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Episode 124
The Doctor's Farmacy

How To Overcome Sugar Addiction

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

Tap the subscribe button and new shows will be added to your library.

If you’re using a different device, our show is available on the following platforms.

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say they wish they had more willpower to be able to quit sugar. But here’s the thing: it’s an actual physical addiction and the food industry strives to get us hooked on sugar. So, it’s not about willpower, it’s about biochemistry. 

The great news is that we can reset our biochemistry and those sugar cravings and take back our health. The more you avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates (which just turn into sugar in your body) the more your body recognizes the natural sweetness in healthy foods like blueberries or even a red bell pepper. 

My guests on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, Keegan Allen and Tom Hopper, have both been through the sugar struggle, and they’re here to share their inspiring stories of overcoming the addiction to discover their most vibrant health. 

After suffering with severe gastritis and other health problems, Tom realized that cutting out sugar and using food as medicine was the key to feeling good again. Keegan, on the other hand, was prediabetic. Despite looking good on the outside, he struggled with constantly getting sick on the road and never really feeling great. Upon meeting Tom, Keegan was inspired to start dialing-in his own diet to take control of his health and this passion has led them to collaborate and share their knowledge with others. 

We dig into their experiences in realizing how prevalent sugar is in our food supply and how they became their own advocates by reading labels and choosing real, whole foods. We also talk about Keegan’s journey from being an unhealthy junk-food vegan to an omnivore who embraces quality over quantity. I can relate to this, as looking back I was flabbier, scrawnier, and all-around unhealthier at 30 as a vegetarian than I am now at 60 eating a Pegan diet!

Food impacts everything. We discuss the rising rates of infertility and how that relates to sugar, the sugar and cancer connection, how to protect our children’s health with food, and so much more. 

I hope you’ll tune in to hear how these two men both turned their health around by beating sugar with the power of real food.

The 10-Reset is available at or

This episode is brought to you by ButcherBox and chili.

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I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

In this episode, you will learn:

  1. The health scare that led Tom to cut out sugar and start to view food as medicine
    (2:07 / 3:58)
  2. Keegan’s health journey from being pre-diabetic to understanding that his diet was making him unwell
    (10:51 / 12:42)
  3. Lactose intolerance, infertility, and sugar
    (15:19 / 17:10)
  4. Food labeling and ingredient lists
    (22:46 / 25:56)
  5. The first step to take to improve your diet
    (29:33 / 32:43)
  6. The science of sugar and how sugar affects your immune system
    (32:43 / 35:53)
  7. Keegan’s experience resetting his diet and improving his health
    (40:33 / 43:43)
  8. Sugar, cancer, and the ketogenic diet
    (44:57 / 48:07)
  9. The 10-Reset available at or
    (48:16 / 51:26)
  10. Worsening health metrics among children
    (54:58 / 58:08)


Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

Keegan Allen

Keegan is an American actor, musician, photographer, and author. He’s known for his main role as Toby Cavanaugh on the Freeform series Pretty Little Liars. Allen’s passion in his younger years tended towards photography, cinematography, and other roles behind the camera.

Tom Hopper

Tom is an English actor. He has appeared as Sir Percival in Merlin, Billy Bones in Black Sails, Dickon Tarly in Game of Thrones, and Luther Hargreeves in Netflix’s new show The Umbrella Academy

Transcript Note: Please forgive any typos or errors in the following transcript. It was generated by a third party and has not been subsequently reviewed by our team.

Tom Hopper (00:00:00):
That addiction to that kind of food doesn’t just disappear. I didn’t do it overnight. My wife always says this to me. When I’m talking to people saying, “You just do this, you just do that.” She’s like, “Tom, you have to remember that you took two years probably to just not eat any of this stuff anymore.”

Tom Hopper (00:00:15):
So your taste buds have to change. You have to give your taste buds time to make that change.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:00:25):
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I am Dr. Mark Hyman and that’s pharmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y. If you’ve ever struggled with sugar, this conversation is going to matter to you because it’s with two extraordinary young men who are going to tell us about their journey. You might know them. Keegan Allen is an American actor, musician, photographer and author. He’s known for his main role as Toby Cavanaugh on the Freedom series Pretty Little Liars. His passion in his younger years tended toward photography, cinematography and lots of other roles. He’s published two photography books and he’s going to tell us about his journey with sugar, which y’all know I care a lot about. Well, having less of it that is, although I love it. We also have Tom Hopper who’s an English actor. You might recognize him as the guy who got flamed with his father because he didn’t bend the knee to [inaudible 00:01:13] in the Game of Thrones. He’s appeared as Sir Percival in Merling, Billy Bones in Black Sails, Dickon Tarly like I said in the Game of Thrones, and Luther Hargreeves in Netflix’ new show The Umbrella Academy. Those are all English names.

Tom Hopper (00:01:29):
They all are. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:01:30):
So welcome Keegan and Tom. Thanks for being here.

Keegan Allen (00:01:31):
Thanks for having us.

Tom Hopper (00:01:32):
It means a lot to be here.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:01:33):
So you guys have been on a health journey the last few years. I want to know how you understood the connection between what you’re eating and how you feel. How did you find my work and get connected to processed food being bad and sugar effecting you? How did you connect those dots? Most young guys just eat whatever they want and they just push through. They’re like, “I’m Superman. I’m never going to die. I can eat whatever I want.” But you guys seem to have a different experience.

Tom Hopper (00:01:58):
What you just said there about feeling invincible was exactly the journey that I was on actually. I was training a lot, so I was really into my fitness. It was actually training for the show, for that show you mentioned, Black Sails. This whole journey happened for me. We went on quite an extreme diet to get into shape for that show. During that process, I started to get a lot of stomach problems because what I was doing was going from being a sugar addict, a major one actually. I would do that and then do these extreme diets of cutting out all my carbohydrates. I’d be like, “Oh I can eat whatever I want now.” When I’m not on the show I would just eat-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:02:47):
You binge on sugar.

Tom Hopper (00:02:47):
So I binge, yeah. These two extremes kept happening. What happened and I think this is a similar thing for many people who make this extreme change, is I had a major health scare where my stomach … I got an extreme case of gastritis. I felt like I was going to die, it was so extreme.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:03:08):
Stomach pain.

Tom Hopper (00:03:08):
Yeah, like extreme stomach pain, bed ridden, just felt awful. I thought, “I’ve got to look what’s causing this.” I’d been taking various bits of medication because I was getting acid reflux problems and stuff. I realized [inaudible 00:03:28] I was taking really ripped up my stomach. [crosstalk 00:03:32]

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:03:33):
So you were taking anti inflammatories for pain from working out or?

Tom Hopper (00:03:35):
Yeah, so basically I was taking anti inflammatories because I had two herniated disks. I went to a doctor who I thought was supposed to be helping me and he was just going, “Yeah. Your back is going to fill like it’s gone on holiday if you have these.” So I was taking all these pain killers and stuff, not thinking anything of it. So many people are guilty of that. It’s just going, “I want to be free of the pain.” I think what happened was I had this premonition of my friend who lives a very similar life to us, and my friend said to me, he goes, “It’s funny, isn’t it? When you feel that ill, when you feel that sick, you’ll do anything to feel better again. You’ll do anything to feel just good.” I said, “Yeah, that’s true.” Because I felt so ill and I was like, “Yeah, that’s true. I would. Right now I’ll do anything.” He was like, “Well, why not take every precaution to make sure you never feel like this again?” That was a big moment for me. It was a light bulb moment and that started my journey of going, “Right. I’m going to look at the diet.”

Tom Hopper (00:04:37):
We talk about how our link up was, which you’ll hear about from Keegan in a moment, but he was a huge influence for me. Seeing that he’s always so healthy, he never gets sick. There’s never any problems, so I started looking at what he did. He just didn’t eat processed food. He didn’t eat sugar, didn’t eat anything that would cause any kind of inflammatory response in his body. Also, through trial and error you find what works for you, what doesn’t and just being aware of that. I started surrounding myself with people who were on the same journey. I think that’s very important is [crosstalk 00:05:12]

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:05:12):
Yes, totally. If your friends are overweight and unhealthy, you’re likely to also be. If your friends are out drinking green juice and doing yoga, you’re probably going to be healthier.

Tom Hopper (00:05:20):
Absolutely, yeah. It’s that influence of it’s peer pressure. The amount of times I get, because I don’t drink now either. Every time I go out is, “Have a drink. Go on, have a drink.” I’m like, “Well I don’t-”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:05:32):
Especially the English culture, right?

Tom Hopper (00:05:33):
Oh, big time.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:05:34):
The pub culture.

Tom Hopper (00:05:35):
Pub culture, yeah. You go down to the local pub, it’s like you’re expected to have … if I go in and go, “Just a mineral water please.” It’s not going down well. The peer pressure thing is huge. Surrounding myself, like my aunt was a big influence for me who’s also a big fan of yours. She introduced me to you and to your podcast. That was a huge stepping stone for me because it was just about looking at medicine and food being medicine. Having that mindset and going, “You know what? If I look at the way people fuel their car, if someone their pride and joy is their car, like an item, a thing, a solid thing, and they’ll put their pride and joy into it. They’re going to fuel it with the best fuel.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:06:26):
Even if you have a pet, we feed our kids stuff we would never feed our pet.

Tom Hopper (00:06:30):

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:06:30):
Would you give your pet a cheeseburger, fries and a coke? I mean, no.

Tom Hopper (00:06:34):
Absolutely. I see people giving their dogs this gourmet food and they’re eating out a cheeseburger. I use this analogy, I was talking to him yesterday about this. I use the analogy when I was shooting in Toronto recently. Every morning I would see this guy who was cleaning his shop front, like meticulous cleaning with a steam cleaner to make his shop look amazing. He stood there with this sprayer thing with a cigarette in one hand and a big can of Coke in the other, and with a huge guy and just looking-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:07:11):
Not too healthy.

Tom Hopper (00:07:12):
Not healthy. I’m like, he’s putting so much effort into making his shop look that good, but has no care in the world about what he’s doing to his body. I think that’s a thing that a lot of people have fallen into now, is this aesthetic of what things look like or what an item looks like, what you look like on the outside, but not actually taking into account we were put on this Earth in these vessels that we’re actually supposed to take care of.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:07:38):
We never got the owner’s manual.

Tom Hopper (00:07:41):
We never got the manual. Unfortunately, the government and society has driven us into a place where the manual is, oh just eat this, just eat that. [crosstalk 00:07:51]

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:07:52):
What’s abundantly available?

Tom Hopper (00:07:54):
So it’s only through self education that you can break that mold, because the government is not going to do it. The world we live in isn’t going to do it. It’s our own journey. I think it’s that thing, like I say. People who have an extreme health scare or change where they go, “I’ve got to take control.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:08:12):
It’s powerful. So when you have that personal experience, it wakes you up. I think that’s the case for a lot of people. They don’t wake up until something bad happens, which is unfortunate because most people are even when they don’t have something terrible going on, don’t feel the best they could feel. They don’t know how bad they feel, until they start feeling better.

Tom Hopper (00:08:33):
That’s it. That’s it.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:08:35):
Oh, this is just normal. I’m supposed to have aches and pains or my nose is supposed to run.

Tom Hopper (00:08:38):
I’m supposed to be tired all the time.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:08:39):
Tired or groggy, or my digestion isn’t great, or I got headaches, or I don’t sleep right. These are just “normal” things we think we have to suffer from and they’re not. I remember recently I wrote a book called The 10 Day Detox, which is basically a sugar addict detox. I talked about FLC syndrome, which is when you feel like crap. There’s a questionnaire of, how many of these symptoms do you have? If you get a high score, you have a bad FLC syndrome. People just think it’s normal.

Tom Hopper (00:09:07):
That’s the thing, majority of people I think are in that-

Keegan Allen (00:09:10):
They think it’s genetic. They think it’s, “Oh, I’m just genetically … I process food this way or I can’t process food this way.”

Tom Hopper (00:09:21):
Or I’m just tired. Generically tired or I’ve got headaches because I’m stressed. They are all factors, but I do believe it all does start with food. People will argue this point with me, but I do believe that if you get what you’re being fueled with right, things start to fall into place.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:09:38):
Then you make better decisions. Your brain is working better. You’re not tired. If you’re not sleeping, if you’re not exercising, if you’re just stressed all the time, you’re going to make poor decisions. Then the food that you choose is bad and then that perpetuates that vicious cycle.

Tom Hopper (00:09:53):
It’s interesting you’re saying about exercise and stuff because people say, “Oh, I haven’t got the energy to exercise. I haven’t got the energy.” What’s amazing I think about exercise is that if you get up and you do exercise, you get more energy.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:10:05):
It’s true.

Tom Hopper (00:10:06):
It’s not like you become more tired.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:10:08):
No, no. It’s true. Last night I spent out late night with a congressman in Washington. Then I had to fly from New York to LA. Then I was tired and didn’t get enough sleep. I was tired towards the end of the day, got here, had to do some podcasts and went to yoga. I was feeling punky when I got there. By the time I left, I just felt so much better.

Tom Hopper (00:10:29):
You feel great.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:10:30):
It’s really true.

Tom Hopper (00:10:31):
It is, yeah. It does. There’s something it does to the brain, whether it’s the dopamine or something that just balances you out and gets you ready for … we were talking about getting up early. If you’ve had a good night sleep, get up early and start the day with some kind of exercise. It sets you up for the day mentally for sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:10:52):
Keegan, you had your own struggle with sugar.

Keegan Allen (00:10:54):
I did, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:10:55):
Kind of knocked you to your knees.

Keegan Allen (00:10:57):
Very much so. I met Tom actually in a very interesting way where I was at the point that I had met you, I was pre diabetic. I was very healthy.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:11:09):
You looked good on the outside.

Keegan Allen (00:11:11):
I was on television, six pack, felt really good about myself. All the boxes were checked on I was able to go to the gym, work out, but I always didn’t feel right. I never felt good and I would go to work. I’d be on set, I’d be chewing gummy bears. I’d be eating whatever was around. Craft service, by the way for actors, is really, really not the best place to eat.

Tom Hopper (00:11:34):
Awful, yeah.

Keegan Allen (00:11:35):
Because they just have a whatever is around. Most of it’s very high in sugar and additives. Lots of corn, lots of corn chips, lots of corn things.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:11:44):
Sugar and coffee. That’s how the world goes around.

Keegan Allen (00:11:47):
Just keep people going. We got to have the energy. For book tour, I was always really afraid. You know. You’ve probably been on book tour multiple times now at this point. I was always afraid of getting sick and I would always get sick. People would be like, “It’s because you’re thinking about getting sick.” I’m like, “No. There’s got to be something going on here.” When we went to do a convention, a big comic con convention, one of the things especially now with Coronavirus, you don’t want to touch people. I would always be like, “I’m sorry. I can’t touch you.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:12:21):
I’m sick.

Keegan Allen (00:12:22):
“My immune system is really compromised all the time when I travel. It must be something in the air.” But the reality was I was slamming Tim Tams.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:12:30):
Something in your mouth.

Keegan Allen (00:12:31):
And cookies and treats that fans would be bringing us. We were there with Jason Momoa and all these people would bring us all gifts. To Momoa I’d be like, “Hey, are you going to eat those Tim Tams because I want to.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:12:46):
I want them.

Keegan Allen (00:12:46):
He’d be like, “Yeah, eat them. I don’t want them.” To Tom I’d be like, “Hey man, can I have those gummies?” He’d be like, “Yeah, I’m not going to eat them.” So I’m eating all these things at this convention and I had just Tom. Tom physically looks ripped. I’m like, oh man, we should go workout together in the in between times of the convention. I get really sick immediately. I have this Australian flu almost, which was just because my immune system was so compromised, as you know. What was pivotal in my entire journey at the start of my first step in this journey was when I was really sick. Tom comes over and he’s like, “Mate, you got to come out. You can’t be sitting in the hotel room the whole time.” I’m like, “I’m really sick man.” He’s like, “Look at all this food we’ve got to eat and all these things. You can’t be sitting in here.” I’m like, “Oh man. I’m really sick. You’re going to get sick. Don’t come in.” He’s like, “Man, I don’t get sick. I never get sick. I don’t eat sugar. I don’t eat processed foods. I just workout and I just eat clean. You should come out.” Come onto this train with me essentially.

Keegan Allen (00:13:57):
I’m sick as a dog, 103 temperature running around Brisbane with him. I feel like a lunatic, but we started-

Tom Hopper (00:14:04):
I looked like your carer or something. He was shaking. I was like, “Come on man.”

Keegan Allen (00:14:09):
He’s like, “Come on.” The interesting thing was just in that week, I slowly started to realize little things. For example, sweet potatoes. Why do you need to add anything to them? Just put them with olive oil. They’re naturally sweet. But we were hanging out and I’m like, “These are really great.” He’s like, “Excuse me. What’s in this?” They’re like, “Well it’s sweet potato and a little bit of-”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:14:35):

Keegan Allen (00:14:36):
Yeah a little bit of sugar or rapeseed oil. We were talking about this canola oil or any of these things. People do not know about this because I was completely baffled by this. I had never stepped into this realm of, what’s in this?

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:14:51):
What’s actually in our food?

Keegan Allen (00:14:51):
What’s inside of the food? When you have whole foods and you think you’re eating healthy, oh I’m having a fresh salmon caught fresh. But what’s in the marinade? How is it prepared? So hanging out with him and seeing that just in that week, we kept in contact. Throughout the next three months I went, “You know what? There’s something in this. There’s something to this way of living.” I was familiar with you before this because I’m lactose intolerant. I’m just going to admit here on the air. No, but-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:15:25):
You and about 70% of the rest of the world. It’s actually normal to be lactose intolerant. It’s not normal to be able to tolerate milk.

Keegan Allen (00:15:33):
You’re not supposed to be drinking …

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:15:33):
If you’re from northern Europe maybe, you guys tolerate it or you’re a [inaudible 00:15:37] warrior.

Tom Hopper (00:15:37):
There’s a quality to milk different there as well.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:15:39):
It is. Also, yes. It’s so different when you look at the effect of pasteurization on milk. I’m just going to interrupt you for a sec because there’s an incredible study that was done [inaudible 00:15:48] by this guy Dr. [Pottinger 00:15:49] who took cats and wanted to show the effect of processing of foods versus not. It wasn’t even the worst stuff that we’re eating now. It was just regular raw milk, which is what we ate for centuries, versus pasteurized homogenized milk, and a few other different processing. After three generations on this, the cats couldn’t reproduce in the fourth generation. Their health dramatically declined. They got sick and they looked terrible. When they switched them back to whole unprocessed milk for example, raw milk, they actually had profoundly dramatic improvements in their health.

Tom Hopper (00:16:26):
Wow. So infertility was a big factor there?

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:16:30):
Yeah, infertility. That’s one in seven couples now.

Tom Hopper (00:16:31):
That’s really interesting.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:16:31):
One in seven. What’s fascinating is that if you look at the effect for example, even on cholesterol or your blood lipids when you have raw milk versus pasteurized homogenized milk, is profoundly different on just your fats, and your blood and your cholesterol. It’s not only what we eat. I’m having milk, that’s a whole food. It’s how that food has been manipulated of processed.

Keegan Allen (00:16:57):
Oh great. Another thing for infertility. Plastic and now milk.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:17:01):
Maybe, I don’t know. This was in cats, but it was really …

Tom Hopper (00:17:04):
It is interesting, the infertility thing, because like you say, the rate of infertility of young people that should be in their prime for reproducing is going up.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:17:16):
One in seven couples.

Tom Hopper (00:17:17):
It’s crazy that.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:17:18):
A lot of it has to do with sugar, believe it or not.

Tom Hopper (00:17:21):
Just the modern diet I think.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:17:22):
Well there’s a book written by a Harvard professor called The Fertility Diet. It’s all about how sugar causes insulin resistance, which is when you make too much insulin and your body resists it because it’s like the boy who cried wolf. The insulin levels go up and it makes you store belly fat. It makes you hungry. It makes you tired. It makes you not want to exercise. It actually drives you into this visceral fat. But when that happens particularly in women, it causes their testosterone to go up. It causes them to not ovulate. So their whole hormones get screwed up and they get infertility from eating sugar, which most people don’t realize.

Tom Hopper (00:17:59):
Wow. Unbelievable. That’s another profound thing about sugar there. I think a lot of people just think, oh it’s about gaining weight. There are so many [inaudible 00:18:10] effects. Actually the future of the planet has something to do with it. If it’s making-

Keegan Allen (00:18:16):
Our species.

Tom Hopper (00:18:16):
Yeah, our species. It’s actually slowing down the … We are over populated, I suppose as a planet. That’s maybe one good thing about it. Apart from that, that’s not good.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:18:27):
No, it’s not. It goes all the way back to the farm and how we grow corn, which gets turned into high fructose corn syrup, and how it’s processed and put into all processed food. Keegan, you were saying about how you then figured out you were pre diabetic.

Keegan Allen (00:18:42):
I had found you actually through just going on … it wasn’t even through YouTube at that point. It was some weird third party site and you were a doctor. What you were saying was not radical within itself, but what was radical was that you were a doctor saying, “You shouldn’t be drinking milk because you shouldn’t be drinking baby cow’s formula.” All these things happen, like any kind of lactose … lactose is just sugar anyway. The idea then is that I was able to use you as a reference to then show people that were trying to enable me to drink milk and this huge elucidation from your catalog of work became right in front of me.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:19:29):
True. The school lunch, you can’t actually have a school lunch unless you serve milk with every school lunch.

Keegan Allen (00:19:37):
It’s absurd.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:19:38):
Often, it’s chocolate milk, which is a little bit better than Coke, but not much. A friend of mine David [inaudible 00:19:44] recently wrote an article. I think it was called Milk in the New England Journal of Medicine, where they went through all the research and showed how our thinking about milk is so flawed. That it’s not nature’s perfect food. That it can cause increases in cancer for example, increases in prostate disease, increases in type one diabetes, allergies, eczema, asthma. For some people, they tolerate it, but it is a big driver of issues. As a doctor seeing patients for 30 years, it’s one of the big things that I see as a lever I have. Is just a holiday from dairy for a few weeks and see how much better you feel. Acne; it’s a huge cause of acne.

Keegan Allen (00:20:26):
This is interesting.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:20:27):
Sugar and milk. You want acne? You want pimples? Just have sugar and milk. Hey everybody, it’s Dr. Hyman. Thanks for tuning into The Doctor’s Farmacy. I hope you’re loving this podcast. It’s one of my favorite things to do and introducing you to all the experts that I know and I love, and that I’ve learned so much from. I want to tell you about something else I’m doing, which is called Mark’s Picks. It’s my weekly newsletter and in it, I share my favorite stuff from foods, to supplements, to gadgets, to tools to enhance your health. It’s all the cool stuff that I use and that my team uses to optimize and enhance our health. I’d love you to sign up for the weekly newsletter. I’ll only send it to you once a week on Fridays, nothing else I promise. All you do is go to to sign up. That’s, P-I-C-K-S and sign up for the newsletter, and I’ll share with you my favorite stuff that I use to enhance my health and get healthier, and better and live younger longer. Now back to this week’s episode.

Keegan Allen (00:21:27):
A lot of our followers are younger. When we do these conventions and we meet all these fans and people, I’ve noticed that a lot of people will ask me, “What is your regimen? What do you do? How do you keep your skin clear? How do you stay in shape?” And all these things. I always want to try and go back to, I was in school, unhealthy, studying for finals thinking, “Oh I’m just going to eat M&Ms and study for finals.” Candy, junk food, to think that that’s going to help my brain. All it did was the opposite. I had really bad acne. I was really insecure. Already being a teenager is stressful enough. But then to have the anxieties that were food related, 100% because I could not was wrong with me. Going through life, I thought that that was just part of a healthy diet. The difference between an apple and a cupcake was nothing in my mind. [crosstalk 00:22:26]

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:22:26):
You came from an educated background and family. Imagine how worse it is for people who come from communities where they don’t have that education or they don’t have awareness.

Keegan Allen (00:22:35):
Cultural and familial.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:22:35):
Where they don’t have even access. You probably lived in a community where you had access to food that was okay. There are communities where they just don’t. They don’t even know that they don’t know. I had a prejudice. I mentioned this before in a podcast, but I had a prejudice that I thought … I always said, “It’s not people’s fault if they’re overweight because the food system is so bad.” Most people know, it’s just hard because the biology. But when I went down to film for this movie Fed Up, I was shocked that these people just didn’t know what was in their food. They weren’t aware of what they were doing. That’s the thing.

Tom Hopper (00:23:09):
We were talking about this, about labels. How few people take the step to just go, “What’s in this?” Just that simple thing. It’s all written on the back.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:23:22):
Not the front of the label, but the back.

Tom Hopper (00:23:24):
The back, yeah. Actually have a look what’s in it.

Keegan Allen (00:23:26):
Nutritional ingredients.

Tom Hopper (00:23:27):
Because that’s the most basic form of educating yourself of what is going in your mouth.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:23:33):
It’s tough though because even ingredient lists, in Europe they list percentages. Here, they don’t.

Tom Hopper (00:23:39):
Flavoring. They’ll put natural flavoring, which can be another list of a whole other things that’s covered in that.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:23:45):
Natural vanilla flavor is actually coming from beaver’s anal glands.

Keegan Allen (00:23:50):
Are you serious?

Tom Hopper (00:23:51):
I didn’t know that.

Keegan Allen (00:23:51):
You learn something new every day.

Tom Hopper (00:23:53):
Wow. That’s one I’m looking out for. Geez.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:23:57):
What’s really striking, I had a friend who worked in the Obama Administration in charge of the food programs and the food labeling. He’s like, “The food companies don’t want to have sugar listed as the number one ingredient on the label.” So they’ll put five different kinds of sugar because the list of ingredients is in order of the amount. But if you have let’s say wheat as the first ingredient and then you have five kinds of sugar, actually sugar is the most predominant ingredient. Because they don’t call it sugar or they don’t have the same kinds of sugar, it’s just a loophole in the law that allows the food companies to get away with bamboozling us. It’s pretty bad. I was shopping the other day. I was in CVS getting something. I looked over and I saw this big freezer of Haagen-Dazs ice cream. I have a weakness for Haagen-Dazs ice cream, but I don’t eat it that often. They said it’s non dairy Haagen-Dazs. I’m like, oh cool. I walked over and I pull it out. It says, “Plant based, gluten free, dairy free.” I’m like, oh this is health food. Turn the label over and it’s like high fructose corn syrup and processed ingredients. I’m like, what is this?

Tom Hopper (00:25:05):
This is the movement actually, which is quite interesting to talk about because we know … I’m sure we’ve all heard of this, the documentary that came out and that’s really pushed this whole vegan movement.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:25:17):
Game Changers?

Tom Hopper (00:25:18):
Game Changers, yeah. With that coming out and I’m seeing so many adverts now in the UK. I’m not sure if it’s the same here. I think it probably is, for plant based, vegan, plant based, vegan, be healthy, plant based, vegan. There’s a picture of some processed burger or some processed piece of meat or something. For me, I think the biggest thing that I have a problem again, is that lack of wanting to go and actually educate yourself. People are taking this thing at face value. I have to say Game Changers does make some very valid points about the meat industry.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:25:58):
Oh, it’s terrible.

Tom Hopper (00:26:01):
Certainly I think with regards to processed meat, they absolutely have a point. But when we’re talking about … you’re talking a lot of stuff at the moment about regenerative farming and the difference that that makes on the meat and on the planet. I think that is something we need to look at more. People are using this blanket thing of meat is bad. It’s just not the case in my opinion, if it’s eating responsibly and it’s the right kind of meat. What this vegan movement is, the wrong side of it is it’s actually encouraging more eating of processed foods.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:26:37):
All these new plant based burgers sound great and they’re billion dollar businesses. But they are highly processed food with different novel ingredients. If you go in to watch them be made, they’re made in a basic factory on an assembly line with all kinds of strange things that aren’t a whole food. If you want to be vegan, great, but eat whole foods and be aware what you’re doing. You can be a chips and soda vegan like you were a vegan.

Keegan Allen (00:27:02):

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:27:03):
What happened to you?

Keegan Allen (00:27:05):
Pre diabetic. Went in and I was like, “What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel so tired all the time?” But this is one thing I wanted to ask you then as a doctor, someone that does this as an advocate, goes around and travels and talks to everybody. What would you say to the younger generation if they want to start somewhere? What’s the first step to really recognizing, not just reading labels, but what is the real first step that can be a tangible first step for someone who maybe lives in rural America? I’ve been to [Lennox 00:27:34] before. I’ve been there. I know that place is like. I’m surprised that you came out of Lennox and you’re like, you know what? I’m going to do this and bring it to the world. What was it in your journey that was the first step?

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:27:46):
I used to be vegetarian too. I loved sugar, and starch, and bread and pasta. I bought into the whole low fat movement-

Tom Hopper (00:27:55):
You were doing it for health reasons or you were a vegetarian because you thought that was healthier?

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:27:57):
Yes. Health reasons, yes. I thought this was the way to go. It’s interesting now that I’ve cleaned up my diet and got rid of the starch and the sugar for the most part. If I look at pictures of myself without a shirt when I’m 30, I’m way scrawnier and flabbier than I am today at 60. I don’t do that much exercise. If I’m in the gym five times a month weight lifting, that’s a lot. I do yoga. I’ll do other stuff, but just because I’m busy. I’m planning on doing more.

Tom Hopper (00:28:33):
It’s tough, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:28:34):
Maybe I’ll get you to help me. You look like you know what you’re doing. Then I got very sick and I started to look at what I was doing and had this shift. As the science changed, I began to look at … I think ideology is so problematic in nutrition. There are all these diet wars. There are always people in conflict with each other, the paleo, vegan, this, that. It’s crazy because-

Tom Hopper (00:28:56):
[inaudible 00:28:56] religions, aren’t they?

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:28:57):
It is, but I said, let’s get away from that because I came up with this term pegan, which is a joke. It was paleo vegan and I just published this book Food Fix and it was number one in paleo and number one in vegan books. This is good because we have far more in common with each other than with the standard American processed diet. So you can be a chips and soda vegan, or you can be a cheeseburger whatever bacon paleo. That’s not necessarily either of them good. It’s more going towards whole foods. Your question was, what would I say to people? It’s really easy to start simply. If you’re eating industrial food, stop doing that.

Tom Hopper (00:29:44):
Yeah, number one.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:29:45):
If you look at the ingredients and you see refined flower, soy bean oil, or high fructose corn syrup, just don’t eat it. If you can, the next step would be look for non GMO certified foods. Not because GMO is that bad for you. It may be, it may not be. There’s a lot of controversy about that. But it’s a form of agriculture, it’s a struct of the environment and there’s often other things in there like [inaudible 00:30:10] which is ground up, which they spray on 70 different crops from canola, to corn, to wheat, to soy. That is definitely harmful for our microbiome. It destroys our gamete bacteria, which effects everything. It’s linked to cancer and there was a $2 billion lawsuit that got a settlement. The judgment about [inaudible 00:30:33] or weed killer. So just be aware that if you just stop those things, the quality of your diet [crosstalk 00:30:41]

Tom Hopper (00:30:41):
You’re already making a huge difference in your body.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:30:43):
Whatever you do. Those are really simple things we can do. Then if you can, try to look at what you’re eating. Is it whole food? Is it something you can recognize like an almond or almond butter? It’s not that many steps of processing because most food gets processed in some way. We cook it or-

Tom Hopper (00:30:59):
We’ve got some kind of [inaudible 00:31:01] intervention.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:31:02):
Most of the time I just eat stuff that looks like what it is. Broccoli is a broccoli. A piece of fish is a piece of fish. [inaudible 00:31:09]

Tom Hopper (00:31:08):
What I said to him when we first started, when he was a pre diabetic vegan, sick man in Australia, I call it the of the earth diet. If you’re eating stuff that the earth naturally provides, then you’re never really in harm’s way.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:31:30):
How many steps did it take to get from the field to the fork?

Tom Hopper (00:31:34):

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:31:34):
If you can trace them all, okay. But if you don’t know how it got like that …

Tom Hopper (00:31:39):
Yeah, then we’ve got a problem. The ingredient’s list is your ingredient. Sweet potato is a sweet potato. A piece of chicken breast is a piece of chicken breast.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:31:47):
There’s no ingredient list on that.

Tom Hopper (00:31:48):
Exactly, right? It is what it is. The other thing I found as well, which is an important thing to talk about I think, is how people who do make the shift, they have to go through a process themselves. I know I went through a process where I kept going back. I kept going, “Oh, but I want that.” That addiction to that kind of food doesn’t just disappear. I didn’t do it overnight. My wife always says this to me. When I’m talking to people saying, “You just do this, you just do that.” She’s like, “Tom, you have to remember that you took two years probably to just not eat any of this stuff anymore.” So your taste buds have to change. You have to give your taste buds time to make that change and really know what things taste like again. Broccoli can taste fricking awesome.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:32:33):
Right, it’s so true. When people got off that for a week even and then they have blueberries, they go, “My god. This is like candy.”

Tom Hopper (00:32:41):

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:32:41):
I think people don’t understand how hard it is because of the biology of sugar. It’s not a moral failing. It’s not that you’re weak willed, but you can not overcome your biology with willpower. It will fail every time. So you have to use science. The science of sugar is fascinating because it not only drives mechanisms that make you gain weight, because it produces more insulin, so it stores belly fat. It makes you hungry. It slows your metabolism and it locks the fat in the fat cell so it can’t get out. It’s like a one way turn stop in some way. It can’t get out. When you look at the biology on the brain, it’s even scarier. So in really well controlled studies, they’ve shown that by looking at brain imaging and blood tests, eating the exact amount of calories, protein fat, carbs and fiber in a shake like a milkshake, they just swapped out the level of the kind of carbohydrates so that one raises your blood sugar a lot and one doesn’t. It’s like a slowly digested starch. When they did that, they found that the brain imaging showed that the addiction center, which is stimulated by heroin or cocaine or whatever, gets lit up like crazy by the sugar.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:33:55):
And their insulin goes up, their blood sugar goes up, their adrenaline goes up. So sugar causes your adrenaline to go up, your cortisol, which is the stress hormone. It literally creates a biologic stress. For those worried about Coronavirus, one of the most important things you can do is cut out junk food and sugar because it suppresses your immune system. Keegan, you were eating a lot of sugar and you were getting sick all the time.

Keegan Allen (00:34:16):
All the time.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:34:16):
It wasn’t a coincidence.

Keegan Allen (00:34:18):
I don’t know if you’re familiar with Dr. Raymond Francis. But Dr. Raymond Francis, there was this video circulating about how he pretty much just … he immediately was on a news show. He talks about that sugar, even just a small … what is it even? Like a tablespoon, a teaspoon of sugar?

Tom Hopper (00:34:36):
It was like a teaspoon reduces it by 50%.

Keegan Allen (00:34:38):
50% your immunity goes down, by 50%. That’s the other thing is some people will go, “Well there’s no science in that.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:34:45):
That’s how we’re going to get rid of Coronavirus.

Keegan Allen (00:34:48):
Just don’t eat sugar and you will probably not get Coronavirus.

Tom Hopper (00:34:51):
Exactly. Just don’t eat sugar and no one will get it.

Keegan Allen (00:34:53):
The interesting thing that I wanted to volley this back to you then. With your immune system, sugar is not the only culprit to lowering your immune system. There are canola oils. What other processed foods-

Tom Hopper (00:35:05):
It’s also lifestyle as well. I find stress and stuff.

Keegan Allen (00:35:05):
Lifestyle, fatigue.

Tom Hopper (00:35:06):
Stress and fatigue, and lack of sleep are ones that can drop it for sure.

Keegan Allen (00:35:14):
That’s that cycle. If you eat sugar, if you eat processed foods, then you don’t really sleep that well, then you don’t really move that well. It’s just a-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:35:22):
Well the other part about eating a diet of processed food and sugar, it depletes your nutrients. It actually doesn’t have the vitamins, and minerals, and nutrients you need to metabolize stuff. The people who are often the most nutritionally deficient are the most obese, which is surprising. Because how can you be malnourished and obese at the same time? The nutritional density of our food is so important. Processed food and sugar just doesn’t have it. Sugar depletes our nutrients like B vitamins. So when you have low levels of zinc and you have low levels of vitamin D, and low levels of omega three fats, and low levels of iron and vitamin A, your immune system can’t function. So in the developing world, we know very clearly that the kids who die from diarrhea or respiratory infections or measles, it’s because they’re malnourished. If a kid gets measles who’s well nourished in America, they’re not going to die from it usually. But in the developing world, these kids die all the time from basic diseases because they’re so malnourished. I think we are a malnourished country. 90% of us are deficient.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:36:23):
So the best way to build your immune system is to eat whole food, cut out the sugar, make sure you take your vitamins, get enough sleep like you said. Deal with stress, that’s a huge factor. I think something simple like just meditation is so powerful.

Tom Hopper (00:36:39):
It helps so much.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:36:41):
It doesn’t have to be woo woo, but it works.

Tom Hopper (00:36:42):
We just don’t talk about that enough I think. You as a function of medicine doctor, I’m sure you speak to your patients about how important this can be because it really is powerful. My wife went through this whole process. She didn’t do a lot of the hypno birthing thing when she was pregnant with my son Freddy. Then with Truly, my daughter, she went through this whole process of just making sure she was really, really relaxed the whole time. We did a lot of hypno birthing meditation. Truly, my daughter, came out the most chilled baby. It was unbelievable. I don’t know if there was a link there with that, but she certainly thinks there was, my wife.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:37:18):
There is. There’s a link. Genetics are so powerful so whatever the mother eats, her level of exposure to stress, toxins, all these things have huge effects on the baby. The studies are so clear that if the mother is eating a lot of sugar and processed food, the baby is more likely to get obese, to have heart disease, to get diabetes.

Tom Hopper (00:37:36):
Setting them up for that.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:37:38):
Down the road. Data is so clear on this. I think people just don’t understand. The fact that we eat about 152 pounds of sugar per person, that’s almost half a pound a day of sugar.

Tom Hopper (00:37:48):
That’s crazy.

Keegan Allen (00:37:48):
It’s hidden in every single thing that you could pick up. When we were at the gym, we’d go to the bar at the gym. They have a smoothie or something. Oh my god. Everything that is laid out that says “healthy, organic, gluten free”, is packed.

Tom Hopper (00:38:04):
It’s so counter productive at the gym. Everything that you see in there, there’s signs for Coca Cola in some gyms and stuff.

Keegan Allen (00:38:12):

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:38:12):
You go to those green smoothie things and you look at the label, it has more sugar than a can of Coke.

Tom Hopper (00:38:18):
That’s just insane.

Keegan Allen (00:38:19):
Then people become addicted to it because they’re like, “Well, I’m eating healthy. I’m drinking this healthy juice.” But what they’re doing is they’re spiking their insulin levels. They’re becoming addicted to this fructose almost. I’m sure that some of it maybe even is a hidden … There’s so many different names for hidden sugars now. [crosstalk 00:38:37]

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:38:37):
There’s like 200 names for sugar. If you Google names for sugar, you’ll see. It’ll come up with a list of like 200 different things that you don’t even know are sugar.

Tom Hopper (00:38:47):
That’s one of the things that started me on the journey of I’m just not going to eat that isn’t whole food. Because I remember thinking, what is all this other stuff in there now? I started off just being trying to avoid sugar. Then I looked at everything else and was like, what is that? I can’t even pronounce that, let alone put it in my body and think it’s actually going to do anything good. I started to just go, no I can’t. I can’t put that in armone.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:39:15):
They average American eats three to five pounds of additives every year.

Tom Hopper (00:39:19):

Keegan Allen (00:39:20):
I know that what’s even more interesting too is I’m looking at your bookshelf right here. I see you have the Surrender Experiment by Michael A Singer, Untethered Soul. This is important to, is that along with your eating, the reason I bring up Michael A Singer, that Untethered Soul was amazing in understanding meditation. [inaudible 00:39:39] is amazing. I don’t know if you follow his [crosstalk 00:39:42]

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:39:41):
I do. I know him very well.

Keegan Allen (00:39:43):
Oh, he’s amazing.

Tom Hopper (00:39:44):
Cold showers is a huge one. Cold showers are great.

Keegan Allen (00:39:45):
Cold showers. It helps so much with anti inflammatory. There’s so many anti inflammatory-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:39:52):
If I have any aches or pains, I take a steam and I jump in an ice bath. I’m all better.

Keegan Allen (00:39:57):
It’s amazing.

Tom Hopper (00:39:58):
It’s amazing. I did a thing for a while doing contrast showers with going in the sauna. In my apartment I was staying in, in Toronto when I was shooting recently, they had a sauna downstairs. I was like, “Oh, amazing. Great.” So I started doing contrast heat.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:40:13):
Hot, cold.

Tom Hopper (00:40:13):
Yeah, hot, cold. Man, I felt so good. I try to do it in the morning and then before … I do it half an hour pre going to bed and you feel amazing. You sleep so well. Huge mental clarity, more energy levels in the morning to get up and go and train. You feel good for the day. It’s brilliant. Those little things that you don’t think would make a huge difference, they really do.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:40:34):
It’s so true. So Keegan, how did you then feel after you started to reset your diet?

Keegan Allen (00:40:40):
It took about three months. Like Tom was saying and I’m sure you understand this, anybody that goes on this journey for themselves where they go, “Okay, now I’m going to be accountable. I’m fully aware of my diet. I’m going to look at everything. I’m going to read the labels. I’m going to do some research. I’m going to follow health professionals like yourself, like Dr.
Dr. Mark Hyman and start to not just do the research, but put in the work.” Even with all of that and having this extraordinary world around me in Los Angeles of healthy places that I could eat, it still was difficult. I would still regress back to, okay I’m going to go and have a cupcake. One little chocolate chip won’t mess me up. I immediately was sometimes caught in that. Max [inaudible 00:41:30] talks about this. These are highly palatable foods.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:41:34):
Hyper palatable.

Keegan Allen (00:41:35):
Hyper palatable. It’s like porn for mouth.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:41:38):
It is, it’s food porn.

Keegan Allen (00:41:38):
You eat these things and then you’re just like, I actually physically can not stop myself. My girlfriend, she’s a very healthy person. She does not eat any processed foods, no sugar, no nothing. She’s very healthy, but she will tell me, “I can’t even take a bite of that because I will never be able to stop.” I never understood that until I was doing this. Going through that, understanding that it is an addiction and that the people that were enabling me and saying … we’d go out and they’d-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:42:10):
It’s like saying to an alcoholic, “Just have one drink.”

Tom Hopper (00:42:12):
Yeah, that’s it. You have to see yourself as an addict really, as an addict.

Keegan Allen (00:42:16):
As an addict. But then you start to recognize that almost everyone around you is completely bonkers addiction wise with sugar or with these processed foods. They’ll nudge you. They’ll be like, “It’s not going to kill you. One bite of this molten lava cake-”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:42:34):
They’re food pushers.

Tom Hopper (00:42:35):
They’re everywhere. Watch out.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:42:38):
You got to get rid of the food pushers in your life.

Keegan Allen (00:42:40):
I went through all that and I finally came out on the other side recognizing that I was a completely different person. I was a person that I wanted to be. I felt good all the time. Then I started getting deeper into it, so microbiome. Understanding that, understanding probiotics, not getting junk. Actual real good probiotics, understanding how my gut and the certain foods that I was eating maybe weren’t responding to me. I can’t have cauliflower and cauliflower is great for other people.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:43:12):
Yeah, but some people might …

Keegan Allen (00:43:13):
And understanding that my mother went through a crazy amount of health issues. It happened right at the time where I was very deeply into this. One of the health issues was that she had a … She was battling cancer for the last 11 years. She had stage five, metastasized breast cancer into her spine. They put her on [inaudible 00:43:35] all of these things. But then we discovered a neuroendocrine tumor on her pancreas.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:43:43):
A neuroendocrine tumor.

Keegan Allen (00:43:44):
Yeah. I went, okay. There’s got to be something about this. What is your diet? What are you eating? She’s like, “Well I eat very healthy.” I went, “Wait, wait, wait. Hold on.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:43:57):
A lot of people think they eat healthy, but they actually don’t.

Keegan Allen (00:44:00):
They do not. My own mother, it was under my radar because I didn’t see her every day. I didn’t know what she was putting in her mouth every single second. I went, “Okay, well let’s go through exactly what you’re actually ingesting moment to moment. If you’re eating out, you got to know what you’re eating.” We went through and I realized her diet was really, really poor, like bad, bad. We shifted a bunch of eat.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:44:24):
Sugar feeds cancer.

Keegan Allen (00:44:25):
Your body naturally creates glucose on its own. We don’t need all these extra sugars from sugar. But she was eating a lot of highly rich flour, gluten, things that were very hyper inflammatory. So we cut all that out for about four months. We recognized that it went away.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:44:48):

Keegan Allen (00:44:48):
This tumor went away.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:44:49):
In her pancreas?

Keegan Allen (00:44:50):
In her pancreas. She still has other cancers, but it has totally taken down a lot of that.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:44:57):
Most people don’t realize that sugar is a big driver of cancer. The mechanisms are really understood now of how that works. The common cancers, particularly breast, colon, pancreatic, prostate. All of them are driven in large part by sugar.

Keegan Allen (00:45:12):
Do you think that’s just because it’s an inflammatory thing for our bodies to consistently process in chaos?

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:45:18):
Insulin promotes something like insulin growth factor, which actually in high levels can be carcinogenic. So that’s part of the problem. I think sugar is the main fuel for cancer. We’re like hybrids. Humans are hybrids. We can run on fat or on carbs or sugar. We can run on ketones or glucose. Cancer can’t. So a lot of the exciting research now around cancer is using ketogenic diets to help treat cancer and to actually accentuate the benefits of chemo therapy.

Tom Hopper (00:45:53):
Seeing a lot of research on this keto thing cancer, it’s amazing.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:45:54):
This is not wacky crazy people on the fringe. These are top oncologists.

Tom Hopper (00:45:59):
It was people, like I come across them. They’re literally turning their cancer around from doing this. It’s amazing.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:46:05):
A friend of mine had throat cancer. He was overweight and he ended up doing ketogenic diet. During the chemo and they’d never seen anybody with better outcomes, less side effects from radiation, from chemo and sail through it, and has been clear of cancer, which is amazing. You were saying before about the addictive properties of it. This is not an accident. There’s a great book Michael Moss wrote who was on the podcast here, called Salt, Sugar, and Fat. It talks about three interviews he did with top executives and scientists in the food industry, and what their tactics are. I remember having dinner with the vice chairmen of a big soda company. I’m like, “How’s it going?” We had a little bit of a banter.

Tom Hopper (00:46:55):
That would’ve been an interesting chat.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:46:58):
It was an interesting conversation. He said, “Mark, we have an incredible research facility in New York. You should come visit.” I’m like, “Why?” He said, “Well, we’ve harvested taste buds from humans and then we grow them in a petri dish. Then we can stimulate them and see which foods and things will actually activate the taste buds.” They have something called Taste Institutes where they hire craving experts. They manipulate the ingredients and the mouth feel, and the taste of food and the sugar to create what we call the bliss point of food, which is that maximum thing. It’s like you get that hit, like a cocaine hit. Then they actually look for how to sell that more to what they call heavy users. These are their own internal corporate terms. It’s hard to get you or me to start drinking a two liter bottle of soda a day. If someone is drinking a can of soda, then pushing more soda is easier on them. So they had this whole category of people who are really heavy users. They target them and they’re usually the poor minorities, people on food stamps.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:47:57):
It’s really deliberate. The biology of addiction in the food, it’s not like an emotional response. It’s not because you have no willpower, it really is high jacking your brain chemistry and your metabolism in ways that we don’t really understand. I’ve seen people within a very short time really transform that. We created something called the 10 day rest, which essentially is a way to reset your brain chemistry and your metabolism, your hormones very quickly. People don’t get how powerful it is. It gets through all the inflammatory foods, puts in lots of whole foods, and people can learn about it. They can learn how to do the whole program at That’s G-E-T, pharmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y. It is a free program on how to do that if you want to upgrade to using the supplements in the shakes you can. It’s a very powerful way for people to go, wow. Holy crap. What I’m eating makes me feel like crap and I didn’t really realize it. I’m sick all the time. My immune system is not working. I’m foggy. I have no energy. I look good, but I feel like crap.

Tom Hopper (00:49:02):
The food is medicine theory, there’s so much in that. I think people can really take the steps forward in terms of a mindset. That’s the thing, changing mindset is the first. You were saying this. It took a while from you and me chatting back and forth to really go, no there is actually something in this and changing that mindset. Once you change that mindset and just keep driving that through of food is medicine, food is medicine, you’ll see the difference. Simple as that.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:49:36):

Tom Hopper (00:49:36):
It’s so easy really when you get down the road, but you’ve got to put the steps in place to actually get there. It’s not easy.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:49:43):
That’s something I teach all the time. Is that food isn’t just calories, it’s information. So are you upgrading your biology or downgrading it with every bite? It affects everything. Your hormones, your brain chemistry, your immune system, your microbiome. Every aspect of your health is controlled by what you’re eating. It’s literally like code. It’s like you’re putting in malware into your mouth.

Tom Hopper (00:50:05):
That’s what it is, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:50:06):
People just don’t get it.

Tom Hopper (00:50:08):
Also as well, what I find sometimes is that people don’t care enough about their own body. It’s that mentality of, I’m here for a good time not a long time. That’s all good and well until … I think about those people. I think, you’ve not been in severe pain or been really sick. You’ve not been in a position where you’ve had that opportunity to have that light bulb. The last thing you want for that person is to have something when it’s too late. I think it’s something that you can’t reverse.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:50:43):
It’s true. It’s true. What’s good about you guys is you’re not just doing this for yourselves. You actually said, “We’re going to try to educate the world about this. We’re creating a documentary about sugar and food.” Tell us about it.

Tom Hopper (00:50:54):
Go ahead.

Keegan Allen (00:50:57):
It came about because it originally started about us being like, why is everything impossible? Why does the food industry make it impossible to eat healthy? It doesn’t make it impossible. Sorry.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:51:13):
Almost impossible.

Keegan Allen (00:51:14):
It makes it almost possible.

Tom Hopper (00:51:15):
Very, very hard.

Keegan Allen (00:51:16):
I said I felt so bad going to meeting fans, meeting friends, seeing my family go through chronic illness, go through things that could be fixed so simply by a change in diet, understanding, and exercise. Any kind of fitness, anything. It could be change.

Tom Hopper (00:51:36):
Just moving. Go for a walk, anything.

Keegan Allen (00:51:39):
Moving, anything and how atrophied most of the generation before us and after us is becoming. It’s like a machine and it’s driven by unfortunately, big corporations like you’re saying. It’s so sad to hear that they’re putting in all the science and technology into essentially making people drug addicts to their foods, instead of taking the time to see what is the best way that we can use what’s already destroyed with climate change. How we can make the world a better place, really make it a better place.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:52:17):
Foods all one thing.

Keegan Allen (00:52:17):
Make it a better species, healthy. Keep people better. There’s something strange in all of this. So we both were talking and I’m like, from our standpoint, I feel like we have a very interesting both sides of the street. I’ve seen pictures of you before this and I can’t believe the change.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:52:38):
Before and after. Tom before and after.

Keegan Allen (00:52:40):
He’s a regular [inaudible 00:52:41]

Tom Hopper (00:52:40):
I used to eat 12 Krispy Kreme donuts in one sitting. I was fully proper-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:52:49):
Wow, that’s impressive.

Keegan Allen (00:52:52):
Sorry, I didn’t mean to out this. He’s like, “Dude, don’t talk about that right now.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:52:55):
That’s good, well it’s actually real.

Tom Hopper (00:52:57):
I think it’s important to-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:52:58):
The struggle was real.

Keegan Allen (00:52:59):
Yeah, it’s real. It’s very real.

Tom Hopper (00:53:00):
I think it’s really important that people understand that we weren’t born feeling this way about food. We were victim of the system and victim of sugar and all those things. We went on our own journey. Realizing those things, like getting sick all the time. All those sort of things, you think it’s normal to just get sick all the time. It’s normal to get an illness every winter because it’s flu season and you’re supposed to get the flu.

Keegan Allen (00:53:28):
It’s a holiday. You’re eating-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:53:29):
I’ve never had the flu.

Keegan Allen (00:53:31):

Tom Hopper (00:53:31):
Wow. That’s really good.

Keegan Allen (00:53:34):
All these fad diets, all these things that are always circulating. There were times where I must have WhatsApp’d you a million messages being like, “Hey man, what do you think about this diet?” You’d be like, “Dude, don’t even. It doesn’t matter.”

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:53:49):
It’s not that hard.

Keegan Allen (00:53:50):
It’s not that hard.

Tom Hopper (00:53:51):
Simplify it.

Keegan Allen (00:53:53):
You don’t need a fad diet. Now what you do is you simplify all of the … you have cherry picked the best things as a physician. You’ve cherry picked the best things and put them into a very coherent, small little construct that people can use and apply to their own life in whatever way they see fit. What I find really difficult is throughout our journey, I’m sure you went through this as well. You will try and figure it out on your own. You have so much trial and error, that you end up just going back to the original way you were eating. Because you go, it doesn’t matter anyway. But it does and that’s the thing that we are very passionate about. Is bringing this to people that when you’re driving in your car and you’re listening to this, or you’re sitting at home on YouTube watching this, or on our social media platforms that you go, okay. I’m going to be a little bit more aware, maybe a lot more aware of what I’m putting into my body.

Tom Hopper (00:54:51):
And our family’s bodies as well, our children.

Keegan Allen (00:54:54):
And family’s bodies, our kids. Our children are victims.

Tom Hopper (00:54:57):

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:54:58):
40% of kids are overweight. One in 10 have ADD. It’s terrifying.

Tom Hopper (00:55:02):
The increase of that over the last 20, 30 years I imagine is ridiculous. I don’t know what the figures are.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:55:08):
I graduated from medical school in 1987. There wasn’t anything called Type 2 Diabetes. It was called adult onset diabetes.

Tom Hopper (00:55:17):

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:55:17):
And juvenile diabetes. They had to change the names because two year olds were getting adult onset diabetes.

Tom Hopper (00:55:23):

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:55:24):
Some two year olds are so fat, they can’t even walk. Their parents are giving them soda in the bottle.

Tom Hopper (00:55:31):
It’s a big part of the documentary that we’re making, is the future and changing the mindset of the children. Trying to reach out to parents to say, you are solely responsible from when that child comes our of the mother. You are solely responsible of what goes in that child’s mouth. We have a responsibility to make sure that that child has the best life possible. Obviously there’s a big argument here about as we’ve already said, certain place in America, same in the UK. People just do not have access to that food and that’s down to the food system. So we have to go on a bigger scale. We to do the same sort of thing that Game Changers has done and create a shock factor. We have to go and see these children in their state and use technology available to us potentially to be able to see what’s going on there. Show these parents the difference in their child that could be if they just changed the way they-

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:56:28):
It’s true. There are teenagers in America who are on the waiting list for liver transplants from drinking soda.

Tom Hopper (00:56:34):
Yeah, that’s unbelievable.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:56:36):
I met a guy at a conference who was a pediatrician. It was a conference on obesity. I said, “What’s your specialty?” He says, “Well I’m a pediatric gastrologist. I focus on liver disease.” I said, “Why are you here at this conference?” He says, “Well we’re seeing so much fatty liver in even five year olds.” Which is crazy and it’s one of the most prevalent problems in at least inflammation the body, and diabetes and heart disease. It’s terrifying. If kids are overweight, their life expectancy is 13 years less. They’re less likely to have productive lives, to have good jobs, graduate from school, go to college, be productive. People just don’t understand what we’re doing to the future generation. Their minds are effected by it too. It’s not just their bodies. They have trouble focusing, concentrating, ADD, poor academic performance, less likely to succeed in life. It’s so important you guys are doing this documentary because it’s going to tell a story that people need to hear.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:57:35):
The fact that you guys have voices and have big communities and fans, telling this story is so important. I think the more people are out there talking about it, the more we can come together and actually share what’s actually happening, we’ll wake people up. It’s happening and it’s pushing the food industry. [inaudible 00:57:50] which is a big company, just announced they were … They own Ben & Jerry’s and they own all these ice creams. They’re not going to advertise ice cream to kids anymore.

Tom Hopper (00:57:57):
Oh wow. Amazing.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:57:58):
That’s huge.

Tom Hopper (00:58:00):
That’s huge.

Keegan Allen (00:58:01):
This is the thing too, is that we want to also educate the children. We want it to come through to the kids because at the end of the day, the parents can and will put down an iron fist. When they realize that they are essentially doing terrible things to their kids by giving them these treats and things that they think, well when I was a kid, I had ice cream and it was summer days that I enjoyed that so much. There’s a nostalgia to there’s terrible things. There’s a tradition to these foods on holiday. What has happened is that our, like you said, dessert has become now this normal thing. Whereas before, it was only for a certain day. Now what I’m worried about, is parents can do that. They can stop it. They can stop it.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:58:51):
I always say make your home a safe zone.

Keegan Allen (00:58:54):
But then kids will go out and they’ll have it on their own if they’re not informed.

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:58:58):
Sure they will.

Tom Hopper (00:58:58):
They’re going to be exposed to it in the outside world. That’s one thing. I always think it’s about taking control in your own life. My kids don’t eat sugar and I think they’re going to go out there at some point. They’re going to go to kid’s parties. They’re going to be exposed and they’re going to be offered these things. I think as long as I can control it in our home and I probably sound to certain people, I probably sound like a really un fun dad like I don’t give them any treats. They get no fun at all. No, I think for the purpose of their health, I think the majority of the time they’re spending in my home, they can eat whole foods. That’s important. The future for us if we don’t do that … have you seen that Pixar movie WALL-E about the little robot?

Dr. Mark Hyman (00:59:49):
We need a new Disney movie about this.

Tom Hopper (00:59:53):
That’s a story about the future. We see the humans are all now completely obese and they’re all in these little …

Keegan Allen (01:00:02):
Zoomy chairs.

Tom Hopper (01:00:03):
They’re like zoomy pod things that they go around in.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:00:06):
Like they have in Disneyland.

Keegan Allen (01:00:07):
Just digital fodder being fed to their eyes and eating.

Tom Hopper (01:00:10):
[crosstalk 01:00:10] and just watching TV, these little iPad things. They just go … move around. I’m like, that’s a vision of the distant future if we can’t [crosstalk 01:00:20]

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:00:20):
Not so much distant. It’s here.

Tom Hopper (01:00:24):
We’re about there. I think things like that, you see it and you think, I don’t want that future for my kids or their kids. That’s where we’re heading and I think we have to make a change now. Using platforms and the media and things like that, that’s the only way to do it.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:00:40):
I’m so glad. Do you have a name for it yet?

Tom Hopper (01:00:43):
We’ve gone over a few things. One of them is called What’s In This? Was a big one.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:00:50):
When is it coming out?

Tom Hopper (01:00:51):
We’re still making it.

Keegan Allen (01:00:53):
We’re still making it and we both have TV shows that we work on.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:00:56):
Day jobs.

Tom Hopper (01:00:57):
It’s tough to get the footage where we want it, but it’s about making the plans and just getting the footage whenever we can, and putting the word out there.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:01:04):
Well I can’t wait for it to come out. You guys are amazing and an inspiration to people.

Tom Hopper (01:01:08):
Thank you.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:01:08):
I think the more younger audiences that can hear this before they get into trouble and be inspired by role models like you guys who said, “Look, I was sick. I had a crappy diet and I woke up. Now I have a more engaged, happy, fulfilled life where I don’t feel like crap all the time.” It’s a great thing. So thank you so much both for the work you’re doing, for the awareness you’re creating, and for being on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Tom Hopper (01:01:33):
It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having us.

Keegan Allen (01:01:34):
Thanks for having us.

Dr. Mark Hyman (01:01:35):
If you’ve been listening to the podcast and you love it, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you. Share with your friends on social media. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

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