Calley Means: The Obesity Crisis, Ozempic, ADHD and Food Industry Lies - Transcript

Dr. Mark Hyman: Coming up on this week's episode of the Doctor's Farmacy.

Casey Means: The healthcare industry is the largest industry in the fastest growing industry in the United States. It is not one evil person, no. But the overall structure of that industry is predicated on people getting sicker earlier.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Welcome to the Doctor's Farmacy. I'm Dr. Mark Hyman, and this is a place for conversations that matter. And today I am bringing you an important conversation with Calley Means, a former big food and big pharma consultant who's now pulling back the veil on corrupt industry practices and ringing the warning bell about how our health is being destroyed by these insidious practices. Calley is the founder of Truemed, a company that enables tax-free spending on food and exercise. He's also the co-author with a sister of good energy, the surprising connection between metabolism and limitless health, which is coming out later this year. It is now available for pre-order. Earlier in his career, Calley was a consultant for food and pharma companies and is now exposing practices that they use to weaponize our institutions of trust. In the past year, he's met with 50 members of Congress and presidential candidates advocating policies to combat the corruption of the farm and food industry.

Dr. Mark Hyman: He's also a graduate of Stanford and Harvard Business School. Now we open our conversation discussing how Calley came to understand the incredible influence that pharmaceutical and food industries have over all of our major institutions. Everything from the media to academic institutions to civil rights groups, medical organizations, policymakers and more. And Calley shares the number one most egregious thing he witnessed inside of one of America's largest think tanks. The Heritage Foundation industry funding of scientific research is a huge issue with major implications for our health, and Calley and I discussed the ins and outs of this topic in great detail. We talk about how at the end of the day, our ill health is the primary profit driver for the very system that is keeping us unwell. We also get into the obesity crisis and how the newly popularized weight loss drug ozempic is being used not only among adults, but now for children as well.

Dr. Mark Hyman: This not only raises huge concerns for the physical health of our nation's kids, but there's a very real connection to the increase in mental health issues among our nation's children and even our national security, ADHD learning and disabilities, anxiety, depression, and kids and adults are all on the rise. Calley connects the dots on how industry corruption is largely the blame for all of this. While these are huge issues, the hopeful news is that given the right leadership, there are potential immediate fixes that are not difficult to implement. Calley outlines relatively simple ways we can back ourselves out of this mess. We cover everything from pharmaceutical advertising on television, down the food industry markets to children, and even what America can learn from the fall of the Roman Empire. And now let's dive into my conversation with Calley Means. So welcome back to the podcast, Calley. It's great to have you back.

Casey Means: I'll pump to be

Dr. Mark Hyman: Mark. Yeah, well, we have so much in common about how we think about our food system and we came at it from totally different perspectives. I came at it as a physician seeing what was happening to my patients because of the food they're eating, and then started to expand my lens to look at the entire food system and its impact across all the sectors that we care about. Obviously the impact on chronic disease, its economic burden where we spend over $4.3 trillion on healthcare, most of it on preventable chronic disease, the impact on our environment, the degradation of our environment from the use of agricultural chemicals, climate change, impact by the loss of soil, the impact on military readiness because kids are not fit to fight anymore and 70% get rejected. Our academic performance is going down, we're 30th and plus in the world in math and reading.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's going down because our kids are cognitively impaired because of the food they're eating. We're seeing increases in violence, aggression, divisiveness, polarization, society, which is now clearly linked to food, our mental health crisis linked to food. I mean, it just goes on and on. And even health disparities, social justice issues. And I came in as I expanded my lens, I began to see this and I wrote my book, food Fix, which I think you had read, and I think you started in a very different place, which was at the Heritage Foundation as basically someone who was thinking about how to address some of our social and political and economic issues through a think tank. And so you worked in this think tank, you were a lobbyist, you're a consultant, and you got the inside scoop on a lot of what was going on around our food system.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And you began to see that it was troubling you from a moral perspective and that your moral compass started to kind of go, wait a minute. This is not quite what we should be doing. And through that lens, you've sort of begun to understand how our food system is something that is really broken, how it really is driving so much of what's wrong with our society and how it really needs to change. And so you've been an advocate, you've been out there in the media, you're on news shows, you're on podcasts, you're talking about this. You started a company to actually try to help people access their own health and wellbeing through their health savings and FSA accounts, which are allowing people to use that money to up their wellness. And so I want to have you unpack what was it like being on the inside of the Heritage Foundation, which is a conservative think tank, and what was happening in there as you were working with big food companies and they were working with you to try to shape what was happening? On a political level,

Casey Means: The word that comes to mind and the overarching goal is rigging institutions of trust,

Dr. Mark Hyman: Rigging institutions

Casey Means: Of trust, trust leading institutions of trust. So you have a company, you have an interest who are their stakeholders? Their stakeholders are consumers. Obviously you want to impact what they think you want to impact the media, which has a big impact. You want to impact government leaders, you want to impact research. You want to impact groups like civil rights groups and other medical groups that people trust. So you want to, as a company in the United States that's trying to get something accomplished, you want to impact all of those groups. And the truth is the pharmaceutical industry and the healthcare industry at large is the largest funder of government. It's the largest funder of Think Tanks. It's the largest funder of academic research. It's the largest funder of news, news funding. It's 50% news funding. So the objective, so it's basically infiltrated every, they're the largest funder of every single institute.

Casey Means: They're the largest funder of medical groups. They're the largest funder of civil rights groups, actually the naacp. So every group that we hold, sacred or sick, Harvard, the NIH is highly, the FDA, as you've pointed out, is more than 50% directly funded by the pharmaceutical industry, and then food's not far behind. So you literally have the core institutions that set our culture, that set the guidelines, their bills are paid by pharma and as a consultant for these industries. That's just the simple question. And these are not really geniuses working at these consulting companies or for the pharmaceutical companies. It's actually very simple. It's like how do we get money to the right people? How do we fund research? How do we fund the medical groups? How do we fund the politicians themselves? And then the healthcare industry is the largest. I mean, that's five times more money spent by them on lobbying of public affairs than the oil industry.

Casey Means: Food is not far behind, and I got to admit Mark, and I'm ashamed to say it, it took me many, many years. It took more than a decade out of the swamp to really put all the pieces together. You're a swamp creature. Kelly. I'm a reformed swamp creature and have been out for more than a decade working to start companies. But looking back in retrospect, it's very interesting and I think very telling that you have one meeting in the morning with the pharmaceutical and the healthcare industry and the next, in the afternoon you're meeting with the food industry. Those are the two biggest spenders in dc. People on both sides of the aisle go into consulting, go into lobbying, and they're working inevitably for those tender streets. Healthcare is the one area in the United States where there's no ideology. I mean, this is where Elizabeth Warren is aggressively supporting tax cuts.

Casey Means: It's the only industry because of Massachusetts, it's totally, totally bought off by the healthcare industry. She's actually aggressively fighting for tax cuts. That's insane. It's where basically Republicans are fighting for socialism and total corporate cronyism. So you don't have any ideology. I mean famously Obamacare was created by the Heritage Foundation, literally that's off the shelf. It was originally its foundation actually created it when the Republicans under Trump had a chance to repeal, as they've been saying for eight years, they didn't have a plan. They literally didn't have a bill. There's no ideology in healthcare. This is actually a bipartisan thing where they're all paralyzed and all bought off.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So what was the most egregious thing that you saw sitting inside the Heritage Foundation that made you wake up to the fact that there's a problem, they were trying to influence social groups, right? Can you talk about that?

Casey Means: Yeah. The most alarming thing I saw again in retrospect is the complete watching hands of why people are getting sick, and that's because of food. So actually how tides,

Dr. Mark Hyman: So they knew it, but they just said didn't care, and they wanted to push policies that promoted more foods that made people sicker and sicker.

Casey Means: Well, I think it's obvious if you really step back, the biggest issue in the country right now is that we're all getting sicker fat or more depressed, more and fertile just to go over the stats that I think our eyes can gloss over the stats, but more than 25% of young adults having pre-diabetes, 20% of teens having fatty liver disease, 50% of teens now being overweight or obese, and then that going to close to 80% now overweight or obese for adults. I mean truly this is the biggest issue in the country, the us.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But this is so incredible, Kelly, that it's not part of our political discourse. No. When you hear people campaigning, when you hear debates on the debate stage, when you hear the news reports about what's wrong with our country or what's going on, this is absent from the conversation. It's just so striking to me.

Casey Means: Yeah, the most striking thing is that when you really, and again, mark, I'm coming from a different direction than a lot of people you talk to and you, I'm coming from a swamp creature, but I don't think it's that complicated that we're getting sicker because of food. And the most shocking thing, and I think the most appalling thing that's happening is not only is the medical system not ringing the alarm bell about food, not only is the dean of Harvard Med School or the head of the NIH not standing before Congress saying, let's not give kids sugar. Let's at least not recommend it like the USDA does. They're actually in bed with the food companies. The most shocking thing I saw is the Heritage Foundation taking money from Coca-Cola to say that it's immoral and against conservative principles to not give poor kids Coke, the American Diabetes Association taking money from Coke medical groups that should be fighting against this liquid sugar that's causing pre-diabetes and diabetes among kids. They're taking money. So it's actually the direct ties. The direct ties, as you've pointed out of nutrition schools taking 11 times more money from processed food companies than they take from the NIH. They're the

Dr. Mark Hyman: Lifeblood food industry basically funds almost 12 times as much research dollar wise as the NIH in food and nutrition. And those studies are eight to 50 times more likely, eight to 50 times more likely to show a positive result. In other words, if you're studying dairy and you're funded by the dairy council, you're going to find it's a great sports drink. It's healthy for you and we should be recommending it. And yet, independent science doesn't show that.

Casey Means: I was just at Stanford Med School with my sister a week ago. You walk into where students learn and there's a Coke machine, and I actually worked when I was working for Coke, we really tried and it was a concerted effort to funnel monies and sponsor hospitals. And hospitals took that money. It is like drug rehab clinics taking money from heroin makers. It's like these hospitals are full of people with metabolic conditions overflowing our hospitals. And the fact that

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's like having a heroin dispenser in a rehab center. Exactly.

Casey Means: The hospitals, 85% of costs, 85% roughly of deaths are tied to preventable foodborne metabolic conditions. And the strategy working for the food company is how do we funnel money to the pharmaceutical and healthcare disease and they take that money and they're silent on why we're getting sick. So that's really, I believe the biggest issue in the world that we need to NPO on that

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's really insidious the food industry and not including the pharma industry is the biggest industry in the planet. Ag, big, fast food, processed food companies, it's about $16 trillion globally. It employs more people than any industry, and it again is driving so much of the problems. I just got back from Africa and I visited the Messai and I was shocked to see on this village where they're running water, they don't have electricity. That was just a giant truck full of Coca-Cola that and Fanta, which is a Coke product, pulled up within minutes. All these tribal people in really traditional tribal dress who were living on the milk, meat and blood of their cows for their diet were just sucking back these cokes. And literally the whole thing emptied out and the bottles were stacked up and within minutes. And I was just shocked. And I said to the chief, I said, does this truck come off?

Dr. Mark Hyman: And he's like, yeah, it comes every day like this. I said, you understand that the sugar is not good for you and that it may cause diabetes? He says, really? I said, yeah. He says, well, that's amazing because most of our populations now dying of diabetes, and this is the Messiah tribe who really never had exposure to this. And where you can't even get running water. You can get Coca-Cola. And I think this is part of the problem. It's so insidious. And as I began to sort of unpack this myself and look at the cause to cause the cause because as a functional medicine doctor, I'm very interested in what's the cause, what's the root cause and then what's the cause of the cause of the cause? And I began to look at the way the food industry operated and why are my patients eating this stuff and why the population at large was so sick.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I realized it was really a multifaceted, coordinated, very detailed strategy. It wasn't something random one, like you said, nutrition industry funds or the food industry. I'll say call nutritionist because there's not much nutrition there funds 12 times as much research as NH two. They co-op social groups and corporate responsibilities. As you mentioned, they fund the naacp. I remember being down at the King Center Atlanta with Bernice King and we wanted to show the movie Fed Up, which talked about childhood obesity, and she was very inspired about it and wanted to show the movie there. And we had a scheduled and just a few days before the screening of the movie that we were called and said, no, we can't show the movie there. I'm like, why? Said, well, Coca-Cola funds the King Center in Atlanta. They fund Morehouse College and they fund Spelman College. Morehouse Spelman are black colleges in Atlanta.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Spelman College is a female black college. 50% of the entering class of 18 year olds have a chronic disease, either diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and all over the campus are Coca-Cola machines. They also not only co-op social groups, but they create friend groups, things like the American Council on Science and Health, which sound great or crop life or various kinds of things that have great sounding names but are actually controlled and funded by Food Pharma, big Ag. And they actually recommend things like pesticides are good for you and trans fats are okay and smoking is not bad. And they're calling out all these issues that are making them seem like they're a high level scientific organization. And as you said, there's also incredible lobbying just on one bill and the GMO labeling bill. A number of years ago there was 592 million spent on this one bill.

Dr. Mark Hyman: The farm bill has half a billion dollars in lobbying spent on just one bill, which I shouldn't really call the farm bill. It's mostly the food bill. And so we have all these concerted efforts and co-opting of different aspects that are really problematic and that are creating a kind of almost a, I would say, an narcotized population that doesn't realize this is happening and is co-opted the government, and I think there are good people in government. You and I've been in Washington last year and I've been working on the Food Fix campaign, my nonprofit, to try to address these issues through policy change and people are getting it. And I've been meeting with literally well over a hundred plus members of Senate and Congress and the White House and various health departments and to a person, nobody is seeing this as not a problem. They don't quite understand it.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Their education level one is pretty low. One guy I met with, really sweet guy who was a congressman and he was like lost 25 pounds. I did a talk earlier, went into a group of congressmen and he read my book and he followed the program. He looked so much better. We had another drink after work one day. He's like, this is so great. I feel so good. I said, great, why don't we do a sugar detox for Congress? And he's like, I love the idea, but I'm on the Candy Caucus. I'm on the Candy Caucus. My district has a lot of candy makers, so I can't really do it. That is sort of a story that I think that underscores the problem we see in Washington and why we're so screwed. And I think what I'm so happy about with what you're doing is you're bringing to light across so many different channels of media, social media, television, these issues, and now people are starting to listen and you're getting called up on major news shows and major programs, so the Dressel brand or Fox News or other media outlets that are able to actually start to pay attention to this issue.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I'm just really grateful for you. What have you found as you've gone out and start to hammer these messages that you're so good at articulating?

Casey Means: Yeah, I think there's a couple things because I've been in dozens of conversations behind closed doors with members of Congress, and I think the question I'm really wondering, and I think probably a lot of people are, is like, why is it the way it is? And I actually asked that to people. You hit on this a little bit, but I really dig into that because as you've seen bipartisan almost to a person, people are concerned about this issue. People have kids go into a classroom and see that there's clearly something wrong happening in America. I think there's an innate sense that our food is compromised and clearly something bad is happening. So it's a couple of things. I think actually number one, it just goes to this corruption and the rigging of the institutions of trust. What I hear time and time again from members of Congress is that they came in and aren't health experts.

Casey Means: They were military guys or they were focused on farming or something, some small issue. They can't comprehend the scope, large scale scope of health. And then they say every single day people come into their office lobbyists with new studies, new studies saying GMOs are good new studies saying glyphosate is fine. New studies saying aspartame is fine. New studies saying the recently the USDA large scale study that was brought all around the halls of Congress saying 91% diet of ultra processed food is perfectly healthy. The USDA literally just created that study. So these studies are coming again and again relentlessly

Dr. Mark Hyman: That contradicts so much other independent research.

Casey Means: Exactly, exactly. You usually had a big debate on aspartame. I think it's 91% of the studies funded by industry show. It's fine. And then a hundred percent of the studies that are truly independent, which is a small portion of the studies show it's very harmful. Correct. That's been for decades. So these members of congress to a person are saying again and again and again, it's just relentless study. After study after study, there were 50,000 nutrition studies created in just the past two years, 50,000 peer reviewed nutrition studies. My opinion is that the vast majority of those studies are nothing more than PR research for processed food. You don't need studies saying that organic broccoli or pasture raised meat. There's not a big lobby for those industries. The only reason these studies are funded, and let's be really clear, Coca-Cola is not out there funding hundreds of millions of dollars to advance unbiased scholarship.

Casey Means: They're expecting a return and the return and the reason the nutrition industry research industry is so propped up by food is because those companies expect to return. Those studies go directly to Congress. So that's what I'm hearing from members of Congress. They're being bombarded by confusion and then the corruption and then the money comes in. So if they go against what those studies say, if they go against supporting glyphosate, if they go against the USDA recommendations on sugar, if they go against this idea that I think is absolutely existential of steering more healthcare dollars to food instead of drugs, once people get sick, then the threats come in and they say that it's cordial, but the lobbyists come in and say, if you're going to go against this pharmaceutical policies, we're going to run millions of dollars of ads in your district. Literally, they run ads of the fictitious member of Congress pushing old person off a cliff in a wheelchair. So they threaten those ads if they go against the rigged research. So that's the trap. What I think needs to happen, what I'm hearing again and again and again is this has to be national leadership. I actually do think this is the most important issue to most Americans, that they're getting sicker, their kids are getting sicker. Life expectancy is going down for the most sustained period since 1860. And I am hopeful people are waking up and there's going to be some national leadership

Dr. Mark Hyman: Here. Yeah, I think you're right. I think people don't understand how insidious this is and how deliberate it is and how it seems like it's cloaked in all these legitimate organizations. And friends of ours talked about this concept of a corporate kleptocracy or a corporate capture of agencies or government. I think it's not. And even of medical institutions or academic institutions of ag institutions like the Land-grant colleges that are funded by the government, it's established by Abraham Lincoln in order to actually build up agricultural research, are in large part also funded by the agri industry. And they're pushing huge amounts of chemical agriculture, fertilizer based agriculture, and it's creating massive destruction in the soil and climate. One of the studies that I want to quote, which is in the Annals of Internal Medicine, this was published in 2017 and Annals of Internal Medicine is a very highly respected peer-reviewed legitimate medical journal.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And in that journal there was an article review article called The Scientific Basis of Guideline Recommendations on Sugar Intake, A systematic review. And the conclusion after reviewing all the literature independently air quotes on sugar was this guidelines on dietary sugar do not meet criteria for trustworthy recommendations and are based on low quality evidence. Meaning if we say don't eat sugar, it's based on crappy evidence. Public health officials when promulgating these recommendations and their public audience when considering dietary behavior should be aware of these limitations. In other words, sugar ain't bad. The study doesn't prove it. And it was funded by something called the ILSI, which is a quote lobby research Association. I think it's an International Life Sciences Institute. And the major funders are, guess who? Coca-Cola, general Mills, Hershey Foods, Kellogg, Kraft, McDonald's, Monsanto, Nestle, PepsiCo, Proctor and Gamble. And the lead author of this study is on the board of T and Lyle, which is the one of the largest makers of high fructose corn syrup.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Now, how can you take a study like that? Seriously? This is the kind of stuff that we're facing, and it's something that unfortunately we're not addressing and we're not talking about. And I think we've seen such a widespread co-optation of the public narrative and the scientific narrative and the political narrative by these companies, and it's really insidious. I mean, Coca-Cola did the same thing. They created this thing called the Global Energy Balance Network. They funded millions and millions of dollars into research showing that all calories are the same. So if you drink 2000 calories of Coca-Cola Day or 2000 calories of broccoli, it's actually identical for your body. Well, any five-year-old knows that this just doesn't make sense even. But that's what they're promoting. And I think what I would love to talk about is some of the things that we're also doing to our children, because I think this is an area where I'm deeply concerned.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You mentioned obesity, but mental health issues are huge. Attention deficit disorder, one in six kids have neurodevelopmental issue, whether it's learning disabilities, A DHD, and we're seeing increasing suicides in kids and increasing use of medication. Now, this is another example I want to get into, which is ozempic Ozempic in adults is a big enough problem, and I did a whole podcast on that and really did unpack that in one of my health bites. But what really I didn't talk about actually was the way in which the American Academy Pediatrics is now saying we should aggressively treat obesity in kids. Agreed. But their recommendations are to treat it with medication. Now they're doing studies in kids as young as six years old taking Ozempic, which has serious consequences. So can you talk about the problem with this and why this is happening and what your thoughts are on it?

Casey Means: So I have a 2-year-old and I was recently at a playground with him, and I looked around about 20 kids, and every single kid I saw was clearly visibly obese and rampantly almost to a person. That kid was eating something out of a package, and many had sugary drinks. Right now, puberty, the New York Times were supported. Puberty is starting dramatically earlier, particularly in America. 7-year-old girls are growing breasts at an increasing rate, and that's more common. Now, the New York Times in that headline, the front page headline, said, puberty starting early in America, nobody knows why.

Casey Means: We know why our food is compromised. We have kids literally almost strapped to an IV of hormone disrupting chemicals in our water, in our food. We know really clearly what's happening. And you got to ask, why isn't there moral clarity, right? Why isn't there moral clarity to say, let's stop that root cause? Clearly, if we're drugging our kids and addicting our kids to highly dopamine enhancing products early on, and we are shoving hormone disrupting chemicals into their veins again and again and again, and their bodies are rebelling at an early age, clearly we need to solve that root cause. So why aren't we? And the answer, the only answer I can really come to is that those kids on that playground are going to be the most profitable people in the world for the largest industry in the country. The healthcare industry is the largest industry and the fastest growing industry in the United States. It is not one evil person, but the overall structure of that industry is predicated on people getting sicker earlier

Dr. Mark Hyman: Mean that's the problem. We privatize the profits and socialize the costs. And these companies are not immoral. They're immoral, right? And they basically are doing things to maximize profit at the expense of health and expense of the environment. And this is really what terrifies me. I think we have an opportunity to really change this, but it's not going to be simple. And I think when we're talking about giving drugs to kids like Ozempic as young as six years old, and now it's approved for 12 to 19 year olds, I mean, this is in my view, criminal. I mean, we're not addressing the root cause. It's like instead of saying, why are we also sick and fat? Why are kids so depressed and why are we needing all these things to actually support their health like drugs? How do we fix that? Well,

Casey Means: Here's why it's criminal. If you have a dirty fish tank, you clean the tank, you don't drug the fish. What we're saying is we need to drug the fish and not even touch the tank. That's a beautiful analogy. It's a criminal because that kid, right? It's not just ozempic. So let's just think about the median teenager in this country who is overweight or obese and on the verge of pre-diabetes or has pre-diabetes. That kid is almost certainly going to be have attention deficit disorder be put on Adderall and methamphetamine, which 20% of high school seniors are on SSRI prescriptions, they're highly much more likely to be depressed with metabolic dysfunction. 40% of high school seniors qualifies having mental health disorder. You talk to any parent now, SSRIs are being prescribed widely in high school, that kid kid is going to be on an antidepressant. Statin use among teens is going way up.

Casey Means: Metformin use because of the skyrocketing pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, that kid, that four-year-old who's eating highly processed food, unless they change their behavior, they're going to be on a chronic disease treadmill for the rest of their life and just cascading these interventions. The big problem with ozempic is that literally hand in hand with the ozempic argument is this idea that obesity is genetic, that obesity is this disease. You can't really control that. It's a thing that you need to manage for the rest of your life. A six-year-old put on ozempic, the instructions for the drug is that they need to take that injection for the rest of their lives. And you actually, again, have doctors on 60 minutes saying, don't worry. Throw willpower out the window. You can manage this with the drug. The criminal part for our country is that that kid is going to have a more tortured, shorter life.

Casey Means: If that kid is ingesting hormone disrupting, toxic inflammatory food and not learning how to exercise, not learning how to eat healthy, they're going to live a less optimal life. They're going to live a more depressed life. If you put the link to mental health, if you put any animal in a box with limited sun sedentary force feeding them ultra processed food, they're going to exhibit mental health problems that if you put a dog in a little sunless box, redo to kids. By the way, at schools not moving, as you mentioned, 80% of 21 year olds aren't even eligible to join the military. So sedentary Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman, the Joint Chiefs, who's great enough to write a blurb for our book, has said this is one of the biggest national security threats in the country.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It was 700 retired admirals in generals created a report called Mission Readiness, and it was shocking in there for me to read that there were 72% more evacuations from Iraq and Afghanistan for obesity related problems in soldiers than from war injuries. We're

Casey Means: Spending more. That's shocking. We're spending more as a government on diabetes management and related costs than the entire defense department. The biggest line item for the defense Department right now is healthcare largely tied to metabolic conditions. So we have this clear problem, and what's criminal is that the way you grow that system is to get kids on that treadmill. There's nothing more disruptive to the healthcare system than a child learning metabolic healthy habits. And what do you have? You have the media that's funded by pharma not investigating why pre-diabetes and obesity is skyrocketing among PIs, but actually saying it's anti-science to question a pharmaceutical protocol. They're actually saying it's fringe and anti-science to talk too much about nutrition, to talk too much about meditation, to talk too much about exercise. That's right. That's actually refereed as fringe by the

Dr. Mark Hyman: Media. Well, it's interesting though because if you look at the guidelines from most professional societies like the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, national Heart Lung and Blood Association, the first step of therapy for any of these cardiometabolic diseases, whether it's heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, is diet and lifestyle. It's the first thing that's recommended. Yet it's not fringe. It's actually part of the essential guidelines. And I want to get into sort of how to fix this in a minute, but I just want to dive deeper into how corrupt this whole system is that you're really so good at articulating. There was sort of investigative reports that use foia, which is Freedom of Information Act, to get emails and direct correspondence from food industry companies like Coca-Cola for example.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And they were really so egregious in their behavior and it was so clear that they had a coordinated strategy. And this review in critical public health called how food companies influence Evidence and opinions straight from the horse's mouth. They said the results provide direct evidence that senior leaders in the food industry advocate for a deliberate and coordinate approach, influence scientific evidence and expert opinion. The paper reveals industry strategies to use external organizations including scientific bodies and medical associations. I think the American College of Cardiology has 192 million or American Heart Association and 192 million in funding from Food and pharma a year. They influence scientific bodies medical association as tools to overcome the global scientific and regulatory challenges. They face challenges of what not selling their shitty food. The evidence highlights the deliberate approach used by the food industry to influence public policy and opinion in their favor.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And that is really the crux of this whole thing. And so the question is, if we're battling billions of dollars of literally billions of dollars of money that's spent on either influencing public opinion through coordinated campaigns, through media, through co-opting the advertising on television and other channels through lobbying through these front groups, through corporate social responsibility, the co-op social groups through co-opting nutrition research, I mean co-opting universities and medical experts, how do we battle that? Where do we start? And I want to hear what you're doing because I think it's really important to look at not just the problem, I think, and I've defined the problem well in food fix. I think we need to talk about the fixed part as opposed to the food. I didn't call the book Food, food Apocalypse. I called it food fix. I think we're kind of in a food apocalypse, but I think we need to think about the fixing part.

Casey Means: Let's dive into solutions. And I want to be really clear because it's bottoms up and top down. But I want to be clear, I think we'll dive into some top down. There's a big bottoms up empowerment message here, and my message here from being inside the room with these industries is that it's worse than you think. And these people are not smarter than you. They're not impressive. They are rigging the system and we are buying into it. We are still buying into it. When there's a Harvard peer reviewed study, we're still letting these studies convince us that glyphosate essentially a neurotoxin that's banned and most of the rest of the world is fine to give to our kids microbiome. We're letting them convince us of this. And my message from the bottoms up is trust yourself, is that the system has completely let us down on managing and preventing chronic conditions, and we need to take much more responsibility for our health and our kids' health there and frankly listen to the experts but not give them the benefit of the doubt. And that humans and animals we've domesticated are the only animals that have systematic metabolic dysfunction animals in the wild. Yeah, there's cats and dogs, but so

Dr. Mark Hyman: Real obesity in these animals

Casey Means: Doing cats and dogs. But there's not many obese wolves. No. The obesity rate among dogs is over 50% by all measures. The depression rate is actually off the charts among dogs. It's like over 50%. There's not a lot of obese depressed wolves in the wild. No, there's not obese giraffes. There's not obese tigers, every single animal in the world. I

Dr. Mark Hyman: Didn't see some pretty fat hippos when I went to Well, so technically

Casey Means: By their measure, everyone brings that up. Technically, they're not obese. They're made to have some

Dr. Mark Hyman: Extra fat.

Casey Means: So you just, every animal is born including humans with an innate sense of what's right for them. And they gravitate to natural food, they gravitate to sunlight, they gravitate to movement. The experts are beating that out of humans, and we rob our domesticated animals of that. So I really do think there's a spiritual crisis, a bottoms up situation where we need to get back to understanding where our food comes from and trusting ourselves and giving a little less credence to the experts. But I want to be clear, we need to change the top down. There are trillions of dollars of incentives against the American people. I think we are entering a big year in 2024 where I think people are waking up and there are specific easy things that we can do.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, no, I think it's amazing how unaware most policymakers are of these issues. And they're so, like you were talking before about how they're influencing policy. Well, it even goes deeper than that. They literally show up in Congress with white papers and research and graphs and charts proving why all their facts quote facts are right. And then not only do they suggest policy, they literally write the policy, they write the legislation and they give it to the congressmen and the senators and have them submit it into bills. And so literally, our policies are often being written by the industry. And I was talking to Sam Kass who worked in the Obama administration under food issues with Michelle Obama, and he said, mark, nobody came from the good guys. All we heard was from the food industry with these big briefing books and all this convincing data.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And the congressional staff and the members of Congress don't have time to study this and learn about it. And so they basically just kind of buy it and move forward with it. And so he said, we need to hear from the good guys. And you and I are not from some big lobby organizations with billions and millions of dollars behind us, but we've been actually hitting the street on our own dime going into meeting with members who are open to meeting with us actually and talking about these issues. And I've been sort of shocked at how interested they are, how much they get it once you've unpack it for them, how they begin to, their light kind of comes on in their eyes and they go, holy cow, we need to do something about this. And then they recognize it from their own lives because guess what?

Dr. Mark Hyman: They're American too. And if one in six, in 10 Americans are chronically, ill probably six in 10 congressmen or more have chronic illnesses and their families do. And so it's starting to become something we can't ignore. It's not too big to fail, but too big to ignore. And so let's talk about some of the kinds of policies that might be effective. Now, some things I think I would do if I were king that are going to be challenging to get through a legislation. So let's talk about things that are maybe aspirational and things that are really practical that we can be doing. Let's say if we got a new president who is aware of this, and then we're in a political campaign year, so we have a number of people talking about this from the Trump campaign, RFK, whether you believe what he says or not in terms of his overall strategy, either of those candidates. I'm not proposing for one or the other. What I'm just saying is this is the first time I hear on a presidential campaign some of these issues being talked about, and I think it's so important. So what are you hearing about this out there on the field and what do they think could be the sort of first steps that we could take to start to shift these policies?

Casey Means: There are six things a new president can do from either party that I think would have 90% support among the American people and could be done in a matter of days and dramatically improve the health of Americans. I think one lie we've been fed is that solutions are complicated to this issue or that things won't change quickly. I don't think Americans are systematically trying to give themselves diabetes to miss walking their daughter down the aisle to miss, like my mom did, meeting her grandchildren and dying early. I think Americans want to be healthy, and incentives are stacked against us, and if we can change them in a systematic way, Americans are going to get towards the right decision. So there are six things. The first thing, RFK, others have talked about this, but I think it's really important to understand it's banning pharma ads on tv. Now I think there's misunderstanding of what about food?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay, so

Casey Means: Food is very important.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Junk food marketing, junk food marketing,

Casey Means: Food companies aggressively lobby the Federal Trade Commission to have processed food ads on Nickelodeon. It's the number one ad spender on Nickelodeon and looking at YouTube kids' content, it's all processed food garbage, and we're one of the only countries in the world that allowed that type of marketing kids. So food is a big issue. But let me unpack real quick a misconception about pharma ads. So this is the key point here, and this is from working with the pharma companies. Everyone needs to understand this. The point of pharma ads is not to influence consumers, it's to influence the news itself. Okay? So you see these goofy ads with the people dancing and it's like, okay, okay, that does bleed in, and that does lead to consumers to want those drugs. The key point about pharmaceutical ads is that they're paying the bills of the news itself.

Casey Means: Again, we talked about this at the beginning, but we have to get our heads around this. More than 50% of TV news spending comes from pharma. It is an astronomical number. And it's so simple that if your bills are paid by an industry, you are not going to criticize that industry. You're going to self-censor. You talk to any politician. The media is supposed to be asking tough questions. The media is supposed to be holding institutions to account. I have not seen on mainstream media an examination of what is clearly the largest issue in the world of our kids being poisoned by toxic food and every chronic disease skyrocketing among children. Is there an examination of the root cause of that? No. The media right now is referees criticizing anyone who even daress to question pharmaceutical solutions, calling them anti-science. The second you can do this tomorrow, the office,

Dr. Mark Hyman: Let's just talk about this because I think this is an important, this thing about the advertising, its both. It's both the advertising of pharmaceuticals and also food. Now, the pharmaceutical ads, I think do drive what the media puts on the air or not. And I've noticed I've been censored on different shows absolutely because of my views. And I remember one time, and this was related to sort of a food thing where I came up with this idea for the Today Show, which was talk about a hundred calories foods, and this is a hundred calories snack, a hundred calorie Oreo, a hundred calorie cookies, a hundred calories, whatever. And I was like, are they the same? It's a hundred calories of blueberries. The same is a hundred calories of Oreo cookies. And basically this is what the food industry was trying to push. I got through a producer, I don't think it went through the hierarchy of approval.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And we got in the air and the talent got on, and she immediately kind of noticed what was going on. She tried to deflect and change the conversation and make it about something else. And then I never got asked back on the show. I think I was on the Martha Stewart show, and they were having a show about health and nutrition, and they had a trainer on, and the show was supported by the Dairy Council, and they had literally cue cards for her trainer of what the talking points were from the Dairy Council. Now, when you're a talent on television, you don't get cue cards, you don't get a teleprompter, you have to know your stuff. And so she was literally reading out the Dairy Council, and I said to the producer, why are you doing this? He says, well, this is not factually right. I said, here's all the research to show why this is wrong.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And I sent him all the research. Well, I'm sorry, but we have to do this because of the Dairy castle. And I think you're right. It controls the narrative. It controls what's on tv. It controls what people are saying. It controls things like what's on 60 Minutes, where Fatima, Dr. Fatima, what's her last name, Stanford. Stanford from Harvard was basically saying that all BC is genetic. It's nothing you can do about it. You have to take these drugs mean. And she's now on the dietary guidelines committee, which is very concerning to me. And so I think these are highly disturbing to me.

Casey Means: Oh, a hundred percent.

Dr. Mark Hyman: No, I just think, and the other issue is the amount of direct targeted marketing at children in the research on that is staggering. It's literally billions and billions of dollars that are spent on targeted ads towards kids, not just through television, but now through social media. There were, I think over 5 billion little ads targeted kids just on Facebook for game programs that are embedded in the game program. And so it's kind of everywhere. It insidious, it's invisible. And now you can't just say, don't watch television, because kids are on their screens and it's all getting in there and we don't even know the half of it. And then we've got the food industry having all these quote experts on social media touting the benefits of junk food and how artificial sweeteners are good. And they basically pay huge amounts of money to these groups. And it's sort of frightening to me, I think.

Casey Means: Yeah, Anna Hot O'Connor reporter at the Washington Post, who's the best food reporter in the country, should win the Pulitzer Prize. He traced

Dr. Mark Hyman: The money. He actually helped me with my book Food

Casey Means: Face. He's amazing. He, he's incredible. He's fearless, and he traced all of these nutritionist influencers on TikTok and Instagram undisclosed payments from food companies to say that processed food is good and attack anyone probably attacking you

Dr. Mark Hyman: People.

Casey Means: These folks are attacking you. And they're attacking other doctors who are saying, frankly, having the gall to say that we should eat whole natural food. That's literally, there's a coordinated effort paid for by food companies to do that. I was recently speaking to Jillian Michaels, who's, or a partner with her company's at True Med Exercise fitness companies. She was recently, I believe on CNN and viciously attacked by the anchor for being anti-science for suggesting that Ozempic wasn't the real root cause treatment for obesity. And her saying that exercise, they actually attacked her for being anti-science, for saying that exercise might be a better root cause intervention. Of course, right after that segment was an ad for Ozempic there individually. They're the fourth largest advertiser for cable news. Novo Nordics sponsors 60 Minutes that ran that segment unquestionably saying that obesity is a brain disease and genetic and not tied to what we eat or exercise.

Casey Means: Exactly. So from the swamp, from my early days in DC I know a lot of these folks that work at the large mainstream media stations, and they've told me privately, it is an absolute moratorium on anything critical of processed food or anything critical or examining why people are actually getting sick. There were not many segments on Covid essentially being a metabolic condition. If you were metabolically healthy, you had almost 0% chance of dying of covid no matter what age you were. The best thing that we could have done and rally the country to do was become more metabolic healthy. There was not an examination of that on mainstream news. So I think there's nothing conservative, there's nothing liberal. There's nothing ideological about letting this industry buy off the news. It's a day one solution, the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion that the FDA has control over this. It's an executive agency. And just as we had dramatic and quick and robust actions to defeat and combat Covid, we've got a bigger issue than Covid right now. Our kids are absolutely on a downward trajectory. And tomorrow the president can issue a directive to the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion and say, we're not going to let the pharmaceutical country industry buy off. The news can happen.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We're the only country other than New Zealand that allows us, it is

Casey Means: Absolutely unprecedented and it control controls our information. But it

Dr. Mark Hyman: Also actually influences doctors too, because the science shows really clearly that when a patient asks for a drug they see on TV 60% of the time they get that drug.

Casey Means: Well, of course, of course. Once you get someone on a chronic disease treadmill, again, not impuning any individual motivations, that's great for the system ozempic. They're literally, you couldn't create in a lab, a better economic model where somebody has to both take a injection for the rest of their lives. And that injection implicitly sets that patient that they don't need to eat healthy. It's perfect. They're inevitably going to keep coming back to the doctor's office again and again. They have to for prescriptions.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And by the way, the pharmaceutical approach to chronic disease can be useful sometimes, but it really isn't the solution. And people who are listening obviously know the focus of functional medicine and how much of a better root cause analysis that is an A system for getting to the real problems and fixing those problems are often without medication. So I think it is huge. I also think maybe we can't limit marketing to everybody for junk food, but we surely have eliminated television ads for cigarettes. We surely could eliminate ads for ultra processed food to children. And I think we're one of the few countries that also allows that. And I think in Chile, they had an incredible example of how they basically repeal that ability for food industry to market to children. There was no ads between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM on any media. They removed all the cartoon characters from all the cereal boxes, and they basically put warning labels on the food. And what they found was that the biggest impact was removing the ability of these companies to market to these kids and to hijack their brains. And I think whether it's free speech, first amendment thing, I think would be really clear. The data is so clear on how ultra processed foods are harming us and how it harms kids.

Dr. Mark Hyman: For every 10% of your diet, that's ultra processed food, your risk of death goes up by 14%. It's the number one killer globally on the planet. It causes depression, it causes obesity, it causes all hosts of chronic diseases. It disregulates our appetite. There's no lack of evidence. And I think if we could also, I would say add to that executive order, the restriction of food marketing to kids, it would be huge. I dunno if the president can do that, but I think, I dunno if that's a congressional thing, but

Casey Means: There's a potentially aggressive act the president can take. I would urge a president to get a aggressive lawyer. I think we do what we are in an emergency right now, and that is an executive agency. So I think we need strong leadership from the only politician in America who's responsible for everybody, which is the president. And I think that is a potential executive action.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We call this a national emergency. It

Casey Means: Is. Well, we are in a national emergency, and I think you want to be careful about abusing that power. But if there is one national emergency of our generation, it is that we are taking children and absolutely annihilating their metabolic health and microbiomes with these toxic foods. I mean, again, it's not a free speech issue.

Dr. Mark Hyman: When you say metabolic health, I would also add their mental health. The mental

Casey Means: Health. Well, the microbiome is highly tied to mental health. It's where serotonin is produced. Ozempic is now being investigated by the EU for causing a sharp increase in suicidal ideation. Why? Because it's got dysfunction. It's messing literally with your microbiome, with your gut, which produces 95% of your serotonin. The brain body connection, of course, these things are connected. So I don't think many people think we should be advertising cigarettes to kids. And as you made the point, you do a brain scan of a kid with highly processed food with sugar, it's a very similar dopamine response to nicotine, heroin, or cocaine. There's absolutely case law that it's okay to have some limitations on advertising highly addictive substances that are very harmful, that are causing millions of unnecessary deaths and early deaths to kids. That's clear. And we're one of the only countries in the world that allow this. Think

Dr. Mark Hyman: About it, think about it. We don't ads for narcotics on television for Oxycontin, and those are serious problems and they kill probably 70, 80,000 people a year. But there's more than 10 times that people that die every year in America from eating ultra processed food.

Casey Means: And Mark, I'm a libertarian and none of the policies we're going to talk about are calling for bans. I'm not even calling for taxes. I don't think Coke should be ceased to exist or banned. But there's a difference between accepting something and then subsidizing and recommending it to people. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: The government shouldn't be complicit in this problem. I

Casey Means: Actually think alcohol is kind of a model. I enjoy a glass of wine sometimes. I do not think government should be paying for that. And I don't think it should be necessarily recommended, and I don't think we should have a minimum allotment for children of it. Right, right. It's known as not a great thing to do all the time. That's how we need to look at sugar, particularly for kids. But

Dr. Mark Hyman: It would be like theme of the analogy would be like government subsidizing tobacco formula. A hundred percent.

Casey Means: Right? A hundred

Dr. Mark Hyman: Percent. Although I think they do actually.

Casey Means: Well, that actually gets to point number two on the list. So that actually gets to policy number two, which is we need to stop subsidizing bad things. And as you pointed out in food fix, we've actually, believe it or not, the US government subsidizes tobacco more than fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Mark Hyman: That's

Casey Means: Right. Some legacy programs for tobacco farmers, which is a very culturally important part of our country. So we fork over more government dollars to cigarettes, essentially to the cigarette industry than fruits and vegetables, which are considered specialty crops. When you add up, the way we subsidize ultra processed food, it adds up to hundreds of billions of dollars per year. First and foremost is our food stamp SNAP program. That's 120 billion program for the 15% lowest income Americans. 70% of that goes to ultra processed food. We're the only country in the world that really steers our low income nutrition assistance program to ultra processed food. That's not how it works in the Scandinavian countries. That's not how it works in France. Number two is school lunches. One of the top sources of childhood nutrition is federally subsidized school lunches. In France, you have bipartisan universal acceptance. It's one of the most important things in the country. Every daycare in the country has a chemical-free four course, very rigid and thoughtful meal for every single child in every daycare in France, it includes a cheese course. And here we have zero nutrition guidelines with federal subsidized school lunches. And Michelle Obama was on the right track here, and the food industry came down really hard on her. This should

Dr. Mark Hyman: No guidelines, but they're really good. Yeah.

Casey Means: Well, actually, my understanding is even on the federal school lunches, there's not a sugar limit.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh, not a sugar limit. No.

Casey Means: And there's literally, Lunchables now counts as a vegetable because they put a vegetable in there and Lunchables is expecting billions of dollars. So we subsidize through ag subsidies, through the school lunch, federal funding, through food stamps. We subsidize ultra processed food, hundreds of billions of dollars. So I'm not talking about any type of bands, but you wonder why you go to a store and a Coca-Cola is often cheaper than a bottle of water. It's because there's so many subsidized ingredients in there. It's true. And we can fix that very quickly. That's a congressional AG bill. The next president needs to make you the Ag Secretary and fix that. No, I

Dr. Mark Hyman: Dunno about that.

Casey Means: But there's some executive things that could be done quickly. The president can exert leadership and say, we're not going to subsidize this. We're not going to send 10 billion a year from the Federal Treasury to soda companies through snap. That's what we do right now.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's true. And I mean, all the hunger groups, again, are co-opted. So if you have these great hunger groups that are trying to prevent hunger in America, and yet they're funded and the board is made up primarily of food industry companies that are opposing any limitations on any of these foods. Now, I just want to tell you about a quick story that I think relates to this. I was in Kenya recently, and I went to one of the, well, I went to actually the worst slum in Africa, Kaar Islam. Over 250,000 people crammed in a tiny little area, living in Tin shacks, living on less than $3 a day with piles of garbage everywhere, sewage everywhere, no running water, barely electricity. They may be, they hijack electricity through kind of gravely dangerous wires. They're like, don't touch anything because you're going to get electrocuted as you're walking through.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And a friend of mine started school there called Little Lions, which is quite an amazing little school because he's from Kenya. And he basically saw this slum and he let me do something about it. These kids are hungry, they're not eating. He brought them in, he feeds 'em three meals a day. And I went there and they had this tiny little kitchen. They feed about 150 kids, and it's basically a, I don't even know how to describe it. It's sort of basically smaller than most people's bathroom. And they were making incredible, fresh, whole food for these kids. Stews and beans and rice and vegetables and fruit, real food. And I was like thinking to myself, these kids are eating better in the worst slum in the world probably than most kids in school in America. And these kids were thriving and healthy and alert and focused and not overweight.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And I was like, well, this is really, really remarkable. And I was just so depressed about it because I thought, God, we're killing our children. We're literally, literally destroying our human capital. The next generation of adults in this country are going to be sicker and die younger than their parents, and they're going to be costing society more. They're going to be suffering from atrocious amounts of chronic illness, including mental health issues, which are all connected to this. And I think we just somehow are asleep at the wheel on this. And it drives me crazy. We should be protecting our kids. A friend of mine, as a pediatrician said, if a foreign country was doing to our kids what we're doing to them, we would go to war to protect them. Yeah,

Casey Means: Yeah. Well, there was a story that's kind of funny on one level, but very sad. The migrants coming into the United States right now, the food industry has actually co-opted what the government services feed them. Obviously our jails, a lot of our government programs, and they're fed ultra processed food when they come in in the centers, which they're housed in, and they're coming from South American countries and they're rejecting the food. They're saying, this is poison. Literally migrantes coming into the country, the food that's being served by the government. And there was actually an uprising in a New York center where they're really like, this is poisoning our kids. We can't eat this food. We're literally underwriting with the subsidies. We're underwriting the destruction and not being hyperbolic here. It's the destruction of our country. If the US fails as an experiment, it'll be because we went bankrupt funding more and more health costs as we became sicker. And literally our bodies breaking down, becoming infertile and depressed.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Kind of reminds me of the Roman Empire. Part of the failure of the Roman Empire was because the pipes, the water pipes were all lead and they were all dying of lead poisoning. And so literally the fall of the American Empire in part is because of the loss of our human capital, our social capital, our natural capital, and our financial capital. And of course there are many reasons for it, but I think one of the biggest and most important reasons is our entire food, ag and pharma system and the medical industrial complex, the food industrial complex. These are real things that are driving us into the ground as a nation that are making us really fall as an empire. Not that we want to be an empire, but are standing in the road is going down. And it's, to me it, it's like watching tsunami come towards the beach and sitting on the beach and everybody's there getting a suntan and nobody's paying attention.

Casey Means: Well, I agree, and I think the only hope we have is people waking up. And again, it's not that complicated. Stop subsidizing. I mean, the next one I have on my list is it's subsidizing. We're recommending, and you've hit on this a lot, but we need to stop recommending alter processed food. Now, I want to make one point on this and how transformative this would be is that we have to understand Americans actually do listen to the medical system. I think we have to learn the fact you talk about this, why do we fall for these studies again and again and again? Why do we do things that are so antagonistic to our interest in what we're eating? I think it's because we actually listen to medical leaders. When the Surgeon General finally very late, said to stop smoking, smoking rates have plummeted. Philip Morris in the 1980s was the fourth largest company in the world.

Casey Means: It really declined actually. A lot of the scientists went to food companies. Now food companies are the largest companies in the world and have really, I think, filled the need in that addiction. But this is, a lot of this is because I think the government recommends things. The American diet transformed in the 1990s with the food pyramid. The carbs as a percentage of our calories went up, I think it was 20% in the next 10 years with vaccine recommendations. Most people take them for better or worse, we listen to medical leaders. And I think that one of the most transformative things for the country that could be done tomorrow is Michelle Obama made a good effort. But respectfully, I think it needs to be the president, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Treasury, because we're going bankrupt the head of top med schools, the head of the NIH.

Casey Means: We need to have every leader from multiple disciplines in this country stand up and say, we need to stop recommending toxic, bad inflammatory food to kids. Number one, let's just take one thing, sugar, I can't emphasize this enough. The USDA says that a 2-year-old can have up to 10% of their diet be added sugar. That is crazy. And I talk to a lot of people in the medical scientific nutrition community and they go, well, it's not realistic. It's not realistic to bring that down. Kids are going to eat sugar. They love sugar. It's not their job to make policy or lecture parents on what's realistic. It's the USDA's job to follow the science and make a recommendation. Then policymakers can do what they will with that recommendation. There is no reason that the SDA does not issue guidance that it is optimal for infants to not eat, added a sugar. That should be the guidance.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, there's no requirement, right? There's biological

Casey Means: Up to 10%.

Dr. Mark Hyman: There's a biological requirement for carbohydrates or sugar in the human body. It's not something we need. So why should we even say 10%? And I dunno if you're aware of this, but when Donald Rumsfeld was in the Bush, administration was called to support this sort of sugar policy stuff, he basically went to the WHO in Geneva and said, we're going to pull the 500 million or whatever, however much money they were funding the WHO, if they made their guidelines, which they wanted to make 5% or less, which is still too much in my book as a recommendation. But they basically, I mean the president sent one of his top missionaries I'd call up to the WHO to basically threaten them to not do this policy, which was to reduce the amount of sugar recommended in our foods. This is a

Casey Means: Key point. So you've shown a lot of light on the 2020 nutrition guideline committee. That's 95% of them have a conflict. You can't even make this up. But by my research on the 2025 panel that's coming up for the USDA guidelines, 25% of the currently announced panel has been directly paid by an OZEMPIC or weight loss drug company. Either Novo Nordics itself or companies that prescribe that drug. Why are a huge amount of people making our nutrition guidelines paid by an obesity drug and food companies? It makes no sense. So we've corrupted the internal system in America, but you make a very good point. The industries then lobby and we actually bully the rest of the world. This happens with food policies. It also happens with drug policies back with Nixon on the war on drugs. A little bit of a sidebar here where they banned psychedelics in 1971.

Casey Means: They actually made every other country in the world ban it at the same time. So 250 countries. We do this with drugs all the time. We actually force other countries if they want to do any type of research partnership to have a processed food guidelines and then a pharmaceutical first guidelines. So that's a very good point. We bully. We bully all of the other developed countries in the world. Now, I think, why does this matter? Would it matter if tomorrow medical leaders, no bands, no forcing anybody to do anything, but just said, we believe as a government, as scientific leaders that we should discourage added sugar for small children? I think that really does feed into psychology. You have this thing with birthday parties, with two year olds, with three year olds. I take my son to daycare, a good daycare that builds itself as a forward thinking progressive daycare.

Casey Means: They're giving one year olds candy. You walk in and it's just everywhere. The second medical leaders say, we should discourage sugar for kids. Then that makes everyone stigmatized to do it. The daycares would stop doing it. The birthday parties where everyone wants to follow the guidelines would stop doing it. It would actually have a huge ripple effect that would fall into school nutrition guidelines, to prison nutrition guidelines, to other nutrition guidelines. So just the simple act of recommending that probably kids should need added sugar would actually, I think save trillions of dollars and have a pronounced effect. And that is something that can be done tomorrow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, I think that's important. I think the support for those foods has to stop. I mean, I think and the marketing of the foods, the funding of those foods. But I think it's really an effort that has to come from grassroots. It has to come from educating policymakers because I think most members of Congress are trying to do the right thing. As I met with them, they're concerned, they care, they, they're managing a lot of different things. They want to do the right thing. And they're unfortunately often manipulated by fortunate that they don't even understand they're being manipulated by, and they're shocked when they actually find out the truth of what's going on and how important it is to actually address these. And they're, I think they're willing to do it. So I, I'm hopeful. I mean, I think as part of our Food Fix campaign, we worked to develop a report that looked at all of our food policies across the board and the government, how they impacted the health of the population as well as the economic impact.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And this was done by the kind of government watchdog that is in charge of these government Accountability office or the GAO. And this is basically an independent kind government organization that looks at all policies when asked by congressmen or senators and investigates them and looks at what they do or don't do and what their impact is. And basically, no one had ever done this. And I asked my friend Tim Ryan, who was a congressman from Ohio to actually help us get this report done and took a couple of years. They published a report in 2001 in July. And the report, I thought it was going to be bad, but there were over 21 different departments and agencies with over 200 policies, mostly working across purposes with each other, making us sicker and costing us more. For example, we say we should eat more fruits and vegetables and healthier food with the dietary guidelines, even though they're a little bit flawed.

Dr. Mark Hyman: They're basically directionally right. And at the same time, we're spending 75 billion a year on junk food through the SNAP or food stamp program. And so it's completely contradictory. And so as part of that effort, the recommendations in this report said that we should create an entity within the government to coordinate across agencies to look at chronic disease and look at nutrition and how it's all connected. And so as part of our lobbying effort and our food fix campaign, we worked with the appropriations committee in Congress and we got the bill passed both through the Senate and the House to establish this organization within the government to do this coordination and to look at all these policies. And we got about $2 million allocated initially for this fund to support them. And I met with the folks now who are in charge of that after that. And they're like, listen, we don't even have money.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Even though we're mandated, for example, to do a review of the literature for dietary guidelines, we don't have any money to do that. We have to go around with our TIN cup to all the other departments within HHS or USDA and beg for money to do the work. We don't have the capacity even do this work because none of it's funded, even though we're mandated to do it. And so we're helping them try to get funding for this. But it's just so sad that I go to these government offices with these people who are really trying to do the right thing and they're hamstringing because there's no support. And so there's $192 million to go to oppose one study to label the GMO. And while we can't even get a million dollars to support addressing this huge problem of chronic disease nutrition and policy that exists today in America, well, we keep

Casey Means: Going to the thing of hope. And I don't think that's a hollow talking point. Mark, obviously you and the food fixed campaign you've started has been at the forefront of this. And I asked you, or this year as I was meeting with members of Congress, what your advice was. And you said something I think profound, simple, but profound. You did, you did.

Casey Means: Well, it's a simple point, but it was essentially paraphrasing as I remember it, that members of Congress kind of care about their voters. They care about getting elected, and you've got to make it appeal to them and what they care about, which is good. We have a democracy. And another lesson I think that flows to that that I hear again and again from members too, is that the thing that can counteract money is grassroots support. And I think increasingly members of Congress are seeing their interests in pushing these policies. They have been bombarded by the money, by the corruption, by the fake studies, by the threats. I think more and more you're seeing people have the courage to be like, I'm okay if I get negative ads ran against me. I'm going to run against that because there's a distrust. I think rightfully of institutions, I think we're entering a very potentially unstable time, but a very consequential time in 2024 where whatever you think of candidates, I think we can all agree that we're in a situation right now where there's trust in institutions at near an all time low.

Casey Means: And I think that definitely falls for the health industry. And I think politicians on both sides are increasingly seeing political wins for them of going against the system. We had a bipartisan recently just this week, the presidents of major universities, Harvard and others, getting absolutely castigated in front of Congress, both sides. I mean, every institution is being questioned for better or worse. And I think more and more because of your work and because of many other foot soldiers behind you trying to chip away at this, I think people are seeing political benefit and having the courage to question the USDA and other health authorities not be badger, that they're not a doctor or not an expert. But actually I just ask common sense questions. So I think we are chipping away at this. I mean, another policy going to the schools is the conflicts of interest in government grants. Again, these policies are simple, but I think it would shock people to understand that by some measures. Pro publicly recently did a study, the majority of NIH grants, which generally, just to be clear, the IH is a grant making organization funding other academics, funding other researchers, and

Dr. Mark Hyman: Sometimes they do their own research. But yeah,

Casey Means: The majority of their funding is, and then they have people do their own research, which are often visitors from other institutions. So 8,000 grants recently had significant conflicts of interest. The majority of the grants in the period ProPublica studied. And then actually NIH research themselves researchers inside the NIH, there's not a conflict of interest policy. They're able to That's incredible. Have conflicts of interest to this day. That's incredible. Okay, so this is something where any American hears that and it's like, what the hell is going on? How can somebody, these are

Dr. Mark Hyman: Taxpayers dollars taxpayer. You want independent science, not corrupted science.

Casey Means: The NIH grants, it's a revolving door in medical organizations, just as a statement of fact between the NIH and then going to academia and then going to industry. So there's huge carrots of private industry funding, even if you're working at the NIH and of course the FDA, which is all revolving door, the FDA chairs going to the board of Pfizer, all that stuff. So we all know about that. So there's huge carrots. But yes, the actual research themself can take independent consulting monies with direct conflicts from the industries that they're studying, whether that be nutrition or pharmaceutical products. And the majority of NIH grants for pharmaceutical research and for nutrition, food research go to people with conflicts of interest.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And this is not hard to do. I mean in jama, in May 2nd, 2017, my friend Darius Ari and who's now stood up the Food as Medicine Institute at Tufts, wrote a paper basically analyzing this conflict of interest and was called conflict of interest in the role of the food industry and nutrition research. And he laid out a whole set of recommended actions. We're going to link to that paper in the show notes, but a whole set of really clear recommended actions that could create firewalls between industry funding and nutrition research. Doesn't mean they can't fund research, but there has to be firewalls. If someone gives money. You don't get to shape the research, you don't get to edit the paper, you don't get to hire the scientists who do the work. You don't get to determine whether it's published or not. And so there's really a really important way to do this. It's not that hard to do, but I think this is a very important point of removing conflicts of interest, removing conflicts of interest from all the industry funding, both in terms of nutrition research as well as pharma research.

Casey Means: Absolutely. I mean, as you know, a huge part of the research is figuring out what questions to ask. We're not asking what the root cause of the interrelated exploding metabolic conditions are. We're siloing everything. I mean, this is the key point that I learned from my sister Casey means is that a doctor graduating med school chooses one of 42 medical specialties. They devote their entire lives to really one part of the body. Casey, who was a head of neck surgeon doing sinusitis surgery, cutting out inflammation to sinuses, wasn't even asking why that patient also had diabetes, why that patient had elevated blood pressure we're that patient was going to other doctors with a separate treatment plan. So we're asking the wrong questions. We're not asking why people are getting sick. We're actually asking repeatedly, well, people are getting sick. How do we create a marginal drug to manage that? I think this distrust, quite frankly of academic institutions is well warranted. I think when you look at Harvard Med School, Stanford Med School and other elite institutions, they really are outsourced r and D labs for the pharmaceutical industry. And a lot of their funding is touching pharma. I mean, a huge impact on me, again with my sister who went to Stanford med school. Really? She didn't take one nutrition class? No, not a single nutrition

Dr. Mark Hyman: Class. Well, I did. I learned about Berry Gras, their ophthalm rickets, all these nutritional defic diseases. I didn't learn anything about how to create a healthy human. And my daughter's in medical now, and she's not learning anything either.

Casey Means: I think it's still 80%. Yeah. So

Dr. Mark Hyman: Kelly, this is so much more to talk about. I think one of the things that I think is important is that there are things that people are doing like where you, for example, are trying to empower people to take their health back in their own hands. And one of the things you've done is created a company called ed and full transparency, I'm an investor. I believe in this work so much. And essentially how much money is in the health savings accounts and the FSAs, how much was in their billions?

Casey Means: Oh, 150 billion,

Dr. Mark Hyman: 150 billion that Americans have of their money that's tax free that they can use to use for health related issues. And it's not just to buy more medication. It can be to buy supplements, to buy gym memberships, to get a yoga class, to get a massage, to do whatever they think they need. If they can get the right guidance from a physician and you create a system to do that, it's called Tru Me. I think people can check it out. How do they find more about that?

Casey Means: Trum And this came, mark, I got to give you some credit here, or a lot of credit. We read Food Fix and we asked, how can we take this problem, the problems that we talked about, and actually drive to solutions 150 billion in H-S-A-F-S-A accounts, 80% of American people have access to them. You ask anyone about them. It's for when people get sick. That's how we think about it. If you have a doctor's note for these items, for food, for supplements, for exercise, you can use that money to stay healthy. We're integrating with your store, the Dr. Hyman supplement store with Daily Harvest with Inside Tracker Athletic Greens, a lot of prominent companies, right in the payment flow. You'll see us and you can in three minutes get asynchronous doctor's note. Yeah,

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's PayPal, apple Pay or trum me

Casey Means: And we're having a large increasing list of prominent health and wellness companies. And in three minutes we can, if you qualify for this, if you're working to prevent a reverse, a condition that the product can help with, we can issue that note in the payment flow and you can save up to 40%. You save your entire tax rate. And our goal, the HS A is an incredible policy. There could be actually over a trillion dollars in HSA if people max out their contributions. So

Dr. Mark Hyman: People aren't even using it. It could be not a hundred billion. It's super under

Casey Means: Optimized and something I'm lobbying for as well. And I think a lot, there's a lot of appetite for, so we should have Universal HSAs unlimited caps. Imagine having a fund of tax-free money that you could actually use on exercise use on your supplements used on groceries, on healthy

Dr. Mark Hyman: Food. By way, it would mean the government has to pay less money to take care of people through Medicare and Medicaid.

Casey Means: It'd be the best thing we could possibly do

Dr. Mark Hyman: For, so it's a tax kind of cut or incentive basically. Right? You basically incentivize people to have a deduction like their IRA, like their retirement account instead of it's a health account. And you can use that to uplevel your health and save money down the road for yourself and for the government.

Casey Means: The greatest thing we can do for our budget and our human capital is steer more money to healthy foods, steer more money to core supplements, steer more money to movement and exercise. Again, you can do that right now. The caps just went up. It's close to $10,000 for a family. You can put into your HSA and tru We are partners to help anyone with an H-S-A-F-S-A steer that money to the Dr. Hyman supplement store and other great root cause solutions. Yeah,

Dr. Mark Hyman: So it's so great what you're doing and also your sister, and you've written a book, Casey and Callie. I always sometimes kind screw that up. You got it right. But Casey has also been on the podcast and she started Levels, which is looking at how we look at our metabolism through continuous glucose monitoring. And you've written a book called Good Energy, the Surprising Connection Between Metabolism and Limitless Health coming out in March, I mean May of 2024, and I think a very important book. You do create the link between what we're eating and all these problems we're seeing from depression, anxiety, infertility, insomnia, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, Alzheimer's, depression, cancer, and so many things that people are suffering from that we actually have to control over and could transform our health if we learned how to just work with our bodies and take back our health from the food industry, from the ag industry, from the pharma industry, and essentially create a system that actually allows us to navigate our own health in a very different way.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I think I actually helped co-author a bill, which didn't pass, unfortunately. It was called The Take Back Your Health Act of 2009. And essentially it was really about providing funding and reimbursement for people to do lifestyle change programs that would help transform their health. And so essentially what you're doing in your work with Tru Med and with this book, good Energy, which I encourage everybody to pre-order now, is that you're empowering people to take back their health. And that's a really profound and important work to do. And I'm just so honored to know you, Kelly, and I'm so honored that you're actually taking on this work. You have a company to run. You have the stuff you're doing. Most of this work you're doing around educating people and advocating and being an activist around trying to improve the food system is totally altruistic. You're just doing this from the bottom of the goodness of your heart. And the truth is, you're not part of some big lobby group. You're just one guy. And I feel the same way. I've just sort of started this myself. I couldn't stand it anymore and had to do something.

Casey Means: Well, mark, you had a huge impact on this. My sister's my big inspiration, and she, after 10 years of training at Stanford Med School and Surgical Residency, started reading your books and abruptly quit the

Dr. Mark Hyman: System. Oh boy.

Casey Means: So you're responsible for that. And I was a supporter of the system, and she radicalized me, helped me put the pieces together from my experience. That's amazing. Working for the food and farm industry. I read Food Fix and asked, how can we institute these things? As you know, our mom, which is a formative experience for us, abruptly died of a metabolic condition in 2021 of pancreatic cancer. And the doctor at Stanford Hospital said that that pancreatic cancer was unlucky. It wasn't unlucky. She was on six medications. She had a lot of metabolic conditions that she was given a drug for. Instead of being told the underlying cause, instead of being a warning sign, the prediabetes and the statin she was on and the high blood pressure that led to her cancer, it was not unlucky. And shortly after my mom's death, my sister and I said, how can we devote our lives to having that not happen? It's happening millions of times. People are missing the warning signs, they're missing the interconnectedness. In the past couple of years, we really tried to put those ideas in this book. It's a systemic breakdown that we're talking about, but also Casey's the best in the business at real empowering solutions. So I want to thank you for truly more than anyone inspiring us on this journey. And we're foot soldiers in your fight here, mark.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, thanks Kelly. And I've never done this on my podcast and I don't usually solicit for anything for what I'm doing, but I want people to be aware that I did create a nonprofit called the Food Fix Campaign. It's a 5 0 1 C3 and also a 5 0 1 c four for lobbying. You can go to food to learn more about what we're doing to watch the videos we've created to help educate about how we transform our health by fixing our broken food system from the field of fork by addressing food as medicine and regenerative agriculture and all the policies we've talked about. We have a beautiful team in Washington that's insiders. We are in the game and we're in the center of the conversation and making significant advances. But like any organization, we're not funded by big industry. Nobody wants us to be doing this from the industrial complex of food and medicine, but we're doing it.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And if you're inspired and you want to donate, feel free to donate, whether it's $5, $50, $5,000, we'll take whatever you got and it makes a difference. We use the money directly to advance these policies, and we're in the center of the conversation. I'm working with the head of the Ways and Means Committee on Health, which oversees all of Medicare. We're working with centers and congressmen who are advocating for medically tailored meal bills. We're looking at changing nutrition education and medical schools. We're really moving the road, the fall down the field in a meaningful way. So we want to learn more about it. Go to food We'd love you to support our efforts and to learn more about it. It's not going to happen without all of us under a grassroots efforts.

Casey Means: I've seen it firsthand, the Impact Food Fix is having, and they are. You are. And Food Fix is leading the charge on this, and it's one of the best organizations you could possibly support on the top-Down solutions.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Thanks. And by the way, I'm doing this all volunteer, so I get none of that money.

Casey Means: No, it's an amazing organization.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, so thanks everybody listening. Thanks Calley for the work you're doing. Thanks for Truemed, thanks for your book. Good Energy. Thanks for being a terrorist advocate and voice out there shedding light on this national emergency I think we're facing around food and health and disease, and we didn't even touch on the environmental climate impacts, but all that's included in this too. Thanks for what you're doing and we'll keep in touch and update you all on how things are going with effort. But I think we are in a crisis, both a physical health crisis and mental health crisis, and a lot of it ties back to our food and food system and the need to fix it. Thank you, mark. If you love this podcast, please share it with your friends and family. Leave a comment on your own best practices on how you upgrade your health and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And follow me on all social media channels at Dr. Mark Hyman and we'll see you next time on The Doctor's Farmacy.

Dr. Mark Hyman: This podcast is separate from my clinical practice at the Wellness Center, my work at Cleveland Clinic and Function Health, where I'm the Chief Medical Officer. This podcast represents my opinions and my guest opinions. Neither myself nor the podcast endorses the views or statements of my guests. This podcast is for educational purposes only. It's 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. Now, if you're looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit and search their find a practitioner database. It's important that you have someone in your corner who is trained, who's a licensed healthcare practitioner, and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.