Jonathan: Hey, everyone, Jonathan Bailor here, and I am even more excited than I usually am. We have a gentleman whose work I have followed personally for many, many years, a man who is out there in the mainstream helping, literally, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, live better, illustrating just how much deeper, ultra long-term wellness is, than counting calories and how we can dig so much deeper, but still keep things simple. He is the author of myriad number one New York Times bestselling books, including The Blood Sugar Solution, Ultra Metabolism, The Ultra Mind Solution, The Ultra Simple Diet. He is also the co-author of Ultra Prevention. I am ultra-excited to welcome Dr. Mark Hyman to the show. Hey, Dr. Mark – how’s it going?
Mark: I’m great, thanks Jonathan. Thanks for having me.
Jonathan: Dr. Hyman, it is an absolute pleasure to have you here. Before we dig into all things medical and deeper than calories, can we take a step back? You are an MD, you are a practicing physician. How did you make the transition from the normal everyday physician to the superman sort of physician that you have become today?
Mark: Do you mean, how did I get into the ideas that I am working with now, or how did I get to have best-selling books?
Jonathan: A little bit of both, right? Because you are still a practicing physician. How do you fit it all in?
Mark: Hard work, basically. I think I started out predisposed to these ideas. I actually was very interested in integrated medicine before it was called integrated medicine. Nutrition, I studied in college. I studied yoga. I was very interested in the role of nutrition and health. In fact, in medical school I was sort of an outcast and a pioneer thinking about these ideas. In college I read a book called Nutrition Against Disease, which was a very profound book by Roger Williams, the father of biochemical individuality, one of the fathers of functional medicine.
That book really woke me up to the possibility of using food as medicine. That was just in my consciousness. Then I went through medical school and I got brainwashed and I basically realized that after a while doing this, giving prescriptions to patients to deal with symptoms wasn’t the solution, hat we needed to get to the root cause. And the root cause was usually what they were eating or their lifestyle. And that’s was functional medicine is. It is a way of dealing with the causes, not just the symptoms. Medicine by cause, not by symptom. It is a very profound way of thinking about how to create health. It is really the science of creating health.
That’s what I do every day in my practice. I have an Ultra Wellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, and we work with thousands of patients. We help them regain their health from complex issues that really no one else can figure out because they’re not thinking the right way. It’s really a thinking problem and when you use the road map, the architecture, of functional medicine, you begin to look through a different set of lenses, and you begin to see patterns, and how things connect, and how everything relates to everything else. Using that information you can help someone create health. Food is just a natural part of that. In fact, it’s the most powerful drug that I have. I use other treatments, but food is far and away the most powerful drug on the planet.
Jonathan: Food seems like it is so much more than just calories, Dr. Hyman. Why is it still controversial in the mainstream Western medical community that things that we put into our body other than prescriptions can have a pharmacological effect?
Mark: I’ve written a lot of books. My first book talking about this was Ultra Metabolism about eight or nine years ago, in which I brought up the idea that all calories are not the same, that, really, the calorie myth, the thing that you talk about, is really what is keeping us back, which is the idea that it is all about energy balance – calories in, calories out. Food is just energy, and if you focused on that, you would be successful losing weight. Well, it’s not really working. Exercise more, eat less just doesn’t work.
The question is, what’s really going on here? Food is not just calories. It is information. That’s a big headline: “Food is not just calories, it’s not just energy – it’s information.” What do I mean by that? Well, information gives instructions to your body. It is like a software coating your body, telling it what to do. It is messages sent directly to your DNA with every single bite. It’s not just proteins, fats and carbs. It’s not just fiber. It’s not just vitamins and minerals. There are also other components, phytonutrients and phytochemicals from foods that we don’t think are essential, but are actually regulating all sorts of biochemical processes, regulating inflammation and detoxification and immune function.
We have, also, RNA. Plant RNA is now being absorbed, but we realize it is being absorbed into our bodies and regulating our own genes. Plant genetic material is talking to our genetic material, telling it what to do. Also, protein, fats and carbs are not all created equal, so we have different qualities of the food. Protein from a feedlot cow is very different from a wild elk in terms of its composition, in terms of the fatty acids that are in there, in terms of the effect on your immune system, in terms of the effect on your metabolism. It’s really important to understand these very fine differences between these different foods. We begin to realize that food is actually medicine.
When you go to the grocery store you should be thinking about it as your “farmacy,” right? We need to be thinking of pharmacology in a different way, which is “farmacology.” Farmacology is really the idea that what we grow in our plants is really the medicine that we should be using. And it is not like a drug, it actually is a drug. In fact, it regulates your gene function, it regulates your enzymes, your biochemistry, in very direct and specific ways that are very well mapped out. I think that is what people just don’t get, that what they put on their fork, at the end of the day, is really the most important thing they can do, not only for their health, but for the health of the planet and the environment, as well.
Jonathan: Dr. Hyman, with all of the patients you see, I can imagine that you may once in a while get someone who comes in and says, “But Mark, come on. Wasn’t there that professor that ate 1400 calories of Twinkies and Ding-Dongs every day and lost weight? Why can’t I just do that?”
Mark: Well, you could. You could actually do that, and you might lose weight. If you restrict calories enough you will lose weight. But, how will your health be? Weight loss is not the same as health creation. In fact, the thing that I focus on with patients is, I never tell patients to lose weight. I never say, “You need to lose 30 pounds,” or “You need to be on a diet and lose weight.” Never. What I teach them is how their body works and how to create health, and when you create health, weight loss happens automatically. You don’t have to make people lose weight. You just teach them how to eat in a way that nourishes their body. And we know that processed drinks that people use like Slimfast, or eating Twinkies, or the Subway diet, those can help people lose weight, but that doesn’t mean you’re healthy. So we have to not conflate the idea of weight loss and health, and we need to teach people that the information they put in their bodies is really the main determinate of the quality of their health, the quality of their lives.
Jonathan: It sounds like, Dr. Hyman, there is a critical distinction between weight loss and health. Have you also seen a big distinction between weight loss and long-term slimness? It seems like we’ve all lost weight, that’s not really the issue. The issue is keeping it off and then enjoying our lives throughout the process.
Mark: Right. Last night I had a group of people over for dinner, one of whom was a friend, who is also a patient, and I have her on a diet that is a healthy diet. And people think it’s about deprivation, it’s about not having good quality food, and it’s about going on and off a diet. It’s eating in a way that sustains you. We made roasted chickens, they were organic chickens, and I had an incredible salad I got from a farmer’s market with lettuce, spinach and fresh-shaved beets, carrots and fennel. We had roasted sweet potatoes. It was a completely nutrient dense diet. And I had roasted vegetables. I roasted peppers and Brussels sprouts and cauliflower that I roasted in the oven with a little olive oil. Just really amazing food.
And it was not a deprivation diet. It was something that was incredibly delicious. Someone said, “This is the best chicken I’ve ever had, this the best meal I’ve ever had.” That’s what we should be saying every day, not, “Oh, this is a job.” It’s eating medicine, but it doesn’t taste like medicine, it tastes like a delicious, nourishing meal. That’s the difference. People don’t have to go on a diet and go off a diet. If you want to lose weight and you go on a diet to lose weight, that’s a bad idea. You want to eat in a way that your body was designed to eat, and then it will automatically lose weight and create health.
Jonathan: When you say automatically lose weight and create health, this is a message that really resonates with me and the research I’ve done, and can you explain a little bit about the underlying biochemistry? Let’s geek out a little bit here, doctor, on how it is that when we nourish our body properly it will automatically pursue a healthy weight, as it might not automatically by pursuing an unhealthy diet.
Mark: Sure. Let’s just take a few examples. Let’s break it down to protein, fat and carbs, because people understand that. When you eat protein, are all proteins created equal? Yes or no? Well, the answer is no. In fact, if you eat a feedlot beef cow, it’s full of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, it has a different fatty acid composition, and it creates an increase in inflammatory molecules called cytokines, like CRP and others, TNF-alpha, IL-1, all of which are promoting disease and aging, and cause you to gain weight. Whereas, if you eat a grass-fed or wild animal, you will have 500% less bad fats in there. It will produce anti-inflammatory molecules in your body. It will help improve your metabolism. So the quality is really important. Fats – the same thing, gram for gram, if you eat trans-fat versus omega 3 fats. Trans-fats are manmade fats which are made by taking a vegetable oil, injecting hydrogen and making it solid at room temperature, margarine or shortening, basically. It can actually bind to receptors in your cells called PPAR, which are little receptors on the nucleus of your cells. Is this too geeky?
Jonathan: No, woo-hoo! I love it. Keep going.
Mark: There are little receptors on your cells called PPAR, and these regulate insulin, the regulate inflammation, they regulate your metabolism. When you eat trans-fat or shortening, let’s say Cool Whip or a Twinkie, you are binding these fats to these receptors, and what that does is, one, it creates inflammation; two, it slows your metabolism. We call it oxidative phosphorylation, which is how you process food in your mitochondria, so you basically slow your metabolism, and it makes you more insulin-resistant, so you become diabetic.
For example, omega 3 fats, which our bodies were designed to eat, if you eat that it binds to the same spot in your cells, the nucleus, but has the exact opposite effect, so it improves you metabolism, speeds it up. It improves insulin sensitivity, so it prevents diabetes. And it reduces inflammation, and it does that through regulating your gene expression. When you eat one fat, it turns on bad genes, when you eat another fat it turns on good genes, even though it is the same gram for gram fat, the same calories. The same thing with carbohydrates. If you take carbohydrates from broccoli, or you take carbohydrates from soda, they are both carbohydrates, but not all carbohydrates are the same. Soda will be all high-fructose corn syrup or sugar, and it will cause lipogenesis which is this fat factor that creates a fatty liver. It increases insulin resistance, increases inflammation, it messes up your hormones. In men it lowers testosterone, in women it increases testosterone. It leads to a whole cascade of events that leads to heart disease and diabetes and cancer.
Whereas, if you have the same number of grams of carbohydrate from, let’s say, broccoli, it’s full of fiber, full of phytochemicals like sulforophane and glucosinulates. It’s full of folate, magnesium, and other vitamins, all of which optimize your metabolism, none of which raise your blood sugar, none of which create insulin production, none of which make your cholesterol abnormal, which the sugar from carbohydrate or from soda will do. Even though it is exactly the same calories, totally different biological effect.
Jonathan: This calorie myth really seems like it is missing the point, in the sense that what you just said, if I am understanding correctly, is that you could consume the exact same number of calories and have a wholly different metabolic response that has nothing to do with that number of calories at all, like it is completely irrelevant. It is everything other than the calories.
Mark: Totally. That’s right. In fact, it’s even more than that. There are information molecules in food, but if you take the same protein grams, same fat grams, same carb grams, and different qualities of those will have different effects. But if you juggle around the protein, fat and carbs, and have the same calories, it can have a very different effect. For example, one study by my friend, Dr. David Ludwig from Harvard, found that if you put patients on a high fat, high protein, lower carb diet, a low glycemic diet, with the same calories, you can take another group, put them on a higher carb, lower protein, lower fat diet, and the group that was on the higher carb, higher glycemic diet, the one that raises blood sugar more, even though it was exactly the same calories, burned 300 less calories a day. That is like running an hour a day. If you run an hour a day, that’s the difference between 300 calories. One diet will speed up your metabolism, another diet will slow down your metabolism, even on the same calories. This has really broad implications for your health. That make sense?
Jonathan: Absolutely. These isocaloric studies have gone on for decades, Dr. Hyman, they blow my mind, and people still seem to be surprised by them. What is not getting communicated? I admire the time you spend in the mainstream media trying to communicate this message, but Coca-Cola still puts out billboards that say, “It’s just 140 calories. Why is everyone freaking out?” How do we get this message across?
Mark: I love what the food industry did. They co-opted Michelle Obama when she came out with the “Let’s Move” campaign, and they said, “We’re going to partner with you. We’re going to take a trillion-and-a-half calories out of the food supply. How great is that?” And you know what they did? They made Oreo cookies 90 calories instead of 100 calories. They made Twinkies 120 calories instead of 130 calories. It’s still Twinkies, it’s still Oreos, it’s still bad information. We really are stuck on this whole idea of calories, and I love the fact that that you created this book, The Calorie Myth, because it speaks to this whole idea. I’ve written a lot about it in my books, but it really needs to get out there more, and I appreciate the work you’ve done to synthesize the data. And it’s real, and we’re totally confused. The real issue here is that the government, the media, and most physicians and nutritionists still believe in calories, almost every major agency, like the American Heart Association, the American Diabetic Association, and the American Dietetic Association. All of them still believe in the calorie myth. Until we really shift our policies, until we shift our recommendations, we’re not going to really get much change in our obesity epidemic.
Jonathan: It seems like there is another insidious myth that is a close brother or sister to the calorie myth, and maybe it’s not a myth. Let’s see what you think. It’s this myth of moderation. When we talk about calories sometimes people say, “Well, it’s just 140 calories, or just a little bit.” But when you say that it’s not like a drug, it is a drug, we don’t say smoke in moderation, we say don’t smoke.
Mark: Right. I think there are two issues here. One is, you have to eat, but it’s the way you eat. And two is, do the calories really matter, and why should we focus on calories? And what about a different way of thinking about things? I really never focus on calories with patients. I think it’s a bad idea. Plus, who can count calories? I’m a trained physician, a nutritionist, and studied nutrition for decades, and I have no idea. You could use a calorie book and a counter, but only if you like to weigh and measure everything. Who is going to do that? It’s insane. You have to have a different methodology that works for people, and that makes sense. Counting calories doesn’t make sense, even if we were able to do it, which we aren’t.
I did a show on the Today Show, which was 100 calories of blueberries or 100 calories of Oreos, because they have these 100-calorie packs of food, and we think, “Oh, that’s only 100 calories, it’s no problem.” But it has a totally different effect on your body. The net calories are different. And it’s even more complicated than that, because the calories that you eat affect the gut flora that you have. You have this entire universe of gut bacteria called the gut microbiome, which actually uses the food that you eat and transforms it, and then regulates your metabolism through its own metabolic activity, so your gut bacteria affect or control your metabolism. What controls your gut bacteria is what you eat, so if you eat blueberries versus Oreos, very different effect on your gut flora, very different effect on your metabolism.
Our biology is a complex web that has enormous impact on our health, and it can directly interact with our environment all the time, with what we are eating, what we are thinking, what we are feeling, toxins, so we have to understand the complexity of this. For example, even toxins have a role. We talked about calories, but if your body is toxic, you can’t necessarily even metabolize your calories. They’ve injected toxins into rats. I’m sorry, all you animal lovers out there, but sometimes science uses animals, and I didn’t do the research, I’m just reporting on it. The rats were injected with toxins and they were eating the same calories, and they were gaining weight, even though they ate the same calories, because the toxins poisoned their metabolism.
We need to get away from counting calories, we need to get away from this idea of it all being about the calories, and I think the whole idea of moderation, as you said, is really interesting. I like to eat. If you tell me to restrict my eating, I’m not going to do it, because I love to eat, okay? I’m just not going to do it. So, I’m going to eat foods that I can eat a lot of. Last night we had an enormous salad. I must have had three plates of salad, which was spinach and a great kind of lettuce, it was some kind of funky lettuce from the farmer’s market, grated beets, grated carrots, and fennel. Oh my god, it was so good, and I just ate three plates of that.
So, for that, I eat unlimited refills, so if I want a large volume of food, I get to eat it, because I like it, but I wouldn’t do that for other parts of my diet. I might have a sweet potato, but I wouldn’t have ten sweet potatoes. I might have a half a sweet potato. But there are areas of my plate that are up for unlimited refill. And those are the areas that I put all the nonstarchy vegetables, the things that are very low glycemic, very nutrient dense, relatively low-calorie, so you can have large volumes and be completely fine. If you wanted to have 750 calories you could have a piece of cheesecake and that is 750 calories. Or, you could have 21 cups of broccoli. Good luck, if you could eat it, 21 cups of broccoli is a lot of broccoli. But the point is, you can just eat as much of that stuff as you want. And there is a lot of benefit to it, because it provides all the nutrient dense compounds you need.
Jonathan: You mentioned the term, metabolism, and regulating your metabolism, and that really seems at the heart of this issue, and I don’t want to take this too far, but that we consciously need to regulate our metabolism by counting and doing math when we eat and then monitoring what the treadmill says – and this isn’t mushy, this is as scientific as it gets – versus tapping into this internal balance system that already regulates our metabolism, when our gut flora are working with our hormones, working with our hypothalamus. Why do people think our body is broken, innately, versus understanding the wisdom that is within it?
Mark: It’s so true. We have to recognize that if you eat in the way we are designed to eat, and you just eat real food, your body knows what to do. It’s way smarter than any of us. Hormones shift into balance, your gut flora balance, your immune system balances, your mitochondria start working better, and everything kind of happens. Really, for me, it’s about balance, and abundance, and joy, and energy, and that’s what I want to feel, that’s what I want to give my patients. And the best way that I have found to do that is by just picking quality food. Real food. What should we be eating? Fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans, some lean animal protein, or just good quality animal protein. It doesn’t even have to be lean if it has good quality fats. Very limited amounts of whole grains, limited amounts of starchy vegetables.
And then, really, pretty much no processed food. Just zero. Do I eat processed food? Yes, I’ll have a piece of dark chocolate. That’s processed. Will I eat natural ketchup? Yes, I’ll have that sometimes. I’ll eat some things that are minimally processed, but basically, if you can give the product to someone in fifth grade and they can’t read the label, then you shouldn’t eat it. If they can’t pronounce the ingredients, and they don’t understand what is on the label, then you shouldn’t eat it. And by the way, most of us who have had multiple college degrees can’t read most food labels on processed foods and actually tell you what it is. That’s not really food. That is a factory made science project and we should not be eating it.
Jonathan: Speaking of factory made science projects, what do you say to patients when they say this? “I’m going to eat this ding-dong, and then I’m going to jog for a half hour to cancel it out.”
Mark: Well, now, that’s a good idea. Did you know that you have to run 4½ miles to burn up one soda? That you have to run 4 miles every day for a week to burn up one super-sized meal? That’s every single day for a week to burn off one meal. If you ate that every day, you’d have to run a marathon every day. If you want to run a marathon every day, fine, eat whatever you want. Even then, I think you aren’t getting the right information. I think the whole idea that you get to have a workout, a treat, you work out, you get to have a drink, and these are just bad ideas. Unless you are Kobe Bryant running around the court for 48 minutes flat out, you don’t get Gatorade. And even then, there are all kinds of issues with it.
I think we have to forget about counting calories, forget about calories when we exercise. We need to figure out what kind of exercise we need to do. What is the quality of exercise? What is the quality of food? And then forget about it, and your body will figure it out. You don’t have to get into all this kind of technical mumbo-jumbo. We didn’t do that for centuries, we still don’t need to do it. If we focus on what’s true, what’s real and essential, the rest all works out.
Jonathan: Dr. Hyman, what can we expect? Let’s say we are one of these individuals, I’ve seen this in my own life and the lives of my loved ones, where maybe we are really active and we can get away with eating some of these foods which spike our blood sugar and infuse us with these toxins. That gets back to your earlier point about, sure, you can be skinny, and sick, can’t you?
Mark: Yes. What’s really frightening is that about 70% of Americans are overweight, and that means about 30% are thin. Of those who are thin, a quarter of them are what we call skinny fat. They look thin on the outside, but they’re fat on the inside. They are sick on the inside and look okay on the outside. How is that? Because the information they are putting in their body is creating changes that lead to obesity. It’s not obesity that you can see, but it’s the same metabolic, biochemical picture as if you were fat, because you lose muscle, you gain fat, you change your hormones, you increase inflammation. All that happens as a result of eating the wrong things.
In fact, in a study of children they have found that there was almost 1 out of 4 kids that had pre-diabetes, or type 2 diabetes, in adolescence. But what was even more frightening, there was about 37% of the skinny kids that had either pre-diabetes or some other biochemical abnormality. They were hypertensive, they had high cholesterol, high blood sugar, abnormal lipids, and they were thin. So think about it, almost 40% of thin kids are metabolically obese. What are the implications for that in terms of heart disease, diabetes, and all the rest of the things we see as people age?
Jonathan: Dr. Hyman, that really breaks my heart, and is one of the things that gets me up in the morning. If you go into a school cafeteria and you look around, it’s not like there is a group of kids who are eating kale and wild caught salmon, and they are the thin kids, and then there is a group of kids that have Cheetos and Pepsi, and they are the overweight kids. All the kids are eating basically the same garbage in most schools, and some are skinny and some aren’t. What’s going on there?
Mark: Well, I think we are all genetically quite different. Some of us are more likely to gain weight than others. Others just get skinny fat, which is skinny on the outside and fat on the inside. Some people have very resilient metabolisms and can tolerate a wider range of stresses. But eventually it catches up with you. Eubie Blake lived to 100 years old and he said, “If I knew I was going to live so long, I wouldn’t have smoked, and I wouldn’t have drank so much.” There are people who just win the lottery, and that’s true, but for most of us it’s just not true.
Jonathan: It seems to be a bit of a moralistic view many in our culture have on obesity, and you’ve probably seen this in your clinic, where an obese person will come in and say, “I swear to you doctor, I’m not eating more than my peers. I stop when I’m full. I don’t know what else to do.” And the media just tells these people they are weak and should try harder. What do you say to them?
Mark: It is interesting. The social stigma on obesity is huge. They’ve done studies on this where they’ve asked kids, would you rather be in a wheelchair or be fat? And they would rather be in a wheelchair and be disabled than be fat, because of the level of stigma. Part of it is because we really blame the fat person in this country. When someone is in a wheelchair we don’t them for being in a wheelchair, but if someone is fat, “It’s your fault. You’re just a fat, lazy pig, and you eat too much. Just stop stuffing your pie-hole and everything will be fine. Get out of your chair and start walking, and you’ll be fine.” Unfortunately, that’s just so not true. Nobody wants to be fat. Nobody wakes up and says, “You know, I want to be fat. I’m going to just make myself fat, because I want to be fat.” It just doesn’t happen like that.
What happens is that there is a hormonal biological reality to us that gets triggered in response to eating 150 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour every year, per person. That’s almost a pound of flour and sugar, combined, every day, for every man, woman and child in America. When you do that, it triggers biological addiction, which is actually the subject of my next book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet that is coming out in February. We get triggered into a set of physiologic responses that create this ongoing cycle of hormonal imbalance with chaos that creates obesity. When you are in that state, it’s almost like your biochemistry is locked in that state, and even if you actually don’t eat that much, there are all kinds of factors that are driving you to keep the weight on. It could be that the type of food you are eating, even if you are not eating that much, will increase insulin. It could be that it is inflammatory foods. It could be that you are allergic. It could be that you are toxic. It could be that you have abnormal gut flora. All these things will drive you to gain weight, independent of your calorie intake.
Jonathan: Beautiful segue, Dr. Hyman, you would think we planned this. Speaking of your February release of your wonderful book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, you have a different take on detox. Cleanses and detoxes have been talked about for a while, but I have always admired your metabolic understanding. What can we expect to see in this book, and how is it different from some of the more gimmicky cleanses and detoxes out there?
Mark: You can do a juice cleanse, you can do a flush, you can do all kinds of stuff, and all that is great, all that is wonderful, and people can get a short-term benefit and clean up their diet, and I encourage people to experiment with that. But what I am really talking about is true detox, like detox from heroin, or detox from cocaine, or detox from nicotine or caffeine. These are biologically addictive substances, and the science is showing us, unequivocally, that these foods are biologically addictive, that processed foods and sugar are biologically addictive. Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. There was a study at a Connecticut college a few weeks ago showing that Oreos lit up the brain like cocaine, not even like cocaine, worse than cocaine. Would you give your kids a line of cocaine? No, but you’d given them Oreo cookies when they come home from school. Does that really make sense, given what we know about the biology of food addiction?
Most people are hooked in this cycle of food addiction, and the purpose of my book is to bring consciousness to this idea that processed foods that sugar in pharmacological doses, is biologically addictive. And also, to provide a clear path for people to detox and reset their hormones, reset their metabolism, and get unhooked from food addictions. Using the science of functional medicine, treating the whole system, we devised a strategy to balance all the hormones, and all your immune molecules, and change your biochemistry very quickly through food and through some simple lifestyle practices that reset everything. We did this with 600 people. We had a few thousand that started, and 600 finished filling in all the data, which is what they had to do and most people don’t like to fill out the data, so we had only 600 people actually fill out the data.
We got extraordinary results. Not only did people see dramatic improvements in weight and reduction in waist size, but their overall symptom score from all disease and all symptoms reduced by 62%. They got healthy. And thirdly, their addiction was gone in a couple of days. You go through a physiologic withdrawal. If you take rats and you addict them to sugar, when you cut the sugar out they go through withdrawal, just like if you were getting them off of heroin or cocaine. They have agitation, they have the shakes, and they are irritable, just like what happens when you get off sugar. But the way I’ve designed the program is to minimize all those effects and to quickly redial all your molecules and your hormones so that you don’t feel that. I really want to bring to light the addiction story, and I want to bring to light that there is a path out of that, and there is rehab for your metabolism, and it only takes a few days. In ten days people are completely reset.
Jonathan: It is such a compelling message for two reasons, Dr. Hyman, I feel. The first is that it really does show that this isn’t a moral failing of people, it’s an information problem. I don’t know any parent that gives their child cocaine. Why? Because they know how bad it is for them. It seems like step one is, like you said in your book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, to educate people on how serious this really is.
Mark: It’s very serious. When you really stop and think about it, it’s very serious, because if this is true, and I believe it is, and the science shows it is, then the implications are huge. Why do we allow this without a warning label? We allow alcohol, we allow nicotine, but there are warning labels. “Don’t drive when you drink this.” “This will kill you if you smoke it.” Okay, then, on every label of soda it should say, “If you drink this, it will cause addiction, make you fat and sick, and kill you.” That’s what it should say. I know that sounds like a crazy idea, but we regulate seatbelts, we regulate vaccines, we regulate all sorts of things in society. We make people regulate tobacco. We have regulations that protect our citizens. We need to think differently about this.
“Well, people have to eat.” Yes, they do, but they don’t have to eat junk food. They don’t have to eat processed food. In fact, these are new inventions in the last 50-100 years, they didn’t even exist before, so no, and we don’t have to eat that. And I think it’s a problem because we have a 1 trillion-dollar food industry that profits from making people sick and fat, and that is not going to go away easily. It is going to take people like you, and me, and others, talking about these issues, getting out there in the news, the media, changing the conversation, getting people to have the experience, having them talk about it, and seeing the truth about this. This isn’t just a new gimmick. Your new book, The Calorie Myth, is not a gimmick, it’s not a quick-fix thing. It’s an intelligent conversation about why we are in this pickle, and why everybody’s advice isn’t working. “Just eat less, exercise more, it’s all about the calories, it’s all about energy balance.” This is really the myth that is getting us into trouble.
Jonathan: Dr. Hyman, I got a little bit of chills here, so I can’t think of a better way to end the show. Tell us a bit about where we can learn more about your upcoming book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, as well as, you just have so many free resources, where can we get more info?
Mark: You can go to my website, drhyman.com. I’ve written the book, The Blood Solution and The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook, which are great resources. I have plenty of free articles and videos on my website all the time. My book is coming out in February with a public television show that is coming out at the same time, and I will be having an online course that will be supporting people to actually participate. I believe that it’s not just about doing it alone, it’s about doing it in community, and the power of community, and that the power of friends and social networks and peers, to encourage you, connect with you and support you, is really going to make this much easier. All those are available. And if people want the book, go ahead, I think it’s up on Amazon now.
Jonathan: I love it. Friends, if you have not checked out Dr. Hyman’s work, absolutely, please do. He is one of the individuals out there rooted in the science, and also, as you can tell from this conversation, understanding this is about so much more than weight loss. This is about giving us back that which is innately ours, and has been stolen from us, and that is, health and vitality, and the ability to manifest the purpose that we were put here to live. We’re not all just lazy and stupid. There is something else going on.
Dr. Hyman, thank you so much for all the work you do, all the lives you save, and for sharing your time with us today.
Mark: Thank you, Jonathan. It was great.
Jonathan: Listeners, again, thank you for joining us. Please check out Dr. Hyman’s work and remember, this week, and every week after – Eat Smarter, Exercise Smarter, and Live Better.
As you know from the cover of The Calorie Myth book, Dr. Mark Hyman has been a vocal support of our efforts. I’m delighted that we now have the opportunity to reciprocate the love Dr. Hyman has shown us by checking out his brand new book and the absurd number of free bonuses he’s offering.
This week we have the pleasure of hearing from Dr Hyman. In his own words:
“Mark Hyman, MD has dedicated his career to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking whole-systems medicine approach known as Functional Medicine. He is a family physician, a six-time New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader in his field. Through his private practice, education efforts, writing, research, advocacy and public-policy work, he strives to improve access to Functional Medicine, and to widen the understanding and practice of it, empowering others to stop managing symptoms and instead treat the underlying causes of illness, thereby also tackling our chronic-disease epidemic.
Dr. Hyman is Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and was awarded its 2009 Linus Pauling Award for Leadership in Functional Medicine. He is currently medical editor at the Huffington Post and on the Medical Advisory Board at The Doctor Oz Show. He is on the Board of Directors of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and a faculty member of its Food As Medicine training program. He is also on the Board of Advisors of Memhet Oz’s HealthCorps, which tackles the obesity epidemic by “educating the student body” in American high schools about nutrition, fitness and mental resilience. He is a volunteer for Partners in Health with whom he worked immediately after the earthquake in Haiti and continues to help rebuild the health care system there. He was featured on 60 Minutes for his work there.
Dr. Hyman has testified before the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and has consulted with the Surgeon General on diabetes prevention. He has testified before the Senate Working Group on Health Care Reform on Functional Medicine, and participated in the White House Forum on Prevention and Wellness in June 2009. Dr. Hyman was nominated by Senator Tom Harkin for the President’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health, a 25-person group to advise the Administration and the new National Council on Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health.
With Drs. Dean Ornish and Michael Roizen, Dr. Hyman crafted and helped to introduce the Take Back Your Health Act of 2009 into the United States Senate, to provide for reimbursement of lifestyle treatment of chronic disease. He continues to work in Washington on health reform, recently testifying before a Congressional hearing on Functional Medicine, nutrition and the use of dietary supplements. He has worked with President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation and presented at the Health Matters, Achieving Wellness in Every Generation.
Through his work with corporations, church groups, and government entities, such as CIGNA, the Veterans Administration, Google, and Saddleback Church, he is helping to improve health outcomes and reduce costs around the world. He initiated and is a key participant in the ongoing development of a faith-based initiative that enrolled over 14,000 people at Saddleback Church in a healthy lifestyle program and research study. In recognition of his efforts, he was recently awarded The Council on Litigation Management’s 2010 Professionalism Award, citing individuals who have demonstrated leadership by example in the highest standard of their profession. He also received The American College of Nutrition 2009 Communication and Media Award for his contribution to promoting better understanding of nutrition science. He has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, 60 Minutes, Larry King Live, CNN, and MSNBC.
Dr. Hyman is founder and Medical Director of The UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, where he directs a team of physicians, nutritionists and nurses who utilize a comprehensive approach to health. Before starting his practice, he was co-Medical Director at Canyon Ranch Lenox, one of the world’s leading health resorts. While at Canyon Ranch, he co-authored the New York Times bestseller Ultraprevention: The 6-Week Program That Will Make You Healthy for Life (Scribner) – winner of the Books for a Better Life Award honoring the best self-improvement books each year. He has since written UltraMetabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss, and a companion public television special. His latest book and PBS special, The UltraMind Solution, a comprehensive approach for addressing the causes of mental illness and cognitive disorders, was released in January 2009. The Blood Sugar Solution book and companion PBS special published in March 2012, addresses the global epidemic of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Hyman graduated with a B.A. from Cornell University, and graduated magna cum laude degree from the Ottawa University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at University of San Francisco’s program in Family Medicine at the Community Hospital of Santa Rosa.