Episode 22 – Processed Food Addiction with Joan Ifland

Episode Summary

In this episode we spoke with Dr. Joan Ifland about processed food addiction, what it means, how it’s impacting people, why it’s happening, and what you can do about it.

To learn more about Dr. Ifland or processed food addiction, check out the following sites:



https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/0TCCQA  (Food Addiction Self Quiz)

Listen Through Website

Listen on YouTube

Show Transcript

David Enevoldsen: All right. Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Emotional Embuffination podcast. I'm your host, David Enevoldsen, and here on Emotional Embuffination we are training to become emotionally buff enough to overcome any conflict in life. And at the same time, we are trying to discover new levels of success and happiness and figure out how to optimize all those positive, joyful feelings in life. This podcast is just one of a number of resources I have available. If you want to learn more about any of that, check out the Emotional Embuffination website, which is embuff.com. That's E-M-B-U-F-F.com. Also on the website you can sign up for my newsletter, which has quick weekly Emotional Embuffination tips. On today's show I'm very excited to be able to talk to Dr. Joan Ifland and she knows a lot about processed food addiction. And I think this is a huge thing and we'll explain why in a couple of minutes here. Dr. Ifland has been creating breakthroughs in recovery from food addiction from 1999 with her first popular book to 2018, when her textbook processed Food Addiction Foundations Assessment and Recovery was released by CRC Press. She's been selected for her expertise by Oprah Winfrey Network, Martha Stewart Wedding magazine, Fortune Magazine, and US News and World Report. She founded the online Addiction Reset Community ARC in 2018. http://www.FoodAddictionreset.com. The Facebook group Food Addiction Education in 2014.

David Enevoldsen: And you can go to the website there which is foodaddictionresources.com. That was in 2014 provides free support Reset Week is the first online live video program for withdrawal from 2018. ARC manager training is a program training future addiction reset community leaders from 2020. Dr. Ifland is the lead author of the first scholarly description of processed food addiction and definition of addictive foods. Dr. Ifland earned her PhD in addictive nutrition at the Union Institute and University in 2010. Her MBA at Stanford Business School in 1978 and her BA in economics and political science at Oberlin College in 1974. She's currently residing in Seattle. Clearly she knows a lot about and has a huge background in all of this stuff related to processed food addiction. Joan, thank you very much for agreeing to interview with me today. I really appreciate you here. One of the big reasons that I wanted to talk with you is that Emotional Embuffination is all about managing emotions, optimizing happiness, figuring out how to deal with conflict, and essentially living the best life possible. And one of the things that I've come to realize is that nutrition is absolutely critical as one of the elements in that whole dynamic. And that's obviously your forte. That's that's what you know about. And so thank you very much for for agreeing to talk with me today about all that.

Dr. Joan Ifland: David thank you for having me. This is a topic very, very near and dear to my heart.

David Enevoldsen: Maybe as a preliminary point, could we kind of start with a little bit of your background, maybe tell me some of your educational background. What got you into this line of work in the first place? What brought you to understanding and kind of advocating for issues related to processed food addiction?

Dr. Joan Ifland: All right. Thank you. Um, so I really started my educational background. Looks weird until you really get a grasp on the problem. And then my educational background looks perfect. So my undergraduate degree from Oberlin College is in economics and political science. I worked two years at the Wisconsin state legislature as a fiscal analyst, and then I went to Stanford Business School, wanted to switch to business, and I spent five and a half years at a Fortune 200 holding company, doing financial analysis and running small operations, and then I had my two kids back to back two years. And I became too sick to go back to work. And my husband was making ten times what I was making on Wall Street. So it was decided I would be a stay at home mom. And I started yo yo dieting. And then we got to the mid 1980s and today we know that's when the tobacco industry came into processed foods. And all you have to do is ask yourself, why would a company that makes its money off of the addiction business model, why would they be attracted to processed foods? Well, what happened in the mid 1980s is that they started, a part of the addiction business model is to hide addictive substances in seemingly innocent products until the person has used them often enough to develop overwhelming cravings for them.

David Enevoldsen: And was this information that you knew about back at this time, or is this something you discovered later on?

Dr. Joan Ifland: No, no, I had not a clue. You know, it is pretty amazing when you think about it, that the tobacco industry was able to buy Kraft, Nabisco, and General Foods in three years controlling 10% of American food purchases and nobody batted an eyelash. Nobody raised the red flag. Look, these are bad people. They got two thirds of Americans to smoke. American adults. They tried to get ten year old boys to smoke. They killed.

David Enevoldsen: And we're still not talking about it even now.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Yeah, well, they finally did.

David Enevoldsen: At least don't hear much about it.

Dr. Joan Ifland: They finally passed legislation. But why? Why this was missed is just incredible. But all the obesity and all the diet related deaths start from that decade. High fructose corn syrup came on the market in 1980. It was a cheap sweetener that was the last kind of brick in the food addiction wall that the tobacco industry needed. They needed a cheap, addictive substance that they could hide in processed foods like they hid nicotine, extra nicotine in cigarettes and boom, off they went. And they had the US government promoting addictive processed foods. The bottom row of the dietary pyramid that was released in the early 1980s was all refined refined carbohydrates is all flour products. So they must have been jumping for joy, those tobacco executives and boom, boom, boom. They bought those three big producers. They hired a a Harvard trained PhD in experimental psychology of marketing, Howard Moskowitz. This is described in Michael Moss's book Sugar Fat Salt. And he developed a process for absolutely maximizing the amount of sugar, fat, salt, all of which are addictive to different pathways in the brain before the consumer would object. Before the consumer would notice, Oh, this is too sweet. Oh, this is too salty. Nobody ever says a product is too fatty. That's very interesting. So that's that happened in the mid 1980s and I was yo yo dieting and I would lose the 30 pounds and regain it year after year.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah.

Dr. Joan Ifland: And it got to be the, the late 1980s and I was in a group for miserable personalities. I was in several groups. I had by then I had my I grew up in a violent household. My mother always had a glass of caffeine and sugar in her hand and she could go from zero to raging in two seconds. You never knew what was coming. My father had a drink every night and they both smoked. There was plenty of processed foods around the house, even in the 1950s. I was born in 1951. And it was a very violent, volatile household to grow up in. I was determined that I was not going to raise my children in that kind of a household, but I had that temper. I had that propensity to break into rage. So the only thing I knew in the early 1980s was one on one therapy. Talk therapy. So, did that. And then I learned about a women's healing group. So, I did that. All in. All the training, all the everything, and ran weekends. And then, um, I joined one of the 12 step groups, Codependents Anonymous. All in. All, you know, sponsor writing the steps, going to meetings. None of it helped. I still was still breaking into rage. But the big miracle happened in that support group. A woman came up to me a couple of times during the year and said, "Why don't you consider another 12 step group called Food Addicts in Recovery?" And I went and got the book because at the end of the year, I had gained the weight back. I didn't have the discipline to to to starve myself again. Weight loss, starvation. Wakes up fear of famine. Nasty. I mean, not eating enough food is like one of the nastiest things you could do to a human.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So there was, um, January 1996. January 1st, I'd gotten the book. I read the food plan, skip the rest of it about food addiction and started the food plan on January 1st, 1996, and the miracles started rolling in. Within four days, the brain fog lifted, the bloating stopped. The fatigue stopped. The cravings stopped. It just right off the bat. I hope all of your listeners realize cravings are a sign of addiction. Cravings are not normal. They're the sign that the food industry has hyper activated your reward system. And you're not supposed to have cravings. You're supposed to get hungry, which happens in your stomach. But cravings happen in the mind. Okay, so that was cool. That was super cool. I didn't know you could not have cravings. I'd had cravings since my earliest memory is actually of trying to act on a on a craving. And, um, the, the next week the allergies stopped. So that was a big reason why I couldn't go back to work was my eyes while I was running my nose was running sneezing. Um, just terrible. So that went that got much better. The asthma got much better. It was in the third week, though, that I committed my life to doing what you're doing, David, which is to tell people. Well, here's what happened. In the third week I realized I had stopped yelling at my family. I stopped criticizing them. I'd stopped expressing anxiety about them. I had just the whole thing had calmed down.

David Enevoldsen: And at that point, the only thing that was different was the food.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Yeah. The sugar and flour specifically out.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So that weekend I went to the support group and I and I had gone I'd started going. Once a week. No Internet, you know, it's pre-Internet, but once a week I could get in my car and drive to a physical meeting and I had done that. So there I was in that meeting, Hey, you know, do people get less irritable on this food plan? 20 heads-yes, they do. Yeah. You know, all the raging that I grew up with as a child. My grandfather owned a candy store. Just get a grip. Yeah. So. That day, January 18th, when I realized that I hadn't yelled at anybody in my family for three weeks. That's what I did. I said, I've got to let everybody know where this anger and depression and anxiety, this irritability, the shame. There's this panic, there's rage, there's suicide ideation. Where is it coming from? It's coming from processed foods.

David Enevoldsen: Wow. That seems pretty profound.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So, wrote a popular book, which I don't recommend. It's out of date. It has things in it that don't recommend anymore. And I got considered for a national TV show to promote the book, and the producer got on like I was at the airport ready to fly overnight to New York. The producer comes on and says, You know, you don't have a degree in your field and we owe our viewers expertise, so we're going with the doctor. Like, dang well, huh? I'll go get one. So, I grew up in Cincinnati and Union Institute and University is in is headquartered in Cincinnati. And it's a school for new fields and they've graduated a couple of just really out of the box nutritionists. Gary Noll came out of there. He writes a book practically every year. Kathleen DesMaisons, who wrote Potatoes, Not Prozac, came out of there. And there's a third one. Sherry Lynn just never really I know she's very popular. I don't think she's with us anymore. And so I went to Union and in three years I finished the work for a PhD in addictive nutrition. There are two of us, Kathleen DesMaisons and I have the PhD. So I started writing chapters and papers, and none of it really had any effect.

Dr. Joan Ifland: And then I got my doctoral divorce. My husband just got tired of looking at my back at the computer and I did a prepared meal company said, you know, I'm going to get people clean food and then they'll feel so good and they'll just want to eat it, which is very much like saying to an alcoholic, I'm going to have this fantastic water delivered to your house and you're going to love drinking it and you won't want to drink anymore. That's the level of sophistication. So I lost most of my divorce settlement on that idea. But then the CRC press came along and the biggest textbook publishers in the world and asked me to write a textbook for processed food addiction. And at that time my dad died and he left me enough money that I could live on. I needed to move back to Cincinnati because my 91 year old stepmom was there on her own. So I did that and I spent the next three years putting it together. I don't know. I lost my computer in the middle of the project, but I think I looked at probably 8000 studies. And I got it. I got it.

Dr. Joan Ifland: I got it. I wrote about 70% of the textbook, and I got other really incredible experts to write the other 30%. But here's the bottom line. Most people, over 80% of Americans are suffering from a severe addiction. It's not a mild addiction anymore. It's not a moderate addiction. You are not pre addicted. You're severely addicted. Nobody has lifted one little tiny finger against this processed food industry, unlike the tobacco industry, which got, uh, finely, you know, pummeled in the courts. And they they weren't allowed to advertise and they weren't allowed to to sell cigarettes just to anybody. And they had to put a lot of documents on file at University of California, San Francisco describing what the heck they had done to us. So it's all out. Now we know what they did to us. But there's no breaking. There's Congress is certainly not pushing back. The regulatory agencies are not pushing back. So over these it's about been about 35 years since tobacco came in. And to processed foods and reformulated products and focused on children. So now the data the research supports the argument over 80% of Americans are severely addicted. So if you want, I'll go over those criteria

David Enevoldsen: Well before we get there, could we, well, I think actually, you were about to go to the same place I was going. Maybe we could get a little foundational here and I guess get some definitions in play. So specifically when we're saying process foods, what exactly are we talking about? Because obviously there's going to be different levels of processing. But when you say processed foods, what do you mean by that?

Dr. Joan Ifland: So there are there are really this is amazing. It's one of the reasons why this addiction is so severe and why the impact on emotions is so severe. It's because there are combinations of substances made into, quote unquote, meals that affect all four of the major pathways. Dopamine, serotonin, opioid, and cannabinoid. These are the same pathways that are stimulated by dope for dopamine by opiates. Morphine and by cannabinoids. Cannabis.

David Enevoldsen: So if let's say I'm just a generic consumer and I walk into a grocery store or I'm at a restaurant or something, um, how do I know if I'm getting something that contains foods that might trigger any of this.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Okay the first big category is sugar.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Sugar and sweeteners of any kind. No matter how you know.

David Enevoldsen: Does that include like fruits?

Dr. Joan Ifland: Turbinado sugar, natural sugar, sucralose stevia. They all concentrate at hyperactivation of the dopamine pathways.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Same thing as alcohol.

David Enevoldsen: Is that also the case with like kind of natural sugars, like if you get an apple or something or.

Dr. Joan Ifland: No, no. The the the problem starts to occur when you concentrate the natural endorphins in the plant. So why is cocaine addictive? Because you have concentrated the natural endorphins in cocaine leaves. You have distilled ethanol out of plants to make alcohol. You have dried the tobacco to to concentrate the nicotine, and then you've added nicotine back in. You've, um, you know, taken the poppy and you've concentrated it into opium. Or you've taken the cannabis leaf and you've dried it was extracted the THC and concentrated it. So that's absolutely what's happened in a processed food. Food is supposed to be enjoyable. So food has natural endorphins in it, which is great. It's lovely. You're attracted to eating, you survive. But when you concentrate them, they they hyper activate those reward systems, the pleasure systems, and then the pleasure systems crash. And it hurts. So you go and you get the substance again to try to get back up off the floor, out of the pit. That's the addiction.

David Enevoldsen: Got it. So so sugar particularly.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Sugar is one big broad category. Flour. Flour of any kind. Once you've taken a carbohydrate and you've created a fine white powder out of it, it gets into your system all at once and you get high. And that's more of the serotonin pathway. And then, um, excessive salt. We must eat salt. We have the research showing that too little salt is as harmful as too much salt. It's an electrolyte balance issue, heartbeat, etcetera. Then you have dairy. So, dairy right out of the cow. Right out of that organic cow has enough casomorphin in it to put a 100 pound calf to sleep. For naturally occurring casomorphins, all breast milk, all mammal breast milk has casomorphins in it to put that baby to sleep. So, to absorb nutrients.

David Enevoldsen: So maybe kind of following on the dairy issue, is there is there like an alternative like because there's so many alternatives for dairy out there? I mean, are you an advocate for things like almond milk or any of that? Because that also seems to be processed?

Dr. Joan Ifland: No. No, those are all refined carbohydrates.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So then there's excessive fat.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So there's just damaging fat trans fats, which are not on the market anymore. But then excessive fat. So, keto treats are highly addictive for the fat content. And that's new research and it's fabulous. So we know that excessive fat activates the cannabinoid pathways, same pathways as cannabis.

David Enevoldsen: Interesting.

Dr. Joan Ifland: And then you have caffeine and then you have food additives. And then you have gluten. Gluten is gluteomorphin.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: And we have we have really good evidence for mood altering properties to gluteomorphin.

David Enevoldsen: Okay. So in essence, I'm an average consumer. I'm trying to determine whether or not what I'm about to eat is a processed food. I'm looking for things like any of the refined versions of sugar or sugar alternatives, flours, excessive amounts.

Dr. Joan Ifland: It's much easier. It's much easier.

David Enevoldsen: Oh, okay. Go ahead. Sorry. I'm what's the easier pathway on this?

Dr. Joan Ifland: If it's in a package, it's processed.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Yeah. So you can mean my trip to the grocery store is 20 minutes max. Go down the produce aisle. Boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop. Here's the test. Do I know what plant that came from? Is does it still look like it did when it was harvested? Like celery still looks like celery. Carrots still look like carrots. Green peas still look like green peas. But you know oh, gosh. I saw somebody eating a it was a green bean, but it had been I don't know what they did to it, but they made it into a like a like a puffed, it was puffed and it was crunchy and it was sickening. So that's a processed food. And so you go down the produce aisle, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop. And then you go across the back of the store to the proteins. You come down beans and rice and oils. If you if you use seed oils, you get your avocados and your coconut over in the produce section. So you've got healthy fats and you're out of there.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: I did a survey of a quote unquote, kind of a high end food store once, a big national chain. 1%, 1% of the food in that store was unprocessed.

David Enevoldsen: Wow.

Dr. Joan Ifland: One, it was the produce section and a couple of, like, condiments and everything else had was addictive. So it's really simple.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah,

Dr. Joan Ifland: It's really simple. Yeah.

David Enevoldsen: Okay, well, that that actually brings a lot of clarity to me about what is a processed food. Continuing on the definitional line, I think this is where you were about to go a few minutes ago when I cut you off.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Yeah.

David Enevoldsen: What is addiction? So we're talking about addiction to processed food, what does that mean?

Dr. Joan Ifland: Okay, so, um from a brain scan point of view from a neurological point of view an addiction is reward centers, those four reward centers that are pumping out too much neurotransmitter. That's what brain cells do, is they pump out neurotransmitter. That brain, so you have hyperactive reward centers. You owe that brain is also pumping out too much stress. Uh, neurotransmitters. These is called corticotropin releasing factor. But that brain is trying to calm down the pleasure centers, trying to balance back out the brain. And it does that by sending signals to the adrenal glands to to release adrenaline. Impact on mood. Oh, my God. Okay. So then the third piece of it is that your braking system is not working. So because of these hyperactive reward and stress cells, which by the way, are hyper activating behavior, the addiction is able to travel right across the brain over to the behavior center and control behavior. No impulse traveling to the frontal lobe, no braking system, no analytics, no evaluation, no decision making, no problem solving, no learning, no attention span, no impulse control. No memory. This is an addiction. This is the reward centers have control of your behavior.

David Enevoldsen: Okay so how do you know if you have, I mean, aside from the fact that you're probably I think most Americans are consuming a lot of processed foods and the fact that

Dr. Joan Ifland: 73%. 73% of all foods consumed in the US are processed. It's so bad. It's unimaginably bad. And and you see it getting worse over time. A higher and higher percentage.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Tobacco comes into processed food you just see that percentage climbing. Scary.

David Enevoldsen: How does somebody that's kind of listening to us here know if they have a processed food addiction?

Dr. Joan Ifland: All right. Let's do we have the American Psychiatric Association to thank.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: For their diagnostic manual. There are 11 signs of addiction, and I will run through them with you if you like.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah, would love that.

Dr. Joan Ifland: All right. Let's do it. Criteria one, unintended use. So you have a plan. You're not going to eat, blah, blah, blah, and then you end up eating it. You're only going to eat one out of the package and then the package wrapper is empty.

David Enevoldsen: Some foods even seem to promote that as like advertising.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Oh, these are carefully designed. These are there are addiction scientists. They're addiction neurologists. They're very well paid by corporations. Not just processed food, but screen entertainment. It's it's very bad out there. Okay, so unintended use or you're going to drive home, but somehow your car drives itself into a fast food place. Unintended use.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Failure to cut back. This is 100% 90, sorry. 83% of the country is overweight or obese. 83% of adults are overweight or obese. About a third of them are trying to diet at any given moment. This is how we know how widespread this addiction is. Almost 100% of people will regain lost weight within three years. Almost 100%. So, failure to cut back is you know, 83% of the country. Time spent. And this is not just time spent going and getting this stuff, but it's time spent planning and it's time spent craving. It's time spent thinking. It's time spent going back and forth to the break room. It's time spent standing in front of the vending machine. It's time spent going into the convenience store on the way home. It's time spent leaving your house in the middle of the night to go get it, which people do. Once the grocery stores started staying open 24 hours a day it was just became unbearable. Then number four is cravings. And we know that cravings coincide with weight. So we know that most people have cravings, over 80%. Then, so then the addiction really starts to spread out to behavior. And the next three are behaviors failure to fulfill roles. I'm so big, I can't get down on the floor with my kids, but I'm still eating. I am so tired from processed foods that I am not going to apply for that promotion. Things like that people know. Um. Interpersonal problems. My husband wants me to stop keeping this in the house, and I can't do it. I wait until everybody goes to bed so I can go to the laundry room and get out what I stashed there. I can't even focus on what that person needs because I'm so tired and craving.

Dr. Joan Ifland: I don't, I can't, I can't help them anyway. And then activities given up. This is criteria seven. I don't want to go. I don't want to go anymore. They're going to judge me. I'm too tired. I'd rather go home and eat. And gradually, gradually, gradually, isolation. And there are epidemics of isolation. Now, more than half of American adults live alone. It's tragic. Hazardous use. That is things like driving with your pinky while you're using your other nine fingers to put fast food in your mouth.

David Enevoldsen: Yep.

Dr. Joan Ifland: It's eating something sugary when you're a diabetic and you know it's going to shoot your blood sugar up and eventually you're going to go blind. Those kinds of things. Number nine is use in spite of consequences. 93% of Americans have high triglyceride cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose or waist to hip ratio. And they're still eating 73% of their food and processed foods. Use in spite of knowledge of consequences. And then you have tolerance and that is just eating more and more over time. And you see that on a national level with the percentage constantly increasing the percentage of food that Americans eat that's processed. And then the last one is withdrawal. And we do have a really good study now on salt withdrawal. The original study was done on sugar withdrawal and it looks just like morphine withdrawal. It's done at Princeton by Nicole Avena. And then you have you have this really cool thing from the keto community. They call it keto flu. Uh, but it's processed food withdrawal and it's head headache, lethargy, irritability, fatigue, brain fog, headache in the first four days, the acute phase of withdrawal. Yeah.

David Enevoldsen: Wow, that's fascinating. The resistance thing, does that also tie the last one you had? Does that also tie into like the insulin resistance, insulin sensitivity issues that we hear talked about a lot in the

Dr. Joan Ifland: So, um. Here's the bottom line, so, over the five years now we have an online recovery community, the addiction reset community. You can go to processedfoodaddiction.com and you can sign up for our free stuff and then you'll get invited to a free workshop. And the self quiz is there. So you can you can see how many of these criteria you meet. Six or more is a severe addiction.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: A over 80% of Americans will meet six or more of those criteria.

David Enevoldsen: It seems like an astronomical number.

Dr. Joan Ifland: 1.6 million Americans will die from diet related diseases every year. This is about two and a half times more than the worst year of COVID.

David Enevoldsen: You mentioned earlier, if I can circle back to kind of the origins of this. So you said there was kind of a shift, I guess, in so, big tobacco comes in and sort of takes some control, some market share, I guess, of this industry, of the food production in particular. And I guess sort of implements a system where they're addicting the American population. Do we know or do you know that this was I guess as insidious as something that was intentional.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Oh, my gosh.

David Enevoldsen: Or was this maybe they were just discovering this is what people are driven by. What are your thoughts on that?

Dr. Joan Ifland: Nope. So the hard evidence is this. When the tobacco companies started losing in court, the courts required them to put thousands, hundreds of thousands of documents on file at University of California, San Francisco. Now, you know, all these years later, it's millions of documents. Those researchers are combing through those documents and they are finding the internal memos that demonstrate how viciously they took the tobacco addiction model and applied it to sugar for children. It was vicious. And there are so proud of themselves as they they work through this. So let me give you just one really chilling example. This just this just makes my toes curl. It makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. So how do you create an addiction? What is the addiction business model? The so, the addiction business model, I call it the five A's, it's advertising availability, affordability. It's addictive, deliberate, addictive product formulation. And then young youngest possible age. The younger you addict an animal, including children, the then that child is growing up in an addicted brain and they don't have life skills. They don't have decision making skills. They don't they're just stuck. Until they come to a program like ours. We teach 149 life skills. We're starting from scratch with people. We don't assume they have any skills at all and we build from there. And that is fair because we see that the younger, you know, at the moment when the addiction starts, personality development stops. So if you start drinking at age 12, it's quite different. Your your capability profile is quite different from the person who starts who develops alcoholism at age 22.

Dr. Joan Ifland: But if you develop sugar addiction at age two, you're having a hard life. You don't have the skills to really do a fantastic job of building a fabulous life. Okay, So so those are the five A's, and we see it in tobacco and we see it in alcohol and we see it in cannabis. We see it in vaping. It's the addiction business model. It's it's the method by which a manufacturer sells a worthless, destructive product.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah.

Dr. Joan Ifland: You know, you assign all kinds of value like cigarettes are sexy and alcohol is cool and vaping is really cool. So you assign these characteristics to these horrible products and you're able to to sell them. Okay. So how did the tobacco companies do this? Let's take the Marlboro Country store. So you you hide nicotine in the cigarettes and you make it really cool. So I want to be sexy. So I'm going to smoke a few cigarettes at a party. Or I want to be rebellious. So I'm going to go out into the parking lot as a, you know, a sophomore in high school and smoke because I'm so cool and I'm rebellious. Or I'm going to be really masculine and I'm going to be the the Marlboro Cowboy. Anyway, I start smoking. Well, that's not good enough. The tobacco companies want you to smoke a lot so that you can addict these reward centers so that you're filled with cravings all the time. So to get you to buy more cigarettes, they give you a proof of purchase coupon on your pack of cigarettes and you can send that in.

Dr. Joan Ifland: And so now you've smoked enough cigarettes that you have these hyperactive reward centers. You can send that in and get logoed items. You can get a Marlboro lighter or a Marlboro belt buckle or Marlboro jacket, and that now you are surrounded by cues, triggers, reminders, signals stimulation. And that alone associated with the product is enough without your consent, without your agreement to stimulate the release of craving neurotransmitters. It's called an associative cue. It's a logo that you associate with using, and that is enough to release cravings which travel over to the behavior centers and cause you to light up a cigarette. So they took that model and they created the Kool-Aid Wacky Warehouse. Sugar is more addictive and destructive than cocaine. So people who have been eating a lot of processed foods have more brain alterations than cocaine addicted people. And this is what the tobacco company did with sugar and children. So the Kool-Aid Wacky Warehouse, you buy Kool-Aid. It's sugar flavored sugar, and you get mom to mix it up. And Mom just thinks it's so much fun. And then you can cut off the the purchase proof of purchase and send it in and get Kool-Aid, it's Kool-Aid, Dude. Or Kool-Aid Man. I forget. Anyway, Kool-Aid man was so cool because he would stand up to adults and he would flummox adults. And so kids were really I want to be Kool-Aid, Man. I want to get control over my parents. So they would get Kool-Aid shorts and Kool-Aid t shirt, and Kool-Aid hat, and Kool-Aid wristwatch and Kool-Aid toys and Kool-Aid sports items and Kool-Aid tape players.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So they were surrounded by triggers. And they would just crave instead of learn how to live life. Because remember, once the cravings start, the blood flow is pulled away from the frontal lobe, which is why we have epidemics today of attention deficit. That's where the attention paying brain cells are in the frontal lobe, learning, decision making, problem solving, memory, impulse control, and some emotional processing. So this is why we have epidemics of these problems is because people are eating 73% of their food in substances that pull the blood supply back to the the reward centers and the stress centers. This is why we have epidemics of stress. This is why we have epidemics of depression. When you when you're constantly stimulating those reward centers, they wear out. The technical term is called downregulation, but the synapse that where the dopamine jumps, the receptors, it collapses like a tunnel collapsing. Those are the those are the parts of the brain that are responsible for making us feel pleasure and satisfaction and a sense of good. And they collapse. And that is where depression, irritability, anxiety, shame, loss of interest in life, suicide ideation. And and then you you combine that remember we have this elevated adrenaline cortisol from this hyper activated stress pathway. And now you also have fluctuating blood glucose. You get a glucose glucose drop. You know, you just feel horrible. 80% of violent offenders have hypoglycemia. They're subjected to that sudden drop of blood sugar. 80% of violent offenders have hypoglycemia.

David Enevoldsen: That's fascinating. So I guess going back to the the Kool-Aid example, so, was it, I'm assuming there was some sort of internal memos outlining that this was kind of.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Oh they were bragging, they were so proud of themselves and they kept aggravating it so they would send out smell cards so you could watch Kool-Aid Man, and you could, you know, the scrape the sniff card and smell Kool-Aid while you were watching it. Compounded queuing. Vicious. How could you do that to children? How could you just take over their brains? How could you? That's, how do you sleep at night? Oh, no, no, that's not the problem. Now, we didn't do that. No, no, no. So this is why you see these incredible statistics of mental illness now in our country. Mental illness, emotional illness, behavior disorders, young populations on disability, very not statistically significant yet, but creeping up suicide among children and adolescents.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Yeah.

David Enevoldsen: Man, this is kind of terrifying stuff. Um, okay, so

Dr. Joan Ifland: We have brain scan studies of obese children showing that they have diminished frontal lobes. Frontal lobes are just not getting blood supply.

David Enevoldsen: If and it sounds like most of us are suffering from some level of this influence.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Yeah.

David Enevoldsen: It's funny. I think back to my own childhood and I don't remember eating anything other than processed foods like I remember.

Dr. Joan Ifland: That's right.

David Enevoldsen: Like I remember delighting in I would get my my mom would get me these, like, instant oatmeal packets and I would like begrudgingly get through the oats. And then I would be excited about eating, sometimes I'd just eat it out of the packet and I would get excited about eating the sugar on the bottom.

Dr. Joan Ifland: At the bottom of the packet.

David Enevoldsen: Or we'd get the straws with the sugar in them or.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Yes. Yes.

David Enevoldsen: Ramen noodles. You know, everything I can remember as a kid was just processed food. And I mean, that's what I grew up on. And it's.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Absolutely sugary breakfast cereals.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah.

Dr. Joan Ifland: You know, there was a breakfast cereal made for children with 70% sugar.

David Enevoldsen: Right.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Sugar more addictive and destructive than cocaine. So this is the this is the brain scan study. It was done pretty early on. A PET scan. And it was done by the the executive director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse. So they did brain scans of these dopamine receptor fields, and they had normal people with bright red receptor fields. And then they had the cocaine addicted people and their receptor fields were gone. There was no more red. There's still a little bit of yellow. But the obese population, then it's not because they're obese. It's because they have been addicted to processed foods. It was more gone. The receptor fields were more gone, more collapsed than the cocaine addicted population.

David Enevoldsen: Wow.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So we have sugar more addictive, more destructive than cocaine. And then once you've been addicted and you've trained those brain cells, then any kind of concentrated sweetener, even a high sugar fruit like mango is not in my house. It'd just be stupid. It would be here, and then I would eat it before I could even put it away.

David Enevoldsen: Right.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So, so you get so sensitized. And the big problem, of course, is the processed food industry is allowed to market, market, market, advertise, advertise, advertise. Really the children's cartoon commercials, the amusement parks, the vending machines in schools, and then the teachers handing it out, then going to the lunchroom and getting pizza for lunch.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So the government is is actively promoting this addiction.

David Enevoldsen: And I mean, obviously on things like breakfast cereals, you see all sorts of cartoon figures and whatnot that clearly that's that's speaking to children and not even just limited there. When you think of like Cheetos, for example, has the the cheetah, the cartoon cheetah that they're always promoting So, it's.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So bad, so bad.

David Enevoldsen: Seems like it' everywhere. So I guess taking the next step on this. So let's say somebody says, okay, I recognize I've got a processed food addiction. I recognize this could be having all sorts of adverse implications on my well-being in various ways. What do you do about it? How do you how do you break that cycle? How do you get through that addiction, especially when you're dealing with that, the chemical dependency cravings and all of that.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Now, the sad thing is we have to talk about the other shoe.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: And that is the medical services industry.

David Enevoldsen: Oh.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Because everybody has been told to go to their doctor for help.

David Enevoldsen: Right.

Dr. Joan Ifland: But let's go back to the business model. Let's go back to the early 1900s. And John D Rockefeller has his oil refining business. He's got a side product called coal tar. It works for some kind of skin condition. He says, Oh, I think I'll start a pharmaceutical industry. He goes over to Germany, he gets a scientific medical curriculum. He goes around to and he creates licensing boards. Now, the only thing that works is, of course, a pharmaceutical. That's scientific. All this other stuff that millions of people for millennia have been using to put disease into remission, that's all quackery now.

David Enevoldsen: Right.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So people start showing up with and then even the legislatures, like you're as a doctor, you are in some states, you may not mention anything. You may not mention diet, for example. So you can only prescribe. So you go to the medical services industry with one with overweight, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, irritable bowel, Crohn's, reproductive problems. Because processed foods are inflammatory. They stop cell function, they cripple cell function. So whether it's a brain cell or a heart cell or a gut cell or a liver cell, it's riddled with fat because high, high fructose corn syrup converts to fat two and a half times more readily than sugar. So your your liver is now riddled with fat. It can't filter. Your pancreas is riddled with fat. It can't produce insulin. So you have all of these diseases, but it's one disease. It's processed food, inflammation, interference with cell function, crippling cells. And how do I experience this? We've had this online recovery community for five and a half years. And I built it very specifically, to, so that you could recover from a severe addiction at home while you go through your regular life. We broadcast 15 hours a day so that you can block out all that stimulation from the food industry and you can replace it with, Oh, I'm learning life skills, I'm learning emotion control, I'm learning positive thinking.

Dr. Joan Ifland: That is all of our programing. And you can get it off of any device 15 to 17 hours a day. So five and a half years, we just build, build, build, build, build. We're successful. People get control over their food. They could control over their emotions. They're not eating over their emotions anymore. They've got life skills. They can manage relationships so it doesn't stress them out. They can manage a sleep routine. They can cut out the toxic violent screens and and they learn to take care of themselves. You have to be expert at self-care now because you're facing off against these neurologists at the food industry and the screen industry and all the addiction industries that are expert at giving you messaging that trains your brain to to crave. Okay, So we've been doing that for five and a half years ago now and about a year ago. Um, one of my people one of my wonderful, really, I have the most incredible people at the ARC. The Addiction Reset Community. She gave me a book called Radical Remission, and it talked about putting advanced cancer. How do people put advanced cancer, lethal cancer, deadly cancer into remission? And I'm listening to this book as I'm driving to LA for a TED talk. And we do it all. We're doing all these things. There are ten factors that people who put cancer into remission do. Emotional processing. Um, positive thinking and using intuition, blah, blah, blah, all these ten things. This is a researcher at University of California, Berkeley, and then now she's back at Harvard. Uh, Kelly Turner. Amazing. So I started thinking, you know what we see that we see diabetes going into remission. We see the heart disease markers go into remission. We see doctors taking people off of all these medications. We see improvements in mood. We see depression disappear, anxiety disappear. We see, you know, people seeking out doctors who know how to de-prescribe. We see reproduction problems and gut problems and skin problems and liver problems and lung problems all going into remission. I'm like, Oh. Wow.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So we have now created a whole new community. It's called the Remission Optimistic Community. Because over here you have the medical services industry, the healthcare industry, and if they can't fix it by a pharmaceutical, they're now labeling it incurable. Or chronic. And oh, you will have to take a pharmaceutical for the rest of your life. It's not true. So that's what you do. Only I'm so sorry. I'd like to make a lot of different recommendations. Take this step, do this, do one thing, get shelter. Get into a community that will protect you from your culture.

David Enevoldsen: That's interesting. I so I have to kind of reinforce what you're describing there in terms of, I guess, the environmental impact. You know, it it seems like it could sway you either way. Um, I feel like I've got some work to do in terms of especially after this discussion, in terms of cleaning up my diet a little bit.

Dr. Joan Ifland: It takes time.

Dr. Joan Ifland: But over the last, over the last couple of years, I feel like I have cleaned it up quite a bit from where it was at least. And I've I've really cut down on processed, refined carbs. So I've been trying to eliminate flour. My sugar intake is dramatically less than it used to be.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Oh, my gosh, it feels so good.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah. I mean, it's, it's been profound. Like I've lost I think I'm down about 20 pounds right now. I feel better. My energy levels are better.

Dr. Joan Ifland: And it wasn't that hard.

David Enevoldsen: Well, where I was going with this was about a month ago. I went to a convention out of town and I was in a hotel room at night, and I felt like I didn't really prepare for the food when I went. And everything there was just kind of fast food restaurants around and it was kind of hard to find anything decent. I was still trying to like I took a couple things with me, but not much. And I had a bag of nuts, you know, with me. And I remember turning the TV on in the hotel room at one point, and every single commercial was like, here's a pizza or here's a, you know, here's a cheeseburger, you know, something that was just awful. And I remember stopping and thinking, wow, there is so much in my face about just all these terrible foods that are going to make me feel horrible. And it just kind of reaffirmed to me how easy it would be to slip into going back to these kind of addictive behavior patterns.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Yeah.

David Enevoldsen: With the wrong environment, with the wrong people around you.

Dr. Joan Ifland: So, yeah. Like with the wrong environment, the wrong people around and no protection against the cueing. You have to choose loneliness or being around people who are stimulating you to eat this. That is exactly what we have fixed.

David Enevoldsen: That. Wow. This feels very profound to me. This is this has taken my even my understanding of of where I was with the food stuff. And I feel like I've got some work to do as well.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Oh.

David Enevoldsen: So thank you.

Dr. Joan Ifland: It's really fun. You know. Once you see this, once you see it, you can't unsee it. But then once you get the hang of it, all these decades of frustration, just whoosh, you know, now you know exactly what to do and you're around. I mean, that's the thing about the broadcasting. 15 to 17 hours a day in that hotel room, you would have opened a screen and you would have been among people, you know, who just don't eat this stuff and you would have been able to get some help like, oh, no, no, no, just get on Yelp and look for farm to table places.

David Enevoldsen: Right.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Like that was in that exact situation. It was in San Antonio. It was the worst situation I've ever been in. But I opened my Yelp and I looked for farm to table and I found a place that was a fair walk. I mean, it was a bit of a walk. I didn't care. I walked, I got that dinner and then I got a lunch for the next day and I could always eat out of a hotel buffet, breakfast buffet. There's always fruit and there's eggs or bacon. I wouldn't eat the sausage, but bacon. And sometimes there's even smoked salmon. So yeah, I can always eat breakfast out of a hotel buffet. But if I'm getting dinner, man, I'm walking out of there with my lunch for the next day.

David Enevoldsen: Yeah. Well, I'm looking at the clock, and I can't actually believe how long has passed here. This has been utterly fascinating to me and horrifying at the same time.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Yeah.

David Enevoldsen: But in the interest of being kind of respectful of your time here, let me kind of bring this to a wrap. If somebody wants to learn more about any of this or reach out to you, kind of learn more about your program, any of that, like where can they go?

Dr. Joan Ifland: Processedfoodaddiction.com.

David Enevoldsen: Okay.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Get, please, please get on our email list. You'll get invited to free workshops, you'll get a newsletters, you'll you will get help and it will be helpful help. It won't be the quick weight loss followed by quick weight regain

David Enevoldsen: Right.

Dr. Joan Ifland: And it won't be mutilating your stomach when the problem is in your head. You know it'll be actual how do I take my brain back from these neurologists at the food industry?

David Enevoldsen: Yeah. Okay. Last question, last question of substance here. And this is somebody something I ask everybody that comes on that I interview, I have a suspicion I know what your answer is going to be. But if you could offer one piece of advice to people about emotional health or strength and optimizing that, what would it be?

Dr. Joan Ifland: Know with every fiber in your being, this is not your fault. You didn't bring this on yourself. And don't ever let anybody blame you for it.

David Enevoldsen: Well, Joan, thank you very much for your time today. I really appreciate it. Thank you for the insights. I know I'm going to be making a couple of changes in my own diet here. I hope that anybody that's listening will go check out what you've put together here and kind of check out your program. And thank you. Thank you for sharing all this and for.

Dr. Joan Ifland: Thanks, David. I've worked hard for 27 years, but it would be worthless without you. Without you getting the word out there. You have saved lives today. You've saved children from misery. So thank you.

David Enevoldsen: I hope so. Well, thank you, Joan. I will, I guess I'll let you go. I hope you have a great day and we'll wrap it up there.

Dr. Joan Ifland: All right. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

David Enevoldsen: Okay. So that brings us to the end of today's show. I hope you found this useful. I know I found this utterly fascinating. And as I indicated a couple of times here, I've learned a few things myself. But just take something, even if it's just a little nugget out of this, take that and make your life and your emotional standing a little bit better. Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter on the Emotional Embuffination website, which is embuff.com. And remember, just keep working on this stuff. You don't go to the gym one time and say, "Well, I'm buff forever because I went this morning." You keep going. You make it a part of your weekly routine, a part of what you do on a daily basis. Same thing with Emotional Embuffination. We keep working on it. You don't just learn one little tip and then say, "Ah, I'm emotionally strong for the rest of time." You keep continually growing and working on it. At the end of the day, I want you to be emotionally strong enough to go from saying things like, "The struggle is real," to saying, "What struggle?" Thank you all for listening. I hope you've enjoyed this. Have a great week and we'll see you in the next show.