“Don’t eat for winter” is the title of a book by Cian Foley, that I came upon while listening to a ‘Fat Emperor’ podcast with Ivor Cummins.

My interest grew the more I listened, a disclaimer – I haven’t yet read the book, but I will. The reason I became so fascinated, is that each year at this time of year, I see many patients struggling with their eating habits and choice of food. I have blamed it on the weather and lack of sunlight, and even gave a nod to possible shifting of our metabolisms for winter (this is not proven at all). However, Foley relates the composition of the food we are drawn to at this time of year to the ratio that animals eat to fatten up for winter (50 per cent fat, 40 percent sugar and the remainder protein).

These types of foods are highly palatable; think of a donut or a croissant. The food companies know the formula for food addiction and keep this ratio constant to override our sense of satiety. None of us would sit and eat a bowl of sugar, or a block of butter, but mix them together and throw in some caramel taste and we would all finish it completely.

He makes the case that (from an evolutionary point of view), we never had all the foods we have available to us now. Fruit, for instance, was just eaten in season. Now all types of fruit are shipped to us year-round and are grown for maximum sweetness. Hundreds of years ago we would have existed on available animal protein and vegetables. Grains would have been available in limited quantity.

Foley comments that in countries with pronounced seasons, carbs typically only exist in late summer and autumn. These high sugar/starch foods trigger primal processes in our brains and bodies that promote fat storage in order to help us survive the shortages and cold of winter.

In his research he noticed a huge spike in high glycemic load foods occurring in the fall. Stone-age people would have used this food, along with protein and fat to store excess energy and nutrients in order to survive the oncoming winter. He notes that we are now living in an infinite fall, with all of nature’s autumnal produce available always, and typically we eat these foods with every single meal. This means we are constantly eating foods that are preparing our bodies for a phantom winter.

Be very aware of and try to avoid all these highly processed, highly palatable, but highly toxic and weight inducing comfort foods.

No matter what; never give up finding what works for you. Never get discouraged!

Dr.B