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Illusionist Penn Jillette lost 100 pounds on 'potato diet'

By Daniel Uria
Illusionist Penn Jillette lost 100 pounds on 'potato diet'
Penn Jillette (L) and Raymond Teller of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller make comments, during an unveiling ceremony, honoring the pair with the 2,494th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles on April 5, 2013. Jillette revealed that he lost about 100 pounds by undergoing a "potato diet," while promoting his new book Presto: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales on Good Morning America. Photo by UPI/Jim Ruymen | License Photo

NEW YORK, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Illusionist Penn Jillette credited a radical diet, which involved only eating plain potatoes, for helping him lose about 100 pounds in the face of serious health issues.

Jillette, known best for his work as part of the magic duo Penn and Teller, detailed the process behind his weight loss while promoting his new book Presto: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales on Good Morning America.

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According to ET Canada, Jillette, a 61-year-old father of two, attempted the "potato diet" after doctors discovered a 90 percent blockage in his heart, with his weight at 322 pounds at 6-foot-7-inches tall.

"The thing is, I don't respect moderation so I had to do stuff really intense," Teller said of the potato-only diet. "What I was most surprised about was, I used to consider myself a happy guy. I look back on it now and I kind of, sort of, wasn't. I feel so great now. It's night and day."

Teller dropped 75 pounds in 83 days without exercise by eating only plain potatoes for two straight weeks before adding adding in vegetables and stews.

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Registered dietitian Maya Feller told ABC News that some experts do not agree with this style of diet.

"For the body to function optimally, it really needs a wide variety of foods that provide vitamins and minerals," she said. "You need to have fiber, protein, fiber, fats and carbs. Eating one food alone can be really detrimental."

Teller said his goal in taking the potato diet was not simply to lose weight, but rather drastically change the poor eating habits he had developed over time.

"The potatoes, first of all , they weren't raw and that's an arbitrary thing. I'm not good at moderation. I wanted to do hard-core stuff. I wanted to lose the sense of eating socially," he said. "It was just a way to lose all the habits I had gotten into. So, it didn't have to be potatoes. They aren't magic. I picked potatoes because it's the funniest word."

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