Everything You Might Want to Know About the Potato

The best diet-and-health blog on the Web may be Stephan Guyenet’s Whole Health Source. Those who have read the footnotes of our book may have noticed that he’s our most cited blogger.

Stephan has done a series of posts on the potato, one of our “safe starches” and recommended foods. His latest and final installment has some neat information. His whole post deserves reading, but I want to highlight two points here.

Yes, Potatoes are a Safe Starch

Diseases like obesity and diabetes are primarily caused by toxic foods. Diabetes and obesity became common after vegetable oil and fructose consumption soared in the 1970s – not surprisingly, since omega-6 fats and sugar are extremely effective at inducing these diseases in laboratory animals.

Diabetes and obesity rates may serve as rough indicators of the toxicity of a people’s staple foods.

It is good to see, therefore, that potato-eating cultures have very low rates of diabetes and obesity. Here is Stephan’s graph comparing diabetes rates among the Aymara, an Andean potato-dependent tribe, and Americans:

Stephan notes that the Irish were considered a healthy and attractive people during the period when they obtained 87% of calories from the potato, and quotes Adam Smith’s remark that potatoes were “peculiarly suitable to the health of the human constitution.”

At this blog, we never disagree with Adam Smith.

Potatoes provide adequate protein

Stephan cites a curious study in which a Dr. M. Hindhede kept three men on a potatoes-and-margarine diet for a full year and required them to do increasingly arduous labor. After a year of this potato-and-fat diet, the men emerged well-muscled:

In his book, Dr. Hindhede shows a photograph of Mr. Madsen taken on December 21st, 1912, after he had lived for almost a year entirely on potatoes. This photograph shows a strong, solid, athletic-looking figure, all of whose muscles are well-developed, and without excess fat. …Hindhede had him examined by five physicians, including a diagnostician, a specialist in gastric and intestinal diseases, an X-ray specialist, and a blood specialist. They all pronounced him to be in a state of perfect health.

About 10% of the calories in potato are from protein, and since the margarine may have accounted for 50% of calories and was protein-free, the men’s protein intake was around 5% of calories. The experiment is consistent with our view that protein intake of 200 calories per day is sufficient to maintain excellent health and build muscle.


Visit Stephan’s blog for all the details about this excellent safe starch, including his concluding safety tips.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Paul,

    In the comments section of Stephan’s last post on the potato, he was asked about what he considers an “optimal diet”. Stephan replied that his diet might include small amounts of “fermented non-gluten grains”. You include white rice as one of the “safe starches”; Stephan advocates soaked brown rice. I would love to see him do a series of articles on rice. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the differences between your and Stephan’s rice advice?

  2. Thanks for the positive review!

    Art, I just wanted to make a little correction. I didn’t intend to suggest that brown rice is the best way to eat rice. In fact, I’m not aware of a single traditional culture that eats brown rice, or ever did (although that doesn’t necessarily tell us what’s optimal). My understanding is that before machine refining, traditional rice-eating cultures generally pounded the rice, removing most, but not all, of the bran and germ. Then it was cooked and sometimes fermented. There was true white rice, but it was for the wealthy.

    My reason for posting the brown rice fermentation recipe is that people like to eat brown rice (including myself sometimes), so I wanted to give them a way to make it healthier. Lately, I’ve been fermenting/cooking 50:50 brown:white rice to simulate the traditional hand-pounded rice. I think white rice is a pretty innocuous starch, it just isn’t very nutritious. I have no problem with it, in limited quantity.

  3. Hi Art,

    Well, I am very concerned with toxin avoidance. Brown rice has toxins that white rice lacks. We try to prescribe convenient diets, which are easy to prepare. White rice is easy.

    Stephan seems to be inspired by traditional ways of eating. Traditional cultures couldn’t easily mill the bran from rice, but they had ways of detoxifying such as soaking and fermenting. If you want to live a traditional lifestyle, with its sometimes arduous food preparation procedures, then Stephen is an excellent guide.

    Soaked brown rice might have a few more nutrients than white rice along with its toxins. I don’t worry as much about nutrients as toxins, since I’m willing to supplement nutrients. I’d rather eat a low-toxicity food and supplement, than eat a high-toxicity food with more nutrients.

  4. Hi Stephan, glad to see you! Thanks for the clarification. I composed my reply before I saw that you had commented.

  5. I assume that most of the toxins in potatoes are in the skin so we should not eat potato skins.


  6. Yes, most of the toxins are in the 1 mm in and next to the skin.

    It’s probably prudent to peel the potatoes. This also helps you see discolored flesh.

    We usually get small potatoes, like fingerlings, which have thin skins. Prudent or not, we often eat them with the skins. I do prune away any places where the skin was broken, and if the flesh is visibly discolored I discard the potato.

    Bigger potatoes we peel. But sweet potatoes we usually eat the skin.

  7. Not to mention the fact that muscle and organ meats and other animal products are generally much more nutrient dense than grains, fruits or vegetables. We certainly don’t need the nutrients from brown rice in the context of a paleo-type diet.

  8. just wondering whether potatoes have any place in a weight loss diet ???

  9. Hi java,

    Yes, safe starches should be present in a weight loss diet. We generally recommend 400 calories per day, mostly from “safe starches”, for the metabolically healthy, and a “ketogenic” approach for those who have been metabolically damaged by obesity and diabetes, with 200 calories per day from safe starches plus lots of coconut oil.

    So, those with “diabesity” as Chris calls it may benefit from eating a little less of the starches than others, but they shouldn’t go to the zero-starch extreme. That risks health problems from glucose deprivation.

  10. oh thanks….that was an eyeopener 1

  11. Paul,

    I’ve long relied on a very low carb diet (high in fat, protein, vegetables, basically paleo) to maintain good body weight. That means that starches like potatoes and rice have long been a big no-no for me.

    It’s a strategy that’s worked very well for me for years (and for many others, obviously). What you and Stephan are now saying obviously gives me pause. While I’d love to add these back to my diet, it just doesn’t comport with my and many people’s experiences, unless I’ve been looking at it incorrectly (perhaps it’s only the wheat/grains that have contributed to the weight gain?). Could it be that I and some others are just more carb sensitive and have to cut back on even “safe starches”?

    And could you elaborate or provide a link on what complications can arise from glucose deprivation?

    Thanks so much for the valuable information you are providing.

  12. Hi TL,

    Yes, I do believe it’s the wheat/grains that are the main factor in weight gain.

    However, keep in mind that our diet is a low-carb diet. The average American eats 1900 carb calories a day. We recommend 400, an 80% cut.

    To me there are two key dividing lines:
    1) Toxic vs non-toxic foods. If you start healthy you can probably eat all the “safe starches” you want and never get fat. Toxic foods are needed to create metabolic derangements.
    2) ~600 carb calories/day — the body’s glucose utilization threshold. Metabolically damaged people have difficulty disposing of excess glucose. So for them, eating glucose above the amount the body can use is a no-no.

    For diabetics and some obese we also have issues with postprandial (after meal) glucose elevation and so going to the low end of our safe carb range, to 200 carb calories/day, is beneficial for glucose control.

    So what I’m saying is: You may be carb sensitive and have to cut back to 400 or 200 carb calories per day, but you shouldn’t have to cut back to zero.

    As for the dangers of glucose deprivation, I am planning a series of posts on this. Unfortunately there is no “link” to give as we are doing cutting edge science here!

  13. Stephan hi,
    Your article lends credibility to the potato and Pierrette & I totally agree. By itself it is an incredible food that God blessed us all with.
    If most people listened to common sense and not hype, we would all be healthier by eating more of them instead of fearing them.
    Let all nutritionists and fitness experts disagree, we at Thee Quest For Perfect health believe that every food created is not bad for you. Some foods are not good for you(only because of the nutritional content) but if you compensate with great foods(like the potato) you are doing just fine,
    Thanks for this informative article.
    Pierre William Trudel
    Thee Quest For Perfect Health

  14. Paul,

    Thanks for the article. I am a huge fan of Stephan’s site as well (who isn’t ?!). Regarding the comment, “About 10% of the calories in potato are from protein” .. is the protein in the flesh of the potato or the skin? I am fascinated by the Hindhede study.

    • Hi Rob, From nutritiondata.com it looks like proteins are distributed throughout the potato, but slightly higher in skin than flesh. Nutritiondata is inconsistent about protein content, some potatoes are listed with 10% of calories as protein, some as 5%.

  15. Hi Paul, welcome back,
    i thought i’d post this query here since white rice is mentioned a few times;

    on pg 253 of your book, under ‘…food intake for a ketogenic diet’; you recommend getting carbs from ‘…safe starches like taro and sweet potato.’

    i am interested if you omitted ‘white rice’ intentionally here as a safe starch? do you see white rice to be less safe than taro and sweet potato for people with metabolic diseases.

    thx, Darrin

    • Hi Darrin,

      No, rice is fine. We didn’t list it among the examples only because with the reduced carb intake on a ketogenic diet, it’s easy to be deficient in plant micronutrients like potassium, so it would be better to eat foods with a higher potassium:calorie ratio. That should probably read potatoes and sweet potatoes, since potatoes are excellent potassium sources.

  16. What about eggplant and other night shade vegetables? Do you consider them okay to eat?

  17. Sorry, forgot to check the box to notify me of a reply so am re-sending.

  18. Hi Cathryn,

    Yes, I consider them OK in moderation, except in people with leaky guts who may develop a sensitivity. Healthy people shouldn’t need to worry but those with gut issues should watch for symptoms of sensitivity.

  19. At this blog, we never disagree with Adam Smith.

    I already knew your blog and book were awesome, but this line just pushed you up into the awesomeness stratophere.

  20. Hello Fellow Spud-Lovers!

    I have been posting a bunch of comments in Q$A and Reader Results, but after a few days it’s hard to find those comments and questions posed from them. So, I thought I would resurrect this old blog about my favorite subject where we could talk about taters.

    Right now is potato planting time. If you have room in your yard or garden, I highly recommend planting as many potatoes as you can.

    I like to start with ‘certified seed potatoes’ from a reputable garden supply center. You can grow supermarket potatoes, but they have mostly been treated with things to prevent them from sprouting and also stored at temps not favorable for seed potatoes.

    I like to plant several different types: Reds, for summer eating as new potatoes; Yukon Golds, for their size, tastes and storage ability–they last over a year if stored properly; and purple potatoes, for their unique color and high antioxidant profile.

    Plant now and you can eat your first ‘new’ red potatoes by about the end of July. Your main crop will be ready to harvest by the end of September or early October.

    If you haven’t a clue how to grow potatoes, go to a local garden store and ask about varieties and instructions for your area. Or, Google it!

    I have been growing potatoes for over 30 years and know a whole lot about them. I gave them up a couple years back, which turns out to be the worst thing I ever did. Low Carb Paleo used to mean NO POTATO, but now, thanks to Paul, potatoes are back in vogue.

    I’m doing some experimenting with my Fasting Blood Glucose based around potato meals. Check back here and I will post updates.


  21. Quick recap of my Blood Glucose (BG)/Fasting BG (FBG) experiments:

    On nearly 3 years paleo low carb, my FBG had crept up to nearly 120. My BG was pretty much in the 110-120 range no matter when I checked it.

    I bought a home glucose monitor and a bunch of test strips, and ate nothing but potatoes for a week. Within 2-3 days, my FBG was in the 80’s.

    After eating, (post-prandial), from here on abbreviated “PP”, BG would spike to nearly 200 1hr PP the first few days of potato eating and within 3 hours PP be in the 80’s after a brief dip to the low 70’s/high 60’s.

    I was trying to figure out if this was from low calorie, low fat, low protein, or high GI starch.

    Last week, I did several days of high fat/high protein/low carb and my FBG went right back to 120. I did several variations last week of low carb, and my FBG stayed in the 110-120 range.

    Yesterday, I ate a pretty good PHD day, and with one day of lots of potato, my FBG was 98 this morning.

    Today, my FBG was 98 at 6am. I had 1 cup of coffee at 7am. At 11am, my BG was 95. I ate 1 pound exactly of potato w/skins, salted. 1hr PP was 210, 2 hr PP was 67, 3hr PP was 78, 5hr PP was 81.

    I’m now getting ready to eat dinner: 2 pounds of potato w/salt, pepper, vinegar.

    Tomorrow will be a potato lunch and PHD dinner.

    My goal is to keep my FBG in low 90’s.

  22. hi tater, i will be very interested to follow you experiments. alfred

    • also, i have been enjoying Japanies Yam’s and Yucca root, what do you know about these, and i can’t find Taro anywhere. alfred

      • I have not had the good fortune to try these yet, but it’s on my to-do list. I’ve tried plantains, white sweet potatoes, regular sweet potatoes, and taro. Taro is good made into poi, a Hawaiian staple, but most people don’t like it for some reason. I would eat it daily if I could find a source.

  23. Good idea Tater !!
    -Planting our own potatoes seeds ! 😛
    -Discovering Potatoes as a “lowering” BG food ! Wow !

    I’m curious about your experiments, maybe you could open a blog or a site on this all “potato thing” ! 😉
    I’ve definitely noticed a lower BG when eating safe starches (potatoes or rice, or yam) later in the day.
    I’ve also tried High Prot/high fat meals during the 3 last days : each one was followed with a higher BG (from 125 to 135!) _with a still 100 FBG,3 hours after meal_ than the one measured when eating a PHD meal (93) or much more a full carb meal (90).

    My question is : is it a matter of moment you eat carbs or a question of mixing food alltogether,or …?
    I’m a little bit confused with the capacity of no-carbs-food to raise so much FBG !!!

    That’s all folks for the small experiences I can share.

  24. I’ve no interest in a blog of my own, I’m just doing this to help out future readers.

    Recap of BG experiments:

    High Fat/Protein, Low Carb week: FBG and BG in 110-120 range.

    Day 1 of All Potato (1200kcal) in two meals:
    FBG – 115
    1st meal: 1hr pp – 215
    2hr pp – 135
    3hr pp – 69
    5hr pp – 81
    2nd meal: 1hr pp – 189
    2hr pp – 157
    3hr pp – 94
    5hr pp – 111

    Day 2, FBG – 99

    Day 2 will consist of a 1/2 pound potato lunch and a normal PHD dinner of venison, potato,and veggies.

    • Hi tatertot,

      I’m just curious if you’re eating the potatoes freshly cooked and warmed, as opposed to cooled for the resistant starch affects you’ve discussed before? This could change the BG response, too, correct?


      • I’m eating them mostly cooked and warm, but have some cooked and cooled in the fridge that I also eat, more as a snack if still hungry right after dinner.

        The RS in potatoes is actually pretty minimal. The most is found in raw potatoes (50g), second most in cooked and cooled (6g), third most in roasted at high temp (5-10g), and least in cooked by boiling (2g).

        The weights above in grams are for an average sized, 1/2 pound, potato without skin.

        The thing that really kills RS in a potato is boiling. Cooking at high heat actually preserves some RS. Potato chips (crisps)and french fries are one of the main RS sources in the SAD. Unfortunately, I don’t eat potato chips/fries due to the cooking oils. Other studies show roasted potatoes can have as much or more than cooked and cooled. If the potato is allowed to dry, rather than boil, the RS is preserved.

        The takeaway for me is: Eat your potatoes a variety of ways…when cooking, eat a slice or two of raw potato. Cook them in different ways and eat the leftovers cold.

  25. Doing a bit of research at Google U, I turned up some interesting theories as to what is going on with my BG, and it seems I am not an outlier, but the norm.

    Many people on a low carb diet see their FBG and overall BG levels rise. This is seen as a non-event by many, but I think it indicates something we don’t want–namely, high levels of circulating glucose and inappropriate insulin responses.

    I’ve seen it explained this way in the paleosphere:

    “I’ve been thinking about this for some time as my own FBG is usually five point something mmol/l whole blood. Converting my whole blood values to Mark’s USA plasma values, this works out at about 100-120mg/dl. Normal to prediabetic in modern parlance. However my HbA1c is only 4.4%, well toward the lower end of normality and healthy. That’s always assuming that I don’t have some horrible problem resulting in very rapid red blood cell turnover. I don’t think so…

    I spend rather a lot of my life in mild ketosis, despite the 50g of carbs I eat per day. So I can run a moderate ketonuric urine sample with a random post-chocolate blood glucose value of 6.5mmol/l.

    What is happening? Well, the first thing is that LC eating rapidly induces insulin resistance. This is a completely and utterly normal physiological response to carbohydrate restriction. Carbohydrate restriction drops insulin levels. Low insulin levels activate hormone sensitive lipase. Fatty tissue breaks down and releases non esterified fatty acids. These are mostly taken up by muscle cells as fuel and automatically induce insulin resistance in those muscles. There are a couple of nice summaries by Brand Miller (from back in the days when she used her brain for thinking) here and here and Wolever has some grasp of the problem too.”

    That was from: http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/search?q=FBG

    We’ll explore more later, gotta run!

  26. OK, so according to the above article, people on ketogenic diets, or near keto, should expect to run higher FBG, in the 100-120 range.

    When I was LC, my FBG was indeed in that range, however, when I switched to PHD levels of safe starch, it stayed there–maybe dropping to the 100-110 range, but still higher than the 90’s which is said to be healthful.

    I’m thinking it has to do with Glucagon.

    From Wikipedia on Glucagon:

    “Glucagon, a peptide hormone secreted by the pancreas, raises blood glucose levels. Its effect is opposite that of insulin, which lowers blood glucose levels.[1] The pancreas releases glucagon when blood sugar (glucose) levels fall too low. Glucagon causes the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose, which is released into the bloodstream. High blood glucose levels stimulate the release of insulin. Insulin allows glucose to be taken up and used by insulin-dependent tissues. Thus, glucagon and insulin are part of a feedback system that keeps blood glucose levels at a stable level.”

    I’ve also learned that consumed protein causes an insulin release. Glucagon is also released at this time to prevent the insulin from lowering BG too low.

    So, if one consumed a lot of protein, it stands to reason that there would be a lot of glucagon circulating in the blood, it seems this could account for higher than normal BG.

    A meal of (or with) a high glycemic carb, such as potato, would elicit an insulin response–but not glucagon. This would effectively get your BG level lower and in the range your body is striving for (85-95).

    Now, the question is: How do we keep it in that range?

  27. I’m seeing a trend in my BG.

    Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
    115 99 95

    1hr PP
    215 135

    3hr PP
    69 93

    5hr PP
    81 85

    Hopefully this is readable when I post!

  28. Here is what I think we are seeing with the all potato diet effect on blood glucose.

    There is a well-known phenomenon called “Second Meal Effect” in that a certain level of glycemic load in the first meal, effects the glucose/insulin in the second meal.

    For instance, on Day 1, my first meal consisted of 1 pound of potato. The 1,3,5 hour BG was 215-69-81. My second meal consisted of even more potato, but my 1,3,5 hour BG was 184-94-111.

    I know from experience that if I carry the all-potato diet out 3-4 days, my FBG will be in the 80’s, and it’s headed that way now. Last night’s dinner was not all-potato, but also included quite a bit of lean protein and a bit of cheese.

    For the rest of the week, I am going to have an all-potato lunch, and regular dinner and track FBG only.

    Here is some good reading on the Second Meal Effect:




    What I find ironic, is that the second meal effect is thought to be from eating carbs low on the Glycemic Index, but I am using one of the highest GI foods known and showing clear second meal effect! I thin with an extended potato diet, you keep building on the second meal effect with each subsequent meal of only potatoes.

    As noted in second link above:

    “Consumption of low glycemic-index (LGI)
    foods has been shown to attenuate blood
    glucose response during the postprandial
    period immediately following a meal. In
    addition, positive metabolic effects can pe
    rsist well beyond this period. One of these
    extended effects, known as the “second-meal
    effect,” is the positive effect of the
    bioavailability of glucose on the glucos
    e tolerance of the subsequent meal. This second-
    meal effect, initially observed in normal-wei
    ght, healthy adult subjects using glucose and
    guar,has also been documented in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

  29. Bedtime Resistant Starch improves insulin sensitivity the next day!

    Read this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10509766?dopt=Abstract

    Abstract only, sorry, but it tells a tale.

    The compared T2 Diabetics fed a late night meal of white bread and raw corn meal. The people fed cornmeal at bedtime had improved scores on an oral glucose tolerance test the next day, even though FBG was unchanged.

    Raw corn meal is, by definition, resistant starch.

    If you need a good reason to get RS right before bed, this is it!

    My favorite form of RS has become the dried plantain chips we spoke of earlier–almost pure RS and tastes just like a cracker…if anyone needs the recipe let me know.

    From the study:

    “A bedtime meal providing uncooked cornstarch improved breakfast tolerance the next morning while, in contrast, this was not found following a bedtime meal of white bread. The results are consistent, therefore, with the concept that an increased intake of slowly digestible carbohydrates exert an overnight second-meal effect in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

  30. Someone please read this and tell me what it means:


    Background: Bedtime ingestion of slow-release carbohydrates leads to sustained nocturnal fatty acid suppression and improved glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetic patients.

    Objective: This study assessed the effects of 2 different doses of bedtime carbohydrate supplement (BCS) on morning glycemic control and glycated hemoglobin (Hb A1c) in type 2 diabetic patients. In addition, the effects of the high-dose BCS on insulin sensitivity and postprandial glucose and triacylglycerol concentrations were assessed.

    Design: Two BCS doses were studied separately in 7-wk randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies with either a parallel (low-dose BCS; n = 24 patients) or crossover (high-dose BCS; n = 14 patients) design. The effects of the low and high doses (0.30 and 0.55 g uncooked cornstarch/kg body wt, respectively) were compared with those of a starch-free placebo.

    Results: Compared with the starch-free placebo, the high-dose BCS (?45 g) produced enhanced nocturnal glucose (P < 0.01) and insulin (P < 0.01) concentrations as well as a 32% suppression of fatty acid concentrations (P < 0.01). Moreover, glucose tolerance (P < 0.05) and C-peptide response (P < 0.05) improved after breakfast the next morning. The low-dose BCS (?25 g) improved fasting blood glucose concentrations (P < 0.05). However, there were no improvements in insulin sensitivity, postprandial triacylglycerol concentrations, or Hb A1c after 7 wk.

    Conclusion: Nocturnal fatty acid suppression by BCS improved fasting and postprandial blood glucose concentrations in type 2 diabetic patients the next morning. In contrast, no improvements in insulin sensitivity, postprandial triacylglycerol concentrations, or long-term glycemic control assessed by Hb A1c were seen after BCS supplementation.

  31. Interesting tidbit from Lyle McDonald on Glucagon:

    “Glucagon only affects liver metabolism in humans, hence the increase in glucagon from protein is irrelevant to insulin’s effects in fat cells. This is something that has been known for several decades but individuals such as Sears, etc. continue to rely on rat/animal research to talk (incorrectly) about glucagon.”

    I had attributed glucagon from a high protein dinner as the cause of my high FBG, but this would make that seem incorrect.

  32. hi tatertot,
    keep up the good work. thx.

    Could i request that you add sleep quality to your test results pls.
    To see if you notice any correlation to the type of food intake & sleep, especially the last meal/snack before bed.
    I would be interested to hear if you notice any changes to sleep based on food.
    The RS subject is an interesting one, i wonder if ‘plain starch’ vs RS before bed makes a difference to sleep quality…

    This is a subject close to my heart (i wish it wasn’t). & i have yet to find any magic bullet.

    • …”& i have yet to find any magic bullet”…
      Although i have seen some improvement with my sleep following Pauls’ food timing/circadian rhythm enhancement suggestions,
      ie. ‘eat most carbs around sunset’

    • I hate saying this so soon, but I notice a definite connection between low FBG and good sleep.

      In my SAD days, I always slept like a rock. About 1 year into paleo, I started waking at 2-3am after going to bed at 10pm.

      Some days/weeks I slept straight through, most nights I woke at 2-3am. I never correlated FBG and sleep, but in the past few weeks, and a few months back when I was doing lots of ‘potato diets’ were periods of good sleep.

      I think I am close to zeroing in on how I need to eat to keep my FBG low (below 100). It involves no breakfast,a plain potato/no fat/no protein at lunch, regular PHD dinner, and a starch before bed.

      I have been amazed at how I can regulate my FBG eating this way. Next experiment will be longer term involving starch before bed with no starch, potato, or RS from dried plantain or potato starch.

      I don’t like throwing everything up at once, but want to do a meaningful, longer-term experiment.

      I will post updates here.

    • interesting that you mention sleeping like a rock during your SAD days.
      My sleep was still not great during my SAD days, but it was more up & down, ie. i had more good nights sleep per week then i currently do.

      i might try cold rice pudding tonight, close to bed time, & see if that has any influence on my sleep. of course i would need to be able to replicate the results before jumping to any conclusions.
      i expect there would be a ‘dose’ relationship as well…just how much to eat…may not be a good idea to overboard with the RS just before bed.

  33. Tater, not sure if you have any weight to lose like me, but I would be curious to see if you lose some pounds as your blood sugar stays “lower” for a long duration.
    I am also curious to what you find from adding just butter to the potato meal, or butter and vinegar.

  34. I’d like to experiment with butter, RS, and timing, but for now, I want to keep changes minimal to get a good baseline.

    I’m sitting at about 15-18% bodyfat, so I have some weight to lose, especially around the mid-section as most 48 year olds.

  35. So yesterday was a picture perfect day.

    FBG was 95. Lunch was a 1/2 pound potato. 1hr PP was 150, 2hr PP was 125, 3hr PP was 92, 5hr PP was 85.

    I ate dinner at 5:30 of 3/4 pound of grassfed beef skirt steak, 1 avacado, 1 pineapple ring, 1oz grassfed swiss cheese, 1/2 bell pepper, 1oz 90% dark chocolate, 5 almonds.

    No snacks and a smallish potato at 10pm right before bed.

    I did not have the best night’s sleep ever, woke a few times and tried not to look at the clock. Fell fairly well rested this morning.

    FBG today: 115

    • Man that is stunning. I’m going to get my mother who has very high FBG but reasonable daytime BG to try your approach 🙂

      • I can’t say a potato right before bed is good for FBG, but that’s based on just one night. I can say that a plain potato for lunch and no snacking definitely lowered my FBG, though, with several weeks of observation.

    • so may be your sleep quality does indeed correlate to your FBG (as you mentioned or alluded to before).

      on the days you wake with a good FBG number you also had good sleep.

  36. Yeah, I am a really light sleeper and I am interested in following your results. I do know, if I eat even a very small amount of dark chocolate in the evening, it will screw up my sleep.

    • Others have mentioned that, too. I ate the last of a bar last night, I will skip dark chocolate for the next month or so and see if it makes a difference.

  37. OK, maybe I’m making much a-do about nothing, but last night I had a potato right before bed, thinking I would wake up with relatively low-normal FBG. To my surprise, it was 115.

    All week, I have had a potato lunch, normal dinner, and produced excellent FBG:

    115, 99, 95, and today 115 again.

    On Monday, the first 115 day, I checked my BG a few times before lunch at 11, and my BG stayed right around 115.

    Today, my FBG was 115 at 7am. An hour later is was 95, then 87, now 85 at 1030.

    So what in the world caused me to wake with high FBG and what is making it drop so fast with nothing eaten? Was it the potato before bed?

    Much more experimenting to do!

    This also makes me wonder how many people are misdiagnosed with a single FBG reading. I’ll see if I can get an HbA1c next week, maybe that is more telling than these multiple finger sticks every day.

    • Hi Tater ! Maybe, not enough potatoes at lunch makes your FBG next morning at 115 ?

      I’ve experienced the same :The smaller amount of starch is eaten at night, the higher is my FBG next morning..very strange.
      I’ve noticed a really “sugary taste” when I wake up if I do not eat at least 1 pound potatoes at night,with prot and just a tiny tsbp of fat added (if the meat is lean…) Considering having had a regular PHD plate for lunch, some snacks with berries, and a piece of dark chocolate if hungry in the afternoon (no significant FBG changes noticed for this added food ^^ from 85 before chocolate, to 89 after ! )
      The problem in that case (if it is ?) is that the amount of carbs eaten during all day is higher than the one recommended by the regular PHD ! About 250 gr or 280 gr of net carbs.. 😯
      What’s your point with this Tater . Paul , of course, your advise is welcomme !! 🙂
      Is it sustainable for a long life plan ?
      ? The expriments we have here throughout the forum, seems to point the fact that the higher the amount starch is eaten, the lower the FBG is obtained..
      I wonder what is the most important for a long life plan ? Is a low FBG a marker of good health or a required point for a long life plan ?
      Tater, thnx again for the experiments you propose, and the amazing results you share ! It opens up our mind, sometimes left stuck in VLC routine and conditioned reflex !



      • Hi July,

        If 250 g carbs keeps your blood glucose more stable, then I would eat that much.

        I am not sure what causes this. If I were your doctor I would order a stool test to look at gut microbes.

        It is the case that the more starch is eaten, the lower FBG should be. This is due to higher glucose utilization in the body. But it’s unusual to need so much carbs. Are you sure you are counting carbs correctly (ie weigh your safe starches and look up carb content on nutritiondata)?

        • Paul – You are working with Stephen Guyenet on the Ideal Weight Program, right? Maybe a good isea would be to collect FBG and PP BG on as many of the people you can, especially those coming from LC Paleo.

          From other forums, I am seeing that high FBG is a definite side-effect of LC. If simple self-testing and small changes can bring this down to 85-95, I think you would have a really healthful program.

        • Hi Paul,

          Thanks for your care. I’ve checked on nutritiondata, and carbs content for this day is 220g of carbs (I weighed the raw potatoes_russet type,flesh and skin, raw_ before cooking them. )
          My FBG is still ‘quiet calm’ with this amount of carbs.

          I’ve noticed a real improvement in my mood ( I used to be very lC, before “meeting” PHD ).I can deal with life much more quietly and catching happiness more rapidly when it comes home. 🙂
          I am convinced it has some links with the carbs back in my plate, and I suppose it has some neurological impact..?

          IE the glucose utilization in the body : can the amount of starch eaten (200-250g) have bad consequences on a long term consumption ? And would you recommend to place the body in a kind of “stress” and letting him deal with glucose differently for some days : for example, eating the lower range of carbs you advise (70g) some days, and eating more carbs the other days ?
          Thanks for your answer,


          • Hi July,

            I think 220 g is pretty close to optimal. We recommend carbs as 30% of energy or about 150 g, on 2000 calories per day 220 g is 44%, the average American is 51% on a higher calorie intake so more like 280 g.

            I think as long as you’re in the vicinity of the optimum, any bad consequences will be minimal. So I don’t see any problem with what you’re doing. You might have a slightly longer life with slightly less carbs, but if your mood is better with them, go for the bird in the hand rather than the bird in the bush. I think daily intermittent fasting is more helpful than low-carb days.

            Best, Paul

  38. OK, I’m going to slow down here.

    Here are some things I’ve been mulling over.

    Even though my FBG is some days in the 115-120 range, I have excellent insulin sensitivity based on my post-prandials.

    The mornings that my FBG was highest, I slept poorly the night before (2am waking).

    The mornings that my FBG was highest, I had eaten fruit the night before…fresh pineapple and/or bananas.

    The mornings my FBG was lowest, I slept soundly and had eaten 2 meals with at least 1 pound of potato between them, keeping overall calories low.

    No testing for me until Monday morning. This weekend, I will focus on 2 meals–each with a potato and no fruit or dark chocolate.

    A couple other things:

    – The ‘second-meal effect’ can easily be demonstrated.

    – Back-to-back large starch meals, drive BG down immensely.

    Now I just need to put this all together for an easily sustainable method of keeping FBG in the 90’s.

    • Hi tater,

      Maybe fructose is a problem for you and you should focus on starch.

      • tater,

        Really good stuff.

        My PP sugars are very good almost all the time, whether I’m sleeping well or waking at 3:00am. Spike to 120, below 100 in a hour.

        If I get a good night sleep all the way through, FPP is 70-90 range.

        If I get a bad night sleep by intentionally staying up late or other external problem I have higher FPP, 95-105 range. So poor sleep causes higher, for me, FPP

        If I am in a bad sleep rut, waking at 3:00am with pounding adrenaline and my tinnitus really acting up(can last for 2 weeks), I can count on higher FPP in the morning as well, in the 98-110 range. But here the blood sugar dis-regulation is causing the bad sleep and early morning adrenaline bursts.

        So cause and effect for sleep and sugar dis-regulation can reverse. I consider Pauls’s circadian management in the first case with externally disturbed sleep.

        The second case is more difficult to isolate but with me the following factors are in play. To much fructose/sugar, caffeine/alcohol, and not enough calories/starchy carbs. I suspect mineral imbalance or deficiency especially chromium and maybe the electrolytes too. Also, stress levels in general. It seems very easy for me to mess up my blood sugar regulation with all these factors in play and when I do I can count on the early morning hypoglycemia and subsequent adrenaline burst. Then either I lay awake for two hours or go get some carbs, fat and protein out of the fridge.

        As an aside, I consider exercise and good muscle mass as the key for good daytime PP meal blood sugar.

        Thanks for your postings, I have to try RS soon.

        • Argh…FPP = FBG

        • One other thing, when I wake at 2:30 or 3am actual sugar as in the white stuff puts me back to sleep best like Hagendaz

        • Perry – I have been making and eating green plantain chips for RS, but eating them mostly in the morning or with dinner. They seem to make PP glucose very stable when eaten as a portion of starch with meals. I haven’t experimented with eating them in the evening.

          I just ordered 4 pounds of Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch and am going to plan an experiment around eating some of that after (or with) dinner.

          Unmodified potato starch is 78% RS by weight, confirmed by many sources, making an 11g TBS an approx 8G serving of RS.

          I haven’t figured out the delivery vehicle for it yet, but will try a few things when it gets here. I’m thinking it could be mixed with cold water or even mashed into small boiled/cooled potato.

          The plantain chips are easy to eat, so I may end up using them–just wanted to try potato starch as a known quantity. Plus it’s cheap and seemingly easy to measure.

  39. Perry – Thanks for the advice. It’s a puzzle to me. Countless threads started on every paleo forum about nighttime waking–they have even given it a name ‘polyphasic (or bi-phasic) sleep’ and say it’s actually the way we are supposed to sleep. I’m not buying it.

    I think the answer is a balance of carb consumption and timing. The best positive outcome being a good night’s uninterrupted sleep and well regulated blood glucose.

    For the next week or two, I am going to have no breakfast, a potato for lunch, and a normal PHD-esque dinner. No snacks, no fruit, no chocolate and track FBG only.

    Here’s another puzzle maybe you can help me with. Yesterday, my FBG was 115 at 7am. With no food eaten, it dropped almost exactly 10 points an hour, ending at 76 at 11am when I ate lunch.

    What caused this glucose clearance? In my LC days, I would have FBG of 115, and hourly fasted checkes showed it never varied from 115 +/- 2-3pts.

    • “‘polyphasic (or bi-phasic) sleep’ and say it’s actually the way we are supposed to sleep. I’m not buying it.”

      I mentioned the same thing just the other day on the Q&A here,

      I’m not buying it either.

      • Tater,

        Regarding the dropping FBG over the course of the morning I suspect you are having a classic stress hormone response like I described in case 2 above, i.e. a hypoglycemic event causing adrenaline, cortisol, and some other hormones to do their thing by raising early morning blood sugar via glucagon release and glycogen conversion to glucose in the liver.

        After waking and as the hormones get used up and or subside naturally, glucose out of the liver would drop and so would blood sugar until it reached its non hormone driven lower limit.

        This would be the 115 to 76 by 11 am in your example. The fact it drops over the course of the morning I think indicates the stress hormones interfering with your sleep.

        This is contrasted with the steady, higher level of FBG which I had too when I was LC, due to the physiologic insulin resistance driven by overall lower blood glucose levels. You and I are more insulin sensitive now…there are more places available for the blood glucose to go but also the system seems to have a wider range of fluctuation. I view your experiments with your own BG as optimizing that range with food which is a totally necessary and smart thing to do. It may only get you so far though.

        Ultimately, in my case I’m looking at what drives these nighttime stress hormones. Are they pathological? Unless a tumor is present or some other decease, I think they are a normal adaptive evolutionary response to keep us alive. Sleeping really heavy and through the night might get you killed, eaten, robbed, or otherwise pilloried. Is biphasic sleep ideal, probably not but it is a great thing if these are your alternatives.

        So I believe the 3 am wakefulness is our subconscious perceiving a valid threat to our existence so it keeps us on our toes even while sleeping so to speak.

        Today, these threats are most likely financial concerns, relationship problems, work stress, mental illness, etc.

        I know if I place too much pressure to perform academically on my oldest daughter she will act out while sleeping, talking walking, restlessness, etc.

        Here is a link that I think describes this process and the way sleep and BG relate.

        I have no idea if you’ll will find this hlpful but good luck in any event.


        • This stress response effecting my sleep sounds just like me. I wake 2 to 3 times a night. I usually feel pretty warm, sometimes sweating, and my mind is swimming or I feel somewhat in an elevated state.
          I am usually just dog tired during the day.
          I may want to start measuring my blood sugar too.
          I am 52 years old, and I remember having a blood test back around 1995, and my doctor at that time asked me if I was diabetic, because my FBG was around 105. That was taken during a morning draw with no breakfast, and I had been up and moving around for 3 to 4 hours when that was drawn. My HB1AC usually comes back fine.

          • Hi I have been reading through your discussion on sleep and just thought I would add this in. I don’t know if you will find it valuable or not, but here is my experience with this same problem

            I was sleeping the same way you are waking several times a night, and most notably at 3am or after. Often I would wake up sweaty and like you said with my mind going. I asked my acupuncturist and this is what he told me. He said that the liver is associated with healing various things especially tendons, ligaments and muscles. At the time I had an injury in my neck in a ligament. He said that I was waking up because my liver was activating to heal my injury. He also said that it usually activates around the 2-4am mark. So as I treated my injury my sleep got better. Due to my adrenal fatigue sleep was still an issue even after the injury healed. However, I have completely fixed my sleep disturbance with extended release melatonin and magnesium at night.

            I bring this up because if you work out or do a lot of physically stressful work, you are stressing your tendons, ligaments and muscles which would trigger a healing response from your liver at night which according to my acupuncturist will wake you. I have no idea if there are scientific studies to support this but there are hundreds of years of tradition backing acupuncture. It is food for thought anyway, and the melatonin and magnesium truly made me fall asleep and stay asleep all night long; of course baring any bathroom breaks but those are rare.

      • Wow, that’s funny–great minds think alike!

        • (That last comment was to Darrin)

          Perry – Great info there! I agree 100% about the physiologic insulin resistance.

          As to sleep issues, I don’t know. What you have described about stress is certainly real, but I don’t think it pertains to me right now. I’m in a real good place and under no real stress.

          It’s almost like a joke, I’ll go to sleep at 10pm, as I do every night, and find myself awake–when I look at the clock, there are 2 possibilities: it’s either a couple minutes before my alarm is set to go off or it’s sometime between 2-3am.

          I have turned my clock toward the wall and only look at it when my alarm goes off. That has helped a lot, but the early morning awakenings still occur. They have never been ‘every night’ but more seem to be related to the composition of my evening meal. More starchy=less waking.

          I’ve read about the ‘Dawning Effect’ and wonder if it’s something like that. They say an alcoholic drink right before bed can help it. I may experiment with that, but only after tightening up my diet for a couple weeks to eliminate any confounders.

          Even when I wake at 2-3am, I go right back to sleep and feel fine in the morning. I would just like to pinpoint the reason.

          Here’s maybe another clue: In 2005, I weighed 250lbs and had the classic laundry list of metabolic syndrome symptoms, including Fatty Liver Disease. I now weigh 168lbs and fatty liver is cleared up, confirmed by ultrasound and liver enzyme labs.

          I’ve read that fatty liver damages the liver permanently even though it appears normal. Possibly I have a bit of liver dysfunction in the storage of liver glycogen and fructose processing.

          Any-hoo, I didn’t want to make this about me, I was hoping to keep it a general discussion about LC converts with FBG/Sleep issues.

  40. Hi tatertot,

    Certainly there’s probably individual variation, but I sometimes feel I sleep well eating an apple just before bedtime.

    If you’re open to some experimentation that’s not quite PHD compliant, I read about the idea of eating raw honey before bed on Bulletproof Exec The Top 6 Ways to Improve Your Sleep Using Food. Note this link promotes products quite a bit, but may spark some ideas.

    Here’s some additional info for possible honey affects on sleep. It makes me wonder if some combination of glucose and fructose could help. I’ve read raw has anti-bacterial properties and local helps to strengthen the immune system against allergies.


    Honey’s effect on sleep is one of the more exciting and promising focuses of research yet to be conducted. We already know that honey promotes restorative sleep in two ways. First, it ensures an adequate supply of liver glycogen for the night fast. The average adult liver can store only about 75 to 100 grams of glycogen, with differences between men and women and according to body size. The body will consume about 10 grams of glycogen per hour (6.5 grams by the brain and 3.5 grams by the heart, kidneys, and red blood cells). When one eats dinner at 6:00 pm and goes to bed at 11:00 pm, the body will have utilized up to half of the liver’s supply of glycogen, leaving less than needed for eight hours of rest. Eating honey before bedtime re-stocks the liver with glycogen and ensures getting through the night before the brain triggers a crisis search for fuel (the metabolic stress, described earlier, that occurs when the liver runs out of glycogen).

    Second, honey facilitates restorative sleep by contributing to the release of melatonin in the brain. Honey triggers a small spike in insulin levels (the glucose in honey stimulates in a small insulin release), and insulin stimulates the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which in the dark is converted to melatonin. Melatonin in return inhibits the release of insulin, thus further stabilizing blood sugar levels during the night. Melatonin is necessary for restorative sleep. Often called the “wellness hormone,” it helps to enhance immunity and facilitate the rebuilding of tissues during rest.

    • Mark – good point about running out of liver glycogen and all the catabolic things that would result. Ray Peat has been extolling the virtues of sugar for this very reason.

      Hunting bugs with autophagy PHD style is great maybe only up to the point where liver runs out of sugar as that cure is worse than the disease. It is probably highly variable person to person as well as for an individual over one lifetime.

    • MarkES –

      “When one eats dinner at 6:00 pm and goes to bed at 11:00 pm, the body will have utilized up to half of the liver’s supply of glycogen, leaving less than needed for eight hours of rest.”

      That is almost exactly my schedule! I try real hard not to eat anything after 6pm, and it’s about 8hrs after that I wake up (2-3am).

      I have heard about honey, maybe I will try that in a few weeks.

      The basic premise of liver running out of glycogen before morning and then stress hormones kick in, raising blood sugar levels and other hormonal cascades is probably exactly what is occuring to LC’ers and even PHD’ers without adequate liver glycogen storage.

    • I know honey does not help me sleep. It definitely stimulates me if eaten during the evening.
      I have tried that and I can only eat limited amounts of honey in the morning.

  41. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/1/134.full

    If anyone is interested in Raw Potato Starch as a means to get some RS, here is a good study. The study was done on pigs, but relates very well to humans.

    In this study, after 28 days very noticeable changes occurred in the large intestine related to microflora and the physical appearance of the colon. Raw Potato Starch was chosen because of it’s excellent RS properties.

    “Purine base concentrations in digesta decreased in CS (corn starch) and RPS (raw potato starch)-fed pigs from the proximal segments of the colon to rectum, although more distal decreases occurred in pigs fed RPS. Moreover, branched-chain SCFA, which are derived from the deamination of amino acids, progressively increased along the large bowel. The response was evident in the proximal segments of the colon of CS-fed pigs and in distal segments of RPS-fed pigs. Given the involvement of proteolytic bacteria in numerous colonic and rectal pathologies (34) in humans, the potential role of RPS in the dissemination of bacteria in the colon and the associated risk of disease should be evaluated.

    Adaptation to increased consumption of RPS resulted in a marked hypertrophy of the colon (Table 3), as measured by the weight and length, and a similar prolongation of the transit time of digesta in the colon. Other authors have reported that the transit time of digesta in the large bowel was prolonged after increased RPS intake in rats (11,43) and swine (44). This appears to be an adaptive response aimed at salvaging energy from fermentation.”

    • i’m pretty sure that RS increases transit time for me (n1).

      tho in my case it’s not related to hypertrophy, as it happens straight away.

  42. This study showed that High-glycemic-index carbohydrate (rice) meals shorten sleep onset.

    used 2 types of rice, Mahatma rice (low GI = 50) or Jasmine (high GI = 109).

    It’s a pity that they only studied sleep onset & nothing else. It would have interesting to see if there was any difference in sleep quality & duration.

  43. Bit of an update if anyone cares…

    I have been doing some experimenting around meal composition and FBG.

    On a low-carb diet, my FBG averaged 115mg/dl (high end of normal range).

    Adding 1 pound of safe starch brought it down to the 95-105 range, but an off-day of less than one pound of safe starch would bring it back up to 115-120.

    Here is something very exciting, and I hope I can get a few others to do this experiment, too:

    I have been eating approximately 4TBS of Bob’s Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch with dinner. Immediately, my FBG fell to 89 and has averaged 92 over the course of a week. My FBG has never been this low!

    Today, after 7 days of 4TBS of potato starch in the evening, I ate 4 TBS on an empty stomach in the morning to test the effect on blood glucose:

    FBG – 92
    30minPP – 92
    1hr – 93
    90min – 85
    2hr – 80
    150min – 79
    3hr – 79
    4hr – 85

    As you can see, Raw Potato Starch has zero impact on blood glucose! It is nearly 100% Resistant starch. Scientific papers say it is 78% RS by weight, so 4TBS, or 44g, should be about 30-35g of pure resistant starch.

    For the next couple weeks, I intend to keep up with my regular PHD eating, and add 2-4TBS of potato starch to my evening meals and track FBG.

    Here’s how I have been eating raw potato starch:

    It has to be in it’s raw state, not heated!

    I made some potato salad with homemade olive oil mayo, and add 2 TBS per serving.

    I put 2TBS in a bowl, add about 4TBS of water and mix it to form a slurry, then add blueberries or banana slices and mix well. A bit of stevia makes it sweeter, but not really needed.

    I put 4TBS in a fresh berry/fruit/ice smoothie with 2 egg yolks, and drink.

    The potato starch actually has a nice mouth-feel and little to no taste. It is not unpleasant in the least!

    If any of you other folks out there track FBG, maybe you’d consider giving this a try.

    • I bought some Bob’s Red Mill tonight at a local health food store. I added 2 tablespoons to yogurt. I could barely taste much difference in the yogurt, which I was happy to observe.
      I am going to try the 2 tablespoons in the evening for a while and see what happens.

      • I hadn’t even thought about adding it to yogurt–good idea! I find it easier to mix with stuff if you add a bit of water to it first and turn it into a watery paste, then mix it in.

        Last night, I had mine mixed with a mashed banana, cocoa powder, and a handful of blueberries.

        I was also thinking it would mix well with homemade ice cream if I ever get around to making some.

        • I ended up taking 4 tablespoons last night and 1 teaspoon this morning, and I had a low grade headache all day today, and I rarely get headaches.
          (I did sleep pretty good though)

          I am going to throttle back and try 1 teaspoon per meal. I suspect that I lowered my blood sugar too much?

          I may have to get that blood glucose tester after all.

          • A blood glucose tester is a lot of fun and very informative. I’m a geek, so I have made a bunch of Excel Graphs of my glucose curves and use them for reference when testing different foods.

            I doubt the headache was from the potato starch, but try splitting it up in several doses. This is uncharted territory–no official guidelines!

            It should also not lower your blood sugar at all. My testing showed a complete stabilization if anything. Keep trying and let us know.

          • In hind sight, I believe my low grade headache that day was not from the potato starch. I think it was from something else, some left over food in my fridge, that was too old.
            I cleared that stuff out yesterday. My bad.

  44. That is really impressive.
    At any point did you feel sluggish or have less energy during the day?
    Did you find you slept better during this period of low FBS?

    • At no point did I feel sluggish or notice anything out of the ordinary. In fact, if anything, I felt less hunger and more energy. Sleep has remained the same, mostly really good. I think some of my sleep disturbances were caused from exercising in the evening and not enough carbs at dinner.

      I am simply amazed at the changes in FBG with the addition of 4TBS of potato starch. Lowered FBG and better post-prandials are the trademarks of RS in the diet, most studies use 20-50g RS, so 4TBS is a good starting point.

      • Man, based on what you have found, I am going to go and get some potato starch and a blood glucose monitor and see what I find.
        I have never used a blood glucose monitor. Does it hurt to test/prick your finger?

        • I bought 20 pounds of Bob’s Red Mill on Amazon for about $20. Maybe you can find it in a store near you, I couldn’t.

          If it’s not Bob’s Red Mill, just make sure it says ‘Unmodified’ on it.

          The blood glucose monitors are cheap, the test strips are expensive. But for $100 you have enough supplies to last a long time.
          I have an OneTouch UltraMini, I have taken a reading minutes prior to an actual doctor’s office lab drawing and the results are exactly the same, so I know it’s pretty accurate.

          Make sure you calibrate the meter to the number on the test strip bottle or it won’t work right (read the instructions!)

          It doesn’t hurt, well, maybe just a bit–but you get used to it. I pricked my finger 8 times already today!

          I usually just check FBG a couple times a week, though. Once you are happy, you don’t really need to keep doing it. I was considered pre-diabetic a couple years ago so I probably worry more than most.

          Good luck!

          • thx for the info update tater,

            I may go looking for some potato starch.
            If it’s not labelled as ‘unmodified’, do you know if the label of ‘organic’ would be the same thing?

            on another note, i have the following other starches in my cupboards, any views on these that you may have picked up while researching the potato starch,

            – organic tapioca flour, carbs 84.5% sugars 0%
            – organic arrowroot starch, carbs 84.5% sugars 0%
            – organic white rice flour, carbs 79.1% sugars 0.2%

          • I’m pretty sure that any potato starch that is sold for human consumption will be unmodified. I believe that it is only ‘modified’ for use in industrial applications. That being said, if it doesn’t say ‘unmodified’ I would be very hesitant to use it.

            Sometimes unmodified starch is also called ‘Native’ or ‘Raw’.

            I would think organic would be best, but only if you were sure it is ‘unmodified’.

            Here’s a good description of how potato starch is made:


            As to the others, I don’t know. There is very little written about the RS content in different foods, but potato is well-researched to be 78% RS by weight. The others most likely have considerable RS.

            This paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2005.00481.x/full
            Lists the RS of various foods in table 2.

            And this one: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2005.00481.x/full also has RS values for some more little known foods.

            Both papers are very interesting to read through.

          • Hi Tater,

            I’ve added Bob’s Red Mill to the Supplement Recs page, at the very end.

          • Thanks for all of the experimenting and reporting that you have done. I’m going to have to try the potato starch out. (Some of us are lucky enough that we live close enough to actually go to Bob’s Red Mill to buy the products in bulk.)

          • I talked with Bob’s Red Mill customer service and it sounds like they have a good process for making potato starch. They couldn’t answer any questions about RS, though, not really on their radar yet.

  45. If anyone is interested in trying to increase RS in their diet, the observable outcomes should be:

    – lowered ldl cholesterol
    – better glucose control
    – less hunger
    – weightloss

    The unobservable benefits should be:

    – Improved absorption of vitamins and minerals
    – Improved health of colon
    – Enhanced ‘good’ gut bacteria
    – Decreased ‘bad’ gut bacteria

    • Hi Tater,

      Thanks for the multiple tips ! Amazing results with FBG !
      About RS consumption, do you replace carbs with potato starch to the amount of carbs eaten during the day, or is potato starch added as an “extra” regardless the X gr of carbs eaten through the day.? Thanks 🙂


      • It’s just extra. 4TBS of potato starch is 160 kcal according to the package label. Eaten uncooked, it is supposedly only half that as it is not really digested, but serves to feed gut flora and is converted to butyrate, effectively giving up 50% of it’s calorie value in the process.

        So 4TBS is really only an extra 80 kcal, and I don’t track calories close enough to worry about that amount.

  46. Hey Tatertot,

    THanks for the great contributions to the site! I’ve enjoyed the updates and having working on getting more RS.

  47. Hi tatertot,

    Since I’ve been thinking potatoes need to be cooked to avoid toxins, I tried reading up on raw potato starch safety and came across this paper. I was leery about the part where subjects experience “pain or other physiological disturbances”.

    Do you have references on raw potato starch safety?

    Also, this paper found smaller quantities absorb more, making me think larger quantities are needed for highest RS.


    Raw potato starch was much less completely digested, about one-fourth of the amount eaten being found in the feces on an average, and in many instances the subjects experienced pain or other physiological disturbances.

    And this frozen pudding recipe might of interest:

    The pudding closely resembled ice-cream in texture and flavor and was made according to the following formula:

    Experimental Frozen Pudding.
    6 quarts milk. 2 1/2 cups sugar.
    4 pounds raw starch. 1 tablespoon salt.
    3 cups table oil. 1/2 cup lemon or vanilla extract.

    The uncooked starch was mixed with the milk, sugar, and oil and immediately frozen in the same way as ice-cream. The flavoring extract masked to a great extent the taste of the uncooked starch and gave the frozen pudding a pleasing flavor.


    • Hi Mark,

      I’m going to guess that the pain comes from undigested potato and that if you have good bacterial species adapted to fermenting it, there would probably be no pain.

      Could be bad bacteria fermenting it too. I wonder if the people who were in pain were the same ones who had undigested potato in feces.

    • Awesome paper! I love old nutrition papers…1922–wow!

      They mentioned in there that 40g of potato starch was well-absorbed. 40g is the amount used by most modern studies and what I was shooting for with 4TBS.

      I don’t find the taste of potato starch objectionable at all, it is flavorless and not gritty or chalky when mixed with other liquids. I have took 4TBS (44g) mixed with water on an empty stomach and had absolutely no distress or bad reactions. It is possible my gut flora has been built up with several months of RS from plantains and potatoes.

      An irony of this 1922 paper–RS had not been identified yet. RS was named in the 80’s as separate from readily digestible starches…I’ll bet the scientists in 1922 were mystified by what they were seeing!

      The ice cream sounds good, make it with coconut oil and I’ll bet it’s awesome! I need to get an ice cream maker.

      • The coconut oil would also provide the MCT that are toxic to gut pathogens, making it extra good.

        The sugar could be replaced with berries, berries also providing beneficial fiber and their sugar is cellular which may be better than purified. I guess you’d still have to add some glucose.

        I think we’re developing a healthy processed food here 😉

        • Could also swap in some eggs for some of the oil for vitamin A, choline. It’s basically
          PHD Ice Cream + RS. Could add a little gelatin, too, which is good for digestion and also helps to improve consistency and prevent ice crystals in ice cream.

          Or, how about adding potato starch or banana/plantain flour to One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream ? I think it’s typically made with ripe bananas, so not sure how this would turn out with green bananas for added RS boost.

        • I made this yesterday:

          1 egg yolk, 1/2 cup cold coffee, 1/2 cup coconut water, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup frozen raspberries, 4TBS potato starch.

          Blended on high to almost smooth.


    • It would seem that “The amount of unabsorbed starch is directly related to the quantity ingested and to the small intestinal transit time”

      “In the present study, a linear dose-response relation was found between the amount of starch ingested and the amount recovered in ileal effluents.
      This is in accordance with the findings of Chapman et al (28) for potato starch in different amounts.
      It seems that for these types of starches (RS2), there is a linear dose-response relation up to amounts of ?100 g.”

      “starch absorption was measured after single solid meals containing 25, 50, 75, and 100 g potato starch.
      There was a linear relationship between starch input and output.
      Mean output expressed as a percent of input remained constant.
      We conclude that the degree of starch malabsorption by the small intestine of ileostomates may be less than that estimated by indirect methods in intact humans.
      The amount of unabsorbed starch is directly related to the quantity ingested and to the small intestinal transit time.”

      • Darrin – Awesome! I have learned something new here:

        “Raw green banana flour (RBF) was chosen as a model starch in the present study to achieve 2 products that differ as little as possible in their content of RS2 (ie, the type of starch in banana flour): RBF and the same flour cooked (CBF). Banana is one of the few sources of RS2 that is available in an ordinary meal.”

        RS in banana flour is 54% by weight–pretty good! Now I’m on the hunt for Raw Banana Flour! It would have to be eaten in it’s raw state, not cooked–but that’s do-able!

        The best lines from the first study linked are these:

        “Fermentation, especially the production of butyrate, is considered to be of importance for the nutrition of the colonic mucosa (16). It is known that in populations eating a Western diet, fermentation activity decreases at the end of the colon where colon cancer most often occurs (34). Increased intakes of fermentable carbohydrates could be a way of changing the fermentation activity in the colon with possible beneficial effects for the colonic mucosa.

        In conclusion, the ileostomy model seems to be the most reliable technique available for measuring RS in vivo. The addition of RBF with a high content of RS2 to the diet did not influence the excretion of other nutrients or total sterols, except for a small increase in iron excretion, and may have beneficial effects on colonic fermentation. The effects of different carbohydrates on colonic fermentation need to be further studied in vivo.

        In the present study, we tested the maximum amount of RS2 that could be included in the diet. However, practical use of green banana flour would be limited to special functional food products. “

      • In the second study, I think it shows good news for us. It verifies that 20-50g/day RS is a good target.

        When they are discussing absorption–they are talking about absorption in the small intestine–something we do not want! We want all that good RS to get to the large intestine for colonic health benefits.

        Great finds of both articles.

  48. Abstract-only, but a study that used 50g potato starch: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/60/4/544.short

    “The effect of resistant starch (RS) on postprandial plasma concentrations of glucose, lipids, and hormones, and on subjective satiety and palatability ratings was investigated in 10 healthy, normal-weight, young males. The test meals consisted of 50 g pregelatinized starch (0% RS) (S) or 50 g raw potato starch (54% RS) (R) together with 500 g artificially sweetened syrup. After the R meal postprandial plasma concentrations of glucose, lactate, insulin, gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), glucagon-like peptide-1, and epinephrine were significantly lower compared with after the S meal. Moreover, subjective scores for satiety and fullness were significantly lower after the R meal than after the S meal. Differences in GIP, texture, and palatability may have been involved in these findings. In conclusion, the replacement of digestible starch with RS resulted in significant reductions in postprandial glycemia and insulinemia, and in the subjective sensations of satiety. “

    • “500 g artificially sweetened syrup”


      Cool that satiety was lower – meaning our bodies know that RS is not food for our own use.

      • But more importantly, it shows that only 10% of total carb content–50g RS vs 50g regular starch–mixed with 500g of ‘syrup’ made a huge difference.

        I assume the syrup was something like corn syrup, a high GI value food.

  49. When I was a kid, I used to make a potato ‘candy’, which we kids called “slug dreams” :mrgreen: – it consisted of left over mashed potatoes, vanilla, cream cheese, and lots of powdered sugar. We mixed that into a fudge-like consistancy, and then rolled logs of it in chocolate chips that had been crushed in a blender with graham crackers. Tonight I mixed two tablespoons of potato starch with about 1/2 – 3/4 that amount of whipping cream, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, and about 1 tsp of maple syrup. It totally had the same texture as the ‘slug dreams’ – but not sickly sweet, but still a candy-like taste and texture I remembered. I loved it! I can imagine adding a bit of almond butter to it, for a different taste – and then you could dip it in really dark chocolate . .

  50. caution, does potato starch make you smell…

    here’s some feedback, for the last 5 days i have been ‘taking’ potato starch, 2 tbls on day 1, then 2 x 2 tbls days 3, 4 & 5.
    Now, the starch i had was not bobs red mill, it was labelled ‘organic potato starch’ & no mention of raw or unmodified.

    Anyways, i’ve noticed two things that have coincided with my p.starch intake;
    1. an increase in expelling gas (yes farts), & they are smelly (my farts never smell…honest).
    2. body odour when working out at the gym (i have not had BO in years).

    So i am thinking it is related to Butyric Acid/Butyrate production…from fermentation in my guts.

    My bobs red mill (brm) stuff turned up today. So i will probably take a day (or more) off & then start on the brm stuff, probably limit to 2 tbls & see if i am still ‘stinky’.

    • …missed day 2…
      2 tbls on day 1, then 2 x 2 tbls days 2, 3, 4 & 5

    • I noticed this too, but not BO, and the farts are not smelly. Hydrogen? Or did I lose my olfactory senses? 😉

      • “Or did I lose my olfactory senses?”…

        even tho you were joking (i’m pretty sure),
        i read that’s a sign of zinc deficiency, & possibly a loss/change to taste as well

        • Just to be sure I had a 15mg zinc gluconate capsule, I let it dissolve in my mouth, and it tasted awful, unlike when I took them a few years ago to treat inflamed throat before it would go into a cold. Phew 🙂

          In the mean time, I had chili con carne for lunch which included some beans and that really produced an assault on my olfactory senses, for several days 🙁 I stopped the RS for a few days until things calmed down and now I started again.

          • Wout, i am envious of your response to the dissolved zinc in your mouth.

            I am currently working on getting my zinc levels up so that i get a similar response to zinc in the mouth.

            At the moment the liquid zinc taste (tally) test (zinc sulfate in purified water) tastes of nothing to me.

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