The Hacking of the American Mind (book)

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      Dr Robyn

      The Hacking of the American Mind by Robert H Lustig

      Pleasure vs Happiness
      Addiction = too much pleasure
      Depression = not enough happiness
      Finding pleasure in food DECREASES happiness! [WOW!!!]

      You can’t see the hormones of obesity and diabetes – that doesn’t mean they aren’t there

      The willful confusion of pleasure with happiness = big profit for Big Food, Big Pharma and even Big Govt

      Plus, it hides the link between product and disease

      Industry and govt create and push reward generating (pleasure) substances and behaviors that create unhappiness for profit

      You MUST help yourself because no one else will

      Contentment = lowest baseline of happiness. The state in which it is not necessary to seek more

      Pleasure = It feels good! I want more!

      Happiness = It feels good. I don’t need more.

      Pleasure: short lived. Visceral (fight/flight) can be achieved from substances (heroin, sugar, caffeine, alcohol). Process of “taking” only impacts you. Can lead to addiction and death

      We are being pushed away from happiness and towards pleasure in the pursuit of other people (big business) profiting.

      Pleasure should be a sometimes thing

      Happiness should be an all the time thing

      Does watching TV/movies of others being happy or unhappy bring us pleasure but unhappiness?

      Pleasure: immediate excitement or amusement. Dependent on circumstance

      Happiness: contentment in this life (not the afterlife) not prone to acute change. Unrelated to circumstance. Anyone can be happy. Not just for the rich.

      Excessive reward leads to addiction and depression

      There is nothing with a price tag that can bring you happiness

      You don’t control dopamine (pleasure) it controls you

      Infatuation = pleasure

      Long term love = happiness but some find it “boring” (not enough dopamine)

      Recommended book by the same author: Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease

      Americans preferred drug of choice for dealing with stress – SUGAR [we even joke about it]

      Cortisol (stress hormone) is an appetite stimulant and rapidly increases food intake while killing neurons that help inhibit food intake

      BMI goes up over time in short sleepers

      Sleep deprivation increase calorie intake by 300 calories a day

      Coca-Cola (coke) mainlines two addictive compounds: sugar and caffeine

      The gross profit margin on processed food is 45% [OMG!]

      None of the foods that contain essential nutrients are even remotely addictive

      Alcohol, sugar and caffeine – addictive, contain zero nutrients and usually ingested two at a time

      Rats prefer sweetness to cocaine

      In the last 50 years sugar has become a diet staple

      Sugar correlates with risk of dementia in long term studies [note: correlation does not equal causation]

      Sugar is associated with depression, addiction and metabolic syndrome.

      Sugar is the cheapest way to pleasure and the surest path to unhappiness

      Farm raised salmon is loaded with omega-6 because they are fed mostly grain based pellets – not plants

      35% of adult Americans don’t get enough sleep (minimum 7 hours/night)

      Lack of sleep increased desire for high calorie foods

      Adults who get 5 or fewer hours of sleep consume 21% more sugared beverages (including energy drinks) than the general population

      Depression rates started to rise in the 1960s – the same time processed food started to be a staple. Not causation – but suspect

      If a company is telling you what to eat – remember, their only job is to make $$$ and they make $$$ by making you eat their product, not by making you healthy

      There is $$$ in dopamine (pleasure) not in serotonin (happiness)

      It’s not called a “Happy Meal” for nothing. Sugar, salt, fat. Start the dopamine/reward hamster wheel early and you’ve got them for life

      They sell 3.2 million Happy Meals every day. Grossing more than $10 million per day (!!!) Kids account for 14.6% of customers

      Big Pharma doesn’t want the American male to he healthy. ED drugs are expected to have $3.2 BILLION in global sales by 2022. Half of which will come from the US [healthy men don’t have erectile dysfunction]

      Marketing “happiness” that is actually pleasure (dopamine) and fear (cortisol)

      The more you buy stuff the unhappier you get

      We are spending more buck for less bang

      The food industry grosses $1.46 TRILLION. 45% of which is gross profit

      In 2015 US healthcare = $3.2 trillion. 75% of which was diet related chronic metabolic diseases. 75% of those could be prevented

      Which means, $1.8 trillion a year is being wasted on preventable healthcare

      The insurance industry used to want people to be sick. That’s how they made money. With Obamacare came a cap on profits. Now they want people to be healthy so they don’t have to pay out.

      Sugar is killing us and subsidized by the federal government

      Metabolic syndrome = obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia

      Only 37% of Americans believe they will be in good health 10 years from now

      80% of study respondents over 50 already have one of the diseases of metabolic syndrome

      There are no services provided by the healthcare system to prevent/heal/reverse chronic metabolic disease. They only treat the symptoms.

      They can keep people alive but they don’t keep people from getting sick or making them better

      There is Big Money in Beg Medicine being paid by taxpayers

      65% of healthcare expenditures are paid in government (tax payer) money

      There is no $$$ in prevention

      We could turn this whole mess around if we limited the cheapest of thrills – sugar

      Industry and govt have joined forces to convince us that pleasure = happiness. So buying stuff and ingesting sugar = happiness. It is a LIE. Doing so will leave you and society fat, sick, stupid, broke, addicted, depressed and most certainly UNHAPPY

      Consumption = unhappiness

      GDP (gross national product) is WAY more important than our health, happiness and even our lives

      You are responsible to pursue contentment. We can’t control Big Food, Big Pharma, Big Medicine, Big Govt but we CAN control ourselves; 100%. We simply have to choose to do so.

      Contentment (real happiness) = connect, contribute, cope, cook

      This is not passive – you MUST perform (do) them

      Do NOT believe any industry that claims they can do it for you of sell it to you. (“it” being happiness)

      Create connection with people who have similar ideals and challenges

      Obesity can be transmitted because we eat the same foods as our friends

      Happiness can also be transmitted

      Which means unhappiness can as well

      The limbic (emotional) part of the brain activates to both physical and emotional pain

      Feelings of envy from reading other people’s positive posts worsens mood

      “If we don’t teach our children how to be alone, we doom them to always being lonely.”

      Text vs talk, snapchat vs eye contact – they are not the same

      Money doesn’t buy happiness. It buys pleasure

      The more you have. The more you want

      RnR note: Money doesn’t change you. It brings out who you really are.

      Work that destroys happiness:
      Disconnected from your values
      Takes you for granted
      Requires pointless or redundant work
      Treats people unfairly
      Overrides your better judgement
      Isolates or marginalizes you
      Risks harm (emotional or physical)

      Work that allows happiness
      Matters more to others than it does to you
      Varying experiences
      You can see the positive role on society
      You are proud of it

      Notice that neither list says anything about money

      Spite = the willingness to screw yourself to screw someone else

      Create happiness by coping:
      Eat right
      Get enough sleep

      Stress isn’t what matters. It’s how you respond to stress. How long do you allow the stress to go on?

      US work stress costs 120,000 lives and $190 billion a year

      Sleep deprivation kills your immune system

      23% of adults have clinical insomnia

      Sleep is not a luxury. It’s a necessity

      Sleep apnea increase appetite which results in overeating and depressed mood and metabolic problems

      Multitasking has increased 119% over the last 10 years.

      Multitasking increases stress

      Multitasking alters blood flow to the prefrontal cortex (logic center) increasing psychological stress, is associated with clinical depression and might increase degenerative changes in the brain

      Give your brain a rest – meditate

      Anxiety = excitement about the future which never comes (ongoing)

      RnR note: Worry = building a bridge you don’t want to cross to somewhere you don’t want to be

      Worrying = being out of control. Which makes you miserable (chronic stress)

      Try meditation for 5 minutes a day for 30 days and see how you feel

      Surely you can do anything for 5 minutes

      Visceral fat (big belly) predicts future metabolic disease.

      It is also the easiest to lose and is directly affected by exercise

      What does “wellness” mean?

      Different things to different people. You have to define it for yourself

      Exercise and “health” apps don’t provide actionable data, which leads many users to lessen or stop use over time

      The most toxic stressor of all = toxic food

      The cheapest pleasure: Sugar, the other white powder

      There are 56 names for sugar on food labels

      Only 51% of sugar in our diet comes from things we would expect (soda/dessert)

      Even if you remove soda and dessert from your diet you’ll still be over the “healthy” leave of sugar and still be at risk for diabetes

      Reasons the food industry uses for “needing” sugar in their products:
      It adds bulk and is cheap
      It makes food brown – which it also does to your cells, fructose causes this aging reaction to happen 7x faster than glucose
      It raises the boiling point
      It attracts and maintains moisture – sugar in bread will attract water from the air so it doesn’t dry out after it’s bakes = great for shelf life!
      It is a preservative – bacteria never grow in soda

      Some people experience loss of control with certain foods

      Tend to binge on high-sugar/high-fat foods

      Mindfulness can improve mood, reduce disordered eating, and reduce risk of metabolic syndrome by restoring functionality in the reward and stress systems

      Foods that are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) (US govt rating) can be used in food in any amount by industry [think sugar and caffeine, which are both addictive = good for profit]

      Resource –

      Coca Cola paid off 3 scientists from a group call The Global Energy Balance Network to blame obesity on lack of exercise rather than where it belonged – on sugar

      Soda industry has given away $120 million to 96 public health organizations to NOT promote food industry regulation

      There is always a new click bait miracle cure. We know they never work but it is still a $121 billion industry. WHY?

      The science has spoken. Processed food is addictive, can make you extremely unhappy and may kill you

      Isn’t it time we “stick it to” the industry that has been making $$$$$ lying to us and making us sick?

      If you don’t know how to cook you are hostage to the food industry and you are passing it on to your kids

      There is nothing that will improve your health, wellbeing, achievement, sense of accomplishment, sense of community and happiness as much as cooking for yourself and others

      It’s time to take back our lives from Big Food, Big Sugar, Big Industry

      Too many people believe they “deserve” the “happiness” that food gives them. But it’s not happiness. It’s pleasure and it’s a death spiral.

      Americas take for granted that money and pleasure are more important than all else

      “I have a sweet tooth” “I’ve been a chocoholic my whole life” = addition

      The things that create happiness are cheap. (and deadly)

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