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Mark Hyman: Food Marketing & Dietary Guidelines

Updated: Jan 15

Release date: 11/14/2022

Podcast Duration: 47:04

A summary by Brandon Johnson, DC

5 Key Takeaways

  1. A large percentage of Americans are following government guidelines on diet yet obesity and weight related diseases are on the rise

  2. Government research on nutrition is funded by big food companies

  3. The government subsidizes cheap and unhealthy commodities (corn, canola, soy)

  4. The current guidelines chose not to recognize new research regarding the immense benefits of high fat, low carb diets

  5. Only 1% of guideline funding goes to scientific review of nutritional research

Dr. Mark Hyman begins this podcast with a discussion about the dietary guidelines that are given to us by government agencies. These food guidelines play a large role in regards to the decision making around food in our society.

What Entities are affected by these Guidelines?

  1. Medical Community: all nutritional information given to patients is based off of guideline recommendations

  2. Schools: follow meal plans that are structured around government guidelines

  3. Hospitals/ Nursing Homes: serve "my plate" meals that have the macro nutrient breakdown offered in the guidelines

  4. Military: all personnel are fed according to guideline recommendations

Dr. Hyman believes that many of these recommendations are out-dated and do not follow the most recent science. He believes that the Guidelines are negatively impacting the health of Americans. Government dietary recommendations were first offered to the public in 1980 and were not called into question until 35 years later.

Issues with the current Guidelines

Evidence shows that a large percentage of Americans are following this dietary structure.

  1. Metabolic disease continues to rise

  2. Saturated fats: the recommendation is to drastically limit intake to preserve heart health

  3. New studies show that saturated fats do not play a large role in bad cholesterol or negatively impact heart health

  4. Guidelines call for 6-11 servings of grains/carbohydrates

  5. The concept of eating high carb(sugar)/ low fat diet correlates with obesity and diabetes

  6. The guidelines are reviewed every 5 years which delays change following new research

  7. A lot of the research used in the guidelines are funded by Big food companies that prioritize profit over health.

  8. 1% of funding in guidelines goes to scientific review

  9. Other countries use a stop light method rather than portioning

  10. Green: eat freely

  11. Yellow: eat with caution

  12. Red: eat sparingly

After laying out several issues about the current guidelines Dr. Hyman begins to talk about key studies and statistics that are being excluded by the government food recommendations. He states that we cannot exercise our way out of a bad diet and that in some cases, we are "literally poisoning" our citizens.

Key Topics and Studies

  1. All scientific reviews on negative effects of high carb diets were being remitted during the last guideline review

  2. Rate of obesity in military is 14% with 2/3 being overweight

  3. High fat diet study lead to people reversing type 2 diabetes (a disease of carbohydrate intolerance)

  4. 94% of people off insulin

  5. Reverse 60% in 1 year- the study was ignored

  6. Average weight loss 12% or about 30lbs

  7. High fat low carb was associated with improvements in cancer, autoimmune disorders and autism

  8. USDA agency in charge of the guidelines has initiated a more evidence based reform, however this idea is not reflected in the guidelines

After discussing the literature on current nutritional science, Dr. Hyman then begins to discuss food labels and how they can be deceptive. He believes that the current issues are more about politics and not discrepancies in science.

The Issue with Food Labels

  1. Labels include things like Gluten free, No cholesterol to make sugar dense processed foods appear more healthy

  2. Often show nutrition facts for 1 serving when there are many in the package

  3. This makes the consumer think there are less calories

  4. Label regulations are difficult to change because of congress backlash which is funded by big food companies

  5. Kraft American cheese is not 51% cheese so its called “slices”

  6. Kraft in the UK cannot use artificial colors or ingredients

  7. MSG has had its name changed to(hydrolized yeast protein) to hide in labels

  8. Used in lab rats to make them eat more and become fat

Three Questions to ask when reading a Label

  1. What are the ingredients?

  2. Find out and understand the ingredients

  3. Are they real ingredients that you've heard of?

  4. Example: TBHQ- causes T cell issues and increase allergic reactions and stomach cancer

  5. Are these ingredients good for you?

  6. Do they offer nutritional value

  7. Do they negatively impact your health

  8. Where did the ingredients come from?

  9. Do they occur naturally

  10. Were they made in a lab

  11. "Natural flavor" is almost always synthetically designed

  12. Natural flavoring increases cravings “biggest evil” in labels

After touching on food labels Dr Hyman discusses the issues with big food companies and their collaboration with government entities. He explains that these food companies are only concerned about improving margins with no regard to human health. It is explained that reform is very difficult because the immense funding behind large food companies.

Big Food companies and Government

  1. Root cause is because of agriculture and subsidies given to produce cheap commodities for American consumption

  2. Corn, canola and soy being the worst

  3. Corn and soy create imbalance from omega 6 to omega 3, causing inflammation

  4. Dairy farmers were over producing so the federal government helped promote more consumption of dairy and processed cheese

  5. “Got Milk?” campaign

  6. Spend millions in research to make their products "cravable" or "snackable"

  7. Avoid the word addictive

  8. Companies use extensive science to make food more addicting

  9. Vanishing caloric density: science proves that if the food dissolves in your mouth the mind doesn't feel that it is consuming dense calories (example cheese puffs)

  10. We are up against a mega PR campaign vs our health

  11. For example: Kellogg creates waffles and gets millions of dollars in advertising and media coverage

  12. Government Accountability office allows food companies to market and manipulate unhealthy foods

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