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TMHS 436: The Pandemic Behind The Pandemic
Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “We cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Today, I want to apply that sentiment to the pandemic that our society is facing. As we seek solutions to a public health crisis, it’s important that we take a deeper look at the contributing factors that got us to this level of distress.
On this episode of The Model Health Show, we’re diving deep into the pieces of our country’s health crisis that are not being analyzed. You’ll learn about some of the underlying health epidemics that have made our population more susceptible to the pandemic.
Most importantly, you’re going to hear about how to use this time as an opportunity for change, and how understanding the root cause of our issues can lead us to a better, stronger, healthier way of life. My intent is that this episode inspires you to take action and make a difference on an individual, grassroots level so that together we can affect lasting change. Enjoy!
In this episode you'll discover:
- What percentage of COVID-19 deaths were related to a preexisting chronic condition.
- The number one factor that leads to chronic illnesses.
- How many Americans are clinically obese.
- The difference between an epidemic and a pandemic.
- How the obesity epidemic in the US affects our children.
- Which country has the highest consumption rates of soda.
- How many pounds of sugar the average American consumes per year.
- What our body fat is comprised of, and how it has changed over time.
- The biggest issue with the US healthcare system.
- What percentage of Americans are on prescription drugs.
- The link between insufficient sleep and heart disease.
- How a sedentary lifestyle can lead to developing diabetes.
- The effects of human connection on our hormones and neurotransmitters.
- How stress can actually change your biochemistry.
- What a psychosomatic illness is, and why our society is predisposed to them.
- The top three causes of death in the US.
- Which organ is the most responsible for drug metabolism.
- How you can preorder my new book, Eat Smarter.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- Eatsmarterbook.com — Preorder your copy today to claim your bonuses!
- The Social Dilemma on Netflix
- Our Growing Susceptibility to Viral Infections with Dr. Cate Shanahan – Episode 420
- How Social Media Affects Our Psychology with Adam Alter – Episode 434
- The Link Between Exercise & Human Connection with Dr. Kelly McGonigal – Episode 393
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
Shawn Stevenson: Welcome to the Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. This episode, we're going to be talking about the most pressing issue of our time, and there's a statement that you cannot solve a problem that you don't understand. You cannot solve a problem that you don't understand, and to take that a step further, you cannot solve a problem you don't know you have. Right now, we're dealing with a worldwide pandemic, and there are many pieces of this situation that are not being analyzed, it's such a broad, wide-ranging issue with many components, and today we're going to break some of those things down, and it reminded me of a statement, and this was published in the Journal Invention Intelligence, referring to Albert Einstein, and stating that, "Often the problem as given is misleading, and you have to work through a mass of data to define the real problem, often this step consumes more time than deriving the solution."
Einstein was quoted to have said, "If I were given an hour in which to do a problem upon which my life depended, I would spend 40 of those minutes studying the problem, 15 minutes reviewing the problem, and just 5 minutes solving it. So today we're going to get a better understanding of the underlying problem, the pandemic behind the pandemic, and this starts for me with the report that I talked about back in April, when this situation really began to kick off and it really was alarming, and I wanted to make sure, that people knew about this data, and this came from the scientific advisor to Italy's Minister of Health, and in Italy, they were hit very hard by the ramifications of COVID-19 prior to the United States, and we were able to access some data to get a heads-up to prepare ourselves in a way that would be advantageous to us, if we paid attention to this data, but for whatever reason it was brushed under the rug.
Now, here in the US, we had early access to some data because several other countries had experienced the ramifications of COVID-19 being spread throughout the population, most notably, Italy was really hit the hardest, and their data really gave us an opportunity to be aware of our underlying susceptibility to COVID-19... To infectious diseases of really all types, but specifically in looking at the data with COVID-19, after thousands of people lost their lives, the scientific advisor to Italy's Minister of Health stated that, "On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12% of the death certificates have shown a direct causality from Coronavirus alone, while 88% of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity and many times two or three," these pre-existing chronic diseases that have become absolute pandemics in our society today themselves have really left us susceptible.
And we had this data, and even to take it a step further, and I talked about this, the very beginning of the pandemic, this was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in April. This was back in April, and this analyzed the data of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in New York City, which was really the epicenter of a lot of the turmoil, the fallout. And it uncovered that already approximately 90% of people having severe reactions to COVID-19, were those with pre-existing chronic diseases with the most common comorbidities being hypertension, obesity and diabetes, and now... And the real reason that this show is happening today, the CDC just published a report updated on September 30th, 2020 reiterated what the data has been showing us from the very beginning, their official report stated that 94% of the lives lost from COVID-19 were in people who had additional diseases. They stated that for each death noted to be related to COVID-19, there were on average 2.6 additional conditions or causes for each death, most notably, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. This is not to say that COVID-19 has not been an absolute destructive force in our society, this is to say that these chronic diseases loaded the gun and COVID-19 pulled the trigger.
Our susceptibility, our underlying pre-existing health conditions as a society set us up, when I saw that data coming out of Italy, I was like, "Oh, we are in trouble. We're in trouble. Here in the United States, we're in trouble." And this is why today, we're going to take a deep dive and really look at this issue, we're going to get a face-to-face, good look in the mirror at the issues that are underlying so many of the problems we're experiencing today as a culture, we cannot turn a blind eye to this stuff anymore, this is our opportunity to change things. Right now, but we need to get face-to-face with this problem and we need to understand truly how bad it is and all the different components, so that we can come to a solution because as Albert Einstein... And by the way, with all the quotes that might come from Albert Einstein or from Abraham Lincoln or whatever... We don't know who said it. Whoever did is pretty smart. Alright, but in that statement of like, if you've got an hour for a problem, spending 40 minutes on the problem itself, studying the problem, looking at all angles of it, then reviewing your study of that problem and then just spending five minutes on solution, this... Because the solution will be much more effective, much more poignant, when you actually understand what you're trying to do, you actually understand the problem.
And so we just covered a little bit, and again, the CDC's brand new report has affirmed that 94% of the folks who have lost their lives in this pandemic as a result of COVID-19 had an average of 2.6 additional chronic health issues. We have to get this, we have to understand this, because if we can help to remove the underlying susceptibility, we radically increase our chances of survival, not just from this, not just from COVID-19, but from COVID-20... COVID-22, the next infectious disease that is sure to come, we have to make a change. We have to make a change because we cannot continue to go through this, and I want to get to the real core issues, we have to get face-to-face with it, and that's what we're going to be doing here today. So there was another report. So early on, we had the report coming from the journal of the American Medical Association, but they had another report, and this was published back in 2018, this was very recent, and it affirmed that poor diet is the number one factor in these pre-existing chronic diseases.
One of our most prestigious medical journals, which now, these pre-existing chronic diseases, again, they affirm that poor diet is a number one factor, has now led to this devastatingly high susceptibility to COVID-19. Recent estimates to show that diet-related chronic diseases cost the US economy a staggering $1 trillion each and every year. A recent study published by the American Heart Association shows that cardiovascular disease alone will exceed $1.1 trillion within the next few years if left unchecked, and this places a crushing economic burden and health burden on our nation's financial and healthcare systems. Now I just want you to wrap your mind around how much a trillion dollars is... That's 999,999,999 billions plus one more. Another one.
That's what a trillion dollars is. Alright, it's just inconceivable. The US healthcare system is a four trillion dollar a year industry, there is a lot of money in play, and we're going to understand some of the dimensions of this today more than ever, and right now, Americans actually spend twice as much money on healthcare than they did in the 80s, yet we are exponentially more diseased and unhealthy, we're spending twice as much money per person. How are we sicker? Something's not adding up. Something's not adding up. We're going to do Sesame Street level math today and figure out what the problem is. For example, when I'm talking about our health is exponentially worse, even though we're spending far more money. Today, one out of three Americans is clinically obese, which is twice as many, as three decades ago, twice as many people in just three decades. So much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared United States obesity as an epidemic. The pandemic behind the pandemic. What is the difference, anyway? Epidemic, pandemic, endemic.
Basically an epidemic is essentially defined as an outbreak of disease that affects many people in a population, and a pandemic is an epidemic plus the expansion that could be an entire nation or even internationally. And so when we're having a conversation about obesity, this isn't just a United States issue, this is definitely a worldwide issue, but here in the United States, we're the king. Alright, we're the Elvis of this fat thing, we're the LeBron James of fatness. Alright. We got that belt, and right now we're going to dive even deeper into what this issue looks like, and just to give a little bit of context and something I'm going to share, a really earth-shattering statistic that I'm about to share, predominantly, my entire family was really obese.
That's the environment that I grew up in, of being overweight and obese, and I was like the skinny kid in the family until the age of 20 when I got diagnosed with a so-called incurable spinal condition, and I relented to just basically give my power away and I stopped moving around, I was just in a lot of pain, and I was actually scared to move around, and I was continuously eating my, what I call the TUF diet, the typical university food, TUF diet, and with that, with my level of inactivity, my fat genes kicked on, they were there, they kicked on with a vengeance, alright. And I gained a lot of weight and I became the much fluffier version of myself, and I was embarrassed, I was... Every aspect of my life became more difficult, and this is something that is affecting so many people, but there is a solution to this.
There absolutely is a solution. My family, we were in the environment, we lived in an environment that was conducive. That was encouraging us to be overweight at every turn, at every corner, and there are solutions, but they're multi-dimensional, and that's the thing we're going to get to eventually, but again, we have to spend the majority of time, looking at the problem, getting a really close face-to-face look at this, and the statistic that I was going to share, and this is what I was exposed to as a kid, just growing up, even in my family, but this is a national epidemic, as again, referred to by the CDC, that obesity is an epidemic. So I stated that today, one in three Americans is clinically obese, which is twice as many as just three decades ago, even more, disturbing are the effects that it's having on our children, with the number of overweight and obese children jumping up threefold in the same, short time span. How are we allowing this to happen? To our babies, the environment itself is creating this level of disease.
We have to make some changes, but we have to understand that this is hurting us and people are... They're coming into the world in these conditions, that's how I grew up, I came into the world in these conditions, where I had chronic asthma, where I had a degenerative bone disease, degenerative spinal disease in my teens and 20s, my body was deteriorating and breaking down from the inside out, and my blood was probably at least like 5% ketchup. I'm just being honest, alright, another like 5% Hawaiian punch. This was just the stuff I was putting in there. I didn't know that there was a difference, I didn't know that food mattered, but it's clear, even our most prestigious resources, the Journal of the American Medical Association has affirmed that poor diet, is the number one, not just on the list, number one cause of chronic diseases in our country. We have to get a good look at it today. Being overweight is associated with about 400,000 deaths each and every year, here in the United States.
Man, one person should matter, 400,000? We can't even wrap our minds around that, that's why you got to keep looking at this problem, and how does this happen? Companies are continuing to profit off of our increasing size, they're continuing to profit off of our level of disease, there's an underlying susceptibility that's not being addressed in this conversation about COVID-19. There's a pandemic behind the pandemic. And it's gone on long enough. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes, listen, a 156 pounds of added sugar every year, a 156 pounds of added sugar, that's added sugar, that's not even the naturally occurring sugar in the food products we're already eating... That's added sugar. Unbelievable because of course, there's going to be people who only consume 50, so then there's people who're consuming 200, 250, 300 pounds, this is happening, but we've created the conditions, we have allowed the condition to be created where this is even a thing. The average American consumes a 133 pounds of flour each year, according to the US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. What is flour? Just like with sugar, this is getting converted to glucose in the blood, this is sugar in our bloodstream, it's literally changing the way that our bodies work.
The accessibility, why do we have even access to these kinds... These amounts of sugar, it's everywhere we turn. And we’re going to dissect that and talk a little bit about it, but on top of that, the United States has the highest consumption rates of soda in the world, whether you call it pop, whether you call it soda. When I was a kid, we even called it sodie, alright, Missouri, little sodie. Some people call it coke, some parts of the United States, it doesn't matter if it's a grape soda, so give me a grape coke. No matter what you call it, we're number one, we're the king, LeBron of soda. In addition to that, the consumption of fats has changed radically, the types of fats that we're consuming, and these fats are what are actually... The composition of our body fat cells has changed dramatically, and we talked about this on a recent episode with Dr. Cate Shanahan, who's like the foremost expert in this domain, and she shared that in looking at biopsies of human body fat from about a 100 years ago, the make-up of our fat cells was about 2% to 4% PUFAs or polyunsaturated fatty acids. PUFA.
Sounds like puffy to me, PUFAs. And these are what are largely found in what we call these, "vegetable oils," which are these highly processed seed oil and she talked about how they're made, and it's just like, "Argh" It just blows your mind that we're allowed to consume these things, but here's the thing, and taking biopsies again, from about 100 years ago, our fat cells were about 2% to 4% because there's some naturally occurring PUFAs that are all good. Because when we talk about "vegetable oil", it's not broccoli oil, it's not kale oil. These are highly processed refined seed oils, and we went from 2% to 4% of our body fat being made of these PUFAs to today, approximately 15% to 30% of our body fat is made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which these polyunsaturated fatty acids are correlated... The higher consumption is correlated with higher rates of heart disease, higher rates of obesity, higher rates of diabetes, and she gave a really great analogy, and this change in our body fat in the last 100 years, if you take any ingredient in a recipe, 'cause we went from 2% to 4% to upwards of 30% of the ingredients, the recipes that makes up our body fat cells, if you take a recipe and you add 10 times the amount of one ingredient, you have a completely different outcome in the recipe, you have a completely different substance that's created.
And as far as us as human beings, we're not even the same thing anymore, our body fat is literally not the same thing anymore, we've become something else. The recipe has changed, the ingredients that make up the average human has changed. We're something else, we're something else entirely. Now, these are just looking at some of the statistics as far as obesity is concerned, and what our body fat is made of. And again, looking at these problems head-on, let me talk a little bit about one of the results of this problem, being that these issues are so prevalent today. Right now in the United States, nearly 70% of Americans are on prescription drugs. Nearly 70% of Americans are on prescription drugs. And I remember when I was working in my clinical practice, I was having patients coming in and clients coming in every day, and I remember there was a guy, I'll never forget this, he came in, he had a couple of health issues that we were working with, and he brought in...
You know, he had his... On the intake form, you list your medications and we have that conversation, and what I would do is when I'm working with a patient, I'm taking them through how the disease is created. I’d basically reverse engineer, like, if they have diabetes and they're on Metformin, whatever the case might be, we go back and look at, okay, here's what happens when you consume sugar and the path it takes to your bloodstream, to your liver, the beta cells in the pancreas, like, how does everything work? But in a way that it makes sense and it's fun for them to understand, they have this revelation moment. And I would love to see their eyes light up, just like, "That makes sense."
But before we got to that part, and we were just going through some of the data, and he was just like, early 30s. He might have been 30 years old. And when I was talking about the number imaginary he was on, being abnormal, he looked at me, he was like, "So you're not on any medications?" And he was literally dumbfounded. He couldn't believe that I wasn't on any drugs, like everybody that he knew, they're just on some kind of a medication, and that makes sense because 70% of the United States population is on prescription drugs, but we can live in a bubble sometimes and don't realize it's happening. And let me be clear. Prescription medications have their place, absolutely. But as we're going to define and continue to look at today, oftentimes what we're taught when we go to conventional universities here in the United States is pharmacology.
We're not really taught health. We're not taught about... Again, the number one cause of chronic diseases in the United States is poor diet. But yet, our medical professionals are not taught about diet. Does this not compute? This has to start making sense, this has to start becoming a priority. We have to remove the cause of the disease so we stop treating it with drugs. Drugs can be lifesaving in some instances, especially in emergency situations, but for the treatment of chronic diseases we're literally Band-Aiding, we're putting a Band-Aid over a gaping wound. So that's one of the underlying issues that's being overlooked, approximately 70% of the United States population is on prescription medication. To look at another dimension of why this is, why are we in such a dire place that so many people are on medication, that so many people are experiencing chronic diseases here in the United States?
Right now, currently, we have about 200 million United States citizens are either overweight or obese. Again, we cannot really wrap our minds around that. About 125 million United States citizens are diabetic or pre-diabetic right now. That's the issue that we're dealing with. And in addition to that, the CDC states that insufficient sleep is a "public health epidemic." Here's another epidemic again, but you don't hear about it. The CDC has been stated this, why is this not a focus, especially right now? And the impact of this sleep deprivation is far-reaching affecting so many areas of our lives. And this is highlighted in a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, demonstrating that sleep deprivation is directly linked to an inability to lose weight. While another study published in the Journal of Sleep is a 14-year study, discovered that folks who were sleep-deprived were twice as likely to die prematurely from heart disease, stacking conditions against us.
Another study reported by the World Health Organization, and this is another 14-year study, found that poor sleep quality made it twice as likely for the individuals in the study to have a heart attack and up to four times more likely to have a stroke during the study period. Every year, not just this year, every year, heart disease is the number one cause of death here in the United States. Who is talking about the impact that sleep has on heart disease? This is creating the overall code of human health, and this isn't just imaginary. We have a huge issue as a society with a 115 million Americans being sleep-deprived. What are we doing? We're not addressing the basics, the things that make us human, the things that our genes expect us to do, and that's another thing that's been highlighted in the work that we've been doing, is that things like our sleep quality have a massive impact on our genetic expression. It actually controls thousands of genes that determine our level of health, which determines our appearance, which determines how we feel.
But we treat these things with Band-Aid solutions, with medication, instead of removing the underlying cause. Again, medication has its place, but we have to change this snowball effect that's happening, the pandemic behind the pandemic so that we can truly move forward with power as a society. Now moving on, so we've looked a little bit about the obesity epidemic, we've looked at the epidemic of sugar and flour consumption and soda consumption, the epidemic of sleep deprivation. Now let's talk about exercise and movement. When it comes to physical activity, according to a United Nations report, the United States ranks near the bottom, coming in at 143 out of 168 surveyed countries. Right now, approximately 40% of Americans do not even meet the minimum suggested guidelines for physical activity. Not even the minimum. The bar is so low, not even the minimum.
That's 40%, not to mention the other 40%, 50% who are just barely hitting that. A Peer Review meta-analysis published in 2012 on sedentary behavior risk, found that our nation's sedentary behavior was associated with a 112% increased risk of developing diabetes. They also found a 140% increased risk of developing heart disease due to our sedentary behavior, and they found about a 50% greater risk of dying from all causes, 50% greater risk of dying from anything. So basically, if you're living this average sedentary lifestyle here in the United States, and infectious disease is making its round, so you have about a 50% greater incidence of having a severe reaction to it, but nobody is standing on the podium and talking about launching a national initiative to get our citizens moving. But that's what we're going to do. That's what we are going to do. It starts today with us taking a good look at the problem, and we launch the initiatives for change. Now, I want you to think about something, since the stay-at-home orders were in place since the pandemic started and the shutdowns have taken place, are we more or less active as a society?
You already know the answer to that. We're far less active as a society. Are we sleeping better or worse since this all began? Many people... Their goal is to finish Netflix. They're not getting on a regular sleeping routine, it's perpetual Tuesday, it's Groundhog's Day, we're Bill Murray, we're all Bill Murray in this situation. And also, shot out to Palm Springs is a new kind of twisted version of Groundhog's Day, Hulu, Andy Sandberg, alright? It's just a little nugget I'll put out there. But either way, it's just this perpetual, repetitive day-by-day, like, we've lost so much of our structure. We were already chronically sleep-deprived and very erratic in our sleep patterns, and now it's just growing even more. What about our nutrition? Has that improved during the pandemic, or has it greatly decreased? You know the answer to that, our nutrition has greatly decreased. And we did an episode very early on because I had the stats, I saw the numbers of the sales dollars going to processed food companies. It's just skyrocketing. One of the big ones was literally about to file bankruptcy and then the pandemic hit, they got a resurgence, made a ton of money for processed packaged foods.
These are the underlying issues. Has it been made worse? Are we now worse often more susceptible? That's what the problem is. We didn't look at all pieces of the pandemic behind the pandemic to ensure that we as a society are prepared for what's to come. So let's look at something else that's really interesting, another really important part of this equation, and this is the fact that humans, we are... We need each other, we need each other. We evolved together in tribes. When you take that away, we start to devolve, we become something else. And this was not highlighted right now, this was already seen very clearly in the data, and that we are actually more disconnected than ever. In fact, the former US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy says that loneliness is one of the greatest health problems of our time, and his massive amount of research concluded that there's a "loneliness epidemic" that's having a devastating impact on our overall health and lifespan. There's that epidemic word again, but nobody listened. Epidemics, pandemics behind the pandemic. Who knew loneliness being a problem with our health, why?
And we'll continue, of course, to dissect these things and do entire episodes dedicated to all of these subjects and masterclasses on them. But the reality is that human connection is one of the things that literally helps to determine what our hormones and our neurotransmitters are doing. Human connection is needed for diversification of our microbiome, interacting with other humans is like a little bit of a light workout for your immune system, like a little... Nice little walk, little nice healthy walk. We are talking about how important being active is when we look at the numbers of folks who are sedentary and some of the ramifications of that, so we need to move, we need to be walking, we need to be moving our bodies, but we also need to interact with humans. But of course, this has created a situation where we don't know if that's safe, but my mission today is for us to look at, did we go too far? Did we create a bigger problem with the way that we try to solve the problem without fully understanding it or at least looking at all the pieces.
So, our relationships, how we connect, we have the illusion of more connection through our online friends, right? Our Facebook friends, the people we have on our social media, but for many of us it's a very superficial connection, and we've seen these increasing rates of suicide and depression and anxiety related to and under direct paths with our increased use of social media. And that's highlighting that film social dilemma, we just talked about that with Adam Alter, who's really one of the foremost experts on the subject in the world. So if you happen to miss that episode... But it's a very important conversation because we need a real human connection... Absolutely. I love the fact that we can jump on the phone and do FaceTime. I love the one who's on the other side of the country, I love that. It's amazing, but we need to make sure we're using these devices and they're not using us, and also we need to make sure that we are having real-world connection with human beings because we literally need it.
Just even hugging somebody, we release all these beneficial longevity hormones. We can't get hugging ourselves, no offense. And I'm thinking of Stuart Smalley right now. Okay, I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh, darn it, people like me. Alright, we can love ourselves, but we also need the love from other people. We need to extend love, we need to give love and receive it. Our health depends on it, so we have to find an intelligent way to make sure that this is happening, especially moving forward. There's so many dimensions of this. Again, this is not just some guys... US Surgeon General, I think it's kind of important. My man said that this is an epidemic, he felt so strongly about this, that loneliness and our separation from each other, he stated it's one of the greatest health problems of our time.
So again, we're looking at what's going on behind the scenes, what's making us susceptible to disease, what's making us susceptible to all manner of things, and how can we actually address this problem? The first thing is we have to understand that we have a problem and we have to spend some time on the problem, we have to really look at the problem, understand the problem from different dimensions, different angles. And another big issue, and this is related also to our relationship context too. But just overall, is our issues today with stress? Now, we've done episodes on this, one of them with Kelly McGonigal, she's one of the leading experts in stress, I'm going to put that for you in the show notes as well. But we have to understand, there's an underlying premise behind stress because we see stress as, you know, I'm just kind of stressed, or maybe like a little bit of a feeling. But stress, literally, especially excessive stress, changes our biochemistry, truly every thought that we think has correlating chemistry that's released in our bodies.
There's a change in our hormones and our neurotransmitters and what every cell in our bodies are doing when we're stressed. Even in your pinky toe, even in your toes, your thoughts affect what's happening and the information they're receiving. And didn't you just think about your toes right now a little bit? It's the power of the human mind. Where is our attention? You know, they say energy flows where attention goes. Were your toes not there before? Of course they were, they were doing their thing. But we can shift our attention and change what's happening in our bodies. So again, our thoughts have correlating chemistry, and when those thoughts become excessively predicated on fear, worry anger. People are angry right now. There's a bunch of Red Hawks walking around. Pissosity is at a high level, which is understandable. This is how we respond. When life has changed, when there's so much uncertainty when there is a lot of fear.
There's a statement that I heard from Wayne Dyer many years ago, that just like an orange... When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out, that's what is in the orange. And when life squeezes you, what's going to come out? What's going to come out is a thing that you are really made of, the main ingredient in your response, in your psychology when life squeezes you, what's going to come out? Anger, sadness, fear. When life squeezes you, what's going to come out? And we can train ourselves, unlike an orange, to have something different come out when life puts the stress on us, when life squeezes us, because life inevitably will, but right now, life is trying to fresh press us for real. So, it's being able to understand these things and understand ourselves so that we can make the adjustments necessary, but we have to take a look at the problem, we have to know that this is a thing.
And what this is, is when we're talking about stress is related to psychosomatic illness, and psychosomatic illnesses are physical illnesses, these are physical illnesses that are caused or even aggravated by mental factors such as internal conflict or stress, and some of the well-documented psychosomatic disorders resulting from stress include, again, these are well-documented, hypertension, respiratory ailments, respiratory ailments. What is COVID-19? It's defined as a hyper-inflammatory... Specific lung-targeted hyper-inflammatory condition. We are a pre-inflame society with our chronic diseases. The root, if we're talking about obesity, hypertension, there's a huge component of inflammation, but just our thoughts and our level of stress can aggravate respiratory conditions. Also, they noted well-documented psychosomatic disorders caused by stress, gastrointestinal issues, migraines, ulcers, and more, we know that stress can cause, it can actually cause these issues or make the conditions worse.
Now, do you think that the stress that we're experiencing right now as a society has gone up or down since the quarantine began? Has the stress gone up or down? It's going up. It's gone up for hundreds of millions of people. But again, nobody is standing on the podium and talking about how much this matters, and talking about the psychosomatic component of this. We saw an increase of hospitalizations for folks who had COVID-like symptoms that didn't have COVID. Just the fear around it, we can create problems in our bodies and definitely can make things worse. So has fear contributed to any of the fallout? I'd say so, I think it's pretty clear to see.
And it matters, we matter. Our bodies are so powerful, our minds are so powerful to effect change, instantly. We are so powerful, but if we are not instructed on that power and instead our attention is focused out there, we need something out there to come and fix the situation. We need some kind of artifact, we need some kind of apparatus to save us, we need some kind of a drug to save us, and relent our power and don't understand every thought you think has correlating chemistry. Your mind is the most powerful pharmacy in the universe but have you ever been taught how to use it? Most of us, here today in the society have not, not even close. We've been taught to give our minds away to those in the screen or those at the office with the education, not understanding that if you take a very smart person who goes to school for eight years, 10 years, and you teach them the wrong thing, they become world-class at teaching and doing the wrong thing, but we're entrusting our health to people outside of us. And please believe, I've been in this space for almost 20 years, my colleagues, so many of my colleagues are physicians and nurses and people doing coding, and list goes on and on, so many different dimensions of healthcare.
These are some of the most loving, caring people in the world, but again, if we're not giving the right information, the right training, if your only tool is a hammer, everything's going to look like a nail to you, that's why we need to diversify our tool belt, so we can start to have the appropriate tool for each condition, instead of just throwing drugs at it. And we can do better than this, because clearly what we've done has not worked, but this is our opportunity to change it, never before we had such an opportunity to change the systems. And again, today we're looking directly eye-to-eye with the problem, excess stress is closely linked to heart disease, obesity, immunosuppression, and more. And then talking about immunosuppression, this is very important because the FDA actually fast track, and I've mentioned this quite a while ago, a pharmaceutical drug that treat COVID-19, that target natural killer cells in your immune system. Your own body's natural killer cells have been found to be very effective at killing coronavirus-infected cells, so they fast track the drug to target the natural killer cells.
Now, the thing is, the things that you do in your life can either improve the production and performance of your natural killer cells or it can suppress them, this is well noted in the data, yet this is not being discussed, and stress is one of those factors, a peer-review study published in The Journal Stress and Health, found that there's a significant correlation between the capacity of individuals to cope with daily life stress and their natural killer cell activity. Folks who don't cope well with stress have significantly lower natural killer cell activity. One aspect of our adaptive immune system that's noted to be very effective at killing COVID-19, we suppress it when we're stressed, if we don't manage stress effectively, because we're all going to experience stress, but it's how we're able to manage it. This matters, and we need to talk about it.
And now moving on and looking at why some of these issues aren't being addressed. We're peeling another layer of the onion, we're looking at another dimension of the problem that has us in the situation right now that we're currently experiencing as society. And this is highlighted in a recent study published by Johns Hopkins, and it was going and looking at the leading causes of death here in the United States and highlighting something very important that is massively overlooked and unchecked. The number one cause of death here in the United States consistently is heart disease, the number two leading cause of death here in the United States consistently is cancer. The number three cause of death here in the United States consistently is something called Iatrogenesis or physician-created death. That is the third leading cause of death here in The United of America. This isn't just made up, this is real. We have to talk about this. So we can fix it because all the people that I know who work in the healthcare system love people, they want to save lives, but clearly, the way the system is structured does not work, and it's one of the leading causes of death, all manner of medical errors, ranging from drugs and surgery and treatment, neglect, the list goes on and on, misdiagnosing things. There's all manner of different causes behind it, but this is real. Iatrogenic death is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
This is the same system of health we're banking on saving us. Just think about that for moment. Right now, there are over 20,000 prescription drugs. A big part of this healthcare system is drug treatment, pharmaceutical drugs, that is the main go-to, not removing the underlying cause that we've been covering here, but it's treating the symptoms. And right now, there are over 20,000 prescription drug products approved for marketing here in the United States, there's a drug for everything, but they've actually cured almost nothing. Now again, I'm going to say this one more time, drugs have their place, but this has become the priority tool in medicine rather than helping patients to eliminate the underlying causes of their diseases so that the drugs are not needed. And the drugs don't just come without... We watch a commercial the other day, this is a true story. It was about 20 seconds talking about the drug benefit, and I recorded it, and it was like two minutes of side effects, 20 minutes on the solution, but the guy is on a boat, he's sailing, and then he's just going on... Anal bleeding and death and they're just listening to side effects... "Oh, I want to go boating." You know, it's just like, we've accepted this is normal, they've normalized this, the marketing of drugs to us, our children are getting marketed to from the early age by these absolutely treacherous processed food companies.
And they're seeing these drug commercials getting program and it's become normalized and the reason they list all of those side effects today when they didn't used to really be like that, is because they can cover it in a lawsuit like we told you, you might have some anal bleeding, we told you. We told you, you might die. Now, here's the truth, the very nature of pharmaceutical drugs creates an added dimension of stress on the body, we already talked about the impact of stress, but specifically, many of the most common drugs are well noted to cause liver damage, and this is because your liver is the organ most responsible for drug metabolism, you cannot live without your liver live, it's in the name, liver, often referred to as a second brain.
On average... So we know 20,000 prescription drugs are proof of marketing right now, but on average, about 4,500 of those drugs and devices are pulled from the United States' shelves every single year. Every year, it's just a rotation. These recalls are the same products that were actually approved by the FDA, the same ones that are approved get recalled, 4,500 a year. And in many cases, they're widely ingested or injected before they recalled, a report published in the International Journal of Health Services found that in a recent 17-year time span here in the United States, unsafe drugs were prescribed more than 100 million times in the United States before being recalled, tens of thousands of people die from these drugs every year, millions injured, and they just recalled them and they replace them with new ones.
That's the system that we're existing in, it doesn't work, and it's not okay, and I need you to take a good look at this problem today, and we have to stand up and do something about it. Now, I mentioned earlier that currently is about four trillion dollars spent in healthcare here in United States, even with our dismal results, four trillion dollars, there's so much money in play, it's absurd, and we have to understand that we are existing in a system that keeps people dependent, ignorant and sick, we're the sickest nation in the world, we're the sickest nation in history, it doesn't work, but there's a lot of money moving, there's a lot of people making a lot of dollars off of our sickness. Our current sick care system, I can't even call it healthcare, our current sick care system operate via the farming of sick people without sick people, everything falls apart but this is why we have to change it. The system is not even the broken, it was designed this way. We have to create a new system, we have to take ourselves out of it and demand that a new system is created.
How is this supported? How is this keeping this revolving door of sickness and sick people in the system? Well, we have a system here in the United States of government-supported sickness in an effort to show you the money, shout out to Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding Jr. Alright, show me the money, Jerry, in an effort to show you the money, I want you to take a look at the government assistance for these processed food companies and what's actually going on behind the scenes, we're going to take a little peek behind the curtain here. From 1995 to 2010 alone, the United States government handed out 170 billion in agricultural subsidies to support the production of major commodity crops and foods that largely show up to the drive-through window and process food companies. Now, does that mean that this is actually affecting us somehow, is there some data on that?
So $170 billion given to these companies or subsidies, our government investing in it, how is this affecting your health? Well, we actually have data on this. A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal, JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association, internal medicine, set out to find if higher consumption of foods derived from government-subsidized food commodities is actually associated with an adverse risk to US citizens, and the results were pretty shocking. After adjusting for a number of factors, age, sex, social-economic factors, and other variables, the researchers found that those who had the highest consumption of those same subsidized foods had almost a 40% greater risk of being obese, not just overweight, obese. It's the pandemic behind the pandemic. There's a lot of money involved. We have to take ourselves out of the system, build a new one.
Process food companies, snack food companies, corn syrup lobbyists have been shaping our country's dietary guidelines for years, the very guidelines that are taught. I went to a traditional university, my nutrition science class, I was taught this crap, literally feeding the problem, recommending products from General Mills. I already mentioned the massive amount of flour that the average American consumes, and we're told to do it, we're told to tell patients to do it as well. It makes no sense, it makes no sense. Now, how do we make change? We've looked at the problem multiple dimensions and it goes deeper, but I feel like we need to like wooh, have a little woosah, and step away from the problem a little bit, let that simmer. But there cannot be a problem without a solution. It's really two sides of the same coin. But we have to think differently. We have to think differently. We have to act differently, and we have to communicate with each other differently.
People right now are infighting and we need to be clear with each other, what is our ultimate goal? Even if we have differing viewpoints on how to get there. We all want people to be safe. We all want people to be healthy. We want our families to be healthy, we want to be healthy, but the way to get there, it's not going to come about by ignoring the real underlying problems, and that's why I wanted to do a deeper dive today and really take a look at some of these issues that again, we might hear about it a little bit here and there, it might piss us off a little bit every now and then, we get a stat, but to put it all together and you can get a clear picture that we are a very sick society, and it doesn't have to be this way. But the change, it has to be a top-down change and a bottom-up change, it can't just be one dimension.
And when I'm saying a bottom-up, for some people... I like top-down and bottom-up, alright, I like both, but you might have a preference, alright, but both matter. And when I'm saying bottom-up, I'm talking about the grassroots, individual responsibility of change. We have to have that absolutely. But that the seed of that comes from exposure and access, I did not know that there was a difference between wild-caught salmon and a fish shtick. Alright, I said shtick there on purpose. Alright, 'cause that's what it really is, it's a shtick, alright. I didn't know that there was a difference. I didn't know there's a difference between water and Hawaiian Punch, it's just something you drink if you're thirsty, I didn't know. No one around me knew. Nobody, nobody I knew in my close family structure, brothers, sisters, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, uncles, cousins, none of us, none of us had any idea about health and wellness, none of us.
Now, a part of this change comes from education, it comes from exposure and having access to the information that can change our lives, but the truth is, it also has to be attractive because honestly, a Chocodile tastes amazing, alright. Hawaiian Punch is so refreshing, but the thing is, there are things that are better than that, I just didn't know what they were, things that give me the same level of pleasure of consuming them, but without the negative side effects. I used to go to 7-Eleven and get a nacho with chili and cheese, first of all, if you're going to 7-Eleven to make a nacho, you already have some serious life issues, alright, so that was me already. And the chili came from a pump, you pump the chili out. You pump it out onto your tortilla chips, you go and grab your tortilla chips in a little container, open it up, you go to the chili pump and you pump it out, you pump the chili out, and then you go and pump your melted cheese product out as well.
I would do that, maybe throw a couple jalapenos on there, maybe a couple, not too much. And I would eat that, I love the way when the chips gets a little bit soggy, that's what I would do regularly. And the crazy thing is, within an hour after having my delicious nacho with chili and cheese fresh out of the pump, I would start to experience what I didn't know at the time was indigestion and heartburn, it's just like, I just feel really bad. And you know what I would do instead of stop consuming the thing that was hurting me, I just drink a white soda. I love 7 Up, put that on top of it, simmer it down. This is how I grew up. I was in this environment where I managed sickness from something I'm consuming with consuming something else that hurts me as well. I just needed exposure, I needed to learn what else there was, but it needed to be delivered in a way that spoke to me.
And right now, I've been in the space of health and wellness for almost 20 years, which is absolutely crazy to be able to say this, and through this work, I've been able to reach and impact the lives of millions of people, and this is the power that we all have when we say “Yes”. And this is the power of an idea. And there's a trickle-down effect because all of the reach, it's not just the individual person who you impact, it's all the people that they can impact with that knowledge, and this is why now, more than ever, we have to speak up, we have to stand up, we have to understand how powerful we are. And there's a statement that has stuck with me since the very first time that I heard it, that there's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. And right now, we're in the midst of one of the most challenging times in human history due to the pandemic behind the pandemic, our lack of health and wellness, primarily, if we're looking at what has been confirmed in the most prestigious journals here in the United States, that the number one cause...
The number one causative factor behind our epidemics of disease, of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, the list goes on and on, is our food. And I made it a mandate. For the past two years, I've been working on a resource to address this problem. I've been obsessed with going into the data, and I can tell you one of the things that's been left out of the equation for so many years, there's this idea from health professionals, there's this idea from major publishers, from major media that people simply aren't smart enough to get it. You need to dwindle this down to the bare-bones basic. "Eat this, not that." Just tell people what to eat. And I said, no, people need to know this. They need to understand how this actually works. They need to get educated on how their body works.
It doesn't have to be complex. It's the fault of the system that makes it complex. We live with our bodies all the time. We can all be experts on this amazing entity that we all live in, and we have the right to, and it takes a shift in our education. And so in diving into the research and making it a mandate, it's really standing up to say enough is enough. I am going to create something so that people truly understand how this works. And with the success of my first book, Sleep Smarter and becoming an international bestseller, and it's published in 20 different countries now, and all the lives impacted, the publishers and agents that are reaching out, "Shawn, when's the next book coming? When's the next book coming?" No. We have to do this right. We can't give people this cookie-cutter crap anymore. I'm done. That's over. It's time for change.
And so in this new book, my next book, which is coming soon, and this is the first time I'm announcing this, my new book, Eat Smarter, and in my new book, we're taking a look at how food impacts our lives in a myriad of ways. It's not just about weight loss, but we have to understand how that works. And for the first time in book form, I'm actually taking people through and showing exactly how our metabolism actually works. We're talking about all the different dimensions like where does fat even go? When you lose it, does it go to outer space? How does... We break all of these things down in a fun and informative way so that we have the tools and insights, and specifically understanding how each bite of food that we eat, what are the specific foods and nutrients that directly impact the entire cascade of metabolism? Because there is a massive amount of data on these things. What controls the fat-burning hormones and fat-storing hormones and neurotransmitters involved in the process of changing our body composition? People have the right to know this, and the very nature of a book can make it spreadable at a massive scale.
And so putting that together in a way that is fun, entertaining, easy to read, but massively important, massively informative. There's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. And this is the book for this time. This is the knowledge for this time. But it's not just about our body composition. This is a crisis in our country today, a crisis worldwide, and we can change it. We have to give people the tools to do it. But food isn't just food, it's information. And the foods that we eat have a cascade of effects that affect our mind as well. So the first section of the book is dedicated to the science of food and metabolism. The second section of the book is dedicated to how food affects our cognitive performance. And there are the very best nutrients and foods that directly affect our cognition and our brain health.
So not just trying to prevent disease, not just trying to prevent dementia, but what are the nutrients and foods that actually make my mind work better, and man, it is powerful. But to take it a step further, how food affects our cognition is also a dimension of how food affects our emotions and our ability to connect. And this is one of the most special parts of this book because we're looking at the data and there was so much surprising evidence on how what we eat affects how we interact with each other, how the foods that we eat impact our levels of empathy, impact our levels of violence. The data exists, and we're diving in and breaking those things down. Because right now, more than ever, we need to connect, and we're not really understanding that. When folks are coming into a situation, people don't do well because they don't feel well, and you get people together who are nutrient-deficient, who are experiencing health issues, it is not impossible, but it comes much more complex to be able to perspective-take and to communicate. If we can get our citizens healthier, we can start to solve even more of these problems much faster, much more gracefully. So I was very, very passionate and dedicated to the section being in the book and doing whatever it took, the publishers and communication that this has to be there, this matters.
And also, we're diving in because one of our biggest health epidemics is sleep deprivation. And we're talking about all of the latest science on how nutrition affects our sleep quality. And so I think you're going to love that as well. And in the final section of the book is putting it all into action, how can we actually employ these things for change, and also little powerful nuggets and insights on how even when we're eating, who we're eating with impacts our health outcomes, and it's absolutely going to blow your mind. So right now, this is the first time I'm sharing this, and I'm very, very happy, I've put so much of my life energy into this, and I really feel that this... I'm here right now for this moment. And so I'm very grateful to be able to share this with you today. And the book is going to be coming out and really helping to end 2020, on a high note, and move into 2021 with real momentum. And again, I think that we can really change this thing, but it starts with access and information and empowerment and exposure. And so my new book is called Eat Smarter: Use the Power of Food to Reboot Your Metabolism, Upgrade Your Brain, and Transform Your Life.
And right now you can pre-order the book at eatsmarterbook.com, and for a limited time, the first 500 people to pre-order the book, you're also going to get my entire Eat Smarter course, which is valued at $197 for free, the first 500 people. And the entire course is going to come out when the book is released at the end of December. So it's coming out on December 29th, that's when the worldwide release is taking place, but pre-order the book right now so we can get this momentum going, start this movement, and just invest in you. And again, it's eatsmarterbook.com, where you can pre-order the book right now. The first 500 people to pre-order the book... So you might want to pause this and go and pre-order the book right now, you're going to get access to the entire Eat Smarter program.
And just in general, everybody's going to get access who pre-orders a book to a brand new mini-course that I just created, and this mini-course is the 10 foods that are proven to optimize your fat loss hormones, mini-course is valued at $97. You're going to get access to that immediately. That's going to be right there for you immediately, you get access to that. And it's a 10-video mini-course, and we're talking about the most potent foods backed by peer-reviewed evidence to optimize your fat loss hormones plus you're going to discover the most effective ways to utilize them in your day-to-day life.
So that's eatsmarterbook.com. And again, there's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. This time in human history has truly brought to the surface our biggest underlying issues that have been existing for decades, and enough is enough. But change is not going to just happen on its own. Change is going to happen through us, through us demanding change, for us getting educated, for us walking and talking and being the model, being the example of what's possible, for us taking care of our friends, our families, and our communities individually. It's up to us. Removing as many people as possible from that system so we force a new system to be built. And even in the book, I talk about this top-down and bottom-up change, and how to affect change at the corporate level, how to affect change at the government level. Because man, there's so much that we can do, but we just don't understand how powerful we are. And when we come together with a common vision, man, it's going to get really good. But 2020 has really brought forth this opportunity for change. We've seen how bad it is, we get face-to-face with it, now we must demand enough is enough, and change is imminent.
And I want to thank you so much for tuning into the show with me today. We got a lot of value out of this. And again, if this has brought value to your life, The Model Health Show has brought value to your life, I promise you, this book is going to change everything for you. And please invest in yourself, invest in this movement, and go and pre-order the book right now. It's at eatsmarterbook.com. And also, of course, you get access to some pretty cool bonuses as well. But I'm just so grateful for you making me a part of your life and being a part of this mission for change. It means everything. We are writing the history right now for our future generations with our decisions. This is important. There's nothing more important than this.
So let's take action, let's keep loving each other, let's keep making change, and taking those action steps towards creating a world that really works for everyone. I appreciate you so much for tuning into the show today. Take care, have an amazing day, and I'll talk with you soon.
And for more after the show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that this show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much. And take care, I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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