Friday, June 9, 2023
Mitochondrial Health

Why You Can't Lose Weight & How To Melt It Away! | Mark Hyman

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Contrary to popular belief, holding on to weight isn’t just about a lack of willpower or not exercising enough; even genetics plays just a minor role. There are numerous other factors that influence our weight, including things like our gut microbiome, toxins, mitochondrial function, hormones, and even our social networks. But by applying the principles of Functional Medicine, we can peel back the layers to determine where the focus needs to be for each individual to support and balance their body and help them achieve a healthy weight.

In this episode of my Masterclass series, I am interviewed by my good friend and podcast host, Dhru Purohit, about the eight reasons we can’t lose weight and how to overcome roadblocks in weight loss.

Dhru Purohit is a podcast host, serial entrepreneur, and investor in the health and wellness industry. His podcast, The Dhru Purohit Podcast, is a top 50 global health podcast with over 30 million unique downloads. His interviews focus on the inner workings of the brain and the body and feature the brightest minds in wellness, medicine, and mindset.

This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health and Paleovalley.

Rupa Health is a place where Functional Medicine practitioners can access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs like DUTCH, Vibrant America, Genova, and Great Plains. You can check out a free, live demo with a Q&A or create an account at

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43 thoughts on “Why You Can't Lose Weight & How To Melt It Away! | Mark Hyman
  1. The Key to Automatic Weight Loss!

    Why Are We Fat? Is It Gluttony, or Is Your Fat Actually Hungry?

    What if everything you ever learned about weight loss was wrong? What if losing weight has nothing to do with calories—counting them or cutting them out by sheer willpower? What if, in fact, most health professionals (including doctors and dietitians), our own government and especially the food industry are giving us weight loss advice guaranteed to make us fat?

    Here’s their mantra: “Eat less and exercise more. The secret to weight loss is energy balance. There are no good or bad calories. It’s all about moderation.”

    If you doubt that this advice could be wrong, just look around. We have tripled our obesity rates since 1960, and in the last decade, cases of type 2 diabetes in children have increased by over 30 percent. In 1980, there were no children with type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult onset diabetes), and now, there are over 50,000. Seven out of ten Americans are overweight. The advice is not working. Could it be the wrong advice?

    Nobody wakes up in the morning saying, “Hey, I want to gain weight today. I am going to overeat. I want to be fat.”

    Rather, we have a $60 billion weight loss industry. It specializes in helping people count calories, eat less and exercise more. When are we going to realize that that our approach—as a scientific community and as policy makers—is failing miserably at stemming the tsunami of obesity and related health, social and economic costs?

    Could it be we have it all wrong? Could it be the world is round, not flat, even though it looks flat, just as it seems that if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight?

    The answer is yes. Our focus on calories has missed the mark entirely. Even if you held the Guinness world record for calorie counting, you could easily be off by 100 calories a day. Do that for 30 years, and you will be 20 to 30 pounds overweight.

    The End of Counting Calories

    David Ludwig and Mark Epstein published the most important scientific paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association since the Watson and Cricks paper on DNA in 1953, which changed our whole way of thinking about genes. They also explained their findings in the New York Times piece, “Always Hungry? Here’s Why.”

    It’s not that Isaac Newton and his first law of thermodynamics was wrong. It’s right—energy is conserved in a system. This is the whole foundation of our calories in/calories out, energy balance concept of weight loss. Just eat less and exercise more, and all the pounds will melt off.

    But there is one fatal flaw in that thinking. The law states that energy is conserved in a “system.” It is true that, in a vacuum, all calories are the same. A thousand calories of Coke and a thousand calories of broccoli burned in a laboratory will release the same amount of energy.

    But all bets are off when you eat the Coke or the broccoli. These foods have to be processed by your metabolism (not a closed system). Coke and broccoli trigger very different biochemical responses in the body—different hormones, neurotransmitters and immune messengers.

    The Coke will spike blood sugar and insulin and disrupt neurotransmitters, leading to increased hunger and fat storage, while the thousand calories of broccoli will balance blood sugar and make you feel full, cut your appetite and increase fat burning.

    Same calories—profoundly different effects on your body.

    Is Your Fat Hungry?

    Dr. Ludwig, for the first time, explains why. It’s not overeating that makes you fat. It’s being fat that makes you overeat. Once you start to consume refined carbs, such as bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and any form of sugar, you start making a certain kind of fat cells called VAT or visceral adipose tissue.

    This is no ordinary fat. It is super fat. Hungry fat. Dangerous fat. This fat starts an inexorable cascade that leads to obesity. It’s like falling down an icy slope where it’s almost impossible to stop yourself. You need a big ice axe and crampons. We ordinary mortals are no match for this hungry fat.

    Here’s what happens.

    Those hungry fat cells suck up all the available fuel in your blood stream (glucose, fats, ketones). Your body then thinks, “Oh, my god, I am starving. I better eat more and slow my metabolism, so I don’t die.” The problem is, anything you eat gets sucked up into those fat cells around your belly, leading to a vicious cycle of hunger, overeating, fat storage and a slowing down of your metabolism. No wonder we gain weight and can’t lose it.

    The key trigger for all this is a simple common hormone that we all need (but not too much of).


    If we make too much insulin, it drives the fuel in our blood into our fat cells. Too much insulin also does a lot of other bad things like cause heart attacks, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, cancer and dementia.

    When it comes to causing spikes of insulin that start this miserable chain reaction, not all calories are created equally. Sugar and refined carb calories are the culprits. Americans eat, on average, about 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour a year (almost a pound of sugar and flour per person per day!). These are actually pharmacologic doses of sugar and flour!

    Eat More Calories, Weigh Less?

    There are many studies showing just how different sugar and fat calories are. Most scientists still hold on to the dogma that fat makes you fat, that fat causes high cholesterol and that low fat is the way to go to live a long healthy life. Plenty of evidence proves otherwise. What if the fact that this conventional wisdom is completely wrong is what has actually caused our obesity epidemic?

    Dr. Ludwig points to studies in which all calories are held to be equal, but those participants kept on a low sugar and refined carb diet burned 325 more calories a day than those eating a low fat diet. Bottom line: Eating a high carb, low fat diet slows down your metabolism.

    Most striking was an animal study (and yes, we are not animals but the results are still very impressive). The study found that animals eating a low fat diet put on 70 percent more body fat even while eating fewer calories than animals eating a low carb diet.

    Let me say this again. Animals eating a low fat diet and fewer calories got fatter than those eating more calories and a low sugar and carb diet—70 percent fatter.

    If you restrict your calories, you will end up triggering very ancient biological adaptions that protect us from starvation. You will slow your metabolism and get a lot hungrier.

    You can’t voluntarily control your weight over the long term. Willpower is no match for these ancient programmed hormones that make sure you don’t starve to death.

    The Key to Automatic Weight Loss

    Dr. Ludwig proposes a novel, radical but scientifically true way to solve the obesity epidemic once and for all.

    Don’t worry about how much you eat, because you will never be able to control that. Rather, focus on what you eat, the quality of the food you eat, the composition of the food you eat (high in fiber, good quality protein and fat, low in starch and sugar). Then, you won’t be hungry and will shift from fat storage to fat burning. And you will prevent most chronic disease including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and dementia.

    10 Take Home Lessons: Forget the Calories, Focus on the Quality of Your Diet

    Here are the take home lessons from Dr. Ludwig’s paper:

    1- Overeating doesn’t make you fat. 2- Your fat cells make you overeat.3- You make hungry fats cells by eating sugar and refined carbs.4-Restricting your calories will slow your metabolism, make you hungry and guarantee that your weight loss attempts will fail.5-Eating a higher fat, higher protein, lower sugar and refined carb diet will speed up your metabolism and cut your hunger.6-Controlling what you eat is much easier than controlling how much you eat.7-Forget calorie counting. It’s not about the calories but about diet quality and dietary composition. Just try eating 1,000 calories of broccoli.8-End our scientifically outdated position that all calories are equal and weight loss is simply a matter of eating fewer calories than you burn.9-Lower insulin by a sugar detox, and watch your body lose weight effortlessly without hunger or cravings.To learn more, watch the movie Fed Up or read The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet (a medically designed program to cut insulin and detox from sugar and refined carbs).10- Stop blaming yourself for lack of willpower, and start empowering yourself by eating real, whole, fresh food that’s low in sugar and starch.

    Wishing you health and happiness,

    Mark Hyman, MD

  2. Thx. Good stuff. The good doctor is looking a bit leathery these days. Kind of like Tim Spector on ZOE. Tim always looks like he should be smoking and drinking bourbon. 🙂

  3. Ah ha, learned something important – Stress causes Cortisol to rise and gain weight all by itself. Back in the day about a year after I got married I wen from a 28 inch waist to a 32 inch waist and I knew her very well for 2 + years. Then my weight got worse till we parted company. Bingo if finally put this together. This was back in the 70's

  4. Dr Hyman, please help me!!!. I have no colon due to a colectomy from UC many years ago and I think I have many mineral deficiencies. I have spoken to many functional medicine doctors but no one seems to be able to help me with my cronich fatigue, kidney stones and histamine intolerance etc. I have done alot of my own research and have spent many hours trying to figure out what can be the best supplements for me. i obviously am not absorbing everything I need with only my small intestine. i am taking magnesium and b12 which has somewhat improved my condition but I am still not near feeling in optimal health. I live in South Africa but I am sure that if I could contact you you can give me some insight as to how I can prolong my life in a disease free manner. Just for the record, I do not eat any processed food, nor gluten or sugar at all. I am Italian and try to follow our traditional diet as far as [possible with the exclusion of grains. I also grow most of my own vegetables in virgin soil in an organic manner. Should I be taking probiotics or digestive enzymes? What bacteria should I have in my intestine if any, since I dont have a colon? I wanted to text you on the number that is on the screen but i need to area code for US.

  5. Great video! I would love to see one on how to manage stress even when the circumstances can’t change. For example: I have an adult daughter with severe health issues that keep her in bed and in a wheelchair and I have a 1 year old. I don’t have any friends nearby. Plus it feels like the end of the world everywhere I look. I’m the midst of all this, how can I lower my bodies response to stressors?

  6. I don't know why people complicate things, just eat a proper human diet without processed food. If you eat real food that your body was designed for you'll be fine. There is no obesity problem with animals in nature as they eat natural food, often the same things. Cut out flour, sugar, vegetable seed oils for a start.

  7. This type of doctor must be able to accept Medicare and all insurances. They don't. It's just for the rich. Insurance doctors do not do these tests. Being there. Done that. It would be perfect if people could actually afford it. Most can't. That's the catch. Do your research. There's no help without paying prime prices. Reality hurts. All talk and no guidance doesn't work. How can you have hope when your own General Practitioner doesn't know what you're talking about?! How many times have I asked my doctor to "Google it"?! Oh so many!!!! This has to change!

  8. Well..I didn't change my diet at all and the last 10 years I'm getting pounds and I don't know why…. I love sour things. I'm not sweet 🎂 like person. And I wanted loose weight ! I did what ever diets, exercise… 😮‍💨 So tired…I'm in my 50

  9. With a patient base of 312, a Cleveland Clinic doctor has to bill $1700 an hour to rate a paycheck. Without A eye dropper full of ( NUTCASE) I.E. nutrition med school info training from Cornell, how can a Rockerfeller deputy do anything but shovel out QUACK pharma drugs to insure a base treamnent level to rank into profile?

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