The Anti-Autumnal Diet – Don’t Eat for Winter

Many diets out there are inadvertently anti-autumnal through the fact that they exclude the simultaneous combination of carbs+fat.  For example low carb diets are typically high fat, and low fat diets are typically high carb, both of which minimise the high carb+high fat combo.  One of the latest diets, ‘the carnivore diet’, is also anti-autumnal as it is basically just meat, which is high protein with low to high amounts of fat with zero carbohydrates, again no carbs+fat.

I believe these diets work because they avoid the food combinations available in autumn time and thus control satiety and fat storage.  Carbs and fats are our primary energy fuels, and so if you up both these levers our brains and bodies go crazy for it (for many scientific reasons, which boil down to instinct) resulting in energy balance in constant surplus.

Let me explain…

The signature of autumn is high carb and high fat simultaneously. Think fruits, grains and nuts and when they harvest (e.g. trail mix). These ingredients make up things like Granny’s apple tart or pecan pie, everything good from the harvest mixed together to create delectable meals and treats. Acorns themselves, the most iconic autumnal symbol (which is used in the DEFoW logo), is a tool used to fatten up iberian pork, and what squirrels, bears, and many other creatures in various eco-systems, use to fatten themselves up for Winter.

The signature of this food is approximately 50% fat, 40% carb and 10% protein (which I term ‘the squirrel formula in Don’t Eat for Winter) and I propose is precisely designed by nature to fatten up all sorts of creatures, including humans, for winter (humans in many cultures such as the celts and native americans, used to collect and eat them to aid winter survival also).

Interestingly, an acorn’s macro-nutrient signature also exactly matches human breast milk, another food designed by nature to fatten up humans to survive the most vulnerable stage of their lives (coincidence?).

I believe nature becomes akin to a nurturing mother in autumn to protect all through the provision of highly available carbs and fats.

It is no coincidence that most junk food (e.g. donuts, chocolates, syrup coffees, crisps, pastries) and even meals (e.g. mayo and cheese sandwiches, cheesy bolognese, fatty bacon and spuds) in thewestern diet approach this signature because it tastes so good, and overly processed foods send us into an autumnal frenzy, which I believe contributes significantly to the obesity crisis the world faces.

Here is a radar chart comparing some junk foods with acorns, note the similarity in terms of macronutrients in both the data and the visualisation.


Carbs+fats prime our ancient winter survival instincts, encouraging us to fatten us up a little, in order to protect us from the cold and famine of winter and so avoiding this formula simulates other seasons.

Marty Kendall of Optimising Nutrition wrote a fantastic article on DEFoW that interrogates the USDA food composition database for foods with the squirrel formula signature and the list of foods there shows just how powerful this formula is.  This came about after I contacted Marty with the chart above, after I read another article on his site, showing how carbs+fat provide the least amount of satiety using a half million days of myfitnesspal data.

Here is that startling excerpt from that table in his article expanding on my radar chart…

The modern diet has this combo available all day every day in meals too for example breakfast (buttery toast and sugary cereals with milk), lunches (meat and salad sandwiches with mayo and cheese, saucy wraps etc), dinners (cheesy pasta meals, fries, burgers, pizzas, even buttery potatoes and creamy sauces with rice) and snacks and desserts too (biscuits, donuts, chocolate, crisps, ice-cream, cake etc).  We don’t stand a chance living in an environment where it is autumn all of the time (even our coffees have become syrupy desserts).

Don’t Eat for Winter is the first diet to point out that this formula is autumnal, and so I am claiming this as the starting point of the anti-autumnal diet™, which is a game changer in understanding why there is a global obesity struggle and to a lesser extent a global battle with bodyfat.

DEFoW aims to arm people up with knowledge in order to escape the infinite autumn that is the Western diet (and other global diets).  There’s lots of articles on this site with the reasoning behind what’s been outlined. Every day, more and more science and data points to the fact that it is carbs+fats together that are the cause of out of control appetites, and resulting fat storage.

The plethora of chemicals and hormones released in our brains and bodies are astounding (dopamine from sugar, endocannibanoid activation from fat, ghrelin rebound from carbs, depressed leptin from fructose and frequent insulin production in response to glucose etc), which used to serve a seasonal survival function but today, they are abused by commercial entities who would rather make a profit than see us take on our healthiest form.  It gets even worse when you consider the fact that our food environment today is an ‘autumn on steroids’, where processed fats and sugars, with no nutritional value, are injected into Frankenstein foods to make them irresistible to our inner squirrels.

The theory goes even deeper when you consider the factors required to create insulation on the human body in the form of brown adipose tissue (or brown fat), a different type of fat that has incredible properties including heat generation and insulation.  It was only recently discovered that brown fat can be activated in adult humans and much research is ongoing to determine if it can be used to tackle obesity.  Three things activate brown fat including cold, high insulin and leptin levels, and compounds in foods such as ursolic acid in apple skin.  Three independent studies have outlined this and these conditions only occur in nature around autumn time too!  All the pieces fit!  (Check out the advanced DEFoW hypothesis regarding BAT fat here here)

All non-autumnal diets work especially well in the short-term because they are seasonal snapshots that avoid autumn, however, the long term effects of living in a single season other than autumn is unknown. Time will tell. We know the results of living in autumn, given the current state of affairs with 2/3 of adults either obese or overweight practically worldwide and related illnesses out of control, so it obvious that anything that helps this situation is good.

DEFoW, is different in that it encourages the consumption of both carbs and fats based on the standard dietary reference intake, but advises eating carbs and fats at the opposite ends of the day. This yields balance between our current environment and nature, balanced nutrition and avoids provoking our ancient autumnal instincts. It works within the current guidelines to encourage complete nutrition including healthy fats, protein, carbs, fibre and micronutrients.  The aim is balance working within the standard dietary guidelines.

On DEFoW everyone is encouraged to exercise, particularly around the time of eating carb meals and get in healthy fats at another time of the day.  Just like nature it encourages balance through a novel approach of eating seasonally on a daily basis e.g. a spring time macro breakfast (zero carb e.g. eggs), a fibre rich summer lunch which is lower in fat (lots of low gi veg and lower fat fish, poultry or meat), and a modified autumn low fat dinner with carbohydrates.  Of course it’s OK to have carbs+fats now and again and indulge, but the awareness of what happens when you do is key.  All of the reasoning behind this is explained in the pages of Don’t Eat for Winter and expanded upon in this website.

Become an infinite autumn escapee (like these heroes who lost 350lbs between them) and spring into your summer body with the first anti-autumnal diet – DEFoW

Don’t Eat for Winter!

Check out the 5 star amazon reviews here.


Infinite Autumn Escapee – Declan Gilmore

Meet another Infinite Autumn Escapee and champion of Don’t Eat for Winter Declan Gilmore.  I didn’t know Declan a few months ago, but I couldn’t believe it when out of the blue he asked me in to amazing SuperValue in Kilbarry (previously a flagship Superquinn store) to talk about my book and healthy food choices to customers of the store.  He was immediately excited about the concept because of the clear message presented.

My name is Declan I’m 48 years old I have recently completed a Nutrition and Health Coaching diploma with IINH ( it only took me 47 years to get to college!) I’ve been involved in the food business for over 30 years. I came across DEFoW on Facebook and was blown away by the simplicity of Cian’s philosophy. It just made sense and seemed very logical to me. I got the book read it in 3 days and put it into practice. I lost 12lbs in 4 weeks without depriving myself and I will be using the theory with school children who I hope to work with once I’m fully qualified this summer. I think DOFoW should be on the secondary school curriculum. I feel great and have lots more energy for my hobby long distance cycling.”

It is heartening to receive feedback from people in the food industry like Declan, and I really appreciate his enthusiasm and championing of my concept. His 12 pound loss is simply fantastic.

My goal is to see an avalanche of fat fall from the planet and see people get the most out of exercise.  The world has solved malnutrition for the most part but this in turn has caused chronic health issues related to excess weight. This is because we have created an infinite autumn on steroids where every autumnal food and refined versions are available all day every day resulting in us putting on weight year after year preparing for a winter that never comes.  The DEFoW Diet is a simple way of addressing this through clever food choices.  Eating right should be a delight, not torturous where your body ends up rebelling and gorging as soon as the diet is over.  This is about permanent change so you become the summer/hunter version of you.

If you like the sound of the concept and would like to start your own journey or get further along your own path you can find out more or get your own copy of my new book Don’t Eat for Winter click here.   Don’t forget to find the page on facebook for daily tips and motivation. We’re all in this together!

Best wishes with your goals,


Joey Ifft – US Soldier, lost 19lbs on The DEFoW Diet

The first DEFoW hero, and star of the show today is Joey Ifft.  I met Joey at the pan-American Kettlebell championships at the Arnold’s in Columbus Ohio a few years ago and we hit it off and have kept in touch over facebook ever since.

Joey was one of the first to buy a copy of Don’t Eat for Winter and applied the DEFoW principles to his diet. He has achieved some great results in a very short period of time.  The best feedback he’s given is that he feels so good.

Joey is one of our first Infinite Autumn Escapees!

Here’s what Joey had to say…

“As a Correctional Lieutenant, Operator with the Ohio Correctional Special Operations Group, and a U.S. Soldier maintaining my personal fitness is key to success. I found myself struggling to maintain my weight and at 32 began packing on the pounds. I went from 184lbs to 210lbs in just a few months.

My good friend Cian released his book Don’t Eat For Winter and I ordered one almost immediately. The amount of work and passion that I found in this book was insurmountable. Cian really poured his heart and soul into the book and I began to employ the concepts into my lifestyle change and the effects have been nothing short of miraculous.

I feel better at 32 than I have in my 20’s and it’s all about what you put into your body and the science behind fueling the body. I’m now back down to 191lbs from 210lbs, a loss of 19lbs!!!

I will continue to recommend this book to everyone I come across! “

You can get a copy of Don’t Eat for Winter here.