When I was writing Don’t Eat for Winter I noticed a striking similarity between the macro-nutrient ratios of many junks foods sometimes called comfort foods, and noticed that they are very similar in nature to two natural foods i.e. breast milk and acorns… I term this “The Squirrel Formula” in Don’t Eat for Winter.
Why did I compare with those two foods you might be asking yourself…
Well, human breast milk is extremely consistent across every nation across the world and is designed to work with our infants to give them the best chance at surviving the most vulnerable stage of their lives… it is designed to make us as hardy as possible in as short a space of time as possible. Babies put on an incredible amount of weight in the first few weeks/months of their lives, which used up once they become active, they need a buffer of energy – TO SURVIVE.
Acorns, are designed to work with creatures like squirrels, bears etc. to fatten them up as quickly as possible to survive winter, a layer of fat for insulation and back up energy, again a buffer of energy – TO SURVIVE.
Both babies and animals gorge on these foods, they deliver a comfort hit and a feel good factor, and instinct is utilised to great effect in order to aid survival.
Now, look at how junk food precisely matches in terms of macro-nutrients… is there any wonder that they are called comfort foods and we get that same feel good factor while eating them… but they’re not designed by nature for adults to eat every day because we are neither animals that need to survive winter, nor defenseless babies needing a head start in life. Many of us can, however, put on the weight and so by eating this formula constantly we put on weight for a winter that never comes and so we battle constantly to fight it off, but in reality it’s extremely difficult to out-train (look how active squirrels are in autumn).
These are foods that have this particular signature, but at the end of the day food combos like a soft drink with an overly fatty dinner could have the same effect. There are many more that match too, all taste great because they trigger our primal survival instincts. See the figures and the radar chart to see just how closely they all match!
This is what Don’t Eat for Winter is about, recognising we should not be eating the gorge formula or squirrel formula as I’ve termed it in the book, in every meal and snack… keep this for an occasional treat and understand that it may trigger the squirrel within to go wild, and once he’s unleashed, he’s wiley and difficult to get back in his cage!!!
The autumnal squirrel formula is high fat, high carb, minimal protein, I round to 50/40/10 so that it’s easy to remember, watch out for it (remember 1g of fat is 9 cals and 1g of carb is 4cals so to work it out you need to look for products where the fat is about half the grams of carbs and protein is very low in comparison).
Spring into your Summer Body with Don’t Eat for Winter …The Anti-Autumnal Diet
Update: Marty Kendall of Optimising Nutrition has written a fascinating article building on Don’t Eat for Winter’s radar chart above… Don’t Eat for Winter suggests Human Breast Milk and Acorns are a key to why junk foods and autumnal combos are so valued by humans, which is constantly being backed up by data and scientific papers. Marty shows a table of 30 junk foods in the USDA food composition database that approximate ‘The Squirrel Formula’