You’ve seen it before: That one fit person who refuses rice and always lugs around a plastic container with steamed sweet potato inside. “Kamote diet kasi ako,” he confides smugly. After he eats, you don’t just see him—you probably start smelling him, too.
We kid, we kid.
So, will eating kamote really drop the pounds? Well...of course. In an article for MensHealth.com, fitness journalist and co-author of The Lean Muscle Diet Lou Schuler lists down five reasons why essentially, any diet can work if you actually enjoy the foods in your diet plan. According to him, it’s not necessarily about a particular kind of diet.
Let’s break down why the sweet potato diet can be appealing, shall we?
1. Kamote is readily available for all. You can go to any palengke right now and you won’t have trouble finding kamote. There is no shortage of this rootcrop in the Philippines, which also makes it dirt cheap. You can even grow it in your own backyard rather easily.
2. Kamote is a good alternative to rice, cereals, pasta, or bread. It’s a carb that, as we've mentioned, is very affordable. So it’s a great source of energy and calories.
3. Kamote is versatile. It’s easy to prepare and can be incorporated into a number of dishes.
4. Kamote is nutrient-rich. It contains fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and C.
Now, celebs have admitted to putting themselves through this diet and actually shedding weight, but the biggest snag these claims hit is that from a scientific perspective, there has yet to be a study to back up this specific claim.
This is not to put down the mighty kamote, though.
“Sweet potato is a good source of important nutrients for our body,” says registered nutritionist-dietitian Kristine Blanco. Plus, it’s fat-free, cholesterol-free, and has a low glycemic index.
The health benefits of eating kamote include the promotion of good vision, stronger resistance to infection, fortification against cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, and even mitigation of constipation and diabetes.
However, too much of any one thing is never good. If you stick to sweet potato and sweet potato only, the following can happen:
1. Nutritional deficiencies will occur. There will be little protein and fat in your system, as well as the other vitamins and minerals that are needed by your body to function, but kamote does not offer.
2. Your body’s nutrient and mineral absorption will be limited. Excessive fiber intake speeds up the transit of foods through the GI tract, so before your body can even absorb the minerals from your meal, it’s already gone out...and down the toilet.
3. Adverse reactions include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. But if it goes on too long, it could lead to something as serious as death.
4. You can get poisoned. Three different ways. “Sweet potatoes, like peanuts, contain natural toxins that serve as their protection against bacteria, strong sunlight, and weather,” says Blanco. So that should be taken into consideration.
Cyanide poisoning is also something that you should be wary of, warns Blanco. “This kind of pesticide is sprayed over crops to protect them from insects, bacteria, and parasites, [so it’s] important that we obtain sweet potatoes from reputable suppliers or sources,” she adds.
The last is staph poisoning. This can be caused by unhygienic or improper handling of sweet potatoes, so the importance of carefully and thoroughly washing and cooking your kamote cannot be stressed enough.
5. You may experience temporary bouts of abdominal discomfort, gas, and diarrhea. Or more seriously, GI tract obstruction. “Eat kamote, the musical fruit...” How does that song go again?
So if you want to reap the benefits of the kamote diet, the best way to go is by simply incorporating it into your eating program. Remember: the keys to weight management are still balance, variety, and moderation.
This story originally appeared on Menshealth.ph!
* Minor edits have been made by Cosmo.ph editors.