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Mark Schatzker on the Hidden Secrets of Which Foods Are Killing You

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

Mark Schatzker - Peak Human Podcast


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Hi there friends. This is Brian Sanders who’s name and photo is now featured on the cover of this podcast. I’m the guy who’s making the Food Lies film which has taken up much of the last 2 years of my life. I’ve interviewed about 150 people now (both formally and casually) on topics of nutrition, health, exercise, and the environment. I’m also the guy that posts something every day on social media that interests me or conveys a point that currently has my attention. Search for Food Lies on Instagram, youtube, twitter, and facebook and you’ll find some great content.

Start back at episode 1 to get the full health info download, share with friends and family, and give it a review on itunes or the Apple podcast app. Please know that I really appreciate all of you for doing this! I love interacting with people daily on these social platforms. It helps continue my quest for simple truths about health and nutrition, and hopefully not get caught up in one way of thinking.

Let’s get straight to today’s guest, Mark Schatzker who is the author of The Dorito Effect and another book called Steak. I really enjoyed the Dorito Effect and have brought it up on multiple podcasts. His award-winning journalism has appeared in in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveler and Best American Travel Writing. He is a field reporter for The Dr. Oz Show as well as a radio columnist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

I really connected with Mark Schatzker in this episode on so many things. I’m really excited about this one and think it might help people to look at nutrition in a different light. Apparently we’ve both been thinking about some of these nuances in the same way for years. We talked for a while after we stopped recording and followed up on email as well. Some of it may be controversial, so I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

There’s so much going on when we talk about the concept of “processed foods.” Even when I make a post about it, there’s lots of confusion and pushback about what a processed food actually is. When I posted that the excess fat people carry is just the processed food they have eaten, there was an uproar. I still stand by this statement.

There’s 3 main components to what makes a processed food bad. The first is the diluting of good things like protein, vitamins, and minerals with empty calories like refined sugar, grains, and oils. The second is how those foods interact with your body. They can spike your blood sugar far more than whole foods, interact with your digestive system in different ways, and therefore affect hormones and satiety signals in different ways, as well as other inflammatory effects. The 3rd is the hyperpalatability factor which leads to overconsumption.

Throughout history, food processing increased nutrient density. Modern food processing pretty much across the board decreases nutrient density. Therein lies some of the confusion. Sauerkraut is a processed food by most definitions. But for me, it doesn't fit the classical definition because it makes a pretty empty food like cabbage that has anti-nutrients (therefore potentially detrimental), into something nutritious with vitamin C, probiotics, and very little antinutrients through the act of processing - in this case fermenting.

Other people didn't understand how King Henry the 8th, who was famously obese, could get that way without processed foods. Processed foods doesn't just mean McDonald’s and Oreos! He had access to unlimited quantities of refined flour baked goods, sugar, and alcohol. These are the worst of the processed foods! Just because you made a cake at home with organic flour and organic agave, doesn't mean it’s healthy for you. This also goes for a snack bar that is “keto approved” with all natural ingredients.

Ok enough out of me, we can get to the episode. I’ll just make a youtube video about it with all my thoughts in order and some graphics. Check the Food Lies youtube for new videos each week.

Also please check out which we mention in this episode. This is my grass-fed meat company which we both really believe in. And support this show on Patreon at so I can fend off the advertisers that keep contacting me. Now please enjoy this compelling interview with my new pal and accomplished author and food investigator, Mark Schatzker.


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  • [4:44] Why Mark wrote his books Steak and Dorito Effect.

  • [8:25] Nature knows best, and the more we try to manipulate it and change it, the worse it gets.

  • [12:40] If raised properly, red meat is one of the most beneficial foods you could eat.

  • [13:30] The shift in our culture from avoiding red meat and leaning towards processed foods has contributed greatly to our health crisis and obesity epidemic.

  • [17:40] Sheep are able to self-medicate and how it relates to our ability to choose to eat certain foods.

  • [19:55] What is flavor feedback and why it matters.

  • [22:10] Do humans possess the same ability?

  • [26:25] How the creation of Doritos has forever changed the way we create food today.

  • [32:10] How flavors trick us into thinking we are getting nutrients and how they are addictive.

  • [39:20] How the industrialization of the food industry has ruined the taste of real food.

  • [48:15] The issue of the protein/nutrient leverage hypothesis.

  • [52:10] Humans were designed to seek out the flavors that brought us the nutrients of what we need.

  • [57:10] How the corruption and greed of the food industry is affecting our world’s health.

  • [59:50] Just because a product is ‘plant-based’ does not mean it is completely guilt-free and ethical.

  • [1:05:00] MSG: what role does it play in our modern society?

  • [1:06:12] Overuse of the word ‘chemicals’ and the negative connotation it has in our society.

  • [1:09:35] Mark urges people to read ingredient labels and be wary of foods that are engineered to taste good.

  • [1:13:20] How the flavor model of obesity and satiety model of obesity are related.

  • [1:15:55] Mark’s take on the future regarding obesity and the food industry.

  • [1:17:40] How the use of technology can help us to lead towards the shift towards healthier, natural foods.


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