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The Impact of the Food System on Our Health and the Environment with Mark Hyman


Mark thanks for coming over man. No I'm so happy to be here. It's beautiful chickens running around and everything Venezuelan the freezer. My kind of place. Yeah Yeah Yeah. It's in keeping with a lot of what we're gonNA talk about today. I think mark a lot of people would associate you with other topics that we might get into functional medicine the role of toxins in the environment. Certainly food but from the standpoint of health what to eat but what we're talking about today is actually something that when you first mentioned to me. You are working on this book actually. At the time you were putting the finishing touches on it about a year ago I was like. That's definitely something I want to understand more so I can't wait to kind of have this discussion with you today. And that is basically how food is made. How food is delivered and how food is consumed. And what the impacts of that are I mean? What made you decide to tackle a problem of this magnitude which is not just a scientific problem but it's a political problem. It's a religious problem if we're going to be brutally honest nutrition religion. Yes exactly so. It's about as complicated as a topic is one would go after it is. I think as a doctor seeing patients day after day for thirty years is a functional medicine. Doctor my focus is on why? Why are my patients so sick and not always but the majority of them? It has some relationship to food and then it began to wonder. Well I could sit here all day. Bailing the bucket and the boat with a hole in it. But I have to figure out why they're eating the food they're eating and they're going to think about it and go upstream and while food they're eating is caused by the food system and like why did we have the food system. We have our food policies. And then I'm like. Why do we have our food policies? It's food industry. That influences our government policy through lobbying and other other influences that they do across the spectrum of society to drive their products to the market and sell them. Which are predominant killing us. There's eleven million. People die every year from eating ultra processed food and not enough the good food and I think it's an underestimate so basically answered questions. I realized I couldn't treat my patients in my office in the hospital. The clinic I had to go where the source of the problem was. Yeah Yeah and I want to sort of put this in context which is the evolution of this the domestication of crops. The institutionalization of agriculture has for. We're going to demonize it a little bit here but the reality of it is it's been kind of a remarkable transformation it would certainly be akin to the printing press when you think about step function changes in our civilization when we went from Hunter gatherers to an agricultural society. 'cause I WANNA be careful that we're not just sort of saying the answer is. Agriculture is no the end of the agricultural solution. If we do it right yeah. So let's start with what you see as the main pillars of the problem. How did we get to a point? Where the food environment is toxic. Because that's effectively. What you're saying right. Is that if you eat on default. You'RE GONNA probably eat the wrong things. It goes deeper than that. The food system as a house I began to dig in this rabbit hole. I realized it wasn't just causing chronic disease but it was causing most of the global crises that were thinking about in silos that are all connected and just quickly. Lay them out and it'd be good to go with them and details go through the podcast. But clearly food is the biggest driver of chronic disease affecting six hundred. Ten people is clearly the biggest driver of economic stress in this country in our twenty two trillion dollar debt. One third of all Medicare expenses over diabetes alone. One third of all of our federal budget is Medicare. Who was a company would be the biggest company in the world a trillion dollars annually? It's also driving climate. Change a food system end to end. Packet is the number one. Cause of climate change more than fossil fuels. It's causing massive environmental degradation loss about diversity. Plants pieces animal species livestock species. It's driving social injustice in many ways through how it affects our kids cognitive element and a million learn and there's huge academic achievement gaps lead to massive health disparities because poor communities are more affected by these foods and are more targeted by them and affects even behavior violence conflict. We such a divisive society today. Why did we have forty years ago? Wasn't like that and I think our diet has changed so radically. Not just in the last ten thousand years but in the last forty years with the advent of massive amounts of alter processed food and that's driving cognitive behavioral issues violence suicide conflict and even threatens our national security because seventy percent of military recruits are unfit to fight and reject it. So we've got these global problems that are affecting us and then of course that leads to massive political instability because of our food system of climate refugees because the food systems dry climate. What is that going to do? I mean think about it. We had a million Syrian refugees and that created a global crisis the UN estimates that within a decade or a few decades. We're going to have two hundred. Two billion climate refugees that's unimaginable. So how do we begin to grapple with these problems and think about the solutions and the beauty is since they're all connected by food they can all be solved by going to the root and fixing our food system and that's the leverage we have which is so exciting to me because it's not a doom and gloom the world's ending? It's yeah we identify the problem. How it's connected think of it as a system and then be able to solve the problem by going to the root dealing with these issues collectively. So which one of those would you like to start with? Would you like to start with sort of the impact of processed food on health? Which is probably not one that we need to spend a lot of time on. I don't think there's many people that would debate that are there. You'd be surprised. I mean there's twelve billion dollars spent by the food industry on nutrition quote research that Confuses People's muddies the waters at declares. That gatorade is great. Sports drink and sugar doesn't cause obesity and that I mean I could go on and on people are confused and then certainly are political leaders. Certainly get this and I think when you think of our healthcare system. It certainly doesn't get that. Food is medicine. You really think that political leaders. I know you've spent some time interacting with folks. Do you really think they don't get it or do you think that they're just in a difficult position. Which is how do you appease all of these constituents on the one hand a lot of the bills get paid by the entities that endorse these agendas and on the other end? They probably have empathy for the damage. This do you actually think. There's a lack of awareness. Do I mean forget about politicians academics? Doctors health professionals have no clue how powerful food is to heal disease. I mean they get that if you eat too much you're gonNA get fat right but that's about it or have you too much card. Maybe now maybe we'll get diabetes. But not even that I mean. The American Diabetes Association is still telling people eat a lot of carbohydrates. I think we have a real black of understanding of the power of food to cause disease in the power food-secure disease and so there's a real gap in that. I think it's starting to become in the public awareness. That food is medicine. Food is medicine working group in Congress clinic where I work now. Food is medicine initiative hospitals around the country. That are talking about this. It's more the exception than the rule so I do think people don't understand the magnitude. I mean if you Saito politician. What is the biggest killer on the planet? They're going to go smoking or lack of exercise. Maybe they're going to get this being overweight but they don't get that it's the ultra processed food that kills more people than smoking violence wars. Everything else so I mean. I think there was a disease like Bowler Zeka. That was killing. Eleven million a year. It would be talking about it. And it's just not in the conversation that's happening. Even for example Medicare Medicare for all. Has Anybody said the reason we have trouble? Medicare is because people are eating bad food and that we need to fix the food or no. Let's get Medicare for all that's repeal obamacare. I mean those aren't solutions. That would be a disaster if we could medicare for all because everybody second is going to bankrupt the country and let's fix why they're sick in the first

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