BEST OF 2021

Upgrade Your Metabolic System with the Right Foods

Robert H. Lustig, M.D., M.S.L.

Find out how you can avoid metabolic dysfunction by protecting your liver and feeding your gut.


In this "Best of" Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

… Dr. Robert Lustig’s knowledge about the metabolic system landed with listeners in a big way.


He’s a New York Times bestselling author of several books about the problems caused by sugar, processed food and the health conditions of obesity. 


In his latest book “Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine,” he focuses on how real food can reverse chronic disease and promote longevity. He also challenges the current healthcare paradigm and the influence of Big Food, Big Pharma, and Big Government. 


I wrote “Metabolical” to basically explain what is healthy,” Dr. Lustig says. “And based on the empiric data, based on the science, based on the pathologies that I describe in the book that belie chronic disease, I distilled all of the information down to six words – two precepts, six words: ‘Protect the liver, feed the gut.’”


These are the eight cell pathologies that underlie all chronic disease, according to Dr. Lustig:

  • glycation
  • oxidative stress
  • mitochondrial dysfunction
  • insulin resistance
  • membrane instability
  • inflammation
  • epigenetics
  • autophagy


“When you look carefully at the science of these eight pathologies,” he says, “you realize that none are druggable, which is why they don’t respond to our current medications, and why people keep getting sicker despite the doctors’ best efforts.”

“[When] you look at the entire molecular mechanism of every single one of those eight subcellular pathologies, none of them have a medicine. None of them are druggable. They're all foodable.”

Robert H. Lustig, M.D., M.S.L.

His book also documents how processed food has impacted human health, the economy, and the environment over the past 50 years. 

“It’s not about obesity, it never was,” Dr. Lustig says. “The key to the kingdom is that it is not about obesity, it is about metabolic dysfunction and anyone can get it, and that’s what makes it a public health crisis, because obesity is a result of the problem, not the cause.”


Dr. Lustig has spent much of his 40-plus year career treating and finding ways to prevent obesity and diabetes. He’s an emeritus professor of pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology and member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. He’s authored more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, 80 academic chapters and reviews, and dozens of op-eds for the public. 


Check out his other popular books, “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease and “The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains.” 

Enjoy the show!

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  • Dr Lustig‘s newest book is looking at eight pathologies that underlie everything that happens with chronic disease.  – 1:01
  • Growth hormone deficient kids have fat depots in places they shouldn’t have fat depots. – 2:02
  • Alzheimer’s and type II diabetes are virtually identical in terms of what the mitochondria in either your liver or your brain are doing. – 4:33
  • You can reverse type II diabetes, and you can certainly reverse pre-diabetes, if you ate right.  – 7:05
  • What does protecting the liver really mean?  – 7:54
  • So all of these diseases that we are seeing increasing in frequency over the course of the last 50 years, commensurate with the advent of processed food in our diet.  – 11:23
  • What are the three things that are the worst at poking holes in the gut that people could start paying attention to?  – 11:58
  • The problem is, when you take the fiber out of food, whether it be the soluble fiber or the insoluble fiber or both, you now basically have put your liver at risk.  – 16:18
  • The point is, know what you’re doing and do it right. Because it’s very easy to do veganism wrong. And to be honest with you, you can do keto wrong also.  – 20:15
  • No one’s figured out how to put insoluble fiber back into food. It’s not miscible. So the processed food industry can’t seem to do it. Soluble fiber, that’s easy.  – 25:26
  • Listen carefully, audience. I am for desert, for desert. I am not for desert for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.   – 26:22
  • Real food works, processed food doesn’t, for all the reasons I’ve discussed, because of these eight pathologies. – 26:50
  • All these medicines that we currently throw at these various chronic diseases, they are treating the symptoms of the disease but they are not treating the underlying pathology.  – 28:58
  • Keep the glucose down. Keep the insulin down. You got to do both.  – 33:49
  • When you say Omega-3s, you’re taking about EPA and DHA? – 34:49
  • And then finally, number eight, the big one that I think is really, really important and has been ignored thus far in the medical literature, autophagy.   – 36:58
  • What’s in the food is what the food industry put into the food. But ultimately what’s been done to the food is way more important.  – 42:25
  • Another person who tried to do this was Denise Morrison. She was the CEO of Campbell’s soup. And so she tried to actually do something about the salt in Campbell’s soup. – 47:31
  • The countries that spend more of their GDP on food are way healthier than we are. The three worst countries, in terms of percent GDP spent on food, are the U.S., the UK, and Australia. And we are the three with the highest diabetes rate. – 51:24
  • He took British prisoners and he did a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial where he gave half the prisoners a multivitamin supplement for a year and the other got control.  – 56:43
  • Labeling is the problem, and that’s the point I make in the book is that what you need to know about the food is not on the food label.  – 59:23
  • It’s not what the cows eat, it’s what we did to the cows. It’s the antibiotics we gave to the cows which destroyed their gut microbiome and allowed the methanogens to take over so now every cow produces four times the amount of methane than they used to.  – 1:01:53
  • I actually describe how the medical establishment moved toward pharma as it’s go-to. I talk about John D. Rockefeller. He was the original OG drug kingpin. – 1:04:49

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