Breast Milk vs Junk Food – You Won’t Believe the Similarity – The Squirrel Formula

One of the major points in Don’t Eat for Winter is that in nature, in autumn, the macro-nutrient ratio of available foods tends towards that of human breast milk. The macro-nutrient ratio of foods is the ratio of fat, protein and carbs in the food.  Carbs of course are both sugar and starch (see what are carbs for more).

At other times of the year, as there are so few carbs available in nature, the macronutrient ratio resembles the diet of a bodybuilder coming into their leaning up/cutting phase as the diet consists mainly of protein and fat.

Human baby milk is designed to give an infant the best start in life by making them ‘hardy’ in every way possible, some body-fat to get them started so that they have reserves in place to get them through the transition to solid foods and as an energy source in order to build up the strength to crawl and walk.  It also helps them construct a bit of muscle too and gives them all the building blocks they need to develop bones, teeth etc. properly. Human babies are programmed to guzzle on this formula as the instincts are built in to gorge on it as much as possible in order to gain weight as quickly as possible to get an initial kick-start in life.  Just ask mothers about the hassle babies give them when nursing, babies are simply insatiable.

It’s no co-incidence that foods that taste really, really good mimic this formula.  It’s not a conscious thing that confectioners and manufacturers do (I hope), they just tastes good because it triggers those primal instincts within us to encourage us to put on weight for survival purposes.  It also triggers an insulin response in the blood in order to promote storage of the nutrients contained within the milk.

As already stated, in autumn time, the food available tends towards this sort of ratio with the introduction of cereals, potatoes, squashes, fruits etc. into the existing daily diet of meat, fish, poultry, eggs etc.  We began simulating the breast milk formula with the creation of pies and tarts, with cream, which taste really good, but as we developed technologies to create more refined and quick-hit treats we created crisps/chips, donuts, chocolate bars and so on… and in my opinion they trigger a little sensation in our brains similar to when we were babies, that feel good factor that makes us really enjoy it while we’re eating it…  the same feel good factor carbs cause in autumn time, particularly in conjunction with fats in our staple foods such as meat, fish, eggs, but which also become more available in the form of nuts.

… the sensation is short lived however, and unfortunately, and we want more soon after, but it is the ultimate formula for weight gain 🙁

Let’s have a look at some of the similarities between breast milk and refined treats…

Up first is momma’s milk, all figures are from the USDA Food Composition Databases

In 100g of Breast milk there is 4.4 grams of fat, 7g carbs and 1g protein.

There is 9 calories in 1g of fat and 4 per gram of carbs and protein.

This gives us 4.4X9=39.6 calories from fat, 28 calories from carbs and 4 calories from protein a total of 39.6+28+4 = 71.6

To get the percentages then we divide each individually into the total and multiply by 100 to get the macronutrient ratio percentages ie

  • 39.6/71.6*100 = 55% fat
  • 28/71.6*100 = 39% carb
  • 4/71.6*100 = 6% protein

For simplicity’s sake let’s round them to the nearest 5 so that it’s easy to remember…

50% fat 40% carbs and 10% protein or 50:40:10

Before we get into junk food, a natural trail mix containing autumnal foods such as dried fruit, nuts and granola contains 29g fat, 45g carbs, and 14g protein. This yields almost the exact ratio of 50:40:10.  An ideal formula for a really long hike feeding your muscles with glycogen or anaerobic fuel (climbing) and putting sugar and fat into the bloodstream for aerobic/cardio fuel (walking), however, if not active, this is the autumnal fat storage formula, or as I term it in Don’ Eat for Winter, The Squirrel Formula! 

WARNING: I often see people eating healthy snacks with this formula such as nut butter and sweet apples together, which is a really healthy snack of course, or having oats and peanut butter in a smoothie etc.  again really great nutrition but they are mimicking the formula, so be careful of it when trying to shift body-fat! 

The follwing matrix shows the macro breakdown of some common tasties and the resulting macronutrient ratio, now wonder we go ga ga for these types of foods.



Let’s again round to the nearest 5

  • Dark choc: 50:45:5
  • Milk choc: 50:45:5
  • Doughnuts: 50:45:5
  • White chocolate: 50:45:5
  • Ice cream: 50:45:5
  • Danish Pastry: 50:40:10
  • Crisps: 55:40:5 (the exact ratio)

Notice a pattern emerging???  The carbohydrate aspect is slightly higher than breast milk in many of these foods, potato crisps (chips in US) have pretty much the exact same ratio!!!

Other examples with high fat/carb and moderate protein levels include fries, hot dogs, triple bun burgers, sandwiches with mayonnaise and bacon, tarts with cream, toffees, pizza, popcorn with butter and so on.

WARNING: A lot of junk foods up the sugars and saturated fat / hydrogenated fat, which make them even more appealing, this ratio is more difficult to achieve in nature but seems to put us further into overdrive. Watch foods with hydrogenated or trans fats in particular.  It’s better to eat food with natural  unsaturated fats where possible (even in treats). Natural saturated fats such as butter and coconut oil are far healthier than processed trans fats.

If supermarkets didn’t exist, besides autumn time, this formula would be nigh on impossible to replicate in nature outside of breast milk. Essentially, without autumnal carbohydrates, this formula cannot exist.  This is a major factor in the obesity epidemic affecting our planet, and I managed to free myself from obesity through understanding this fundamental concept.

Don’t Eat for Winter, through the DEFoW Diet, backs up this theory and shows you how to combat this formula in today’s world through the 10 guidelines of the diet, without cutting out carbs, but using them as a tool for brain and body.  You can still have a treat, but be mindful of The Squirrel Formula, it will make you go ga-ga like an infant calling out to their mammy for their next hit.

You can get your copy of Don’t Eat for Winter here!

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Author of Don't Eat for Winter. 2 time European, pan-American and World amateur kettlebell champion. who went from an obese 115kg to a fit and healthy 78kg through his 5 year journey of discovery around nutrition and exercise. I believe that we will see an avalanche of fat fall from the Earth as people escape from the infinite autumn through The DEFoW Diet concept.