Are you one of those people who thinks that eating potatoes will make you fat?

What about beans? Is pasta another one of those foods you avoid in the interest of losing weight?

If you answered yes to any of those three questions, then I have a pleasant surprise for you.

That’s because I lost 150 pounds by including at least one starchy food in all my meals.

And nothing makes a better or more filling snack between meals than does a potato.

But I didn’t just include a starch in my meals. I made the starch the centerpiece of each meal.

According to Dr. John McDougall, a medical doctor in Santa Rosa, Calif., and author of “The Starch Solution,” a nutritious weight-losing meal could be 70 percent starch-based foods with the remaining 30 percent coming from non-starchy vegetables and up to 10 percent fruits.

For maximum weight loss, he suggests going to 45 percent starch, 45 percent non-starchy vegetables and 10 percent fruit.

Either way, starchy foods comprise approximately half the plate.

The starch solution to eating well and losing weight runs counter to what most of us grew up learning. I know it did for me, and when I first learned about it almost four years ago, I was somewhat skeptical.

But then when I started doing it, I found that I was achieving amazing results.

It works because starchy foods are filling to start with. I can eat a bowl of non-starchy vegetables or a bowl of fruit and be hungry again an hour later.

But if I trade that for a baked potato or a bowl of beans, I will oftentimes find myself to be satisfied for an entire afternoon. Because the starchy foods are both filling and low in calories in comparison to many other foods, that’s a trade-off that works.

The trick is to combine the starchy food with non-starchy vegetables as opposed to foods with a lot of fat content and no fiber content. In other words, the potato is not the problem; it’s the sour cream and butter that you put on top of the potato that causes problems.

The other trick is, when eating rice or pasta, don’t choose white rice or enriched pasta. Choose brown rice or, even better yet, red rice or black rice. Choose whole grain pasta.

By doing so, the food will take longer to digest and will provide more of the nutrients that get stripped away by making white rice or enriching pasta.

So, enjoy eating those starchy foods again. They can help you to lose weight. To fully understand that, I recommend reading “The Starch Solution” by Dr. John McDougall.

J Lanning Smith is a local freelance writer focused on the whole food, plant-based way of eating.