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article imageThe potato diet: 1,200 spuds in 60 days

By Ken Wightman     Oct 27, 2010 in Food
Man cannot live on potatoes alone, at least not without coveting other foods. This is the unexpected lesson being learned by Chris Voigt, the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, finishing week four of his spuds-only diet.
To raise awareness of the healthy qualities of the world's favorite tuber, Voigt announced he would live on 20 potatoes a day, and only potatoes, for 60 days beginning October 1st. Not half way to his goal, Voigt now wishes he'd set a goal of one month instead of two.
Mr. Potato Head
Mr. Potato Head
Mr. Potato Head by Hasbro
The versatile potato can be baked, boiled, fried, grilled, marinated, mashed and steamed. Voigt knows all the tricks. He even turned to potato ice cream to add variety.
Voigt is on a mission to prove to the spud is our nutritional friend. But he has also learned you want to invite more than just Mr. Potato Head to your dinner table.
There are a lot of myths about taters. For instance, potatoes are not fattening. It's the toppings that add the pounds. An average potato contains only about 110 calories. This is good news for us but bad news for Voigt who needs about 2200 calories a day to live. He said this to OPB News about his steady diet:
"I think when I started this diet I underestimated how physically difficult it is to eat 20 potatoes. You're feeling full all the time. I'm literally having to eat three potatoes every couple of hours. So it's a challenge even to find the time to eat that much."
Nutritional Facts
Nutritional Facts
20 Potatoes a Day
So why has Voigt decided now is the time to make the world aware of the oh-so-healthy, but oh-so-badly-maligned potato?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, usually shortened to the WIC Program, and is excluding the potato. Removed from the USDA list of subsidized foods for low-income programs, the agency is now considering whether or not potatoes should be included in school lunches.
Voigt is out to burnish the spud's tarnished image with the USDA, and the public too. If it takes a diet of potato lasagna and pickled potatoes, so be it.
More about Potato, Chris voigt, Food, Diet
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