Sweets and chocolate usually get a bad press – but compared to the diets of some of horror’s most recognisable creatures, which involve eating brains, blood and entrails – feasting on six Freddos suddenly becomes less problematic.
But which Halloween monster has the best, or worst, eating habit?
Especially for tomorrow, Loughborough University economist Dr Jon Seaton has used a standardised health index – taking into account fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugar, protein and salt – to compare their devilish diets.
Most horror creatures live on just one thing – humans, writes Dr Seaton.
Vampires drink our blood and zombies eat offal – for ease of access – though some films portray a bit of brain-eating too.
Werewolves bite and eat our flesh, though thankfully they will often eat sheep and lambs instead.
And there are a whole host of other monsters and ghouls who are partial to a bit of hominid.
But in an age where so much emphasis is placed on health and wellbeing, which classic ghoulish creatures would benefit from a Jamie Oliver-style intervention.
Here is a short assessment of all their diets, which have been ranked using a simple health index – although their actual foodstuffs have had to be substituted for everyday sustenance – such as lard instead of brains – to be able to use the health scale.
Some monsters don’t bother eating our remains after killing us, for example, Frankenstein’s monster ate stew given to him by an unsighted man in the film The Bride of Frankenstein.
Mummies would likely have eaten flatbread – maybe.
And, mummies do not seem to eat anything – just wander around in bandages – so let’s assume they would eat something from there past life, like a garlic infused flatbread both were staples in ancient Egypt.
So, for the classic monsters – vampires, zombies, werewolves, Frankenstein’s monster and the mummy – we will assume they would only eat in today’s world, respectively black pudding, haggis, lamb neck, big chunky soup (for a big guy) and garlic flatbreads.
Are these sensible and economical diets?
Well according to the health index, where close to zero is best, most healthy is the mummy’s diet – scoring 10.5.
Two of the meat eaters the werewolf and Dracula both score poorly, over 35 – in the main because they do not get enough carbs and sugars, and far too much protein.
The zombie’s closest legal non-human offal-based food is haggis – containing heart, lung, liver and barley – which scores very well relative to the others with 23.1.
Interestingly, the veg and bean soup selected for Frankenstein’s monster scores well for protein and carbs, but is too high for salt and too low for sugar, fat and saturated fat.
In conclusion, for the classic five monsters eating only garlic flatbread is the healthiest choice because humans have a very strong reliance on a grain/seed-based diet and it contains well-balanced levels of carbs, protein, fat, salt and saturated fat.
It contains well-balanced levels of carbs, protein, fat, salt and saturated fat.
A more balanced diet is clearly optimal.
Perhaps one monster – which could actually exist and has many sightings – is the Yeti or Abominable Snowman, or his American cousin the Bigfoot or Sasquatch.
These have been observed according to some websites as having an omnivorous diet much like our own.
As Yetis live in the Himalayan region of Nepal, bordering both India and the Tibetan region of China – the closest food type in our supermarkets could be a frozen chicken chow mein, which blends meat with vegetables.
A diet of just this ready meal alone scores nearly 25 and is of average healthiness score relative to all the other monsters diets studied.
Checking out other creatures with a meat or fish based diet yields similar results.
Cannibalistic creatures or ghouls, who eat human flesh – or in this case a pork shoulder substitute – yield unhealthy high values for our index, as does the fish diet for King Kong (remember the giant octopus/squid he ate) and the Creature from the Black Lagoon (who presumably it eats fish) – as a salmon diet also contains too much protein and little else.
Another amphibian portrayed in the recent film, The Shape of Water, was fed a diet of eggs – which gets it into the top 10 of healthier diets.
Perhaps a sweet diet or fruit diet is a good thing?
Seriously sweet-toothed giant ants (see the film Them!) are obviously attracted to sugar – this diet for a human would be crazy, although you would obtain cheap calories, but health wise no protein, no fat, no salt, and too many sugars.
How about fruit?
Many monster films include apes – like Planet of the Apes and King Kong.
We commonly associate apes with a high fruit diet, which is not altogether true.
A pure diet of bananas is extremely high in sugars and carbs, but little else of the macronutrients… hence a Planet of the Apes diet of just bananas is quite frankly ‘bananas’, narrowly missing a score of 40.
Specialising in a one nutrient approach, like the giant ants, is something we also see in the brain bug from Starship Troopers.
This is a creature which feeds off human brains – and as brain is mainly fat, let’s assume that a lard diet would suffice.
Not only is this disgusting it’s obviously very unhealthy as you over consume fat and get very little nutrition elsewhere, so it gets a score of 50 – very similar to the sugar only diet.
So, there it is… a Halloween assessment of horror’s most horrendous diets, which sees the Mummy, with its flatbread feast, come out on top as the number most healthy monster.
Enjoy your Freddos.