mark hyman chris k

Fixing Our Broken Food System – Dr. Mark Hyman on Revolution Health Radio, Hosted By Chris Kresser

Check out the Revolution Health Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Studies suggest that three-quarters of all deaths are caused by ultra-processed foods
  • Ultra-processed foods—which drive obesity, heart disease, and diabetes— account for, on average, 60% of our caloric intake
  • Junk food (75%) and soda (10%) make up the majority of calories purchased through governmental support programs
  • Misinformation is rampant—many people try to eat healthy, but don’t know how
  • “The UN says we have 60 harvests left. Because of the way we farm, we’re basically running out of soil because we’re turning it into dirt, which can’t grow.” Dr. Mark Hyman
  • The pesticides our food system utilizes have been linked to cancer, type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and developmental disorders

Books Mentioned

  • Food Fix, Mark’s latest book is
    • Chris calls it “one of the most important books of the century”
  • Brain Wash by David Perlmutter explains how the food we eat drives behavioral issues and emotional conflict

Intro

What’s wrong with our food system?

  • Our food system is the number one driver of global problems on every level:
    • Climate change
    • Environmental degradation
    • Loss of soil, water resources, and biodiversity
    • Social injustice
    • Poverty, violence, and mental health issues
    • Poor academic performance
    • National security
  • Every time we put something into our mouth, we’re making a vote on global issues
  • One study covering 195 countries recently found that the combination of a lack of good foods and too many bad foods kills over 11 million people a year
  • Studies suggest that three-quarters of all deaths are caused by ultra-processed foods
  • Ultra-processed foods—which drive obesity, heart disease, and diabetes— account for, on average, 60% of our calories (e.g., corn, wheat, soy, etc.)
    • For every additional 10% of your diet that comes from processed food, your risk of death goes up by 14%
  • Many of the foods we eat are nutrient-depleted and toxic to our microbiome & brain chemistry

How Our Food System adversely Impacts Children

  • Poor nutrition affects academic performance—many kids with poor diets struggle with ADD (and other behavioral issues)
  • Some stats:
    • ~1/10 kids have ADD
    • 40% of kids are overweight
    • 1/4 teenagers have either type 2 diabetes or prediabetes
  • Poor food choices lead to divisive behavior and poor decisions (and not only among kids)
    • In one experiment in which prisoners were given a healthy diet, violent crime was reduced by 56% (if a multivitamin was added, violence was reduced by 80%)

Government Regulation Can Help

  • Fiscal policy can drive change (i.e., soda taxes)
    • In Mexico, for instance, soda taxes led to plunging soft drink sales while water consumption increased
  • Marketing can play an even bigger role in adjusting food behavior
    • (It’s estimated that processed food consumption dropped by 4x when advertising was eliminated)

Examining Underserved Populations

  • Junk food (75%) and soda (10%) make up the majority of calories purchased through governmental support programs
  • The U.S. food stamp program serves ~46 million Americans, a quarter of which are children
    • Coca-Cola is the largest welfare recipient (20% of their American revenue comes from food stamps)
  • Misinformation is rampant—some people are trying to eat well, but don’t know how
    • For instance, Cool Whip is perceived as a “healthy topping” because it has zero trans fats
    • Or, take salad dressings, which are full of refined oils—they’re thought to be healthy just because they’re added salad

Our Industrial Food System Causes Severe Damage to the Planet

  • The food industry is the number one driver of climate change, driven by:
    • Deforestation
    • Soil erosion
    • Factory farming
    • Food waste
    • Transport
    • Refrigeration
    • Processing
    • Food packaging
  • The advent of regenerative agriculture has helped build soil, conserve water, and use less chemicals—it yields more/better food and more profit for farmers, all the while building soil, reversing climate change, and creating resilience to weather extremes
    • An independent analysis by Quantis International found that regenerative agriculture is actually a net carbon sink and is a more environmentally responsible way of feeding people than fake meat
    • With regenerative agriculture, artificial fertilizer isn’t necessary (animals & plants make it)
  • “The UN says we have 60 harvests left. Because of the way we farm, we’re basically running out of soil because we’re turning it into dirt, which can’t grow.” – Dr. Mark Hyman

The Health Risks of Pesticides

  • Our food system utilizes many chemicals (pesticides), which leach into the ground, contaminate water, and taint the food supply
  • The health risks of pesticides:
    • Farmers have a 70% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than the average population
    • Pesticides have been linked to cancer, type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and developmental disorders
  • Glyphosate, a type of pesticide, is the most abundant chemical used in agriculture
    • It’s been banned in many countries (but not in the U.S.)
    • There are quite a few lawsuits claiming it’s linked to cancer and that it damages the microbiome

Additional Notes

  • “In the last few weeks, Cheerios was outed for having more glyphosate than vitamin A or vitamin B. They announced that they’re going to phase out all glyphosate from their products by 2025, which is fantastic, which means it’s going to change the supply chain; it’s going to change how farming is done.” – Dr. Mark Hyman
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Notes By EWerbitsky

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