Let's face it, health information can be confusing — especially when it comes to nutrition. Mark Hyman, MD, Director of Functional Medicine, sheds light on topics from sugar and artificial sweeteners to coconut oil and olive oil & more.

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Common Health Misconceptions Debunked with Dr. Mark Hyman

Podcast Transcript

Nada Youssef: Hi, thank you for joining us. I'm your host, Nada Youssef, and today we have Dr. Mark Hyman, director of functional medicine here in Cleveland Clinic, and we are doing an hour special today regarding health misconceptions, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yes.

Nada Youssef: Okay, all right. Great, well, as always before we start please remember that this is for informational purposes only, and not intended to replace your own physician's advice. Well, first of all thank you so much for coming in today.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You're welcome.

Nada Youssef: It's great to have you.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Glad to be here.

Nada Youssef: Do you want to introduce yourself to our viewers?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yes. Hi, everybody. I'm Dr. Mark Hyman, I'm the director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, and we're really excited to be here and answer your questions about health misconceptions, and myths, and all the things you are confused about because everybody's super confused.

Nada Youssef: Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Including most doctors these days, especially when it comes to nutrition.

Nada Youssef: Well, let's start first of all, functional medicine. What is that? What is functional medicine?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, I joke and I say it's the opposite of dysfunctional medicine, which is you know, the idea that we actually can get to the root cause of disease, right? Functional medicine is about getting to the root cause, about understanding why people get sick, not just what disease they have. It's creating the system, the whole system. Not just the symptoms of the disease, and it allows us to help people create health.

So most of us who went to medical school learned about disease. Practically all of us, we learned about how do we diagnose, and treat diseases. Functional medicine flips it on its head and says, what is health? And how do we create health?

The amazing thing is when we actually take away the things that impair health, and we put in the things that help you create health the disease goes away often as a side effect. You know, I saw a patient this morning for example, she had migraines for a decade or more, driving her crazy 15, 20 times a month, really severe. She's on all sorts of medications to try to prevent her migraines and she was taking the drugs all the time and it was just a miserable existence, and she couldn't plan her life.

And I changed her diet, I gave her a few things like, magnesium, and things to help relax her nervous system, and treat the cause of her problems and in fact, her, I think [eggs 00:01:59] were a big factor of triggering it. She came back and her headaches were pretty much gone, she got maybe a couple a month and didn't really need much medication, maybe an Advil here and there. That's what we do, it's not treating the symptoms, it's getting to, why do you have a migraine in the first place?

Nada Youssef: Right, right. Okay, well, what are the most common symptoms that you see for functional medicine?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, we see all sorts of people with chronic disease. So basically I joke, and I say we're kind of resort doctors. We're the doctors of last resort. You know-

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We take care of people who struggled, who have symptoms that don't get better whether it's you know, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune issues, gut issues, mood issues, neurodegenerative diseases, things like Parkinson's.

You know, I saw a guy with Parkinson's for example yesterday, and he had suffered for a long time, came to see me and he's now 10 years out and he's better than he's ever been. His neurologist says he's never seen anybody 10 years out do this well. His symptoms were dramatically reduced, he hasn't really progressed, and you know, we just dealt with all the root causes of his problem.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, this is health misconceptions, and there are a lot of those that I've been reading, and watching about, and I have put together some kind of grocery store questions. So I'm gonna play a little game with you.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay.

Nada Youssef: I'm walking down the grocery store aisle, and I have my little two children with me and I want to give you two options, and you tell me this or that, and why. Okay?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay.

Nada Youssef: So there's a few of them, so if want to just you know, go fast you can answer everything here.

So first of all, sugar versus sweetener.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Artificial sweeteners?

Nada Youssef: Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Is there a third choice, like, none?

Nada Youssef: Is there a third choice?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yes. I would say you can buy the sugar, but don't buy anything with added sugar.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So 80% of things in grocery stores have sugar added to them, you know, your Prego tomato sauce has more sugar than two Oreo cookies? That your morning yogurt has more sugar often than a can of soda?

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right? So it's not the sugar you add like, a teaspoon of sugar.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: To your diet, it's the 34, or 22 teaspoons average eaten by an American, 34 by kids every single day. You know, you have a can of soda, 20 ounce soda, you're getting 15 teaspoons of sugar.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And you wouldn't add 15 teaspoons to your coffee, would you?

Nada Youssef: No, no.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But we immeasurably eat that. So no added sugar, add sugar to your diet. Sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, we thought okay great, no calories. But realize that, you know, food is not just calories, it's actually information. It's like a code like, programming your biology every bite, and when you eat different kinds of foods they have different effects, and artificial sweeteners have no calories, but they're a thousand times sweeter than regular sugar, and what they do is they stimulate your taste buds, it goes to your brain, affects your hormones, and your metabolism and actually also affects your gut flora, which changes the bacteria in there to make it more likely to get diabetes, and it changes you hormones to make it more likely that you're gonna be hungry, and you're gonna eat more over the day.

So, you know, you ever wonder why all these people who are really overweight are drinking diet soda, and they're not skinny? It's because it doesn't work. In fact, some of the studies, the observational studies, what they show that people who drink more sodas have more obesity, have more diabetes.

Nada Youssef: Wow, that's very interesting.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And the thing is, when people drink soda-

Nada Youssef: Uh-huh.vv

Dr. Mark Hyman: I mean, like our President, he drinks 12 diet sodas a day.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: He's not skinny, right? So we have to say, you know, what's going on here? And people who drink sodas, diet sodas tend to drink a lot more because they think it's free.

Nada Youssef: They think it's safer, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right.

Nada Youssef: Okay, coconut oil, or olive oil?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Great question. I would say both.

Nada Youssef: Okay, that's a good one.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I'd say both. So olive oil we know from the studies is just phenomenal, right? So we think that you know, fat was bad, we were told by our government to cut out the fat and increase carbs. We were told that to have six to 11 servings of bread, rice, cereal, and pasta a day, and guess what? Since those recommendations we've become the fattest country in the world, 70% of us are overweight.

We have seen a three to 400% increase in the risk of diabetes, Type II diabetes. So those guidelines didn't help. It's the starchy carbs, flour, and sugar that really are driving the problem. It's not the fat, and it was a big study, and it's hard to do nutrition studies because you know, it's hard to get a lot of people to eat a certain way unless you lock them up in a room, right?

Nada Youssef: Right, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So they did this study in Europe where they looked at giving people olive oil. A liter a week, a whole liter of olive oil. They had to eat the whole thing.

Nada Youssef: A week?

Dr. Mark Hyman: A week, or a bunch of nuts. Like, a big handful of nuts every week.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And they compared to a low fat diet, and the ones who had the olive oil had less heart attacks, less diabetes, less obesity. So eating all that fat was super healthy for them, and the olive oil has polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that literally help your body fight inflammation, and are powerful antioxidants have been linked to long-term health.

So olive oil is like, a staple in my house. I go through a big bottle regularly, and I pour it on everything, I don't worry about how much because fat doesn't make you fat by the way. If you eat it with starch and carbs it does, like sweet fat. But if you eat fat on a salad, no problem.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And the coconut oil I think is very controversial. I think you know, I did a Facebook live a while ago, it had a million views, and it was because the American Heart Association released a report, and it said, coconut oil is bad for your heart. And the reason they said that was there's not a single study by the way that proves that it causes heart attacks. It's just guilt by association. It has saturated fat, saturated fat is considered bad, it causes higher cholesterol.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Cholesterol has been linked to heart disease, and so we're really focused on lowering cholesterol, so anything that raises it we're gonna think is bad.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: The truth is, it's the quality of your cholesterol that matters, and coconut oil actually increases the good cholesterol, HDL. It increases the LDL, but it makes the particles better so they're not as damaging.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: The type of cholesterol.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And it actually improves the ratio, the total of the HDL cholesterol, which by the way, is more linked to your risk of heart attacks than LDL cholesterol.

Nada Youssef: I see.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So really have to look at the root cause, and it's not necessarily the fat. Yes, some people are at risk of having issues with saturated fat, but it's a smaller population than we thought, and our recommendations from American Heart Association, the guidance from the government are eat less saturated fats, so why is Dr. Hyman saying don't worry about it as much?

Because when you look at the 17 meta analyses, large reviews of all the data, they could find no link between heart disease, and saturated fat, or total fat. There was a study for example, of 600,000 people, 19 countries, 72 studies, and they couldn't find any link between heart disease and saturated fat, or total fat. They did find a link between trans-fat, which is like margarine-

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And shortening. And they found a link between omega-3 fats and a benefit, which is fish oil, but not with saturated fat. And you know, the recent dietary guidelines process was reviewed because congress said to the National Academy of Science, "We're gonna fun a million dollars for you to review the process by which we get our guidelines."

And they found that oops, the guidelines aren't completely scientific.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: That they're based a lot on industry influence, why are we told we need three glasses of milk a day, or drink two glasses of milk a day? There's no evidence, it's the Dairy

Council.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And their influence on the guidelines committee. We looked at for example, saturated fat, and they found that they ignored huge amounts of the data on saturated fat, and it didn't reflect what the science shows in the guidelines. So they're changing that whole process now, so the next guidelines we should see this.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great. Now, speaking of cholesterol. Should people be concerned with dietary cholesterol?

Dr. Mark Hyman: No. You know, we always were taught eggs were bad, it's got cholesterol. Don't eat shrimp, it's got cholesterol, and you know, the dietary guidelines committee said in the last guidelines, and these new guidelines said that cholesterol is, "No longer a nutritive concern." Like, that's a very kind of a funny death for this whole idea, when 35 years we've been told to cut out dietary cholesterol, it causes heart disease.

Well, there's no evidence that says it's true. So they finally had to admit it, and they can actually look at the evidence and there was like, no evidence that dietary cholesterol is an issue. So go eat your whole eggs.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Go eat your shrimp, don't worry about it.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: The dietary fat, they said, and the total fat number there's no upper limit, or lower limit.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So they were like, don't worry about it, but they said cut sugars, cut out sugars, and so that's really good.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great. All right, onto the next one. Skim milk, whole milk, soy milk?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay, well I would say-

Nada Youssef: Almond milk?

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's a multi-part question.

Nada Youssef: Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right? So we'll start with the milk, and the whole milk. So first of all, there's no evidence that milk is necessarily for anybody after weening. It doesn't grow strong bones, we know it may increase fractures based on the data. We know it causes all sorts of issues from allergies, to eczema, to Type I diabetes, autoimmune diseases, it causes gut issues 75% of us are lactose intolerant. It's not, "Nature's perfect food," unless you're a calf, then it is, right?

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay, so that's sort of my overview, and you know, I think the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission basically prohibited the Got Milk? ads because they said there's no proof.

Nada Youssef: I see.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And they questioned the science behind all these claims that the Dairy Council was making on you know, behalf of milk. And they found that no, it's not meeting those criteria. I wrote a little blog called, Got Proof? Which I go through the science, and the research about it. But I think you know, when you look at whole milk versus skim milk, you know, based on these sort of research, whole milk actually may be better. Why? Because you know, in kids for example they feed them low fat milk, or non-fat milk, or skim milk. They found it increases obesity.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

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Dr. Mark Hyman: So that doesn't make sense. Why? When you take the fat out, fat makes you feel full.

Nada Youssef: Right, I see.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So when you take the fat out you're hungrier, and the kids who have skim milk have eaten more, and so it's not necessarily a weight loss strategy, or a heart disease protection strategy.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We know for example, again, that saturated fat in milk is not the issue. In fact, in this big study I told you about they saw a trend where milk fat actually reduced the risk of heart disease, which is kind of amazing. Like butter, in fact there's a review on butter by Dr. Dariush Mazaffarian and a group from Tufts. A big study looked at over again, 600,000 people, was like, they call it the ... What was it like, six and a half million patient years, which means how many years of people actually consuming the butter. That's a lot of years.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And they found that there was no link between butter, and heart disease.

Nada Youssef: Not any kind of butter, was there?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Any kind of butter.

Nada Youssef: Any kind of butter?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Any kind of butter. This is just in the scientific literature, and there was no link, and there was also an inverse correlation with diabetes, Type II diabetes. So people had more dairy fat in their blood, or in their diet seemed to have less diabetes. Correlation doesn't cause and effect, but if there was a correlation we'd see it.

Nada Youssef: You should see it.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah. So for example, with smoking-

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Smoking was one of the things that we found definitely was correlated with lung cancer.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But it was a population study, which doesn't prove cause and effect, but the effect size was 10 to 20 times at risk. We're talking about 10%, 20% risk, you can't really judge that.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: If there was an effect, you should see it.

Nada Youssef: Okay, right. All right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And then soy milk.

Nada Youssef: Yes, soy milk, we can't forget about the soy milk.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, soy milk I'm not a big fan of.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I think you know, people tend to consume a lot of it because they think it's a health food, but actually it can lead to hormonal effects.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: I see the little girls who drink like, glasses, and glasses of milk, and they get premature puberty.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I would think you know, almond milk, coconut milk, you know, those kind of things are fine.

Nada Youssef: Okay, and if you have a nut allergy? Is there any besides almond milk?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Coconut, people are generally allergic if they have nut issues.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: There's other kinds of milks. There's rice milk, the thing is you have to be careful of is you don't want sugar.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And a lot of these have sugar in them as a sweetener, so I'd be really careful about that.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great. And then let's see, we have organic eggs versus cage free eggs. What is the difference anyways? To be honest.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I wrote a new book, it's called, Food, What the Heck Should I Eat? Because people are super confused and I answer a lot of these questions.

Nada Youssef: Good.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Actually, I don't know if you came up with these from my book because they're all-

Nada Youssef: No, these are just my-

Dr. Mark Hyman: And I kind of go through this because you know, there's so many labels. You know, there's hormone free eggs, well, chickens don't get hormones, right?

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: [antibody 00:14:21] free eggs is great, you know, cage free, what does that mean? Like, they might be locked in a room. Free range doesn't mean anything because they might just open the door and they can walk out but they're in a-

Nada Youssef: [inaudible 00:14:29]

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah. So what you want is pasture raised eggs. So those are the best.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Because chickens are out there hunting for grubs, and larvae, and they're looking in the cow poop for stuff, and they're out there and if you look at those eggs, the shells are super hard like, right? You can't break them easily.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Whereas a regular factory farm egg you can just crush it with your fingers, and the shells break easy.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And the yolk is really dark, and yellow, orangy looking whereas a pale yellow yolks from like, factory farm eggs don't have the same level of lutein, antioxidants. Those are like, the same colors you see in salmon, or carrots, or sweet potatoes, and they're powerful antioxidants. They have much higher levels of nutrients, omega-3 fats when they eat all that stuff.

So yeah, definitely pasture raised, and there's all these labels that are sort of misleading, and my kind of joke is basically if it has a health claim on the label it's probably bad for you. If says gluten free, fat free, fiber, high fiber, you know, all these are ways that the food industry uses to mask the actual food.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And make a health food. Well, let me tell you. Gluten free cookies are still cookies.

Nada Youssef: Right. That's very true.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And often they might be worse for you because they have higher levels of sugar, higher flour that's more refined-

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And can be problematic.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great. Okay, how about whole wheat bread versus multi-grain?

Dr. Mark Hyman: The whole wheat, multi-grain, white bread, it's six of one, and half a dozen of the other.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I mean, we look at the data on flour because you know, listen, if it's whole kernel bread, right? Like, in Germany I visit a friend in Germany and they have a meat slicer in their kitchen. I'm like, why do you have that? "Well, we have to use that to cut the bread." Because the bread is so hard you can't cut it with a knife because it's made from whole grains. Not because it's stale.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's actually-

Nada Youssef: What it's made of.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's actually so dense. It's so dense, it has the whole grains, which are powerful compounds that are full of antioxidants, fiber, and if you grind them into a flour it's worse than sugar. Even whole wheat bread raises your blood sugar more than table sugar.

Nada Youssef: Really?

Dr. Mark Hyman: In fact, yeah. When you look at the glycemic index of bread.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's higher than table sugar.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So when you have you know, you might as well have two tablespoons of sugar with your sandwich instead of a sandwich and the bread, right? You'd be better off.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So the key really is to understand that flour products are a treat, they're a condiment, they're not something you want to be eating everyday, or all the time. Sugar is a recreational drug, it's okay to eat, but not in the volume for eating. We're eating it at about 152 pounds of sugar per person. That's a lot, it's almost a half a pound a day, and about 133 pounds of flour per person. That's like three quarters of a pound of flour and sugar for man, woman, and child in America.

I'm not eating that much, so some of you must eat a lot more out there.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And I think that the key is to understand that these are treats, they're not things we should have everyday. I mean, I just see how much flour and bread products we eat, and not to mention that the wheat has gluten, which may be inflammatory. A lot more people are having reactions, not to mention that our wheat products in this country are dwarf wheat, which has higher levels of sugar and starch, not to mention that we spray all of our wheat fields with glyphosate, which is an herbicide, also known as Roundup and it defoliates the wheat so it's easier to harvest the wheat kernels, but that glyphosate is sprayed just before harvest, and we get massive amounts of it, and it's been linked to cancer, the World Health Organization, and National Association of Science has linked it as a carcinogen, it can affect gut flora, and we're sort of like basically living the largest uncontrolled experiment in human history by how much exposure.

There's about three pounds of pesticides, and things used for every man, woman, and child every year.

Nada Youssef: Wow, this is very good information. Terrifying, but very, very good.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, the good news is you empower with it so you don't have to eat that.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: If you want to have for example, whole kernel rye bread, that's my favorite.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And that has rye, which has got lignins, antioxidants, not sprayed and processed the same way.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You know, so it's really powerful.

Nada Youssef: Great, great. And then how about for some healthy breakfasts. What would you say to oatmeal?

Dr. Mark Hyman: I would say that oatmeal is not a health food.

Nada Youssef: What about the ones that-

Dr. Mark Hyman: And I think, you know-

Nada Youssef: Overnight.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, so ... Hold on a second. There's steel cut oats.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But you know, a colleague at Harvard did an amazing study where he took three groups of kids who were overweight. He gave them three different breakfasts. Oatmeal, steel cut oats, and an omelet. And he locked them in a room with some video games. He said, "Okay, when you're hungry, push the button." The kids who ate the oatmeal-

Nada Youssef: Were hungry.

Dr. Mark Hyman: 81% more food during the day, and the kids who ate the steel cut oats ate 51% more food. What was even more fascinating was they had a catheter in their vein and they sucked out blood every while, and they found that the kids who had the oatmeal had higher levels of cortisone, and adrenaline. That's like, the stress hormones.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: They had higher levels of insulin, blood sugar, their whole biology was different. Even though it was exactly the same calories. So same calories oatmeal, same calories of omelet, very different effects. This is really the whole perspective of functional medicine. Food isn't just calories, or energy, it's information, it's instructions. So it's changing your hormones, your brain chemistry, your gut flora, your immune system. Everything is changing with every bites of food.

It doesn't happen like, over decades, or weeks or months, it happens in real-time and that's why we see patients at the Center for Functional Medicine, you know, we recently opened a diabetes program where we have something called functioning for life, which is an amazing group program where people come together, we change their diet, we have them work together. We know people do so much better when they work together to change their life and their lifestyle. And we see people getting off insulin, getting off their medications, reversing their diabetes. So powerful, so-

Nada Youssef: What did you have for breakfast today?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Me?

Nada Youssef: Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, I woke up late.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And I always have an emergency food pack.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I always have like, an emergency food pack in my bag wherever I travel because I travel a lot, and so I'm never without food on me.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right? My pockets might be empty now, but I just had lunch so it's fine. But I had a Kind bar.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Which is less than five grams of sugar, it's very high in nuts, and fiber, and protein, and fat. And it is a really powerful breakfast snack, and you know, I think then I had another bar, which had egg whites, and I had like, it has nuts, and seeds-

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I tend to eat fat and protein for breakfast.

Nada Youssef: Okay. Protein and fat.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Protein, fat. Eggs, avocados, I take a protein shake, which maybe has some nuts and fat in it. I put coconut in it, and I think we have really the ability to plan ahead. Most of us don't plan, right? Most of us don't think about where we're gonna get our next meal, and we just sort of I call it drive by eating because we just drive by someplace, we drive in like, yeah, I'm hungry. Right? It's a food emergency. So you don't want to be in a food emergency. I've written a lot about this, but I always have a food emergency pack with me. So if I was diabetic I wouldn't go out without my insulin.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: If I had a peanut allergy I wouldn't be out without my EpiPen, right?

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Saves my life, so I don't go anywhere without actually, my food emergency pack and it's powerful.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And when you think about how little we plan for food, it doesn't take long. You know, I order stuff online, have to go to the house, I'm lazy, don't want to go to the grocery store. It's a discounted thing I get, and we can do that.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We just don't think about it.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I always encourage people not to be in a food emergency.

Nada Youssef: Okay, perfect. How about orange juice?

Dr. Mark Hyman: What about cereal? You didn't ask me the cereal question.

Nada Youssef: Yeah, three's cereal, right. That was coming [crosstalk 00:22:01]

Dr. Mark Hyman: I have a confession to make.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I'm a cereal killer.

Nada Youssef: You are?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yes.

Nada Youssef: Okay, explain.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I don't think people should eat cereal.

Nada Youssef: Okay. Is it the sugar factor?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, I mean 75% ... Sorry, our breakfast cereals are 75% sugar.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: 75%.

Nada Youssef: 75% sugar.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yes, not all of them.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Even the healthy ones can be very high in sugar.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You know, there's whole what cookie crisp cereal-

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Which has fiber and whole grains in it, but it's actually 22 grams of sugar, which is like, six teaspoons.

Nada Youssef: Yeah, okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right? So we have to be smart about it, and we should not be eating starch, and carbs for breakfast. I mean, cereal you know, it was a new thing, Kellogg invented it 100 plus years ago, and I think it's really a challenge because people love cereal, they eat cereal with milk and it's sort of the breakfast of champions, but in fact it actually is the breakfast of people who are overweight, and I think if you are really serious about getting your health straightened out you want to skip the cereal for breakfast.

There are some out there, right? Okay, there's something called Paleo Granola for example, which is essentially nuts and seeds, and-

Nada Youssef: Almonds-

Dr. Mark Hyman: That's fine, but you don't want to be eating stuff that's tons of starch, and flour, and sugar.

Nada Youssef: I see, okay. And that's not the best thing to eat first in the morning, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman: No. No.

Nada Youssef: Okay. All right, so we got the cereal. Orange juice.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: 100% real oranges.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, well.

Nada Youssef: How's that? I know there's definitely sugar.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Orange juice is an issue, right? So we have you know, been told that oranges are a healthy breakfast, you should have it with your oatmeal, and that eggs are bad, and that we should be not eating that. Well, it's the opposite, right? Think about how many oranges go into orange juice, you know, four, or five oranges. You're not gonna eat four or five oranges, and when you take that fruit out and just put the sugar in it's just like having a soda, there's a little more vitamins, a little more fiber maybe, but essentially it's like having a soda for breakfast.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I'm not a big fan of that.

Nada Youssef: Okay, so no more orange juice.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And the problem is it's not like, the four ounces we used to get.

Nada Youssef: We have big jugs.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I mean, I was in Europe and you know, soda there is like, a six ounce bottle of Coke.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: You know, I'm not a big fan of Coke, but you know, that's a reasonable amount.

Nada Youssef: Sure, moderation.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Not like, three or four times that.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And then I mean, the average American drinks 44 gallons of soda a year. That's almost a gallon a week.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Like, I don't do that, so some people are having even more, right?

Nada Youssef: Yeah, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And that is driving so much of our problems.

Nada Youssef: Okay, well I want to talk about protein.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You don't want to talk about this?

Nada Youssef: Yeah, we're getting there. This is next-

Dr. Mark Hyman: I can cheat, I can see all the questions.

Nada Youssef: This is definitely, yeah, it's fine we'll do this together. So meat, no meat, beans, eggs, what is the best source of protein?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay, all right.

Nada Youssef: I know meat is a big one, too.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So protein's controversial, right?

Nada Youssef: Yes, very.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So when you talk like, paleo, vegan, it's like, meat's gonna kill you, or if you eat all these grains and beans they're gonna kill you. So who's right?

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right? Well, I joke, I say I'm a pegan.

Nada Youssef: Okay, what is that?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Which is like, a cross between a vegan, and a paleo person.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And it's a joke because-

Nada Youssef: Best of both worlds.

Dr. Mark Hyman: One time I was sitting on a panel and I was talking about nutrition with a friend of mine who was a paleo doc, and another friend who was a cardiologist who was a vegan. They were fighting, and I'm like, you guys stop it, if you're paleo, and you're vegan, I must be a pegan. And I made a joke about it, then I realized maybe that's not such a bad idea, you know, you want to downsize your meat, but you want to eat grains and beans, but not like, unlimited amounts. You want to eat mostly vegetables, good fats, nuts and seeds, and stay away from all the starch and sugary stuff.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And you know, the meat issue is a real issue. I think we have a lot of controversy about it, we've been told to eat less meat. In fact, we did as a society, we ate like, 30 or 40% less meat, but we have way more chicken.

Nada Youssef: Yeah, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You know? Which may not be a good thing.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And we talk about red meat versus white meat, you know, it's all the same, right? I think that we now know from the studies looking at all the data, and I you know, I was writing a book about this and I was like look, I want to live to be 120, I don't want to eat meat if it's gonna kill me, but I'm gonna figure this out.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right? Because I don't this one, or this one, I want to make my own decision.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I went and found all the major studies on meat.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I printed them up like this stack, and I locked myself in a hotel room for a week so I wouldn't get distracted, and I read everything. And then I wrote a chapter on my Eat Fat, Get Thin book about meat, and I realized it was really three issues. What is moral, if you're a Buddhist, not gonna force you to eat meat, right? Environmental, which is real, and when you look at our agricultural system, and environmental impact. Growing meat, 70% of our world's agricultural land is used for growing food, or for growing animals.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Food for animals, or animals. And a lot of our water supply, and we're seeing the way we grow food, and the way we handle animals, there's a number of things. One, it depletes our soils, and our soil's a natural resource, when it's gone we're screwed. Like, we can only put so much fertilizer and pesticide and stuff on, and it's like trying to beat a dead horse. You can't grow food in unhealthy soil.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We're down to our last ditches, right? We used to have like, I don't know, feet and feet of top soil as the buffalo roamed the plains and we had all these grasses. But we deplete our water supply, we pollute our water through fertilizer, and pesticide, and runoff. We create climate change to the effects of how we're growing food. So climate change, all these things, pollution, pesticide use, it's bad. So I would not eat factory farm meat, which is would call calf-o-meter confined animal feeding operations. And this is most of the meat we eat in America.

So that's true. But let's say grass fed meat, we know that grass fed meat is different, it has more antioxidants, and more vitamins and minerals, it has more omega-3 fats, and when you look at all the data, the data that showed meat's harmful is based on what we call population studies, or observational studies.

Now, in nutrition science it's really hard to do research like I say, you can't like, lock people, 10,000 people in a room for 10 years.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Or in a hospital and feed them one diet like, half of them meat, and half of them vegetables and see what happens, right? You just don't get to do that study.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So we had to kind of look at population studies and look at correlation. Well, some of the studies did find correlations with meat, and when you look at behind the scenes of the study it was an era where meat was considered unhealthy, so people who ate meat were not healthy. So people in the studies who ate meat had you know, ate more calories, if they ate more calories, they were more overweight, exercised less, smoked more, drank more, didn't eat fruits and vegetables, didn't take their vitamins.

And the half who were not eating meat were the healthy users. In other words they were more conscious about their health, so they didn't eat meat, and they exercised more, and ate more fruits and vegetables, and didn't eat processed foods, and didn't eat tons of sugar, and didn't smoke. Of course they had less heart disease.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But when you look at a study of 11,000 people, they looked at people who ate meat, or vegetarian within who shopped at a health food store. Guess what? Both of the risk of death and disease went down.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It's the quality.

Dr. Mark Hyman: The quality of the overall diet.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I think there's some concerns about effects of meat on the gut flora, and I think we're still exploring all that, but I would say given the context of a healthy diet, and lots of plant foods I call it you know, meat, have it condimeat, like, have it as a condiment. I call it condimeat.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: This is [inaudible 00:29:19] you want to downsize your meat, and up size your vegetables. So most of your plate should be like, plant foods, vegetables, 75% of, and I do that. I have like, three or four vegetable dishes. I'm having salad, I have my roast eggplant, I might have some broccoli with sauce, and like, so I make three or four vegetable dishes, and like, a small piece of protein. And not every meal.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right? So I think not only meat is harmful for your health, I don't think based on the data we have good evidence if that's true, I think there's evidence it actually can help particularly as you get older with protein. Because you need protein synthesis, and animal protein has higher levels of an amino acid called lucine, which is super important for building muscle.

So as you're older, as you get older you lose muscle, and we call this disease sarcopenia, and it's the biggest problem with aging is how we get diabetic, and how we get weak, how our inflammation goes up, and our stress hormones go up, and our growth hormone goes down, our testosterone goes down as men, it's all a mess. We get a hormonal aging mess and we don't have enough muscle, and protein is critical for building muscle, and so that's why people as they age often need more.

Nada Youssef: Very good.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I think beans and grains are okay, but you know, you have to eat three cups of beans to get the same amount of protein as six ounces of meat.

Nada Youssef: I see.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So who's gonna eat three cups of beans, right? So it's hard, and I think you know, you can supplement the protein from vegetables with lucine, and other things, and you can do it, but it's more challenging.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great. All right, I get a start on the questions from our viewers, but I do have one last question that-

Dr. Mark Hyman: [inaudible 00:30:45]

Nada Youssef: No, no, you're fine. Intermittent fasting.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yes.

Nada Youssef: And ketogenic diet. I wanted to talk about.

Dr. Mark Hyman: They're related.

Nada Youssef: What they are, both, explain it to our viewers, and then I know people that actually do both at the same time.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: And how do you think about that?

Dr. Mark Hyman: So you know, what it is first of all there's two different things. One is intermittent fasting, which essentially eating within a time restricted period, it would be like, from noon to eight.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: You don't have breakfast, you don't eat late at night, and you eat within a window of eight hours.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And what that does, it can be six, eight hours. What that does, it stimulates the effects of fasting. Now, we know from the research that calorie restriction is the only thing that extends life. If you take animal models, mice, or worm, or whatever. You restrict their calories, they'll live a third longer. So for us, that's like if you live 80 years, that's like living to 120.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: That's not bad, right?

Nada Youssef: No.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But nobody wants to starve themselves.

Nada Youssef: No.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Who's gonna restrict their calories? You'd be miserable. I met a guy once was like, on this program. "What did you have for breakfast?" "I had five pounds of celery." I'm like, I would get really tired of eating five pounds of celery for breakfast. So you don't want to do that.

So intermittent fasting mimics fasting.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It mimics calorie restriction, so it turns on all the anti-aging mechanisms in your cells, all the anti-aging genes, so super helpful, and it also helps with weight loss.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: It helps with weight loss, it helps reverse diabetes, it improves your stem cells, reduces inflammation, increases your antioxidant enzymes, it has so many ... It increases your bone mineral density, it has so many benefits.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So that's a simple thing to do. Now, ketogenic diet means that you're eating most of your diet as fat. You switch your fuel source from sugar, glucose, to fat, which turns into ketones in the body, which is basically a backup fuel system, right? It's like having a diesel, and a gas engine, you've got both, right?

So the ketogenic diet helps you to actually switch from sugar burning, to fat burning.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Now, think about it. If you have like, 2,500 calories of sugar stored in your muscle you have probably 40,000 calories in your body of fat, so a much better fuel to use.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It also is great for your brain, and it does a lot of the same things as intermittent fasting. It activates your stem cells, it reduces inflammation, it activates your antioxidant enzymes, it helps with your [skin 00:33:03] and resistance, it can reverse diabetes. There are now projects going on where in fact we're doing research with Cleveland Clinic using this.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: Where they're reversing 75% of diabetes. Reversing, not managing, using ketogenic diets.

Nada Youssef: Really? Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: People are on insulin, on medications, and using our functioning for life program. We're using that model to help people reverse disease.

Nada Youssef: So no sugar, and no carbs then? Or is it low carbs, or is it no carbs?

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's pretty much ... Very low. So like-

Nada Youssef: Very little.

Dr. Mark Hyman: If you have one regular size can of soda that's like, I think it's like 39 grams of carbs.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: And we recommend for ketogenics like, less than 50 grams.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's not much sugar, right?

Nada Youssef: Sure, sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: 50 grams is like, you know, very little. And it's 70% of your diet, or 80% as fat, mostly olive oil, avocados, then some seeds, good fats. And I think you know, some protein, but not too much protein because protein can turn into sugar in the body. So really you want to eat a diet ... That's a diet not for everybody. I don't recommend ketogenic for everybody, they're challenging, they're hard to do, but they're powerful therapeutic diets. They've been shown to help with brain cancer, with Alzheimer's, with autism. We know we've treated kids with epilepsy, where all drugs fail, that thing we go to when everything else fails to treat epilepsy that can't respond to everything else.

Diabetes, massive obesity. We see amazing results. So-

Nada Youssef: When you say when ... Hearing you talk about epilepsy in kids, how young like, are we talking like, a three year old, or four year old are okay with absolutely no carbs, absolutely no sugar? That's safe?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Here's a little known fact.

Nada Youssef: Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We don't need carbs to live. We need protein-

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Amino acids, there's essential amino acids, there's essential fatty acids, which are essential fats. There's no such thing as essential carbs.

Nada Youssef: Carbs, okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So we are perfectly capable of doing great without any carbs. Now, I think personally that carbs should be the majority of your diet, and you're thinking like, Dr. Hyman, have you gone crazy? What are you talking about? What I'm talking about is broccoli is a carb, asparagus is a carb.

Nada Youssef: Broccoli's a carb?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Oh, yeah.

Nada Youssef: Like, do they-

Dr. Mark Hyman: All plant foods are made of carbs.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So whether it's broccoli, or asparagus, or an apple. That's what we should be eating.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We should be eating most of our diet by volume like, by volume-

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Most of our diets should be carb ... But like, you can eat 21 cups of broccoli, and that's how much calories is in a Big Gulp. So good luck, 21 cups of broccoli-

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Nobody's gonna be able to eat that.

Nada Youssef: Right, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But people can drink a Big Gulp.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right?

Nada Youssef: That's the problem.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right. That's the problem. So you know, 12 cups of broccoli, you're never gonna eat that.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So you're gonna eat all you want, and that's what I do. I fill up because it's got a lot of fiber.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's got powerful antioxidants. We need all these plant chemicals called phytochemicals that are the colorful rainbow colors in plant foods, that's what we need to actually live and be healthy.

Nada Youssef: Sure, great. Well, I do have some pre-submitted questions that I have here as well as live coming in, and if you are just joining us we are here with Dr. Mark Hyman, director of Functional Medicine, and we are taking your questions regarding health misconceptions. So type in your questions in the comment section below.

Okay, so I'm gonna start with Kimberly. What about sugar-

Dr. Mark Hyman: Hi, Kimberly.

Nada Youssef: What about sugar from fruit? Is it better?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yes. Fruit is good, fruit juice is not good, right? So I think if you were to chew on a sugar cane, that's fine.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right? Just a cube, that's .. If you eat a apple, that's great. When you extract the juice, or the sugar from that, not so great.

Nada Youssef: Okay, what about like, a lot of people do the fruit smoothies in the morning, and they put so much-

Dr. Mark Hyman: Fruit?

Nada Youssef: [inaudible 00:36:46]

Dr. Mark Hyman: Fruit is okay, so if you put fruit in a blender it's different than putting it in a juicer, right?

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: If you put it in a Vitamix for example, which by the way from Cleveland, which is awesome in Ohio.

Nada Youssef: Shout out.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Right? So you know, I mean listen, Vitamix like, I went through like, a dozen blenders.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Before I got a Vitamix, and it's got like a two horsepower engine, which is like a lawnmower.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So you can put it in there.

Nada Youssef: That's awesome.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I think that you know, if you put a whole apple in, that's okay.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I mean, it's a little quicker digested.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You don't want to put like, five apples in.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But you could stick an apple in with some greens, or a slice of apple, a half an apple.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You know, I make a green smoothie, I put a cucumber, kale, celery, you can put an apple in there, lemon, I put ginger, you put parsley, cilantro, and you put it in the Vitamix and it turns into this great green smoothie.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You don't have to add sugar.

Nada Youssef: Right, because it's already sweet from-

Dr. Mark Hyman: The apple helps, yeah.

Nada Youssef: Right, okay, great. We're going on to Rick. Do you have any tips for super boosting immune systems?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Do I have tips for super boosting your immune system? Absolutely. A couple things are really important. One is sugar is an immune suppressant. So eating a diet that's whole foods, that's low sugar, it's got good fats, all that's super important. Vitamin D is super important, you get vitamin D from fatty fish, like herrings, sardines, sunlight, and even mushrooms like, porcini mushrooms have piles of vitamin D.

Nada Youssef: I didn't know that.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, little known fact. But you really, we found that in studies that you can reduce your risk of getting the flu by 70% by having adequate vitamin D levels.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So it's super important, vitamin E, of course vitamin C can help. So you know, exercise is great for the immune system, getting enough sleep. If you don't sleep enough your immune system's gonna go down.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So yeah, very important.

Nada Youssef: All right, and Heather, what are the bad fats, and which common foods contain them?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Heather, well fats, they are good, bad, and the ugly, right? So the good we all agree on is olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. There's no argument there. Mainly the bad people think about still is saturated fat, coconut oil, butter. I don't think we really have a problem there if it's grass fed, if it's you know, extra virgin. A lot of some of the studies that will say coconut, or maybe from like, processed coconut oil, not virgin coconut oil. Vegetable oils, there really is no vegetable oil of value, there is no broccoli oil. It's nut and seed oils usually.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Like, beans, soy bean oil, which is 10% of our calories, you know, there's a whole group that says we should eat a lot of these oils, but I don't agree. I think you can eat these oils as part of your diet, in other words if you're eating almonds, or walnuts, or nuts and seeds, you're getting sesame seeds, right? You're eating soy beans, you're getting these fats, right?

Nada Youssef: Right, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But to refine them, and extract them, we've only done that in the last thousand years.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I mean, sorry, 100 years. There's a thousand times more soy bean oil in our diet than there was like, 100 years ago, right? This is an experiment.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: On humans, right?

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I really encourage people to not eat a lot of refined oils, have you know, avocado oil, that's an okay oil.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So the good fats that we should be eating are you know, omega-3 fats from like, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, are the plant sources although you really want more fish. The fish derived ones, sardines, herring, mackerels, wild salmon, anchovies all are good sources of low toxin fish that have [wild 00:40:11] omega-3's. You can get swordfish, and tuna, which also have a lot, but they're also very dangerous because they're full of mercury.

Nada Youssef: Mercury.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So and you want you know, olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, you can use avocado oil, you can use coconut oil as well, and coconut fat. Nuts and seeds are great fats. Bad fats, you could probably stay away from I think are the refined oils I think you want to stay away from trans-fats, hydrogenated fat, the FDA banned these, you know, we've known for 50 years that these were a problem, but it was only in the last sort of few years that the FDA has actually declared, "not safe to eat." They're generally recognized as safe, or GRAS as a category that the Food and Drug Administration use to sort of say foods are safe to be in the food supply. Well, they took away that. So it's not safe to eat, and yet it's still out there in the marketplace, so watch for the word hydrogenated, or trans-fat. If it says hydrogenated, that's a problem. Even if the label says zero trans-fat, it can still have half a gram of trans-fat per serving, it's just the way that the regulations are, so I tell people never to eat that.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Crisco, margarine, shortening.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: They call it shortening, because it shortens your life.

Nada Youssef: Oh, my God. I hope not. We're gonna go to Laura. I have a severe nut allergy, and I know you talk about nuts.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: Being the perfect snack on the go. What other options do you recommend?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Seeds.

Nada Youssef: Seeds, perfect.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Pumpkin seeds.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Are great, sunflower seeds are not as great. Pumpkin seeds are great, and I think you know, you can use other snacks I think, but there's a whole list of snacks in my website food emergency, I think nut allergies are a bummer because nuts are great for you, but yeah, there we go.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great. Let's see, Stefan. I'm trying to stay healthy, if I want to stick to a healthy diet, but want to still have a sweet tooth. What are my options?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, you want to still have a sweet tooth? Or you actually have it?

Nada Youssef: Want to still have it.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Who wants to have a sweet tooth? I mean, it's not a great thing to have a sweet tooth. The thing is, when you eat and change your diet you're not gonna crave sweets as much. So when you're eating more fat, it cuts the hunger, it cuts your cravings, you cut out the [inaudible 00:42:12] sugar. It's a vicious cycle. I mean, now when I go by you know, a bakery counter with all kinds of donuts, and muffins, it doesn't even look like food to me, right?

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I mean, do I like sugar? Yeah, we all love sugar.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I think if you eat sugar in the context of a healthy diet, if it's sugar that you know how much is there, if you add it to your diet, if you actually make the cookie, you know, if you make the food I would say that's fine. It's like french fries. You want to eat french fries? Go ahead, but make sure you make them yourself.

Nada Youssef: I see.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You cut the potatoes, you fry them. You're not gonna do that very often.

Nada Youssef: Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I think it's really about understanding that the source of added sugar, and staying away from that.

Nada Youssef: And I remember the last time I was at one of your events, and I asked you. I said, I like to drink coffee.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: And I like it sweet.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: And I asked you, what can I do to add onto it, and you said nothing.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Nothing, yeah.

Nada Youssef: Yeah. So I started drinking black coffee.

Dr. Mark Hyman: There you go.

Nada Youssef: There you go. So Lisa, she asked, what are your top three food recommendations?

Dr. Mark Hyman: God, Lisa. That's a hard question.

Nada Youssef: That is a good one.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I think if I come up with the top three foods it would be like, omega-3 fat containing foods, one of my top foods is sardines.

Nada Youssef: Really?

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's not a popular food.

Nada Youssef: I don't like sardines.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But sardines are full of omega-3 fats, they're a great source of protein, they have calcium if you eat them with the bones, and they also have choline, and other nutrients, vitamin D even that are powerful.

Nada Youssef: Okay, two more.

Dr. Mark Hyman: As far as vegetables, I think a staple should be the broccoli family.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: That's broccoli, collards, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts, arugula, watercress. All the family has powerful levels of anti-cancer chemicals called glucosinolates, sulforaphane, they have magnesium, and folate, B vitamins, they're a super food. I mean, I just read an article that people have more ... Cruciferous vegetables have less risk of side effects from for example, breast cancer.

So and we know [inaudible 00:44:05] cancer, heart disease, and so many things. I really encourage people to actually use a lot of that. I really have a cup or two a day, broccolinis, all sorts of recipes.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: The third one, you know, I would say I think nuts are pretty high on the list.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You know? As walnuts, nuts and seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, making those a staple. We know that's leading to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, it's full of minerals that we don't get often, magnesium, zinc, selenium [inaudible 00:44:32] a lot of nuts.

Nada Youssef: Great. And Leah, thoughts on high fructose corn syrup in most foods and condiments.

Dr. Mark Hyman: My thoughts?

Nada Youssef: Yeah, your thoughts.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You really don't want to know what I really think. I wrote a blog once called, five reasons high fructose corn syrup will kill you.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So there's no room for [inaudible 00:44:54].

Nada Youssef: That's your answer, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman: One, because it's sweeter than regular sugar.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Two, it has free fructose, which may be a problem, and actually cause leaky gut, inflammation, liver issues. It might have more fructose than sugar, so it might have anywhere from 55 to 75% or more of the sugar in there as fructose, which alone is not very well dealt with by the body. It's really fine in some fruit, but not when it's free.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And it's a process of getting the mercury ... I mean, of getting the sugar out of the corn, and that actually uses mercury on it. So we get mercury in it.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Not to mention it's just in everything.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So if you want to eliminate all the bad stuff from your diet, if you just do two things, you're gonna make a huge step forward. One is don't ever anything with high fructose corn syrup, or drink it, and don't eat anything with trans or hydrogenated fat. If you do that, you're gonna eliminate most processed food from your diet.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great. Questions are really coming in. Hannah, during the holidays I make all of my family's desserts. How do you make desserts sweet without too much sugar?

Dr. Mark Hyman: You can use dates, you can use fruit puree, you can put a drop of stevia in, which I'm okay with.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Make it a little sweeter, and you can make things less sweet.

Nada Youssef: Yeah, just get used to the mouth being-

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah. You know, we're sort of addicted to it, I mean, the truth is that you know, flour and sugar are addictive, particularly sugar and it affects the same pathways to the brain as cocaine, or heroine. Animals will work eight times harder to get sugar than cocaine, even if they're already addicted to cocaine, they'll switch over and eat the sugar, and they can give themselves IV cocaine by hitting the lever, they'll always switch to the sugar.

Nada Youssef: Oh, my goodness.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Even artificial sweeteners. It slows your metabolism, it's not great, and I think people need to sort of understand that it is powerfully addictive, and that you need to treat it with respect.

Nada Youssef: Sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I mean, I like tequila, but I don't have tequila for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Nada Youssef: Sure. You can have tequila, that's good-

Dr. Mark Hyman: I do, but it's like, I have like, a shot of tequila, or two shots maybe.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But I don't have like, a bottle.

Nada Youssef: Right, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So it's like, and I think what people don't realize it how dangerous sugar is.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So the sweet tooth really comes from the addictive properties of it, and when you cut down, or you cut it out, that's why I sort of encourage you to do a detox, just like, 10 days. So if during the holidays, you know, do your best, and then you know, January come along, just reset your system.

Nada Youssef: Sure. Okay, and then I have Percy, do you go out to eat often? And what do you recommend ordering? I guess it depends on where you're going.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Do I what?

Nada Youssef: Do you go out to eat often?

Dr. Mark Hyman: I think, do I eat often? Yeah, I eat often.

Nada Youssef: Do you eat ever?

Dr. Mark Hyman: I eat often, everyday.

Nada Youssef: Do you like to eat, and then where, and what is-

Dr. Mark Hyman: I would say 50% of the time I'm on the road, I travel, I eat out. It's tough. But you know, what I encourage people to do is to learn how to navigate their world, right? So based on your lifestyle, and so most of the time, my world is circumscribed. I go to Cleveland Clinic, and I work here, I'm on the road, I know where I'm traveling, and at home I know the neighborhood of food availability, so you have to know how to hunt and gather.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: In your environment, so I know for example, Cleveland Clinic there's a wellness store. I can go get bars, I can get a green juice, I know where to go. So I make sure that like, I'm very good at navigating. When I look at a menu, I pick the restaurant. I don't go to Arby's, or McDonald's, right?

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I'll find a restaurant, which serves protein, and vegetables. I'll ask for two or three sides of vegetables, I'll have a salad with some protein, and then I had some lamb last night, I totally skipped the couscous, which is a grain, which is a huge pile they give you. I said, just put it on asparagus, plus give me the extra vegetables, you know, carrots, and then there's stuff that come with it. So basically I just navigate by being a little picky, or by picking the restaurant, and by being smart about what I'm choosing, I don't eat the bread when the bread basket comes, I tell them not to bring it.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: If I'm hungry, and they bring it guess what? I'm like everybody else, I'll eat it.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But you know, you really don't want to do that.

Nada Youssef: You don't want it in your plate.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: And just like you said earlier, prepping ahead of time-

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: So looking at the menu, everything-

Dr. Mark Hyman: Absolutely, and when I ... Yeah, exactly. When I go out with friends, I'm like, I pick the restaurant. Like, sometimes I can't, but like-

Nada Youssef: I'm sure they're thankful for that.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: Okay, and then Joanne, true or false, all disease begins in the gut.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I would say false. If you get hit by a truck, you know, it doesn't being in the gut. But most of the issues are true.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: In fact, the gut we now know the microbiome is this whole new field of research, but functional medicine we've been dealing with forever, and we have a whole functioning for life program on how to fix the gut, which is a 10 week program that people do together in a group, they learn how to do it. I encourage you to go check it out, functioning for life at Cleveland Clinic is a powerful group model that uses functional medicine to help people get health, and we focus really on the gut, and the reason is that we now know this area is huge. The microbiome is now the latest sort of advancing trend in medicine, which has identified that your gut flora play a role in everything from obesity, to diabetes, to heart disease, to cancer, and there are actually studies here at Cleveland Clinic here [inaudible 00:49:56] looking at the role of the gut microbiome, and breast cancer for example, we look at Steve Hayes into his work on the gut microbiome and heart disease.

And we are understanding it's affecting autism, it's affecting autoimmune disease, and allergies, and obviously gut issues. So we really focus on that, and it's really important to get your gut healthy. So most people don't know how to do that, it's often by limiting the things that are fertilizing the bad bugs in there, which is sugar, and starch, the same story.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's not like you need one diet to fix your gut, and another to fix diabetes, and another diet to fix heart disease, another diet to fix cancer, and Alzheimer's, it's all the same.

Nada Youssef: Sure, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We need the right food for humans.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And takes care of everything. So I really encourage people to understand that if they're having gut issues, or they're having these inflammatory diseases to really get some help with a functional medicine doctor, and I encourage you to check out our functioning for life program and-

Nada Youssef: Well, Misty has a follow up question about that. What are your preferred functional medicine tests? Do you have any?

Dr. Mark Hyman: You know, that's a good question. I mean, my preferred functional medicine test is just to listen to somebody's story because within their story you can pick out most of the issues and figure it out looking at their history, their exam. Lab tests can be helpful, and we use a lot of lab tests in functional medicine, but we really look at the gut, we look at the nutritional status. I think you know, if I had a couple of tests that I would rely on that are three things that I would, it would be hard to sort of pick without actually checking. You want common reactions to gluten, a lot of people have antibodies reactions, that would be one. Another would be heavy metals, which is very controversial, but I think a lot of us have heavy metal issues, mercury, lead, and so forth.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: And the third would be looking at people's sort of vitamin D levels, and nutritional status because often we're very low in vitamin D. So those are things you can actually even guess and put people on a gluten free diet, but things that you know, you can test for heavy are metals so it's gut issues, I'll look for that. So depending on what the issues of the person I would adjust my testing.

Nada Youssef: Okay, and going back to the microbiome comments. Apple cider vinegar seems to be happening lately you know, taking a tablespoon-

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: Putting it in your food, losing weight.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah.

Nada Youssef: Is there enough research? Is it-

Dr. Mark Hyman: There's not a ton of research on it.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You know, I think there's issues about like, how it might help to alkalize the body, and do different things, so if people like it and use it, I'm super supportive.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But you know, it's not my first line of attack on these things.

Nada Youssef: Okay, cool. And let's see, I have so many. Olga, what are the worst foods for menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes?

Dr. Mark Hyman: The worst foods.

Nada Youssef: Worst foods for menopause. [inaudible 00:52:25]

Dr. Mark Hyman: Menopause symptoms, by the way like, in Japan they have a word for menopause, or hot flashes I mean. They have a word for hot flashes. So women as they go through menopause may get hot flashes, mood swings, cognitive impairment, brain fog, they might get dry skin, vaginal dryness, they might get you know, joint pain, fatigue, all these are real, and I don't think any woman needs to suffer from it. But typical woman, if they are living a lifestyle that gives fostering health, in other words they're getting enough sleep, they're dealing with stress well, if they're exercising, if they're not smoking, if they're not drinking too much alcohol, if they're not having too much caffeine, if they're eating a whole foods diet typically the menopausal symptoms are very minimal if any, and I think you know, that is very powerful.

So I think the worst foods are sugar, are processed food often alcohol, really would be the worst foods.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great. And then Alice, I have diabetes and my doctor says just lose weight and my diabetes will get better. Is that all I have to do?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yes, and no.

Nada Youssef: Okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You have to lose weight, but you have to lose it doing the right thing, right?

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: People like, go on the Twinkie diet, or-

Nada Youssef: Twinkie diet.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You know, that is not gonna help you.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You really need to shift your biology, and you can lose weight by restricting your calories.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: That will help, and they've found that diabetes actually can be reversed with calorie restriction, but nobody wants to eat 700 calories a day for the rest of your life.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: It's miserable, right?

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But if you switch to a ketogenic diet, you switch to a very low starch and sugar diet, and a higher fat diet it can often just do the trick and help you with the weight loss, deal with the cause of it-

Nada Youssef: Get there faster.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Reverse the problem, absolutely.

Nada Youssef: Perfect. And then Donald, should I take daily fiber supplements? Or are there changes I should be making to my diet?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, yes, you know, we as a species consume 100 grams of fiber a day as hunter gatherers. We ate like, 800 species of plants, roots, seed-like berries, seeds, like all kinds of stuff, right? And now we have about eight to 15 grams of fiber because we eat a very low fiber diet.

Nada Youssef: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman: So if you eat nuts and seeds, if you eat some whole grains, if you eat beans, if you eat lots of veggies, you're gonna get plenty, plenty of fiber. So I really encourage you to eat the foods that have the high fiber. But sometimes I actually have people supplement flax seeds, or ground flax seeds as a food, you can add it to your food. You can use [inaudible 00:54:51], which is a powerful fiber that absorbs a lot of water called konjac root, which is from Japan. It's actually used in cooking there. They make noodles out of it, you can actually get shirataki noodles, which actually taste awesome and just like pasta you can make it like pasta. They have zero calories, they have tons of fiber, they found it reversed, you know, blood sugar issues, and cholesterol issues, and it's like a pasta, but you don't even know you're eating pasta.

Nada Youssef: Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And it's shirataki, and has to be made from konjac, not like the drink, but it's K-O-N-J-A-C. And it's a powerful fiber that I use a lot in my practice, so you know, you can use other fibers. Acacia fiber is from acacia plant, very good for the microbiome, certain plant foods like, plantain, which is you know, more of a Latin American vegetable, can be very, very high in resistant starch, so you want to eat those.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great. We have a few more minutes, I'm gonna go through these two questions here I have.

Dr. Mark Hyman: A few more minutes.

Nada Youssef: Yeah, I know. Almost done.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Almost done, what's going on?

Nada Youssef: I heard that Hashimoto's disease is autoimmune, what is it? How do I know I have it? And can diet help? What other conditions are helped for autoimmune?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, there's two questions here.

Nada Youssef: Yes, there is.

Dr. Mark Hyman: One is thyroid, and one is autoimmune. Autoimmune in general is a really common problem. It's probably more common than heart disease, cancer, diabetes combined because it affects so many people, but we think of them as individual disease. You have MS, you have Hashimoto's thyroid issues, you have rheumatoid arthritis, you have colitis, so we sort of separate them all out, but as a group they're one of the most prevalent conditions we have, and they are huge cost centers in healthcare because we've got so much of these drugs to treat them, but they cause quite a huge amount of suffering, and the good news is that we know how often to treat these useful lifestyle approaches. Because a lot of the causes we can deal with whether it's diet, gluten is a big one. Always is number one, two and three on my list if someone has an autoimmune disease. Heavy metals, infections, tick infections, gut issues, all can lead to autoimmune disease.

So I was reading the other day for example, they found that a bacteria, toxic bacteria from the gut were found in the joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis, so the gut is really a huge factor.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Good to deal with all those causes, and we do that. We also have an autoimmune program for functioning for life as well, so we do a lot of these functioning for life groups where people can get in Cleveland Clinic and typically have to wait a long waiting list.

Nada Youssef: Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We have some people on our waiting list that can jump the line, they can get in, they can get support from people and our friends, we work with doctors, nutritionists, health coaches, behavioral therapists in these groups and it's really a profound ... We find that people actually even do better than on the one-on-one visits. So with autoimmune disease and Hashimoto's I think we have to understand that you know, this is one of the autoimmune diseases. It's often caused by gluten, which can cause autoimmune disease of the thyroid, it can be caused by environmental toxins like, pesticides that are really prevalent. All of us are sort of cesspools, if we were food, we wouldn't be safe to eat.

And so I really think you know, it can be affected ... By diet it's hard to reverse it, but you can definitely improve your overall health, you can improve your antibodies, and you can really get healthy, and there's a number of great books on this, but thyroid is really important issue.

Nada Youssef: Great, and then I have one more before I let you go. So Monica, all my friends are avoiding gluten, should I?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Ha, ha, great question. So gluten free is the latest health fad, right? Everybody's gluten free, most people don't even know what gluten is, and they're gluten free, which is kind of funny. Like, I don't know what it is, but I'm not eating it because my friends aren't and it seems like it's a good thing.

But the truth is most gluten free foods are pretty bad for you, right? Gluten free cake, and cookies, processed foods, and avocado's gluten free, and eggs are gluten free, an almond is gluten free. Those are all fine, okay? But the gluten free processed foods, not a great idea. I think gluten as a whole is probably not the best food we should be eating because it's contained in flour products, which make us have high blood sugar, it can be inflammatory, make us crave stuff. So I'm not a big fan of gluten, I don't think everybody should be off it 100%, but I think if you have reactions, or any chronic illness I think it's a good thing to try to get off it.

Nada Youssef: Okay, great. Well, I mean I can talk to you for like, two more hours.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Okay.

Nada Youssef: Unfortunately we're out of time.

Dr. Mark Hyman: All right.

Nada Youssef: So before-

Dr. Mark Hyman: That was [inaudible 00:59:06] do that again.

Nada Youssef: For more information about functional medicine at Cleveland Clinic or to sign up for functioning for life, make sure that you visit ccf.org/functioningforlife. And thank you so much, it's been a pleasure having you today.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Yeah, and come see us because you're gonna get like, 20 hours of this instead of just like, one.

Nada Youssef: Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman: When you join the group, so I encourage everybody to go check out ccf.org/functioningforlife and check us out because it's really a profound change in healthcare, we're using food as medicine, and everybody needs to have access to it, and I think that's really why we're here.

Nada Youssef: Yes, exactly. Thank you so much for joining us, I'll see you next time.

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Tune in for practical health advice from Cleveland Clinic experts. What's really the healthiest diet for you? How can you safely recover after a heart attack? Can you boost your immune system?

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