Dr. Hyman Debunks The 3 Health Myths That Keep Us Sick

Wellness experts like our March guest editor, Dr. Mark Hyman, author of Eat Fat, Get Thin, are redefining how we look at healthcare on a fundamental level. He’s stirring up long-held ideas about fat and sugar in his new book and setting the record straight on the health myths that have shaped what we as Americans eat on a daily basis. We’re going back to the basics and debunking 3 health myths that have the potential to trap us in bad patterns of eating. Here’s Dr. Hyman

The world of medicine is constantly changing. There’s always new research and science coming out and if you’re in the know, which many TCM readers are, it’s easy to keep up with the latest wellness trends and make the best choices when it comes to our health. Unfortunately, most of the world gets their advice from the government and doctors who are using outdated research to make recommendations.

I’m trying to change the world of medicine. I’m trying to reach people far and wide and tell them the truth about the most powerful medicine we have available: the food that we put at the end of our fork!

It all starts with dispelling old myths that keep us sick and fat! Let’s go through my top 3 myths about health and dispel them for good…

3 Health Myths That Keep Us Sick

Myth #1: All Calories Are Created Equal, So Avoid Fat. The “calories in/calories out” formula for weight maintenance became embedded in the halls of academia and in government policy and the calorie counters won. Even the latest food labeling regulations enhance the prominence of calories by making them big and bold on the label. New laws make it mandatory for fast food restaurants to place calorie counts on menus. It stands to reason that if all calories are equal and fat, for example, contains more than twice the calories as carbs or protein (9 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram), then the best way to cut calories was to cut out fat. You could eat more food if you ate bread and pasta than if you ate butter, because butter was too energy dense. This is what I was taught and believed – until new research turned this idea upside down.

The truth is there are good and bad calories. And that’s because this involves more than a simple math equation. If you eat the same amount of calories in kale or gummy bears, do they do the same thing to your body? No!

When we eat, our food interacts with our biology, which is a complex adaptive system that instantly transforms every bite. Every bite affects your hormones, brain chemistry and metabolism. Sugar calories cause fat storage and spikes hunger. Protein and fat calories promote fat burning.

What counts even more than the quantity of calories are the quality of the calories.

Myth #2: All You Need is Willpower: This is one of the most insidious lies pushed on us by the food industry and government.Their mantra is this: Eat less, exercise more.

The implicit message in this idea is that the real reason we are all fat and sick is that we are lazy gluttons; if we just stopped stuffing our faces and got up off the couch and moved our butt, we would lose weight; it is a moral failing, weak psychology, apathy or worse that prevents people from moderating their food intake and exercise. This is nonsense.

If you try to control your appetite with willpower, you will fail. We have short-term voluntary control and can starve ourselves but then our bodies compensate by slowing our metabolism and dramatically increasing appetite. It is unsustainable. If I asked you to hold your breath for 15 minutes, no matter how bad you want to make it happen, you’re just not designed to pull that off.

When your taste buds, brain chemistry, hormones and metabolism have been damaged by sugar and processed foods, willpower alone won’t do it. If you are addicted to sugar and refined carbs you cannot white knuckle it for very long. You have to naturally reset your brain chemistry and hormones so your body will automatically self regulate and allow the cravings to disappear and the hunger to come back into balance.

When your metabolism has been hijacked, you need to detox from the addictive power of sugar and flour and replace them with real, whole, high quality foods. That will allow your appetite and weight to automatically regulate without willpower.

Myth #3: It’s Expensive to Be Healthy. Even if time and money aren’t on your side, you can still eat healthy. This is one of the most common misconceptions I hear. I understand the challenges of trying to eat well with limited financial resources, limited time, or both. But you don’t have to be rich or retired to eat well and take care of yourself.

When people tell me eating healthy is expensive, I ask them to factor in what they spend on designer coffees, bodegas, grab-and-go meals and other conveniences that might spare them a little time, but at the expense of their health.

Research shows eating healthy, whole, real food isn’t necessarily more expensive than eating junk food, fast food, processed foods or convenience foods. In fact, the top three things purchased in supermarkets are all drugs: sugar, nicotine, and alcohol! If you give up those “drugs,” your grocery bill will go down dramatically.

There is a great resource for eating well for less. It is from the Environmental Working Group (where I am on the board) and it is a free downloadable guide called Good Food on a Tight Budget.

Want a couple more healthy grocery shopping tips? We’re talking about our Whole Foods issues here + sharing about the super-helpful app that’s changed
our grocery shopping quandries for good!  

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Learn about one of the most exciting movements happening in the medical community today with our March Guest and NYT best-seller, Dr. Mark Hyman.

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  1. Nice comments

    Kathy McCrady | 03.07.2016 | Reply
  2. Yes, spot on! And even within sugar, there are heroes and villains – with the sugar from whole fruit combining with the fiber, antioxidants, etc. to make for powerful healthy combos!

    Jess | Rose & Fig | 03.07.2016 | Reply
  3. “In fact, the top four things purchased in supermarkets are all drugs: sugar, nicotine, and alcohol!” Proofread, proofread, proofread. C’MON MAN.

    Jackie Borellos | 03.07.2016 | Reply
  4. “In fact, the top four things purchased in supermarkets are all drugs: sugar, nicotine, and alcohol!” what is the fourth drug..?

  5. I am all for “eating healthy”, but this article is typically fervent mambo jumbo!

    Dr. John McCarthy | 03.09.2016 | Reply
  6. So, he is debunking why 3 thing KEEP us thick. Who is meant here? Humanity or just the readers of this article?
    And who says that I am actually sick? And who says that this is brand new wisdom? Sorry this article is not worth reading at all. All the old stuff that is common knowledge. Well for me it is enough to unsubscribe from the newsletter – what a waste of time!

    Schnei1 | 03.19.2016 | Reply
  7. No, actually the highest purchased items are potatoes (most consumed food in America), bread, and high sugar foods.

    Robert nutritionist | 05.05.2016 | Reply
  8. I am completely convinced that sugar is the problem. If all calories are the same, then why does Atkin’s work? I think you can eat higher amounts of plant fat, reduce simple sugars and keep the weight off. By eliminating simple carbs my weight, blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol have gone down, while HDL has gone up and not taking any medicines.

    Chris McCall | 05.05.2016 | Reply
  9. Strictly speaking, all calories ARE alike since a “calorie” is nothing more nor less than a unit of energy. The sources of this energy are what make the difference so far as your body is concerned, as well as the baggage many of these sources come with. But calories are calories regardless of where they come from. To refer to “good calories and bad calories” is like saying “good horsepower and bad horsepower” or “good BTUs and bad BTU’s.” You can get calories from substances that are bad for you, but the calories themselves are the same since they are nothing more than units of measurement. The nine calories in a cube of sugar are exactly the same as the nine calories in a stalk of celery, just as the grams you measure the weight of the sugar in are the same grams in the celery’s weight. Calories themselves are not a substance. They cannot be “burnt” or used no more than you can burn a volt, a gram or an inch.

    John Hatteras | 05.06.2016 | Reply
  10. Food IS information, what your body does with that FORM of information is crucial to long-term health. I have taken hundreds of people through a similar eating program, off the sugar, white flour, gluten, grains and dairy and in thirty days their lives transform. We eat “clean” meats, organic vegetables and fruits and “healthy” fats. Sugar cravings disappear, weight comes off and they can eat this way the rest of their lives.

    Chris McKee, CNC | 05.06.2016 | Reply

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