Eating certain starchy foods can help you lose weight (but only these ones)

Every year someone comes out with a new diet. Maybe you’ve tried the protein-rich Keto diet, maybe you’ve implemented water fasting into your regime, or you’re into calorie counting.

Whatever it is, it’s important to find a diet that works for you and one that your doctor recommends for your specific health needs. If you are anything like me, most of my diet attempts fail because I just can’t say no to pasta and bread. Any diet that suggests cutting carbs out of my meal plan isn’t going to work for me. 

In 2013, John McDougall, MD, wrote a book called The Starch Solution, which suggested that eating whole-food, plant-based carbs could actually help you lose weight. Let’s take a look at what this diet actually entails. 

What is McDougall’s Starch Solution? 

If you’re looking for a high-carb, low-fat, vegan-friendly diet, then the Starch Solution is going to be the answer for you.

The key to the diet is to focus on eating plant-based foods, limit your processed foods, and cut out your sugars. If you’re a fan of meat-heavy diets, this one won’t be ideal for you. You won’t be able to eat any meat with the Starch Solution. 

Dr. McDougall’s book focuses on the healthy benefits of the diet, including how it may help prevent chronic conditions like heart disease, acne, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and other ailments. 

Unfortunately, you can’t eat everything you love on the Starch Solution. You will have to cut out processed frozen foods like pizza bites, Hot Pockets, and microwave meals.

Focus instead of finding healthy alternatives; make homemade pizzas, fresh burritos, and other nutrient-rich alternatives. Like most diets, you will have to keep track of what you’re eating and stick to a plan to avoid indulging in quick over-processed meals. 

Dietary alternatives

On the Starch Solution, you won’t be able to eat or drink milk-based products, but fortunately, there are many vegan-friendly alternatives on the market. Replace these products with low-fat soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, and dairy-free soy-based cheeses, yogurts, and other dairy alternatives. 

You will also have to cut vegetable oil and other oily foods from your diet, so look into alternatives like applesauce for baking, tofu mayonnaise for sandwiches, mashed bananas, and even just simple water. 

This one may be a challenge for most: you cannot drink coffee on the Starch Solution. Instead, explore becoming a decaf tea drinker or having hot water and lemon before breakfast. Speaking of breakfast — you’ll have to swap sugary cereals for healthier natural options, oatmeal, or grits. 

To find a full list of substitutes, check out Dr. McDougall’s website

What can I eat?

After reading that list of substitutes, you’re probably worrying about what your diet will consist of. Check out this list of Starch Solution friendly options. 

Cereals: oats, brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet, farro, couscous, and pasta. 

Legumes: kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, adzuki, cannellini, soybeans, lentils, peas, and black-eyed peas. 

Vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squashes, broccoli, cauliflower, aspar