American to eat only the food that fueled Andean empires

October 25th, 2010

Peru’s most important export, the potato, is the food that fuelled Andean empires including that of the Incas. Packed with incredible amounts of carbohydrates, it is probably the only reason why the Inca’s messengers were able to run up and down mountains along the routes of the royal highways with little effort. Today it allows incredibly poor rural Peruvians todo much the same.

Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission values potatoes as much as the Incas did, pledging to eat nothing else for two whole months.

“I want to show the world that the potato is so healthy that you could live off them alone for an extended period of time without any negative impact to your health,” Voigt explained on his website. No condiments, no side dishes.

Can it be done? Not even Peru’s rural poorest get by on just the potato, they are able to complement the potatoes nutritious content with other nutrients, perhaps from eggs, perhaps from corn and rarely some meat. They always have some herbs at hand.

Much research has been conducted world-wide on the potato. It feeds billions and is one of humanity’s most important staples. None of this research proves the potato can provide all the nutrition a human needs to live – but it does provide so much that Voigt should see through two months without much difficulty.

Containing modest amounts of most of what humans need to survive and stay healthy, the potato is in itself a balanced diet – unlike other foods that only provide one nutritious element that needs to be accompanied with dozens of others. Potatoes are an excellent food to feed he the poor or aid in famines. The United Nations promotes the potato as a means to eliminate world hunger.

Voigt hopes his stunt will educate the public about the dietary benefits of potatoes a cheap and humble source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium and fiber when the skin is consumed.

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