Diet Review: The Starch Solution


This diet was developed by Dr. John McDougall, an internist who founded the McDougall Program, a residential program where medical miracles occur through diet and lifestyle changes. The diet focuses on eating a plant-based diet high in starches with potatoes, roots, winter squash, beans, rice and whole grains being the main staples (70%). These are complimented with fruits (10%) and non-starchy vegetables (20%); you can eat as much as you wish. The focus of this diet is on high starch plant foods because green and yellow vegetables are high in fiber and too low in calories to fulfill your caloric needs. Carbohydrates are the body’s source of energy and are broken down slowly by your digestive system, providing a steady stream of fuel. If you are trying to lose weight, the breakdown of calories is starch (45%), fruit (10%) and non-starchy vegetables (45%). Foods that should be avoided entirely are meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, animal fats and vegetable oils. Following this diet can lead to weight loss and preventing and curing many common diseases such as type-2 diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. While following the diet, track your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose level, BUN and uric acid level.

My Opinion:

This book confirms what I have believed for a very long time, that starches are the best way to feel satiated and energized. My best endurance runs are the mornings after I have eaten a whole foods starchy dinner of a baked potato and roasted vegetables. White potatoes have gotten a bad rap for a long time when in fact, they are nutritional powerhouses. They are low in calories, high in fiber and offer protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Potatoes are a good source of vitamins/minerals and contain phytonutrients that are antioxidants. I have also switched to fueling my 4 hour runs with plain rice and it works perfectly along with an electrolyte drink. This diet makes for an easy transition to a vegan diet because it won’t leave you feeling hungry. Visit Dr. McDougall’s website for free resources at: Click this link to download my one sheet list of foods to eat while following the Starch Solution: