My podcast was built around nutrition, and it's time we get back to the basics.
The name of our company and my podcast is Health Via Modern Nutrition. For this week's FFF, I want to restate and properly define what I mean by "modern nutrition." Of course, if you've been following me, following our company for a long time, we're very precise with our terminology. So this is a worthy State of the Union address on what we mean by modern nutrition.
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So before we define modern nutrition, I'd like to establish context. Let's talk about the history of the field, the study, the application of nutrition. What should we eat? When and how should we eat it? These are questions that every generation of humans from when our ancestors who are primates all the way to modern humans today, hundreds of thousands of years, countless generations of humans had to answer these questions. Now at the very, very beginning, the study of nutrition is very simple. These questions were a matter of survival, meaning that which animals and plants won't poison and kill me? Is this thing edible, or is this a piece of dirt? Or is this thing edible, or is this going to kill me? Or is this thing edible or is it going to be psychedelic experiences? So those questions were the initial entry point into the formalized study of human nutrition.
Now, obviously these matters of survival were quickly resolved. Obviously, if we didn't figure that out, we would not be here talking on the internet. So the matters of survival quickly turned into questions of matters of culture, religion, best practices. For example, which foods are allowed? what types of cooking preparation spices are preferred? Should we celebrate our Holy days with a feast or a fast? And if you look at different religious cultures, you have a mix of both. Some cultures like to celebrate with fast, some like to celebrate with feasts and they mix it up. So the fascinating thing to me is that even with so much effort across the generations of thinking about food, how to best utilize food, it's surprising that this problem of nutrition of what is “optimal nutrition” isn't solved. If you look on nutrition, journals, physiology, journals, metabolism journals, let alone all the diet books and diet grooves who are talking. There are still open debates, very aggressive visceral debates on what is optimal human nutrition.
And we're still debating. What are the mechanisms of obesity? What are the mechanisms of chronic disease? So clearly even though our basic science understanding of biochemistry, our basic understanding of biology, physiology, exercise, physiology, culinary arts, all of these fields have clearly progressed. We can define the Krebs cycle with each exact coenzyme. We can describe how a Corona virus infects human cells, but this basic question of nutrition, we still have not yet solved. And it's clear that we have not solved it. If you will look at the facts, the data, the results of this modern nutrition experiment, we have utterly failed. Why? Our healthcare spend is up exponentially about a sixth of every dollar that our economy spends goes into healthcare. But to what result, it's horrible, horrible performance, right? A third of us are pre-diabetic diabetic. Three quarters of us are overweight and obese. 88% of us, almost every nine people at every 10 people you see on the street has some sort of metabolic syndrome, metabolic dysfunction. So with that type of result, there's just no other way to put it as utter failure. So it is surprising, counterintuitive, problematic that while we have advanced so much on the basic science so much on the cultural practices of food, that we still have not figured out how to apply that learning that those advances to our daily lives to actually make ourselves healthier, make ourselves more robust as individuals as a culture and as a species. And you see some of these crows coming mean the roost, when you have a pandemic, like COVID-19, that disease is killing the most vulnerable of us with comorbidities like diabetes, like obesity, like metabolic syndrome. So this question is not just a cultural question of, “Oh, you know, can we not eat this type of food or this type of animal? Or should we have a debate around fasting or feasting?” No, this is actually impacting our day-to-day as individuals and as a species and as a culture, right? And in some lens, COVID-19 was just a little test in terms of how robust our system is. And luckily enough, we were able to adapt and resolve it quickly enough where I don't think anyone's concerned about our species being wiped out, but clearly a lot of economic damage, clearly many of us have lost loved ones. So to me, this question of solving modern nutrition is more important than ever because when the next insult, whether that's a pandemic, chemical, any sort of insult into our species, we have to be more robust. We have to have our nutritional basics covered so we can survive any type of challenge that faces our people.
So why has this happened? Right? It's again, very counterintuitive how we have the most wealth than ever. We have the most scientific understanding than ever yet our day-to-day health of the individual is clearly arguably worse than ever. So here's my theory of what has happened and what's happening. The core insight is that our lifestyle and our environmental changes has evolved and change much faster than our culture, our eating culture.
So what I mean by that is that if you look at our lifestyles, when we were a hundred gatherers and how we established an agrarian society, the agricultural revolution, and then how we evolved into an industrial revolution. And now in the last 20, 30 years really quickly evolved into the intellectual creative, digital economy. The food culture, the eating culture, the way we celebrate and think about food has barely changed, right. But the way we actually live our life, the environment that we surround ourselves in has changed tremendously.
I would argue that if you just generally look at the eating pattern of three meals a day, plus a snack, you know, a hundred gathered or a farmer in an industrial ancestor of ours would be okay. That kind of generally makes sense in terms of how I eat food. But you look at our surroundings, I'm talking to you on a digital screen, in a box. And I oftentimes during the pandemic, don't really move outside this box. They would be very, very surprised in terms of how their day-to-day lives are structured versus the difference in how we consume and eat. So I think that's the initial insight here. So because our lifestyles have changed so much, but the eating patterns have not, that is starting to create a crack in terms of how we should be living. Because the important thing is that food is an input, lifestyle is an output. If the inputs and outputs diverge, well, the system that this was originally designed to process no longer is connected, right? There's going to be some discontinue and disconnection. Now, what I think is exacerbated this problem to this extreme level is the creation of the industrialized food system. Our modern food system is essentially an industrialized scaled out process. And this was important for a good reason. I mean, this was a huge innovation. If you look at the things that killed humans in the previous centuries, things that the thing that killed the most humans was famine. Right? So more kill a lot of people too. But famine was the number one killer of historical humans. Industrialized food, which was excellent in producing cheap shelf stable calories that would satiate people was a huge innovation, right? If you look at things that kill people today, famine is not really on the list.
In the sense of famine is essentially solved. Like the fact that there was enough calories on this planet to feed every single human that's a solved problem. Of course, there is distribution issues, economic issues, access issues that are still facing certain parts of our world, in our pockets of our country. But the industrialized foods, some has solved the calorie issue. There are more than enough calories that sit around the world. So this was an important innovation to prevent famine, but now in the modern 21st century, the second order impact of this industrialized food system is now coming home to roost, right? Now that we realize that we have self-stable shelf, stable, cheap food. We also starting to realize that these are hyper palatable, stuffed, full of added sugar. They have very, very low nutrient density and they're very terrible glycemic and metabolic impact that we're just starting to understand.
So our industrial or agrarian ancestors solved the problem of famine, but now in our modern era, we're dying of another issue. We're dying from terrible cheap, over consumption of cheap shelf-stable foods. And that's the challenge of our era of our generation of today.
So this is what I mean by modern nutrition. Now that we've diagnosed the issue, why are we not using modern scientific approaches and techniques to solve this issue? Well, maybe it's because no one has really framed the problem as such and as an engineer, as a scientist, if you don't ask the right questions and frame the right context, well, how can you find the right solution? Well, now that we have defined the challenge, defined the issue, I think we actually have a chance to correct this by creating engineering, building the right solutions. So to me, Health Via Modern Nutrition is reclaiming the sense of modern nutrition.
The old meaning of modern attrition is hyper industrialized, hyper palatable, stuffed full of sugar foods. If you look at the grocery store shelves, that's essentially majority of the foods out there that we're eating. Modern nutrition is taking the modern physiology, understanding the modern ketogenic metabolism. The understanding of the benefit of whole foods of organic foods with high energy and high nutrient density. That's applying all of these learnings insights in a practical way that's actually scalable. That to me is modern nutrition. And that is why we're building this podcast and why we're building this company. We believe that through an actual elevated modern nutrition that takes the best and culinary arts physiology, metabolism, and nutrition, and actually answers the right questions with the right solutions. We can make each of ourselves healthier, more robust. And eventually that makes our culture society country, the world healthier and stronger.
So to me, this is one of the most important problems of our generation. It is very sad to me to think that the average citizen in our country is on the verge of diabetes, probably overweight and sicker and weaker than the average hunter gatherer, who was a substance subsistence living. And why should we accept that? Like why should we accept that the average citizen today is likely more poor health than the a hundred gatherer, 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 years ago. That is not acceptable when we're living in a country that's the wealthiest country that's ever existed on this face of the earth planet. So this is our reason for existence, this is our call to action, my team and I are super excited to continue fighting the good fight flying the banner of modern nutrition, defined properly to move this mission forward. So join me, follow us along this journey. We have so much exciting things, both on the content roadmap with this podcast, as well as the product roadmap at hvmn.com. So check out hvmn.com, we have these excellent bars that we just launched a couple months ago. Again, when we talk about whole foods, these are certified whole food ingredients that make a ketogenic perfect bar that has zero glycemic response, right? So when we talk about walking the walk here, we're not just trying to talk. We actually did the work in measuring the glucose response to glycemic response, and we benchmark our bar against some of the leading bars out there. And it's actually sad to see that some of the most popular quote unquote healthy bars, just Jack your blood sugar, like crazy. So there tune on that front.
In fact, I'm super proud to have published a peer reviewed referee paper, and one of the top physiology journals frontiers in physiology with my colleague, Dr. Latt Mansor, as you know, we're at the cutting edge of exogenous ketones and ketone research. And we have the honor of working with top athletes, elite performers, across all the domains and the opportunity to work with other leading researchers. And now we're not just, again, talking to talk, we're walking the walk, we're starting to put together literature, doing our own scholarship and coming up with our own frameworks and thought experiments to help push the understanding of physiology forward. So I invite you to check out our new paper, it's called “Ketones for Post-exercise Recovery: Potential Applications and Mechanisms” Dr. Mansor and I will actually do a podcast specifically on that paper to walk through the nuances to super interesting paper that focuses on not just the pre-exercise ergogenic or performance enhancing benefit of ketones. But luckily what I personally think through our research is going to be the bigger application of ketones online is actually a recovery application that compounds over time.
So the space is super exciting. The problem is massive. And, you know, we want to do right by not just talking about the problems, but actually providing solutions, engaging with the institutional academic community by publishing papers and pushing forward scholarship, as well as being at the cutting edge of the application, by working with elite athletes and performers, and also being at the forefront of engaging the community. Because I think ultimately the most powerful entity is the people. So I'm a populist at heart. That's why I like doing this podcast. Love engaging, talking, chatting with all of you.
So 2021, let's make this great let's change our nutrition for the better, make it modern, the HVMN way. I'll talk to you soon!
Follow me, shout me out, hit me up on both Twitter, Instagram @geoffreywoo or @hvmn. We're super responsive there, love to answer questions and I'll talk to you very soon. Looking forward to your questions and thoughts and I'll address them and have them on the program in short order. This is Geoff Woo, stay safe! Talk to you all very, very soon. Thank you!