How Eating Together Prevents Obesity, Addiction And Disease

Episode 793 1h 14m


Research has shown that the simple habit of sitting down for a meal with loved ones on a consistent basis can directly improve our food choices, reduce the negative effects of stress, and even improve our body composition. It’s not just what we eat, but how we eat, and with whom we’re eating that can make all the difference in the world.

Today on The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m excited to talk to my good friend, Shawn Stevenson, about why family meals are now on the “endangered” list, what we can do to bring them back, and the power of food to bring families and communities together.

We kick off our conversation by discussing the huge impact our social connections have on our health. Studies have shown that healthy relationships can contribute to a 50 percent reduction in risk of death from all causes, and you are 171 percent more likely to be overweight if your friends are overweight. For thousands of years prior to our current generation, food centered around more than just the act of eating. Food was about family, sharing, celebration, and community. Today, only 30 percent of families manage to eat together regularly. Shawn and I talk about the real impact this shift has had on us and how eating together helps to protect our health. Along with the steady decline in family meals, there has been a steady increase in our society’s consumption of heavily processed foods. Today, nearly 60 percent of the average American’s diet consists of ultra-processed foods.

Shawn and I talk about the prevalence of ultra-processed food in our children’s diet and how this impacts health outcomes long-term. We also talk about practical tips for transforming our kitchen culture. We share tips on how to get kids involved in the kitchen, proven strategies for smarter grocery shopping, safer cookware recommendations, and Shawn’s top cooking tips to make meal prep faster, healthier, and more enjoyable. I hope you’ll tune in to learn more.


This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health, BiOptimizers, Kettle & Fire, and Sensate. The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast works with a select group of sponsors to allow for ongoing production and allow it to be zero-cost to anyone who wishes to listen to and watch the podcast.

Topics Covered

  • How our social connections determine our health


  • Research findings on families who eat together


  • How culture influences our cravings and choices


  • The prevalance of ultra-processed food in children’s diets


  • The disconnect in understanding how food affects our biology


  • Shawn’s journey away from primarily eating fast food and ultra-processed food


  • Research findings about eating alone


  • Environmental toxins in popular cookware and safer cookware options


  • How to implement family meals


  • Defining family beyond the traditional nuclear family


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Resources Mentioned

Host & Guests


Automatically generated. 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.

Introduction: Coming up on this episode of the Doctor's Farmacy.

Shawn Stevenson: Currently in the United States, only about 30% of families eat together on a regular basis. So my question was, could this be pulling away some protective factor for us when it comes to human health and longevity? And this led me to some really fascinating research.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Welcome to Doctor's Farmacy. I'm Dr. Mark Hyman, that's farmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. And one of the things that matters most is the integrity around eating. And not just eating for ourselves, but eating as a social act, eating as a way of bringing people together, bringing families together of actually healing through food, but in..

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Ep. 793 - How Eating Together Prevents Obesity, Addiction And Disease