Survive on a single food | CAN IT BE DONE?

Survive on a single food | CAN IT BE DONE?


In the 2015 sci-fi film The Martian, a marooned astronaut survives on the red planet
eating nothing but potatoes. But since there are no real humans on Mars, could a person survive eating nothing
but spuds on Earth? The short answer: Unless you’re stranded
with nothing but taters, it’s not a good idea. To survive, humans need a plethora of minerals
and vitamins, as well as 20 different amino acids. Nine of those amino acids are essential, meaning we can’t make them ourselves
and we have to get them from food. And, obviously, we need water in addition
to what we eat to keep our cells hydrated so they don’t wither and die. Technically, the traditional white potato
contains all the essential amino acids you need to build proteins, repair cells, and
fight diseases. And eating just five of them a day would get
you there. However, if you sustained on white potatoes
alone, you would eventually run into
vitamin and mineral deficiencies. That’s where sweet potatoes come in. Though these orangey spuds technically belong
to a different taxonomic family than white potatoes, eating them increases the likelihood of getting the
recommended daily dose of Vitamin A— the organic compound in carrots that your
mom told you could make you see in the dark— along with Vitamin E. Also, no one on a diet of sweet potatoes and
white potatoes would get scurvy, a famously horrible disease that happens
due to a lack of Vitamin C and causes the victim’s teeth to fall out. But even with this combo of white and sweet
potatoes, you’ll still need to eat a lot of them before you intake the right levels of everything your body needs. To avoid a calcium deficiency, you’d have
to consume 34 sweet potatoes a day, or 84 white potatoes. You would also need 25 white potatoes a day
to get the recommended amount of protein. Of course, there are a lot of health disadvantages
to taters, especially when you eat them in bulk. White potatoes are high in a kind of carbohydrate
that causes your blood sugar to spike and then dip, which puts a strain on the insulin
system. People who eat a lot of these tubers are more
likely to get diabetes and become obese, according to multiple studies conducted
around the world. That’s not to say one can’t lose weight
by eating only potatoes, or just one kind of food. There are plenty of people who have done it
throughout history. But that likely has more to do with previous
food choices than eating potatoes— eating less sugar and food overall is bound to result
in shedding a few pounds. But no nutritionist would get on board with
an all-potato diet. Nor would they recommend an all coconut, kale,
seaweed, or yogurt one either. There’s a reason that the U.S. dietary guidelines
recommend eating a variety of vegetables, grains, proteins, fruits, and oils. Eat any of these just by themselves and you
would soon run into the same nutritional deficiencies that you would with a potato. Variety is important, and in this case, it’s
vital. So don’t eat a plain baked potato—load it
with other healthy stuff, too. Maybe even some bacon…as long as it’s
in moderation.

6 Replies to “Survive on a single food | CAN IT BE DONE?

  1. No; you will most likely get sick and die. You could try milk, despite the fact that it is does not have enough iron, but sucks to be you if you are Lactose intolerant, like about 65 % of the world's population.

  2. Not to mention the psychological impact of the lack of variety which would also manifest physically as well. Ie: depression, anxiety, etc..

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