 2. Wash potatoes. 3. Slice or dice potatoes with skins on. 4. Toss with [[Good Olive Oil]]. Enough for form a thin coating. 5. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping/stirring at 20 minutes. 6. Serve with your favorite hot sauce.