Interview with Dr. Mark Hyman- “The Blood Sugar Solution 10 Day Detox Diet”
Mark Hyman, M.D. is a leader in the whole-systems medicine approach known as Functional Medicine. Dr. Hyman is founder and Medical Director of The UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, where he directs a team of physicians, nutritionists and nurses who utilize a comprehensive approach to health. He’s written 7 New York Times bestselling books and is internationally recognized for his work as an authority addressing the root cause of chronic illness and tackling our chronic disease epidemic. Dr. Hyman is Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and was awarded its 2009 Linus Pauling Award for Leadership in Functional Medicine. He is currently medical editor at the Huffington Post and on the Medical Advisory Board at The Doctor Oz Show. He is a Glow Pilot (medical mentor) for Mama Glow endorsing and informing our work. We sat down with Dr. Hyman to dive into his new book The Blood Sugar Solution 10 Day Detox Diet, that’s available everywhere today!
In your book The Blood Sugar Solution, you shared your proven six-week plan for preventing, treating, and even reversing diabetes and pre-diabetes. Now, with THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION 10-DAY DETOX DIET, you have created a fast-track plan that will enable readers to shed pounds and radically reboot their entire system in just 10 short days. What is the value of the fast-track plan?
Most people don’t connect the dots between what they’re eating and how they feel. Most of us don’t realize how bad we feel until we start feeling good. The best way to do that is with a quick-start reboot. Completely change your diet for 10 days and notice how you feel. What you’ll notice is that, not only will your cravings get better, not only will your energy improve, and not only will you lose weight—which is actually a side effect of getting healthy—but a whole list of health problems may improve or disappear entirely. The power of the 10-Day Detox Diet is that, in a very short time, you can use a scientifically designed program to regain your health and discover how great you can feel when you take away all the junk and eat real food. Most people have never ever done that, and most people are simply a few days away from feeling well.
Why is it so important that we “detox”? Why can’t we just change our eating habits?
Food addiction is a real, scientifically proven phenomenon. Brain-imaging studies show that Oreo cookies cause the brain to light up the addiction center more than cocaine. In fact, sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine. You can’t do just one line of cocaine, or cut down. Addicts require a scientifically designed detoxification program. It is necessary to minimize withdrawal and rebalance the hormones and neurotransmitters that drive addiction. Our physiology needs a reboot, and a comprehensive detoxification program is necessary.
The 146 pounds of flour (with addictive gluteo-morphins) and 152 pounds of sugar that trigger the nucleus-accumbens reward center of the brain are driving this epidemic of obesity, and not just because they spike insulin levels, the fat-storage hormone, but because they are biologically addictive. The food in- dustry has hijacked our kitchens, our taste buds, our
brain chemistry, and our metabolism, and the 10-Day Detox Diet is a simple plan to take them back. Once we have our biochemistry back, our cravings disappear and we lose weight automatically by eating real food.
The trick to getting healthy is not going on a diet, because a diet is something you go off. The 10-Day Detox Diet is really a misnomer. It’s a 10-day restart for the rest of your life. It teaches you the principles of healthy eating and self-care that are at the foundation of a lifetime of wellness. If you want to go on a fad diet, you may lose weight quickly, but most people who go on fad diets will often regain the weight they lost and more. Even gastric-bypass surgery isn’t foolproof. Only 50 percent of those who have the surgery keep the weight off. It’s not just about losing the weight. It’s about radically changing your life while you can, regaining health, and understanding how to work with your body rather than against it.
You call yourself a “wholistic” doctor because you take care of patients with a “whole list” of symptoms. How would you describe functional medicine or systems medicine?
In conventional medicine, we try to suppress symptoms. In functional medicine we don’t treat symptoms. We treat the patient. It is medicine by cause, not by symptom; medicine by organism, not by organs; medicine by mechanism, not by geography (or where the symptom is in your body). We remove the impediments to health (toxins, microbes, allergens, stress, and poor diet) and help patients restore balance by providing the ingredients for a healthy human (real food, nutrients, water, air, sleep, movement, rhythm, love, meaning and purpose).
Then, the symptoms go away as a side effect of getting healthy. I take care of people with a whole list of problems. That is why I call myself a wholistic doctor. Rather than send a patient with diabetes, a rash, joint pain, reflux and headaches to five different doctors, I connect the dots. It doesn’t matter what disease you have. If you create health through the principles of functional medicine, most chronic symptoms and conditions will just go away. You don’t have to treat them directly. That’s the power of functional medicine. It is the single biggest game-changing paradigm shift in medicine in our lifetime.
You have said that our whole idea of “disease” itself is wrong; that in fact health is a state of balance, and disease is a state of imbalance. Does THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION 10-DAY DETOX DIET help us achieve a state of balance, or jump start the process?
THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION 10-DAY DETOX DIET is the first step toward getting people connected to what is possible, to the abundant good health and well-being that is only a few days away. Most people have never experienced balance. It is not something we are taught, and our society and our food system fosters just the opposite. In 10 short days, by profoundly shifting what you eat—eliminating nonfood substances, processed food, addictive mounds of sugar and flour and inflammatory foods, and adding real, whole, fresh low-glycemic food—combined with simple lifestyle practices designed to reset brain chemistry and balance hormones, most people experience not only effortless weight loss and cessation of cravings, but a profound sense of well-being and health. And most chronic symptoms improve or disappear. In our online community, those who did the program had a 62% reduction in all symptoms from all diseases in just 10 days. There is no drug on the planet that can do that. And all the side effects are good ones.
What do you mean by “what makes you fat also makes you sick”?
Most of us of think you can be overweight and healthy, but very few people are overweight and healthy. In fact, the thing that makes us fat really is a sickness. What makes us sick makes us fat. And what makes us fat makes us sick. It’s a vicious cycle. The biology of obesity is the biology of disease. It is the biology of aging, inflammation, fatty liver, high levels of insulin, dangerous small-cholesterol particles, and brain shrinkage.
About 25 percent of normal weight people have skinny fat syndrome—they are skinny on the outside but fat on the inside, with all the same metabolic abnormalities as an obese person. Even though the junk and sugar don’t make them fat, they make them sick. We need to focus on health, not weight, because there are a lot of quick ways to lose weight that are very unhealthy. When you focus on health and not weight, weight loss happens as an automatic side effect, and you feel fantastic.
You write that THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION 10- DAY DETOX DIET is not a magic cure or a gimmicky weight-loss scheme. It a comprehensive, science- based approach to ending food addiction and creating rapid, safe weight loss and long-term optimal health. What is the biology of food addiction?
Food addiction is very real. It’s not a metaphor. It’s not a psychological problem or a moral failing, or lack of willpower. It’s a biological fact. If I were to say to you, hold your breath underwater for 15 minutes,
I’ll give you a million dollars, would you be able to do it? Probably not! We are wired to crave oxygen, and we’re wired to crave sugar. When you eat sugar or flour products, they spike the activity of an area of our brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is ground zero for addiction. When that happens, we have very little control over our behavior.
It’s a primitive response that is very difficult to control, which is why we see people bingeing on sugar and bingeing on flour products, because they are driven by unconscious behavior. Even though they know it’s hurting them, they still do it. That’s the power of addiction. The way to fight it is to restart, to detox, which is why I created the 10-Day Detox Diet.
THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION 10-DAY DETOX DIET is informed by cutting-edge, new scientific research. What is the most striking information you have gathered since the publication of The Blood Sugar Solution, and how have you applied it to the new book?
Over the last few years, abundant research on the nature of food addiction has emerged. A new textbook was published, Food and Addiction, documenting in great detail the biology of food addiction. And the deep investigative journalism of Michael Moss in his book Salt Sugar Fat profoundly exposed the intention of the food industry that used “craving experts” to find the “bliss point” of food to create “heavy users” and gain more “stomach share.” All terms used by food industry insiders.
This book refutes the propaganda of the food industry and our government that tells us that beating this obesity epidemic is simply a matter of energy balance, of calories in/calories out. That there are no good or bad foods and moderation is the key and that if people just ate less and exercised more, we would beat this problem. This blames the fat person and implies they are lazy gluttons. The reason we have failed to make progress in battling obesity and diabetes is the simple fact that these messages are myths. Try asking a crack addict to have just one pipe, or a cocaine addict to have just one line of cocaine.
Facing the reality of food addiction head-on is the only path out of our mess. Would we allow vending machines for cocaine, heroin, or even nicotine in schools? Would we give our kids heroin lollypops or morphine muffins when they come home from school? Would we tolerate industry and sports figures promoting the consumption of addictive substances on television or the Internet? If not, then why do we allow this to happen with sugar and flour, proven to be even more addictive than cocaine? This is a hard conversation we must have as a society.
How does the 10-Day Detox Diet work? What foods are eliminated? What foods do we stock up on? How are results tracked? And where does one get support?
The 10-Day Detox Diet eliminates foods that contribute to inflammation and blood-sugar and insulin spikes. It is a very low-glycemic diet using good-quality protein—fish, chicken, grass-fed animal protein, nuts, seeds, even things like non-GMO whole soy foods such as tofu or tempeh—lots of fruits and vegetables, no grains, no beans, no dairy, and no gluten.
I eliminated those foods to allow the body to reset completely. We also eliminate caffeine and alcohol, as well as artificial sweeteners, chemicals, additives, and nonfood substances. By doing that and adding in good foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, good-quality protein, nuts, and seeds—powerful anti-inflammatory healing foods—we reset the body and allow the whole system to restart.
It’s also important, if you want to change your behavior, to notice it. Those people who track their results by writing down their weight, what they eat, how much they exercise, how much they sleep, and how they feel lose twice as much weight as those who don’t track it, even while doing the same program. So, we have tools to help people track results on our website. It’s actually a very simple, powerful tool that can be used to track all your results over time and get support.
You’ll also learn that it’s easier to get healthy together. So, we’ve created an online community where you can join with others doing the 10-Day Detox Diet and support each other. You can also get support from my nutritionists, who will coach you through the whole program. We get better together.
Get your copy of Dr. Mark Hyman’s new book today!
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