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    Food: The Root Causes of Our Healthcare, Economic and Social Crises with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

    Prioritizing physical fitness not only improves our personal happiness and satisfaction, but also reduces healthcare costs and strengthens our ability to contribute to our community and country.

    enJanuary 24, 2024

    About this Episode

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    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is an independent candidate for President of the United States. He is the founder of the Waterkeeper Alliance—the world’s largest clean water advocacy group—and served as its longtime chairman and attorney. He founded the Children’s Health Defense, where he served as chairman and chief litigation counsel in its campaign to address childhood chronic disease and toxic exposures. He was also on the team that prosecuted and won the case against Monsanto for glyphosate's role in causing cancer.


    As President, he promises to restore the middle class, unravel corporate capture, end the chronic disease epidemic, improve the quality of the water we drink and the air we breathe, heal the divide, fix our public education system, take care of our veterans, support the trades, make homes affordable again, support regenerative farming, among other key priorities.


    This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health, Cozy Earth, Bioptimizers, and Fatty15.


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    In this episode we discuss (audio version / Apple Subscriber version):

    • The state of health in America (5:41 / 4:01)
    • One of the main reasons RFK Jr. is running for president (8:39 / 6:59)
    • The beginning of the autism epidemic (12:38 / 10:58)
    • Addressing harms caused by ultra-processed food (15:03 / 13:23)
    • Eliminating corporate culture in government agencies (33:05 / 28:41)
    • America’s disproportionate deaths from COVID-19 (42:10 / 37:46)
    • How America’s health status is affecting our national security (44:34 / 40:10)
    • Solving the mental health crisis (47:41 / 43:17)
    • Food and drug TV marketing (56:14 / 51:49)
    • Bobby’s thinking about fitness for himself and America (1:03:39 / 59:14)


    Enter for a chance to hike in LA with Bobby and me here.



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • By prioritizing health, improving nutrition, and addressing chronic diseases, America can not only improve individual outcomes but also create a stronger, more prosperous nation.
    • Ineffective government policies, contradictory dietary guidelines, and a profit-driven healthcare system contribute to the alarming levels of chronic diseases and obesity in the United States.
    • Ultra-processed foods have harmful effects on our health, leading to obesity, chronic illnesses, and even mortality. We must prioritize informing the public and restoring trust in scientific agencies to tackle this issue.
    • The NIH's focus on pharmaceutical profit has hindered research on epidemic causes, leading to a lack of reliable information for the public. It is essential to fund studies and hold industries accountable for real change.
    • Funding nutrition research, addressing the impact of ultra processed food, and changing corporate culture are essential for preventing chronic illness and promoting healthier food options.
    • The prevalence of corporate capture within regulatory agencies undermines public health and needs to be addressed through the recruitment of individuals of integrity and policy changes.
    • Addressing and reducing the burden of chronic diseases is crucial for improving healthcare outcomes and alleviating the economic crisis in the United States.
    • By focusing on holistic support, creating wellness centers, and improving the food system, America can become more resilient and better equipped to face future challenges.
    • By immersing ourselves in nature, engaging in activities like farming, and providing nutritious food, we can heal our country and combat health issues our children face.
    • Prioritizing healthy school lunches can improve children's behavior, moods, and learning capacity, leading to better academic outcomes and long-term benefits for society.
    • Prioritizing physical fitness not only improves our personal happiness and satisfaction, but also reduces healthcare costs and strengthens our ability to contribute to our community and country.
    • Understanding the biological and psychological factors behind our cravings for sugary and processed foods is crucial in addressing obesity and improving overall health. Regulation of the food industry is necessary for long-term success.
    • By increasing fiber intake, doing a sugar detox, and prioritizing physical fitness, we can improve our overall well-being and lead healthier lives.
    • The decline in physical fitness and nutrition not only affects individual well-being but also national security. By promoting healthy lifestyles and initiatives, we can work towards a healthier and stronger nation.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The Urgent Need to Address America's Health Crisis

    America's current state of poor physical and mental health is not only affecting individuals, but it's also impacting the economy, the environment, the future of children, and even national security. The conversation between Dr. Mark Hyman and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. highlights the urgent need to address the root causes of America's health crisis. Kennedy, an independent candidate for the presidency, recognizes the importance of making Americans healthier to solve many of the country's other pressing issues. They discuss the mass poisoning of children, corporate capture in the healthcare system, the impact of ultra-processed food on mental health, and the alarming decrease in life expectancy. By prioritizing health, improving nutrition, and addressing chronic diseases, America can not only improve individual outcomes but also create a stronger, more prosperous nation.

    The Alarming Rise of Chronic Diseases and Obesity in the United States

    There is a significant increase in chronic diseases and obesity in the United States since 1980, with the death gap increasing by 570%. This issue is especially prevalent in the south and the Midwest, and government policies have failed to address it effectively. The contradiction between dietary guidelines promoting healthy eating and the prevalence of processed and sugary foods in government assistance programs exacerbates the problem. The healthcare system in the country is better described as a sick care system, with big agriculture, big food, and big pharma benefiting from chronic diseases. This chronic disease epidemic has reached alarming levels, affecting not only obesity rates but also neurological, autoimmune, and allergic diseases. The introduction of high fructose corn syrup in the late 1980s is a potential causative factor.

    The Dangers of Ultra-Processed Foods and the Need for Change

    The consumption of ultra-processed foods has contributed significantly to the obesity and chronic illness epidemic. These foods, filled with deconstructed and artificial ingredients, have a negative impact on our bodies, including our gut microbiome and mental health. The evidence shows that the more ultra-processed food we eat, the higher the risk of mortality. With a majority of our diets consisting of these foods, we are facing serious consequences, especially for the younger generation. Addressing this issue as President would involve providing accurate information to the public while preserving personal freedom in food choices. Additionally, it would be critical to restore the integrity of scientific agencies like the NIH, which have been influenced by corporate interests and conflicts of interest.

    Prioritizing profit over public health: The NIH's role in promoting pharmaceutical products and stifling research on epidemic causes.

    The National Institute of Health (NIH) has prioritized profit over public health. Instead of focusing on answering important questions about the causes of epidemics like autism and obesity, NIH has become the largest incubator of pharmaceutical products. Researchers who attempt to study the root causes of these epidemics risk losing their jobs and facing repercussions. Additionally, scientific journals have been complicit in promoting fake science that serves the interests of the pharmaceutical and food industries. This has resulted in a lack of reliable information for the public. To address these issues, action needs to be taken to fund studies that uncover the truth and hold these industries accountable through litigation. Only then can real change occur.

    Prioritizing Nutrition Research and Addressing Root Causes of Chronic Illness

    There is a strong need for prioritizing nutrition research and addressing the root causes of chronic illness. The lack of funding for nutrition research is concerning, as it is a major driver of obesity, diabetes, and mental health issues. While environmental chemicals and other stresses also play a role, the impact of ultra processed food has been largely neglected. The focus has been on treating downstream effects with medication rather than addressing the upstream root causes. Additionally, there is a corporate capture within agencies and Congress, which hinders progress in promoting healthier food options and implementing effective policies. To address these issues, it is important to promote good science, improve food labeling and marketing, incentivize doctors to provide nutrition services, and change the corporate culture within agencies.

    Corporate Capture and the Integrity of Regulatory Agencies

    There is a pervasive issue of corporate capture within regulatory agencies such as the Department of Transportation and the FDA. This leads to a culture of bribery and corrupt incentives that prioritize corporate interests over public health. The revolving door between regulators and the industries they are supposed to oversee is a concerning pattern, as it undermines the integrity of these agencies. Furthermore, there is a lack of focus on addressing environmental and lifestyle-related diseases, despite their increasing prevalence. The current healthcare system also prioritizes profit over actual health outcomes, fueling unnecessary procedures and medications. To combat these problems, it is crucial to bring in individuals of integrity and change the policies that perpetuate corporate capture.

    The Critical Link Between Chronic Diseases and the Healthcare Crisis

    The healthcare crisis in the United States is closely tied to the high prevalence of chronic diseases. The country spends a staggering $4.3 trillion on healthcare, yet ranks poorly in comparison to other nations in terms of healthcare outcomes. Chronic diseases have exploded, with 60% of Americans now affected by them. These diseases drive up healthcare costs, with approximately 93% of Medicare costs and 85% of Medicaid costs attributed to chronic diseases. If we can successfully address and reduce the burden of chronic diseases, we can not only improve healthcare outcomes but also alleviate the economic crisis. It is a critical issue that needs urgent attention to ensure a healthier future for all Americans.

    Addressing the root causes of chronic diseases and prioritizing mental health are crucial for America's success.

    The key to America's success lies in prioritizing the health and well-being of its citizens. Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Mark Hyman highlight the detrimental effects of chronic diseases on productivity and overall quality of life. They emphasize the critical role that diet plays in driving these diseases and argue that addressing the root causes, such as our food system, is crucial. The current approach of treating symptoms rather than addressing underlying issues is compared to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Additionally, the discussion highlights the profound impact of mental health issues on society and the economy, with inflammation in the brain being a key driver. The proposed solution involves creating wellness centers and farms that focus on providing holistic support and learning opportunities for individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues. By addressing these interconnected concerns, America can become more resilient and better equipped to face future challenges.

    Reconnecting with Nature and Promoting Healthy Eating

    Reconnecting with nature and promoting healthy eating habits are crucial for healing our country, especially our children. By immersing ourselves in the natural world and engaging in activities like farming and craftsmanship, we can find a sense of peace and rediscover our spirituality. Additionally, providing organic, nutritious food and educating families about healthy eating choices is essential for combating the crisis of drug addiction, mental illness, and other health issues our children are facing. It is important to address the marketing and advertising tactics that promote junk food and pharmaceuticals, as they hinder informed choices and contribute to the problem. Through legislation, we can create a society that prioritizes the well-being and health of our children.

    Unhealthy school lunches: A recipe for poor health and academic performance.

    The food provided in our kids' schools is largely unhealthy and contributing to both physical and mental health issues. School lunches have become outlets for fast food companies, leading to an increase in depression, anxiety, ADHD, and poor academic performance. It is crucial for the Department of Education to prioritize healthy school lunches and ensure that the food given to kids directly affects their behavior, moods, and learning capacity. Research is needed to compare the academic performance, behavioral issues, allergies, and autoimmunity of students who consume junk food versus those who have access to whole, healthy meals. Investing in children's health and education should be a priority, as it can yield long-term benefits for society, including improved academic outcomes and the revitalization of rural communities through sustainable agriculture.

    The Importance of Staying Fit for Individual and National Well-being

    Staying physically fit and engaging in activities that make us happy is not only beneficial for our individual lives, relationships, and satisfaction, but also for our country as a whole. By maintaining good physical shape, we can reduce healthcare costs and be better equipped to serve our community and the public. It is important to find what brings us joy and keeps us centered, whether it's hiking, yoga, swimming, or any other form of exercise. Discipline plays a key role in staying committed to our fitness routines and making time for activities that keep us active. Building enduring character requires making commitments to ourselves and keeping them, even when we may not feel like it. Ultimately, prioritizing physical fitness and staying active enhances our overall happiness and quality of life.

    The Science Behind Our Cravings and the Negative Effects of Ultra-Processed Foods

    Our bodies and brains are wired to crave sugary and processed foods that are addictive, leading to weight gain and health issues. Evolutionarily, our ancestors needed to store fat for winter, so the cravings for sweet and high-calorie foods made sense. However, in today's world of abundance, this biological response is causing problems. The food industry designs their products to be addictive, activating our dopamine centers just like drugs. Research shows that people consume more calories when eating ultra-processed foods compared to whole foods. If we want to address obesity and improve overall health, we need to understand the science behind these cravings and regulate the food industry accordingly. Ignoring this issue will hinder our success as a country in various aspects.

    Steps Towards a Healthier Life

    Our modern availability of sugar and processed foods has led to dysregulated eating, brain chemistry, and mood. This has resulted in widespread nutritional deficiencies and health issues. However, there are simple steps we can take to improve our health. Increasing fiber intake, like the hunter gatherers in Africa, can help reduce sugar absorption and cravings. Additionally, a 10-day sugar detox or diet reset can reset our metabolic and brain chemistry states. Just as President Kennedy challenged Americans to do a 50-mile walk, we can challenge ourselves to make healthier choices and prioritize physical fitness. By taking these steps, we can improve our overall well-being and lead healthier lives.

    Prioritizing Physical Fitness and Nutrition for a Healthier Nation

    The health and fitness of our nation, particularly our youth, is a critical concern. The decline in physical fitness and nutrition is not only affecting individual well-being but also national security. The high rate of overweight and unfit military recruits, as well as the increase in obesity-related injuries among servicemen, is alarming. This issue highlights the importance of prioritizing physical fitness and nutrition as a central part of our national strategy. While there is a need to address toxic exposures and improve the health of our children, it is also crucial for individuals to take responsibility for their own well-being. By promoting healthy lifestyles and supporting initiatives that prioritize health, we can work towards a healthier and stronger nation.

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    The Hidden Connection Between Gut Health & Mental Health That Therapy and Drugs Cannot Fix

    The Hidden Connection Between Gut Health & Mental Health That Therapy and Drugs Cannot Fix
    View the Show Notes For This Episode Get Free Weekly Health Tips from Dr. Hyman Sign Up for Dr. Hyman’s Weekly Longevity Journal Our global mental health crisis is growing at an exponential rate, with over half a billion people suffering from depression and anxiety; it’s time we rethink our understanding of the underlying root causes of mental health challenges. From treating thousands of patients, I’ve learned that depression is not in your head. It’s in your body. More specifically, your gut. When your gut is unhealthy and inflamed, your brain is unhealthy and inflamed. In Functional Medicine, we know that the gut and the brain are intimately connected and that the health of one directly influences the health of the other.  In today’s Health Bites episode, we’re diving into the gut-brain connection and sharing Functional Medicine tools to support your gut health and, as a result, your mood and mental health.  In this episode, I discuss: Our global mental health crisis (2:45) The gut-brain connection (4:18) The story of Marks's broken brain (5:15) Features of the gut-brain axis (8:57) Gut hormones that send signals to your brain (10:06) Role of the gut microbiota in mood and mental health (12:24) How stress negatively impacts our gut microbiome (20:14) The link between leaky gut and poor mental health (21:41) The Functional Medicine approach to fixing the gut (25:56) The 5R Program for fixing your gut health (30:09) This episode is brought to you by AG1 and Rupa Health. Get your daily serving of vitamins, minerals, adaptogens, and more with AG1. Head to DrinkAG1.com/Hyman and get 10 FREE travel packs + FREE Welcome Kit with your first order. Streamline your lab orders with Rupa Health. Access more than 3,000 specialty lab tests and register for a FREE live demo at RupaHealth.com.