How Public Awareness Is Changing The Food Industry, with Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

In his new book “Food Fix,” Dr. Mark Hyman illustrates the link between the food industry and a multitude of global crises, ranging from from social issues to climate change. The more of this information that comes to light, the louder the voice of public outcry becomes. But is it really making any difference? In the first episode of a series with Dr. Hyman, he reveals the surprising answer.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics where we have been transforming lives for 30 years. Using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
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Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, Tana and I are so excited to be with our friend, Dr. Mark Hyman, and they're just my goodness, so many things to say. Mark's a friend, he is the co-author with me and Mark and Rick Warren on The Daniel Plan. He is the founder and director of The UltraWellness Center, the head of strategy and innovation of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He's a 12 time New York times bestselling author, Board President for Clinical Affairs for The Institute for Functional Medicine. He's Tana's teacher.
Tana Amen: Been my teacher for a long time.
Dr. Daniel Amen: He's Tana's mentor. I read his book, the Ultra Mind Solution and actually bought it for all the doctors at Amen Clinics. It's really the seed. You know at Amen Clinics, we have three big innovations. It's imaging. If you don't look, you don't know. Natural ways to heal the brain in a functional medicine capacity, that really came from Mark's work, and Mark has a new book, Food Facts, that we're going to get into this week with you. He also has a new public television special and so many things. So Mark, we adore you. We're glad you're here on The Brain Warrior's way podcast.
Tana Amen: Always happy to have you.
Dr Mark Hyman: Love you guys too. Keep doing stuff so you can do more together.
Tana Amen: How is this book different? Food Fix? From your other food books.
Dr Mark Hyman: Most of my books are really driven out of my clinical practice, which is using functional medicine to heal all sorts of chronic illnesses, whether it's brain issues or metabolic issues and you know, talking about food is medicine, all that's really important, but it really is a profoundly different book for me. It's a political book.
Dr Mark Hyman: It's about the food system, because it occurred to me sitting in my office, seeing patient after patient with chronic illness, it was preventable through food and it was caused by food, and it could be treated by food. I was like, well then I'd better ask why we got the food we got. Cause if I don't fix that, I'm just bailing the boat with a big hole in it forever and it's not going to be very effective.
Dr Mark Hyman: So it occurred to me it was the food system, and then I thought, well, what's causing the food system? Cause functional medicine is all about why? What's the food policy then? What's causing the food policy? It's the food industry and the 187 lobbyists for every member of Congress. So, I decided to look down that rabbit hole and I was shocked at what I found, which is that our food system is the biggest link to so many of our global crises. Clearly chronic disease, 80% of chronic disease is caused by food. It kills 11 million people a year around the world. Six out of 10 Americans are suffering from it. Our economic crisis, I mean you have a $22 trillion federal debt and by 2025, half of all of our federal spending, that's mandatory, will be for Medicare In five years, our Medicare trust fund will run out of money.
Dr Mark Hyman: We're not talking decades or next generation. We're talking like around the corner, and it's terrifying. So the economic crisis, and then of course I began to look deeper and well, what about all our social issues? Kids can't learn in school, they have ADD, Daniel and Tana, you have written so much about that and talked about it. Why is that happening? Well, these kids' brains are poisoned by the processed food. How can kids learn on Doritos and soda in the morning. We're 31st in reading and math in the world, right? Vietnam's 21st you know, why is that? And also social injustice issues, poverty and racism. And there's communities that are targeted by the food industry and are kept down. Even national security we see is really threatened because kids are too overweight or unhealthy to fight. And even violence. We see so much divisiveness and violence and behavior issues and it's really clear that our food plays a big role in our mood and our behavior.
Dr Mark Hyman: And studies that shocked me the most were the prison studies and studies on kids in juvenile delinquent centers, where you swapped out healthy diets for junk food diets and behavior got better. The violence went down, the aggressiveness, the conflict, the restraints, the suicide, I mean just from changing your diets. So it really occurred to me that we have to fix the food system. And of course if that's not enough, it's the number one cause of climate change. You know, 50% of our climate change is caused by the food system, the deforestation, soil erosion, factory farming, food waste, a number of things. I mean, environmental destruction and loss of fresh water from irrigation, the destruction of soil [inaudible 00:05:47] the soil. The loss of biodiversity, our pollinators species are dying, which our agriculture depends on. So I was like, gosh this is terrible and we've got to fix it.
Dr Mark Hyman: And then I started looking further and saying, well there's a lot of ways to fix it and people around the world are already innovating. There's a lot of solutions that exist for climate change. The foods, fixing the food and agriculture system is the number one way to fix it. Fixing chronic disease is done through food, fixing out economic issues done through food. So a lot of this book is really about mapping out the problem, but also what are the solutions on an individual level, what can businesses do, what can policy makers do to really turn this around? And that's what I'm super excited about.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Wow. Seventy-five percent of healthcare spending is spent on chronic, preventable illnesses with most of that being related to our diet.
Tana Amen: Yeah, and you got to ask yourself, if we know that you just said, we know what the solutions are, right? We know what they are, and if we did these things, it would make it better. Why aren't we doing that? And even the food industry, because it's such a big business and they want to make billions of dollars, I get that. But why aren't they jumping on board with this? Because they could make just as much money doing the right thing.
Dr Mark Hyman: Well, they are actually. You know, I was sort of very anti food industry and really negative and sort of saw them as this model of [inaudible 00:07:12] actors or doing the wrong thing. But you know, when I really come to realize is I've got to meet these people, you know, whether it's heads of Cargill or Nestle or Danone or Pepsi. I mean, I know, I often was very critical. I am seeing that their consciousness is changing. They're not bad people. They're just in a legacy of bad things that happened over the history of their companies, and need to turn the things around. And then when you see things like, you know, General Mills committing a million acres for regenerative agriculture, or you see Nestle and Danone and Unilever and Mars pulling out of the Grocery Manufacturers of America, which is a food industry trade group, because they don't like what they're doing to stop advances in better food policy, I mean, and create this sustainable food policy alignments.
Dr Mark Hyman: And Kellogg's, I mean Kellogg's announced, because of consumer demand, announced they were going to get all the glyphosate out of the supply chain. Meaning Cheerios now have more glyphosate, which is an herbicide Roundup, then vitamin A or vitamin D. So they're like, whoa, this isn't a good thing. So they said they're going go get all the glyphosate out of Cheerio's and all their food.
Dr Mark Hyman: That's big. So businesses are taking advantage of the trends. The consumer voice matters. What we do matters with our dollars, what we eat, how we, what we buy, and people care about it. And, and so I think I'm actually very hopeful. I'm in a lot of these meetings around the country with food activists and big companies like Milken Global Conference and really seeing how people are thinking differently about this.
Tana Amen: It's wild.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's so exciting. How can people get involved individually? So, I often think, and you know, it's a message that to me from the Daniel Plan, if you don't live the message, you can't give the message. You have to be authentic. So where do people start?
Dr Mark Hyman: Well I think, you know, it's a little overwhelming, right? So when people get overwhelmed, what do I do? What can I do? How do I change the political system. And yes, we do need positive change. We do need agricultural change and we can't all directly effect the vote, but our voices matter. Our choices matters. So I suppose we'll start in your kitchen, you know, by choosing real whole foods, by trying to be a regenetarian for example. Seek out sources of, for example, animal products that you need, those that are regenetively raised, that are from local farmer's markets or community supported agriculture. Start your own community gardens. Get involved in composting. Get your local town and become more active in your community, whether it's in your workplace, your school, or faith based communities. You can be a voice for change. I mean there's, I've seen mothers going to schools and revolutionize school lunches, within school budgets within school lunch guidelines and doing it effectively, because they care.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Mark Hyman: Or municipality and say, look, let's do mandatory composting in our community like San Francisco did. There's mandatory composting. So the more people get active about this, the more they're going to see changes. And I think people can also vote with their vote. I think people are apathetic in this country and feel like their vote doesn't matter, but it does matter. The people who do vote, their vote counts and that's why we have the system we do.
Dr Mark Hyman: But I think most Americans want a better system. And if we see, you know, 50% of people voting in the last election, which was a huge number, that's terrible in a democracy. We should have 70 or 80% voting like most other democracies. And you can even be active with your local legislators or state legislators, your federal legislators. There's a great online resource called
Tana Amen: Food policy action?
Dr Mark Hyman: Yeah, and that's a group that basically rates your senators and congressmen on their food voting records and their agriculture voting records and they actually use that to mobilize a whole army to out two congressmen and were in the pocket of big food using social media. So we have way more power than we think if we use it.
Tana Amen: I like that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, when we come back, we're going to actually talk about some of the specific things people can do. We'll also talk a little bit about the Daniel Plan, which is something near and dear to all three of our hearts. Stay with us.
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