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Episode 508
The Doctor's Farmacy

The 6 Foods You Should Never Eat

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Eating ultra-processed foods—made primarily from wheat, corn, and soy—increases your death rate by 75 percent. How’s that for a sobering statistic! Unfortunately, American grocery-store shelves are monopolized by foods that contain ingredients that you should never eat, like partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and more. These foods have been scientifically proven to cause disease and death, so why do we still keep reaching for them?

In this episode of my Masterclass series, I am interviewed by my good friend and podcast host Dhru Purohit about foods that you should never eat again, foods to limit, and the food industry’s role in why these foods are so pervasive in our supermarkets.

This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health and Vuori.

Rupa Health is a place where Functional Medicine practitioners can access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs like DUTCH, Vibrant America, Genova, and Great Plains. You can check out a free, live demo with a Q&A or create an account at RupaHealth.com.

It’s the perfect time to upgrade your wardrobe! Vuori is offering my community 20% off your first purchase. Just head over to vuori.com/farmacy to claim this deal.

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

Guest

 
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.

 
Dhru Purohit

Dhru Purohit is a podcast host, serial entrepreneur, and investor in the health and wellness industry. His podcast, The Dhru Purohit Podcast, is a top-50 global health podcast with over 30 million unique downloads. His interviews focus on the inner workings of the brain and the body and feature the brightest minds in wellness, medicine, and mindset.

Show Notes

  1. My Way Café
  2. Eat REAL

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.

Speaker 1:
Coming up on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And if you can’t tell what it is, it has 45 ingredients, and you actually can’t tell if it’s a corn dog or a Dorito, then you probably shouldn’t eat it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey everybody. It’s Dr. Mark Hyman. Welcome to a new series on The Doctor’s Farmacy called Masterclass, where we dive deep into all kinds of topics like autoimmunity, brain health, and sleep, and inflammation, and so much more. Today, I’m joined by my good friend, my business partner, my co-host, and host of the Dhru Purohit Podcast, Dhru Purohit himself. And we’ll be talking about all the foods you should never eat.

Dhru Purohit:
It’s a strong title, Mark. Foods you should never eat.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You should never eat.

Dhru Purohit:
It seems a little clickbaity, and I’m sure it is, but this is actually where we’re going to get into it. There are actually foods, if you care about your health, the truth is we want people to eat whatever they want to eat. You want to eat whatever you want to eat, eat whatever you want to eat. If you care about health, these are the foods that I think it’s okay to say, you should never eat. Now, we got to be careful where the word, should, because you never want to judge upon people, but you’re giving strong recommendations. Let’s jump right in and talk about which one of these foods …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, the things that I’m talking about Dhru are not my opinion. These are scientifically proven to cause disease and death. There’s no doubt in my mind that they should never cross anyone’s lips and they should be banned. In fact, one of them was recently, by the FDA, was considered something not safe to eat anymore, and yet it’s been the food supply for a hundred years, actually, maybe yeah, a little 101 years since 1911. So, when Crisco was developed. And that is trans fat or hydrogenated fat, that should never pass your lips. That’s highly proven to cause heart attacks, many other health issues, diabetes, inflammation, and it’s toxic.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it’s made from vegetable oil that’s converted to a solid fat like margarine or shortening through a process called hydrogenation, where they put an extra hydrogen out. You should never eat that. So, if you look at the words on the ingredient list, you have to not look at the nutrition facts label only, you have to look at the ingredient list. The ingredient list will tell you everything that’s in there. By the way, the ingredient list in America sucks because in Europe they put what percentage of things are and so you know exactly how much of which thing you’re getting.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’ll get into that in a minute. So, never eat anything that says hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, soybean oil, any kind of fat like that.

Dhru Purohit:
And just one little note we’ll expand on it later on, it was banned, but through a little bit of a tricky loophole, you can still find it in certain products.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, they gave the food companies a long runway to actually get rid of it from the food, but it’s still all over the supermarket. Even though in 2015, it was ruled not safe to eat. There’s something called GRAS, or G-R-A-S, or generally recognized as safe. Even the FDA finally … By the way, it was only after 50 years of data proving that it wasn’t safe that finally, a guy who’s been working on this for 50 years, he was in his 90s, a doctor, a scientist sued the FDA. That’s why they finally had to succumb to getting up because the food companies didn’t want it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They had to swap out all kinds of ingredients in their products. Every single processed food had this in it for decades and decades. The second is, just about as bad, maybe worse, and that’s high fructose corn syrup. Now, why is that worse than just sugar? Well, high fructose corn syrup has a number of qualities. One, it is not like regular sugar, which is 50/50 glucose and fructose. It’s sometimes 55% fructose, even up to 75% fructose.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Fructose, and we you’ve had podcasts about this, you’ve had Dr. Richard Johnson on your podcast about this, fructose is a very toxic compound when it’s free and unattached to fruit, right? Fructose comes in fruit. But if it’s just free in the product you’re eating, which is in sodas and all kinds of sugary drinks, and it’s in everything. It’s in bread, it’s in salad dressing, it’s in tomato sauce for your pizza. I mean, it’s terrible. It actually has a very bad effect on your liver, causes fatty liver, high triglycerides, inflammation, insulin resistance. And it’s really driving so many of the diseases of aging, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, dementia, etc. So, you don’t want to eat that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Another reason it’s bad is because it seems to take a lot of energy to absorb across the gut. So, glucose gets in and sort of naturally gets in. Fructose requires energy. If you’re having a lot of fructose, free fructose, basically it depletes the energy in the gut, which is required to keep you from having a leaky gut. So, your cells in your intestinal lining are stuck together like Legos. But if those Lego junctions come apart, those tight junctions come apart, you get what we call a leaky gut.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And leaky gut leads to a whole host of downstream consequences that drive inflammation because basically protein from food and particles that shouldn’t be getting in, and foreign proteins from that, and also poop and bacterial toxins get absorbed, and your body’s like, ah, and the immune system starts reacting and you start getting autoimmune disease, and allergies, and heart disease, and cancer, and everything. It’s bad. You really want to stay away from high fructose corn syrup.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The other thing that’s interesting is when they process it, they often use something called chloralkali. I’ll tell you a funny story because this scientist I knew wanted to study high fructose corn syrup. And so she asked the makers of hyper fructose corn syrup, Cargill, and other big food companies to get a supply so she could test it. They wouldn’t give it to her. But then she kind of changed her name and she pretended to be someone who was making a new soft drink or a new beverage.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
She said, “I’m using this, I need it to make my new beverage.” So, they were like, “Oh, okay, fine.” They sent it to her. And then she analyzed it and found almost all the samples had high levels of mercury because chloralkali used to extract the hyper corn syrup from the corn actually is a mercury dependent process. So, you might be getting toxic from mercury too. For a number of reasons, leaky gut, mercury, fatty liver, inflammation, you should never have high fructose corn syrup.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And if you get rid of those two things, high fructose corn syrup and trans fats, you literally eliminate 90% of things in the grocery store. I mean, it’s true. The next thing you should think about are, what are the toxins in the food that are inadvertently in there? Now, in Europe they have a legislation called the REACH, which eliminates a lot of toxins from the food supply. But in America, the FDA is not very good at protecting us from harmful chemicals.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For example, butylated hydroxytoluene is a known carcinogen, and it is otherwise known as BHT, it’s a common preservative and it’s allowed in our food. In my book, Food Fix, I do tell a lot of the science around which of these additives are in food, which are not in foods in Europe, which are in here, and what the FDA has done about it. And often, there’s these huge efforts from the food companies to keep these things in the food supply like dyes and artificial colors and flavorings because they are actually good for the food industry, but they good for people.

Dhru Purohit:
And by the way, 46% of the FDA’s budget comes directly from user fees. That accounts from food companies and pharmaceutical companies that are paying directly for the budget. I think we’re the only country where that’s the case.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s bad. It’s bad. And the next category is ultra processed food. I’ll get into what that is in a minute. Essentially it’s highly pulverized ingredients from industrial food. They usually come from three ingredients. We eat corn and soy turned into all manner and size, color, shapes of extruded food like substances that shouldn’t really be called food. You can often tell it’s ultra processed food, but if you look at the label and you don’t read the front of the package, but you look at the ingredient list and if you can’t tell what it is, it has 45 ingredients, and you actually can’t tell if it’s a corn dog or a Dorito, then you probably shouldn’t eat it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And if it has ingredients you can’t pronounce or in Latin, things you wouldn’t have in your kitchen cupboard, you probably don’t want to be eating that. Now, ultra processed food is about 60% of our diet. 67% of kids diets. For 10%, every 10% of your diet that’s ultra processed food, your risk of death goes up by 14%. Now, I’m not good at math, whatever 66 times 14, that’s a lot. It’s going to raise your risk by, I don’t know, what? 75% of death from eating this food. In the world, globally, it’s been connected to 11 million deaths conservatively by the Global Burden of Disease Study, that’s been an ongoing study looking at people’s food habits and their risks of a disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We really don’t want to be eating an ultra processed food. The next thing you should avoid are artificial sweeteners. Why? Because for a whole host of reasons, they harm your body. One, they create damage to microbiome and lead to increasing obesity and diabetes. Two, they seem to trigger your brain in a way that creates a, what we call a cephalic insulin response. They’re a thousand times sweeter than regular sugar. And they’ll trigger your brain to think sugar’s on the way. It’s like Pavlov’s bell. Rings the bell, the dog salivates, even if there’s no food, because it gets conditioned.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, the body’s conditioned to respond. When you ring the bell of sugar on the tongue at that level, it sends a message to the brain and it starts producing secondary metabolic effects like increasing insulin, for example. We call it the cephalic phase insulin response, and that dry you to be hungrier, to eat more. That’s why when you look at all the studies, people who drink artificial sweeteners are more likely to be overweight, more likely to have diabetes. It seems to be counterintuitive, but it actually is what the data show.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Lastly, if you can, you really should avoid any of the foods that are in the dirty dozen foods from the Environmental Working Group, or ewg.org. These are the foods, and basically fruits and vegetables, with the highest amount of pesticides. So, strawberries, for example, grapes. You don’t want to eat those if they’re not organic. Now, I love strawberries, but I won’t eat them if they’re not organic. Now, you can’t always be perfect with that, but you want to really minimize your intake of pesticides, and that’s the best way.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They also have a clean 15 list, which is, if your budget isn’t really high, you go, okay, well, at least clean 15, it doesn’t really matter if they’re-

Dhru Purohit:
Like avocados.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Avocado or a banana, or whatever. It doesn’t matter. But if you’re eating a strawberry or a nectarine or certain, celery, for example, and people are eating celery juice like crazy. If it’s not organic, it’s just a reservoir of toxins. So, I wouldn’t really be doing that. Those are the foods you really want to avoid at all costs. Then there’s the ones you want to kind of limit, flour. Any kind of flour, think of it as a drug. It’s like sugar, it’s tequila, it’s wine, it’s a drug. You can have it, but you want to make sure one, you don’t overdo it. And the Americans are eating about a hundred and 33 pounds of flour every year.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s a lot of flour. It’s almost a little bit, by me, a third of a pound a day per person. We have muffins, bagels, bread, pastas, right? I mean, it’s just, we have so much flour. That drives your body to think that there’s high levels of sugar because there’s flour, is actually worse in sugar for your blood sugar. It spikes your blood sugar more than table sugar. So, you really want to eliminate that. The next thing you want to limit is really sugar. We eat about 152 pounds of sugar per person per year. And a lot of it’s hyper fructose corn syrup as I mentioned. We don’t want to be drinking liquid sugar calories.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Again, think of a sugar as a recreational drug. Do I eat sugar? Of course, I do. But I do it in limited amounts. I do it in the context of a sugar meal. I don’t have it on empty stomach. It prevents the spikes of blood sugar. You also want to avoid refined oils, all the highly processed refined oils. Yes, we can use oils like avocado oil, olive oil. Oils are fine. That is good. But all these highly refined oils that are from called vegetable oils, I mean, they’re made through solvents, and hexane, and high temperatures, and they oxidize easily. They’re very unstable.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And they can be linked to increase inflammation and gut issues and so forth. So, I try to really get rid of those. Those are all in the processed food. When you go out to eat, they usually use these crappy oils. So, you really want to be careful. The last category is GMO foods. Why? Is GMO bad? We can argue that all day long, but here’s what we know about GMO foods. One, there’s a lot of glyphosate. 70% of the agricultural chemicals used today in the world is glyphosate. What’s glyphosate? It’s an herbicide.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Herbicide that causes damage to the soil, so kills the microbiome of the soil, which is needed to actually grow healthy plants that are nutrient dense. It also destroys our microbiome and it’s been linked to cancer. There’s been I think, 14,000 lawsuits and billions of dollars in settlements from Monsanto’s glyphosate, Roundup. You want to really avoid that whenever possible. That’s by avoiding GMO foods. Now, we may also potentially have other there factors that GMO may cause adverse effects in humans.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But I think there’s still a lot of debate about that, but we know there’s a lot of reasons. And if you’re eating GMO foods, you’re contributing to the destruction of the planet and the degradation of the environment and the destruction of soil, and climate change. You might as well be driving a Hummer if you’re going to eat GMO foods.

Dhru Purohit:
You heard it here first. Mark, let’s dive back into a couple of these top ones that you had. Trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. You said 90% of the grocery stores. So, what are some common products or types of products, just to make it real for people, that would have trans fats in them still to this day?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Anything. I mean, anything. It’s shocking to me, Dhru. I go in the grocery store, I’m like, wait a minute, isn’t this seven years ago that the government said this is going to kill you and it’s still on the shelves? I don’t get it. Like Cool Whip. And then they might be swapping it out so I can’t be 100% because I haven’t been on every product, but it’s basically in any kind of processed food. So, any kind of eight goods. I mean, it’s been in bread. It’s been in all kinds of baked and cooked goods that people are buying, whether it’s frozen meals or anything, pizza.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I once took my son to the grocery store, because he said, “Dad, there’s nothing to eat,” when he was a teenager, “There’s nothing to eat in the house.” He said, There’s nothing to eat in the house.” I’m like, “There’s plenty of food to eat in the house.” But it was nothing junky. I said, “Okay. We’ll go to the grocery.” I want to have friends over, we want to watch a game, but there’s nothing to eat. I’m like, “Okay, let’s go to the store and you can buy anything you want. One rule, no trans fat.” Pizza cookies, whatever you want. Buy whatever you want, no trans fat. He couldn’t find anything.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There was almost nothing in the grocery store he could find, this was like 10 years ago, but it was terrible. I think we really, we need to really be careful about looking at the labels on that

Dhru Purohit:
And just for reference, because we have everybody here, you were in a documentary Fed Up, and a big part of that was how sugar is driving all sorts of downstream effects that are impacting people’s health. We say sugar, but that sugar could show up in high fructose corn syrup. You talked about it here, but it could show up under a lot of different other names that are there. What are some other names that high fructose corn syrup could be disguised as instead of fruits?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, high fructose corn syrup, you shouldn’t have high fructose corn syrup. But the thing is with sugar, it’s fascinating, in Europe, you have to say the percent of everything on the label. In America, you just have to put what’s the most abundant ingredient first in order of … You could have five ingredients, but you could have like one … The last ingredient could be 1% and the first ingredient could be 95%. So, you don’t really know the amount. What they’ve done is food companies have come up with five or six different kinds of sugars that they’ll put in a particular food, like a cereal or a cookie.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, they don’t have to have the first ingredient be sugar because it’s like, it’s barley malt, and it’s Maltodextrin. It’s all kinds of weird names that people use for sugar that are actually just the same thing that are made a little bit different, but then the food companies put them all in this food that makes it look like sugar’s not the main ingredient, but cereal’s a great example. There might be four or five different kinds of sugar, corn syrup, and cane sugar, and whatever, high fructose corn syrup. And you get the cereal and 5% sugar.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, you really have to be careful to look at all the different head names of sugar. There’s like 50 different names. I can’t remember them all now, but if you Google 50 different names for sugar, you’ll see all the different names for sugar.

Dhru Purohit:
One of the things you’ve talked about is in Europe also again, just looking at what other countries have done, ways that they’re trying, it’s not perfect, but to better protect their population and encourage literacy for nutritional facts is they have a red light, green light, yellow light system, kind of like the traffic lights. Another thing that they do is for sugar, they also say what percentage of the daily value it is. We’re the only country that doesn’t have a daily recommended value when it comes to sugar. So, people often don’t even know how much sugar, whether it’s high fructose corn syrup or something else, how much sugar they’re actually consuming in their day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, the US dietary guidelines say we should have less than 5% of our diet is sugar, and yet it’s not on the label. In fact, there was a huge fight under Obama because Michelle Obama wanted to change the food labels and put the amount of added sugar on the label. But the food companies didn’t want that, because they didn’t want people to know how much sugar they were adding. Because it could say carbohydrates 30 grams, and it could be a lot of fiber or could be good stuff.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But when they actually have to put in added sugars, it actually shows how much they add to the food. The problem is all these foods in order to taste good, because they’re just made from garbage, they have to add there a ton of sugar or a ton of salt or a fat. That’s basically what makes people sick and overweight.

Dhru Purohit:
Mark, one of the things that the food industry will often say, and I’d love your take on it, because as part of the problem and the mess that we’re in is they’ll say, “Well, if we didn’t make this hyper salty, hyper sugary item, somebody else would go make it instead, so we just have to give the people what they want.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I love when they say that. The food industry’s very good at controlling the memes and the mantras that are culturally pretty much out there for people. One is, in order to lose weight, you have to eat less and exercise more. Eat less, exercise more. It’s all about calories in, calories out. And the implication of that is it’s your fault you’re fat. You’re just a lazy glutton, and if you stop eating so much and start exercising off the couch, and move your butt, you’d lose weight.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s just a big fat lie and the science doesn’t support that in any way. Food is information, calories is information, and eating a thousand calories of broccoli or a thousand calories of high fructose corn syrup, profoundly different in the way they affect your biology. Everybody can understand that. The second is that, they say, “We’re just giving people what they want.” Well, guess what? If I stood on the corner and handed out cocaine, everybody would want that. If I was selling $2.99 cent bags of cocaine in McDonald’s, do you think that would sell out like that? Of course, it would.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, we’re just giving our customers what they want. They want a little heroin. They want a little cocaine. But that’s ridiculous. These are highly addictive foods. The food industry is so smart about designing foods to hook us. Now, there’s a book by Michael Moss, a Times reporter, called Salt Sugar Fat, who’s actually in my first podcast. He describes the ways in which the food industry has created taste institutes, where they hire “craving experts” to create what they call the bliss point of food in order to create heavy users.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They literally use these terminology, heavy users, like a heavy drug user, right? They design foods for the right mouth feel, the right crunch, the right flavor, the right stimulation of the dopamine in the brain, which is the addiction center. These foods are highly addictive and you crave them, you want more of them the more you eat. I mean, nobody, nobody is going to eat 25 avocados, but very often, people can eat 25 chips of white cookies, right? That’s because of how it affects our brain. I think if we really look at the science of this, we have to sort of start holding these companies accountable to the foods they’re producing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We limited smoking. We had taxes. I mean, we have alcohol, we have alcohol taxes, we have restrictions and so forth on what people can and can’t do. These are biologically deadly substances that are rampant in our culture that the majority of people are addicted to in some way or another, some very much so, and some less so.

Dhru Purohit:
I think the important part of that, and that goes back to the title of this episode, which can seem a little bit clickbaity again, but we did it to get people’s attention to listen to this conversation, it’s actually harder, in my opinion, and I’ve seen you treat a bunch of patients and know many of them, even my mom is actually is a patient of the UltraWellness Center. She has had a great experience there. Because these foods are so highly addictive, if you try to practice moderation around them, I’m talking about the ones in the first category, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and especially the artificial sweeteners, and the ultra processed foods.

Dhru Purohit:
If you try to do and practice, what’s called the moderation approach of, okay, I’m going to just have a little bit, first of all, a little bit means different to every person. But secondly, you’re gambling because you don’t know how these foods are going to play with your own level of addiction. It’s actually kind of hard to stop eating them, that whole Chips Ahoy or Pringles commercial, once you start, you can’t stop. It’s kind of true. They made these foods.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I can’t believe I ate the whole thing. That was a Lay’s potato chips. I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.

Dhru Purohit:
You eat a little bit, these foods are addictive, and they just keep on pulling you back in.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it’s so true. I think the science of this is really compelling. I’ll just sort of break it down a little bit, but my friend David Ludwig who’s at Harvard, is one of the most brilliant scientists, clinical trialists in the world, has done a number of really elegant studies looking at this. One was he took a group of overweight guys and he fed them what seemed to be identical milkshakes on different days. So, they were the same in protein, fat, and carbohydrate, same percentages, same amount of fiber, exactly the same, except for one difference.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
One of them, and they tasted the same, one of them had a very quickly absorbed carbohydrate that spiked blood sugar and the other one didn’t, was much more a slow carb. Let’s call it absorbed carbohydrate. Then they fed the same guys different milkshakes on different days. Then they tracked their blood and they looked at functional MRI imaging. When they looked at their blood, the guys who had the high sugar spiky carb, their insulin went up, their sugar went up, their cholesterol went, their [inaudible 00:22:09], their cortisol went up, their adrenaline went up. It was like a stress response.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When you eat sugar, it literally creates a stress response. When you eat a lot of sugar, it’s like being chased by a tiger. Your body doesn’t know the difference. Cortisol causes all sorts of problems. Causes diabetes, causes you to have dementia. It causes you to gain weight. It causes you to lose muscle. It’s really bad. Causes your bones in dissolve. This is what happens when we eat sugar. Then he took these guys and put them in these MRI machine and looked at their brains before and after the high sugar milkshake.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They found that the ones who had the high spiky sugar milkshake, the area of their brain that’s the addiction center called the nucleus accumbens lit up like a Christmas tree. Essentially, it’s the addiction center that gets stimulated by cocaine, or heroin, or anything else that is addictive. It proved that, from a biological perspective, it’s addictive. And it studies an animal. I wrote 10-Day Detox Diet, which I catalog a lot of the research, but that was like 10 years ago almost, eight years ago I wrote that book.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And they found, with animals, if a rat was connected to an IV cocaine and they could hit the lever and give themselves IV cocaine, they would literally always switch over to sugar if given the chance. And they would work eight times harder to get the sugar than the cocaine. Another experiment was kind of a terrible experiment, but they put them in this cage with an electric chalk floor. Whenever they ate the sugar, they give them electric shock, and they kept eating the sugar despite the fact they were getting shocked over and over. It’s like getting electric shock therapy while you’re eating sugar.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Think about it. I mean, how does someone get to 500 pounds? Not in one day. It’s slow and they keep eating the stuff, even though it’s making them sick, even though it’s making them incapacity, they can’t stop themselves.

Dhru Purohit:
Their whole system, including their brain, has been hijacked. And they’re more likely to be depressed, which also makes them feel like there’s no hope. One thing leads to the next. All right, Mark, let’s pivot a little bit to this category, which is the highly minimize. If we can avoid it, amazing. It’s tough sometimes, and it takes a little bit of education, but it’s really worth it. One of those things that you mentioned previously, one of those topics is these gums and emulsifiers. First of all, what are they? And what are they used for when it comes to processed foods?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
These are basically thickeners, right? They thicken stuff. They’re used in milks. All the nut milks have them often. There’s ones that don’t, so you have to really be conscious like carrageenan and Xanthan gum. Turns out that these thickeners seem to have a really bad effect on the gut and they damage the gut and cause what we call leaky gut. And they’ve been linked to allergy and autoimmunity and all kinds of other issues, digestion problems.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m very cautious about these various emulsifier and thickeners. I read an article in a medical journal, not that long ago, which I was like, holy cow, these are really a problem. There’s one, and this is not on the label, which is almost in most processed food, which is kind of weird that they don’t put on the label, but it’s called microbial transglutaminase

Dhru Purohit:
Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And this is a compound that, sounds like a big, fancy name, but transglutaminase is from gluten, transglutaminase, so it comes from gluten. It’s literally manufacturing gluten, which makes things stick together. I mean, when you make bread and use a flour, and it gets sticky, that stickiness is gluten. They call it glute because it’s glue. It’s like glue, right? They used to use it on envelopes to actually, when you lick envelopes, to seal the envelope, they would use gluten to actually make the envelope stick.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, it’s sticky. So, they take bacteria and they genetically modify them to produce this microbial transglutaminase, but it’s not on the labels. So, it’s in a lot of processed food and it’s basically concentrated gluten you’re eating. If you’re gluten sensitive, it’s a problem. Even if you’re not, if you eat a lot of this stuff, it damages your gut. Even healthy people, a little bit gluten they can handle. You get a little leaky gut, whatever, your body handles it. But for the most part, gluten is just not good for your gut.

Dhru Purohit:
The thing about out these and why education is so key is I can remember, let’s say like 15 years ago, 12 years ago, there started to become commercially available almond milk and nut milks that were out on the market. You can go to most grocery stores and pick them up. At that time, anyone that you looked at, they all had carrageenan. I can’t can’t think of anyone, except if somebody made it themselves at like a store or like a small batch, or raw almond milk, or the ones that you make at home, but all of them had it.

Dhru Purohit:
Now, through all this education, and the fact that companies are listening, right? You say like we’re voting with our dollars. Companies are listening. I counted in my Los Angeles Whole Food store, there’s now three or four commercially available almond milks and nut milks that are available in the refrigerated section that have no emulsifiers and no filters. This is why it’s so important because we, as the population that’s eating all these foods, if we learn about these things and we speak up and we share the knowledge, the companies will change and they’ll start making products that we actually care about and want to consume.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely. I mean, we have to be conscious of what we’re eating. We have to be discerning. And when you start to take the meta framework, which is the framework I take of functional medicine, which basically has reframed food, not just as calories, but as information, as code, as instructions that upgrades or downgrade your biology with every bite. So, if you’re eating information in processed food or other bad ingredients that’s doing harm to your body, why would you do that? And it doesn’t necessarily cause harm over decades. It causes harm immediately.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Food is the most important chemical signal that’s instructing our body what to do every minute, instructing every cell. So, we’re eating food that’s causing inflammation, damaging your microbiome, impairing your detox system, causing problems with your circulation, causing hormonal dysregulation, causing problems with making energy in your cells. Why would you do that? Once you begin to understand what food is, you only want to eat the right information. I mean, you wouldn’t take your nice car and put in crappy gasoline that’s watered down or got junk in it. Your car’s not going to run. Well, how do we put junk in our bodies?

Dhru Purohit:
People often underestimate how much processed foods they’re eating. Are there any tips or tricks or hacks that you have? One of the main reasons why, and I bring this up, is that you talk to most people, most people think that they … A lot of studies and surveys have shown this is that most people tend to …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Think they’re healthy.

Dhru Purohit:
Not think that they’re the average, right? So, if you say the average American is eating 128 pounds of sugar every year, most people think that they’re better than the average, right? But most people can’t be better than the average because that would make the average true. What are some questions that people can be asking themselves to get a real good sense of how much of this processed and ultra processed food is in their diet?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, I kind of joke because I speak in a lot of churches, and I say, “It’s really simple to figure out what to eat.” Ask yourself, did God make this or did man make this? Did God make a Twinkie? No. Did God make an avocado? Yes. It’s pretty simple. What you’re eating should be food that you can recognize on the label. Now, it could be packaged or processed, but you should actually recognize all the ingredients. If it says tomatoes, water, and salt, then a can tomatoes, fine. If it says sardines and olive oil and salt, you know what all those things are.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But if it’s got 45 ingredients, I mean, I tell this joke often. When I was in Haiti during the earthquake in 2010, and for the first three days, we had no food. And we were just … I bought a few Clif Bars, and basically Clif Bars and starving, and working 20 hours a day. Finally, the military showed up, the 82nd Airborne, and I’m like, “Hey, guys, you got food? Because we’re starving. All the doctors can barely work because we haven’t eaten.” And they’re like, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll get you the MREs.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I went with one of the soldiers to the back of their truck and looking through the different ones. I was like, oh, I needed something kind of comforting because it was very stressful. You can imagine. It was like 300,000 people dead, 300,000 people wounded. We were in the epicenter of all that. I saw this meal, it said chicken and dumplings. I’m like, oh, that sounds good. Dumplings, something comforting. I’m going to eat that. So, I brought it back to the back of the OR where we fixed, sort of makeshift OR.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s kind of cool because they have these thermogenic systems in there, which it heats by itself, just like with the chemical reaction. As I’m waiting for it to heat up, I’m looking at the package, and I’m reading the label. I’m reading there’s like literally like a hundred ingredients. It’s like, I’m not even exaggerating, and I couldn’t find chicken. It was a chicken like substance. So, you don’t want to be eating that.

Dhru Purohit:
This is the part of the podcast where we answer some of the questions from the community, the folks who live and follow you on social media. And you can go to drhyman.com and send in your question that we potentially could answer in a future episode. The first question is, how quickly do unhealthy food start to have a negative impact on our bodies and how long does that impact remain?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, it depends on the food, it depends what you’re eating. But the most people don’t realize that, I think, well, if I eat junk over many years, it’s going to cause problems. I’ll gain weight, I’ll get diabetes. But it’s not an immediate issue really. The truth is it is. Literally, with every single bite of food you eat, it’s code, it’s messages. And what does it do? It changes your gene expression literally in real-time, in seconds to second time, it changes which genes are turned on or off. You can turn on the disease genes or the health genes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It controls inflammation. So, you literally can see inflammation go up or down, literally depending on what you’re eating with every bite. Your microbiome changes in real time. The bacteria multiply like this, bazillions of times a second, and they’re changing. What you’re feeding them affects which ones grow and which ones don’t grow. You can be growing a whole crop of bad bugs in your gut that causes disease or you could be growing a crop of good bugs that helps you stay healthy. It regulates your hormones in real time, your brain chemistry in real time.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
All of your mitochondrial function, your energy production, all of it is regulated by what you’re eating, not over decades, but literally over seconds. So, you have the power to change how you feel by changing what you eat. As a doctor, Dhru, and I’ve had a very blessed career. I’m very lucky to have seen a lot of people who are very self-aware and who are very well to do. They really do want to take care of themselves and eat well. It’s shocking to me how few of those people have ever connected the tots between what they eat and how they feel.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, they might have runny nose, they might have bloating, they might have a headache, they might have skinny issues, they might have this, they might have that. And they have no idea that it’s connected to what they’re eating, even though if they paid attention, they would notice, oh, when I eat this, I feel this. When I eat that, I feel this. Some people are just disconnected from their food and health connection. I think that’s one of the most important things to recognize. I mean, I literally got a text from a friend of mine who was like 65 years old.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And she’s like, “I’m basically healthy, but I’ve got a little of this, I’ve got a little of that. I get a little achy, a little tired. Don’t have energy. I’m a little extra weight on me.” I said, “Look,” I said, “I want to come see you, get work over.” I’m like, “Save your money.” I said, “Here’s the 10-Day Detox. Just do this for 10 days. Just get rid of all the bad stuff. Put in all the good stuff. Just eat real whole food. Get rid of the junk and processed food.” All the things we’re talking about.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
She texts me back, “You’re right. You’re right. You’re right. You’re right. You’re right. You’re right. You’re right.” She’s like, “I think I might do this for the rest of my life.” Because she had such a quantum jump in her well-being by simply changing what she ate.

Dhru Purohit:
And it does sometimes take that dedicated plan that somebody does because we don’t know often how good we can feel until we have a contrast.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Exactly.

Dhru Purohit:
So, having that contrast and doing something like following the book, Pick ‘n Diet, I think there’s a plan inside of there, 10-Day Detox, your book, there’s a plan inside of there. You do a plan like that, you increase your body’s interception, right? Seeing the difference between living one way and being another way. It’s kind of like sometimes I’ll hop in an Uber and there’ll be like 15 air fresheners inside. And you get hit with this sort of wave of artificial smells and fragrances. And you’re like, oh, my gosh. I get a headache. I don’t feel good. My nose starts getting a little stuffy, maybe runny. I get out and I breathe fresh air, and I’m like, I feel so much better. You need that contrast sometimes and doing something like a 10 day reset, 10-Day Detox is a good way to do that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The comment I often get for my patients is, “Dr. Hyman, I didn’t know I was feeling so bad until I started feeling so good.”

Dhru Purohit:
That’s key.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think it’s like the frog and the boiling water. If you drop a frog in boiling water, it’ll jump right out. But if you put him in cold water and you slowly turn up the heat, it’ll boil to death, right? That’s what we are like. We literally slowly boil to death by doing the things we do without paying attention to actually how it’s affecting us.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. The next one comes from our Dr. Hyman Plus community, which is your members access community. And actually, we have a few members here, Alan, Paul, and Judy that are watching and on FaceTime on the computer that’s right next to us. Paul, one of the members asks, what is the relationship between ultra processed foods and farm bill subsidies?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh boy. Well, good news. I wrote a book on it. It’s called Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet One Bite at a Time. And the truth is our agricultural policies foster all the wrong foods. They support the production of commodities, corn, wheat, and soy in industrial ways that destroy the soil, that destroy the ecosystem, cause biodiversity loss, climate change. And obviously the use of pesticides herbicides, which cause all kinds of downstream consequences to the environment. Lots of fertilizer, which runs off into rivers and streams and creates dead zones, killing hundreds of thousands of metrics tons of fish in the Gulf of Mexico, and 400 of those around the world.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, it’s just, it’s a disaster. Our policies basically promote growing all the wrong stuff and not the right stuff. Thank God I started a nonprofit called Food Fix and the Food Fix campaign to change policymakers’ ideas about what’s good and what’s bad because they’re only hearing from the food industry. They’re only hearing from big ag. They’re not hearing from scientists and doctors and people really understanding these issues. We literally just got a billion dollars, which sounds like a lot, but we need like probably 300 times that, a billion dollars allocated to climate smart agriculture.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now we’re going to be paying farmers to do the right thing. The farm bill, as it is right now, is a disaster, but it’s starting to actually be slowly massaged and changed to actually incorporate strategies to help farmers do the right thing. In other words, cover crops. If a farmer was getting subsidies from the government or crop insurance, whatever they get, if they want to cover their land with crops during the off season so their soil wouldn’t blow away and cause soil loss.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And by the way, we’ve lost a third of our top soil since the industrial revolution, and a third of all carbon in the atmosphere. Of the trillion tons of carbon that is currently in the atmosphere, 300 billion of that is from loss of soil and the organic matter in soil. So, it’s a big deal. The farmer can’t even plant cover crops just to protect his soil because he’d be penalized by our current agricultural farm bill.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The good news is that’s starting to change. We’re working hard to change it. If anybody hears this and they want to get behind this, and want to help us, please help us. We need donations. We need support. You can go to foodfix.org and learn more about what we’re doing.

Dhru Purohit:
All right. The next question, also from a member of our Dr. Hyman Plus community is from Judy, and she asks, how do we drive consumer change when organic is expensive and the food manufacturers are so powerful?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Well, it’s really, the Rockefeller Foundation did a wonderful report called The True Cost of food. They basically estimated that for everything you buy in the grocery store, it costs three times that in terms of its impact on our society, in terms of chronic disease, in terms of the impact on education, learning, on national security because of military being unfit to fight because they’re so unhealthy from the food they’re eating. It affects climate, the environment, and obviously the economy, and also social justice issues.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There’s all these layers of issues that are downstream secondary consequences of the artificially low prices of our food. If you go buy a soda, it shouldn’t be a dollar. It should be a hundred dollars. How do we … Let’s take corn, for example. Corn is in everything. It’s the most ubiquitous product in America and it’s in every processed food. We pay for it, I think, four times. First, we pay in terms of crop insurance and we sort of pay for the farmers to grow the food. Second, we pay for the environmental damage in society, loss of biodiversity, climate change, the destruction of fish populations, nitrogen fertilizer, all that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Then we turn all that junk into processed food. The food companies do that, but then the government buys the processed food for the poor. There’s 46 million people on SNAP or food stamps, and 75% of that is processed food, and most of that’s from corn. We’re literally doling out money to buy this junk. And then we paid for it on the backend through Medicare, Medicaid when people get diabetes and obesity and food related illnesses. Yes, organic is more expensive now, but if we actually had an accounting and a reckoning of the true cost of food, it would be much cheaper.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What we’re working to do is try to align the cost with the real cost of the food. I think we’ll see over time, regenerative food come down, organic food come down, and start to sort of see a little bit of a balance in what’s happening. There’s a hierarchy, right? If you can’t eat organic, I understand, it’s a budget issue. You have to realize that if you just switch to real food and get off a processed food, that’s a huge step. That’s like 90% of the way there. Then if you really don’t want to be poisoned by pesticides, stay away from the dirty dozen foods, or if you’re going to buy them, just by those organic that we talked about earlier.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Really, we can do it. People can do it. The data is very clear on this. If you look at studies that have been done on whether it costs more to eat healthy, the answer is not really. Some studies show it’s the same. Some studies show it’s maybe 50 cents more a day. I work with a family, I’ve told this story many times in South Carolina, as part of the movie Fed Up, they lived on food stamps and disability, a thousand dollars a month, family of five, lived in a trailer. Never ate a real food in their life. Literally.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, everything was processed, packaged, boxed, frozen, canned. I showed them how to cook a meal, simple meal. They live in one of the worst food deserts in America. Within a year, they lost 200 pounds as a family because they were able to figure out how to eat real food, and I gave them a guide called Good Food on a Tight Budget, which is food that’s good for you, good for your wallet, and good for the planet from the Environmental Working Group. It’s available. So, what cuts of meat are the cheapest? What vegetables are the cheapest? What nuts and seeds are the cheapest? What beans are the cheapest?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Eat real food. It’s not that expensive. Mark Bittman, who wrote for The New York Times, and he is written a lot about food, and his great chef, he did a great article in The New York Times, years ago, where he talked about how if you want to take your family and feed them a home cooked meal, liver, roast chicken and vegetables, and a salad, and potato, baked potato, it’s cheaper than taking your family to go to McDonald’s.

Dhru Purohit:
When you have that education to know how to cook. That’s a big part of what you’ve also been advocating for, and you guys have done a little bit at Cleveland Clinic is doing pilots of actually having our medical system be a little bit more involved in the education of especially disenfranchised communities who maybe haven’t had a few generations of individuals who showed them how to cook in the first place.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, they’ve been completely culturally appropriated and their food sovereignty has been usurped by the food industry and even by the government, and the government food programs, which are often, well-meaning, but ill doing. So, like food stamps, it’s a well-meaning program, we don’t want people to be hungry and starving, but meanwhile, we’re feeding them all this food that’s killing them.

Dhru Purohit:
Right. I think you’ve said it before. Like, the number one purchase food on food stamps is soda.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Soda. It’s 10%. I think it’s, what is it? I think it’s 7 billion servings a year. No, no. I think it’s 30 billion servings a year of soda for the poor the government pays for. The number one revenue in America for Coca-Cola for soda is from the government, from food stamps.

Dhru Purohit:
It’s mind blowing. And really, it brings up that this is kind of like, when you shift and make this sort of a political conversation, is a bipartisan issue, right? Because you have two elements of this. You have the personal accountability, which is often what traditionally like conservatives are really interested in, and personal accountability is a huge part of it. We have to realize that we’re a part of the problem. That means that we’re a part of the solution. The other side, let’s say it’s the progressive side, liberal side, is off from talking about, well, if we don’t do something to help people who are in these disenfranchised places to actually learn more or get better access or more education, it’s hard for them to “lift themselves up from their bootstraps.

Dhru Purohit:
And it’s the combination of both of those. It’s the combination of both of those that actually truly makes a difference. And that’s where compassion, empathy, and also the understanding of a functional medicine approach to changing our food system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I had a really interesting dinner once in Brooklyn with a medical director of Bedford-Stuyvesant Health Center, which is a very underserved area, disfranchised, as you mentioned, mostly African-American. There’s an African-American doctor, woman, who had been working there her whole life. And she was saying, “Mark, what is the biggest predictor of disease and obesity.” And I was like, “Well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just access or … And she said, “It’s education. It’s Education. That if you take people who have come from nothing and had no education about food and made a lot of wealth, their health really is still very bad because they haven’t figured out what to eat. They’re still eating based on what they were programmed to eat as kids.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The food industry knows this. They hook these kids early. Why are they in all the schools? Why is probably 70% of schools have processed food from big food companies in the cafeteria for these kids? It shouldn’t be allowed. There’s like McDonald’s Monday and Taco Bell Tuesday and Wendy’s Wednesday. And it’s like, it’s pizza hot Thursday. I don’t know. It’s crazy, but that’s what’s in their schools today. That’s what kids are eating.

Dhru Purohit:
I had Dr. Robert Lustig, who’s a contemporary yours and also in the movie Fed Up on my podcast yesterday, and one of the things that he was saying is that, because the history of school lunches was that the government basically said to schools like, this cannot be something that you just lose money on. You actually, you have to use it as a way to cover your own budget. So, these schools all started going, these school districts started going to the big food companies like Cisco and the different ones that are out there and said, “Well, do you think that you can help us?”

Dhru Purohit:
And they came in and they said, “Absolutely, we can totally help you. We’ll lower the budget. You’ll actually make money from it. And by the way, you’ll get all this extra cafeteria space to then use that for classroom space.” Okay. Maybe good intention, maybe nefarious, but let’s say that’s what happened. Then a lot of these schools are now trying to make their own food and trying to take control back of their cafeteria, but they actually don’t even have the space anymore because they’ve re converted all that kitchen base and food prep space so they’re beholden to the food industry.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s completely true, Dhru. I mean, most schools have deep fryers and microwaves. That’s it. They get highly processed food. They just can be deep fried or microwaved, and there’s no kitchens. They don’t cook. The food industry has really designed that so that basically the kids we have today are growing up on food that’s destroying their brains, destroying their health. Why we see, I think 40% of kids overweight, 40%. Four out of 10 kids are overweight. I mean, there was that one overweight kid in my class. That was it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Everybody else was skinny. Now it’s not like that. Now we’re seeing diabetes in little kids because of this. The truth is that there are people working to change these school systems. One of them is a good friend of mine, Jill Shah, who started something called My Way Cafe in Boston, when she saw how these underserved communities in Boston in the inner city were eating horrible food. These kids were just not doing well. They had ADD, behavioral issues, health issues. And she said, “You know what? We can fix this.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, she said, “I’m going to do a pilot. I’m going to pay for a kitchen, and I’m going to train the staff in the kitchen, and I’m going to hire top chefs to make the yummiest meals and foods and recipes for these kids. And we’re going to see if this works.” She did it. The amazing thing is she did it within the school lunch budget, which is not very much. And she did it within the government’s dietary guidelines for what school lunch has to be. And it was so successful that the kids ate all the food. There was no waste, they loved it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Then she formed a partnership with the mayor of Boston and has scaled this through dozens of schools within Boston. And this is really something can be scaled across the country. And they performed a private-public partnership where they were able to get these kitchens converted and the staff trained. And the staff was so much happier. They felt like they were doing something meaningful and useful rather than just deep frying and microwaving stuff. So, it’s really amazing when people look at these problems and think about solutions, that there really are solutions out there.

Dhru Purohit:
Absolutely. There’s another team that you’re a part of called the Eat Real is the name of the group, the nonprofit, eatreal.org, and they’re doing a similar thing in the Bay Area. That’s another thing that will link in the show notes. If you want to support any of these programs, those are two great organized to do exactly that. All right, Mark, we got a couple more questions and then we’ll go into our recap. One of the questions that we have here is that, are vegetable oils really that bad? What is the primary impact that they have on the body?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, one of my good friends, and someone I deeply respect, who’s one of the leading nutrition scientist in the world, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, he’s the dean of Tufts School of Nutrition, Science, and Policy. And we agree on like 99% of everything except for this. He basically says that the science shows that people who consume more of these vegetable oils do better. They have less heart disease, they live longer, or less chronic illness. The problem with these studies is that they’re large population studies, which show correlation, but not causation.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We can’t prove that they work. Now, there are mechanistic studies, there are interventional studies, and they’re kind of all over the board. Some of them show they cause a lot of oxidation and inflammation in the body. Some show they cause a lot of microbiome and gut issues. Some show they cause other harmful effects. But I think I take a more of an evolutionary approach to this. How was our biology designed? What works for us? Why are we now facing this pandemic of diabetes and obesity?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, when I graduated from medical school, there was not a single state that had an obesity rate over 20%. Now there isn’t one that has one under, and most are 40, 40% is the average now almost. When I was born, there was 5% obesity. Now there’s 42% obesity, soon it’s going to be 50% obesity, not just overweight, 75% overweight. It’s just a disaster. The question is, from an evolutionary perspective, what should we be eating? We should be eating food as close to what our bodies involve to eat, which is whole, real, unprocessed food. Now, we did eat olive oil. We had butter for centuries.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’ve had olive for thousands of years. I mean, these are ancient foods that are minimally processed. Olive oil, they crush the olives and the olive oil comes out. And you want get extra Virgin olive, which really is the kind of first pressing of the olive oil. The problem is most of these oils are made from grain like corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, canola oil. They’re made in highly processed way using heat and solvents to extract the oils, which causes them to oxidize and can potentially cause a lot of harmful effects.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I don’t think we should be consuming the volume we are. We are consuming literally a thousand times more soybean oil than we did a hundred years ago, which we’ve had in … When we eat soybeans, you’d get soybean all. If you’re going to eat plant based oils, eat the plant, eat the nuts, eat the seeds, eat the corn, eat the soybeans. Stay away from all this other stuff.

Dhru Purohit:
And I think it’s also, it’s a fun thing to do that if you are somebody who’s consuming a lot of these vegetable oils that are there, try doing 30 days without them. Clean up your diet. Do something like a whole 30 program or 10 day detox and see how you feel. When I eat at a restaurant or a place and I start getting a little bit of a headache, or I don’t feel that good, and I go and talk to … I’m like, “What do you guys use in the kitchen? Just curious.” Like, “Oh, we cook with canola oil.” I’m like, that’s why I feel like I have a headache. That’s why I feel like my nose is stuffy. That’s why I feel like things are … I don’t feel [crosstalk 00:51:48].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. A lot of them are GMO. And then a lot of the toxins are fat soluble. Often these, they’re highly concentrated sources of environmental chemicals too.

Dhru Purohit:
Right. It tends to be that the people that advocate that the vegetable oils are not that bad tend to be individuals who come from more of a traditional plant-based world or vegan world because they don’t want people eating as much of the butter and the saturated fats that are there. Now, there could be an argument that’s having less of those foods, but it’s one of those things that, until we have the bigger studies that show causation, try doing a little bit of an N of one research on yourself and try going without them and see if you feel better.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. The last question that we have here is would you recommend conventional meat and poultry when you can’t access organic grass-fed or regenerative meats? Thoughts on conventional meats.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s tricky. I mean, I think, do I ever eat out and eat some meat that I don’t know where I came from? Yeah, I do. Do I want to? No. I don’t want to contribute to the problem. Most of the time I try to source from places that I know how they grow the food. That usually is from regenerative farms, from grass-fed meats, organic chicken, certain types of fish farms are okay, certain wild fish is okay, but I’m very cautious about it. Because one, in terms of your health, how much worse is it than regenerative meat? We’re still figuring that out.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We from some studies, for example, if you eat kangaroo meat, like in Australia, they did the study, versus feedlot meat, inflammation levels go up with the feedlot meat, and they go down with the kangaroo meat, gram for gram of protein. Because food is information, what is the information in that food? If you’re eating regenerative meat, you’re getting better profile of fatty acids and omega threes. You’re getting more antioxidants, you’re getting more minerals.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What’s really surprising is we’re now finding plant medicinal compounds called phytonutrients in the meat of regenerative meat because we’re eating all these plants, these wild plants that have all these medicinal properties. When you’re eating a feedlot meat, you’re maybe not getting all these beneficial things. You’re getting protein, you’re getting a lot of nutrition, you’re getting nutrients, but you’re also contributing to a system that is really destroying the planet.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Mark Bittman talks about the cow being and the factory farms being the new atom bomb. I think it was an exaggeration, but the truth is that if we look at how most animals are raised in this country, it’s a disaster. It’s a disaster for them from humane point of view. It’s a disaster from the environment in terms of the environmental degradation, climate change, pollution, pesticides, chemicals, all the hormones used in it, pesticides. It’s a disaster. I feel like, in terms of your health, is eating a steak from a feedlot steak or regenerative steak, is it marginally better? Is it 10% better or 50% better? I don’t know. I don’t think we know.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But I do think we know the damage to the earth and the other downstream consequences. If you can’t afford grass-fed meat or whatever, okay. You want to get some protein, fine. But I think you need to be as adherent to the philosophy of eating food that’s not going to hurt you or the planet, and whenever you get it basically.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. And you do your best. The good thing is, just like I was talking about in the almond milk example or other examples that we’ve seen, the more people that start purchasing and seeking these out, the more that the price comes down for these items. Big companies and corporations, they get so much shade thrown at them, but honestly, Costco and Walmart, not that I’m the biggest fans of any big corporations out there, we have to give them credit where credit is due because Costco in particular, they have lowered the price of so many of the traditional health foods that are out there and they made it a lot more affordable, like wild frozen blueberries, organic this, organic that. They’re trying to do their part because the consumers are asking them.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Asking of it. Yeah.

Dhru Purohit:
I think that’s one other hack is buying some of these things in bulk and seeking out some of these stores or letting your big box store know about some of the foods that you’d like to start purchasing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true, Dhru. Walmart is the number one organic grocery store in the world.

Dhru Purohit:
They’re the biggest purchaser of organic cotton, right? That doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems that are there. I don’t know too much about Walmart and the things that are going on, but we need to work in partnership with these companies because that’s the only way that we’re going to make it accessible to everyone. All right, Mark, it’s a good opportunity to do a recap of some of the top foods. We went all sorts of different directions in this podcast, but give us a little bit of a recap of some of the top foods we should “be avoiding and minimizing.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The top foods we should avoid, as we discussed, are high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, artificial sweeteners, and GMO foods. Those are the top. They should just never cross your lips. As far as a limit foods go, we should get rid of as much sugar and flour from our diet as possible, liquid sugar calories and refine oils as my much as possible.

Dhru Purohit:
Great. As always, we’re trying to do our best because nothing is worse for your health than stress. If you stress out about what you’re eating 24/7, that’s not a good thing. So, this is information that’s steering you in the right direction, and then you have to personalize it for where you and your family are at, but we can leave the stress and we can leave the shame behind. Just continue to make …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Do your best. Do your best.

Dhru Purohit:
… positive changes in the right direction.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Am I my perfect? No. Do I try to do my best every day? Yes.

Dhru Purohit:
Well said. All right, Mark. I think you can go ahead and close this out for today.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, thank you, Dhru. This has been such a fabulous conversation about all the food you should never eat and ones you shouldn’t eat that much of. And people really need to know this because food is information and I’m just so happy we got to have this conversation. If people loved this podcast and learned something, share with your friends and family on social media, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, leave a comment. What have you noticed by cutting out certain foods or adding in certain foods? And we’ll see you next time on The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Speaker 1:
Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their Find a Practitioner database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed healthcare practitioner, and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.

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

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