Nutrition & Mental Health

April 12, 2021

Adults and teens are struggling with anxiety and mental health. Period. On this episode of Dishing Up Nutrition we don’t just want to look at the problem; we want to offer some possible solutions with how nutrition affects mental health, without a doubt. Special guest Dr. Korn often says “Change your mood with your food.” Listen in to learn how.

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DARLENE: Well, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I want to share a couple of numbers with you this morning. In June of 2020, 40% of adults in the U.S. reported struggling with mental health issues and even abuse issues. I'll get there.

LEAH: It's early.

DARLENE: So think about that. 40% of adults are struggling with these issues. That's almost half the population, Leah, just like about that. So we have other numbers. So what is even more amazing and more alarming is that here in the U.S. about one in six adolescents or teenagers, you know, that age between 6 and 17, experienced mental health disorders each year. So that's like one in six teens are having mental health problems. It's kind of amazing, isn't it?

LEAH: It is. And that statistic, when I was looking it up, was from 2016. So that was even pre-pandemic. I mean, you can imagine what this last year has brought in all the populations, not even just teenagers, but adults and kids and older adults and the like.

DARLENE: Exactly. It's alarming.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. And so certainly for our listeners out there, if you pay attention to the daily newspaper, listen to the evening news or watch the news every night, most of us are now aware that there is a mental health crisis in our country. You know, there was even before the pandemic, but it's really been escalated or, or highlighted in this pandemic. And every report that I read or hear tells us that again, adults and teenagers and, and pretty much all, you know, no population is immune to, to mental health struggles right now.

DARLENE: Even old people like me.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely; yup. And, and me being in, you know, that child rearing age, you know, in, in the mid thirties or so. And, but today we don't want to just focus on statistics and numbers. We don't want to just look at the problem. We want to provide some tangible, workable solutions for people today. And we do understand, you know, from a nutrition aspect, that mental health is not just a one and done therapy session; that it takes time. It takes a lot of practice and oftentimes it takes some guided professional help.

DARLENE: So a lot of people will say, “Where do I start?” Well, you know, as nutritionists and dietitians, we think a good place to start is to look at the food and the impact it has on your mood and your mental health. You know, whether you're looking at good nutrition or whether you're looking at bad nutrition, it all has effect on your mental health. So today what we want to talk about, we're going to talk about nutrition and mental health. So just think about this a little bit. You know, look at what you're putting in your mouth and think about how you're going to feel later, or even think about your teen and think about what they're putting in their mouth and how is their mood going to be later? I mean, let's bring it right down to the basics.

LEAH: Yeah.

DARLENE: You know, what, how food makes you feel.

LEAH: Yep, absolutely. And so we'll be having this interesting discussion about how nutrition affects moods and mental health in general. And it's not going to be just two voices today. So for the listeners out there, there's going to be three of us involved in this discussion and we all have a little bit different nutrition backgrounds. So let me just do some introductions. My name is Leah Kleinschrodt. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. With me in studio, we have Darlene Kvist, who is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and founder of Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And then joining us by phone, we have a special guest this morning. And her name is Dr. Leslie Korn. Dr. Leslie Korn is a behavioral medicine doctor specializing in integrative medicine and nutrition for mental health, and especially in the area of trauma recovery. She is also an international speaker on mental health nutrition. She's an NIH funded scientist, a university professor, and she is an author of nine books to guide your wellbeing.


LEAH: Yeah. Wow, indeed. And we could really go on and on for a couple more minutes about Dr. Korn's accomplishments, but I do just want to throw this one little highlight out there as well. She has over 50,000 clinical care hours over the past 40 years. So not only does she absolutely have a lot of wisdom to share, but she also has a whole lot of experience, you know, being on the ground and actually working with people. So she doesn't just write books. He actually sits down and puts these principles into practice and works one-on-one with clients.

DARLENE: So Leah, I know our producer has told us that Dr. Korn is on the phone. So Dr. Korn, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, it's really a pleasure to have you on today. And you know, one of the things that you say, Dr. Korn a lot is change your mood with your food. So I think to kickoff is show, what does that mean when you say change your mood with your food? So I'm going to put it back down to kind of basic things. If I'm in a bad mood, which doesn't happen very often, how do I get out of it? Or if I am anxious, how do I get myself calm? So there are our questions for you. Welcome to the show Dr. Korn.

DR. KORN: Well, thank you so much. It's just delightful to be here with you both. And thank you for inviting me. And absolutely we have the power to change our mood with food. The first question is what is affecting our mood. First of all, we have to pay attention to what we're putting in and how we respond, because I think we're so taught how not to make the connection between what I eat and how I feel.

DARLENE: That's a great point. We are not taught to make that connection.

DR. KORN: No, everything's actually teaching us to pay, to not pay attention to it.

DARLENE: That's a wise statement actually. I'm going to use that one.

DR. KORN: Oh very good. You can use it. Then the next thing that I do is I think about, am I drinking enough water? Another thing we don't pay attention to enough. It sounds simple. It sounds like oh, it couldn't be that simple. But do you know that most people are dehydrated? And that when we're dehydrated, we're tired; we're depressed. Not only does our skin dry up, but we get headaches. And then we think of well I have a headache. I have to take an aspirin. And then we take an aspirin and it messes with our stomach, which makes us more depressed. Did you know that? And so I start with the simple things of self-care and then we move and become a little bit more involved by taking good quality fats for our fatty brain, because after all the brain is a fatty organ. And we go step by step to nourish our brain and our mind and our body with good foods of nature. And I think that's the other main principle that I use. Did nature give us this food or did the laboratory give us this food?

LEAH: Yeah, that tees it up very nicely. I think most people when they can kind of put a lens of that. Okay, is it real food? Is it something that nature made versus it came out of a factory? I think most people can really grasp that concept very easily.

DARLENE: Very wise. So Dr. Korn, one of the things and you know, we, you and I have been working with clients for a long time and Leah is getting in there too to have quite a few years.

LEAH: I’ve got a long ways to go still.

DARLENE: But after you've worked for people for 40 years, there is kind of a, a type of people that we see a lot of. And some of them are, they, they actually complain of being so depressed and so fatigued that the idea of them getting into the kitchen to make a meal or every day to make meals is just overwhelming. And so do you have some kind of hints as far as foods that are going to help build that energy and get people back into actually functioning in the world? That's a heavy question.

DR. KORN: Absolutely; absolutely. I think the first place I start is asking people how they are currently stimulating their energy. For example, many people drink way too much coffee. I have a saying: coffee as a drug. It's not a beverage. So use it like a drug. Don’t drink at all day. Coffee is nature's gift. It boosts our mood. It boosts our energy, but only one, no more than two cups in the morning, because that's aligning with our rhythm of waking up and getting going. If we go overboard with coffee, then we are exhausting ourselves. And this is why, you know, the, the failure of return. People can chug a lug six, seven cups a day and they're still exhausted. So I work with my clients to really understand what they're taking in, how it's affecting them, and then how to use different substances judiciously. Same thing; you drink a lot of coffee in the morning and then you're wound up in, in the evening and then you have a drink or two, which is just pure sugar; exhausts the body. You go to bed. You don't sleep well. And the cycle continues.

LEAH: Dr. Korn, I am going to just jump in with you really quick. We do need to take a couple of commercial breaks throughout our program and we are already at the first break.

DARLENE: Oh no, no, no.

LEAH: I know. So let's put that hold really quick on the coffee and then going into the drinks in the evening, we will circle back around once we come back from break. So just hold, hang with us. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. As I mentioned before, my name is Leah Kleinschrodt. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And I am in studio today with nutritionist, Darlene Kvist. And we also have the pleasure and the privilege of having Dr. Leslie Korn, a behavioral medicine doctor, and an international speaker on mental health nutrition with us this morning. And we are discussing the role of nutrition and how that impacts our mental health. And we'll be right back.


DARLENE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Many people do not realize the importance of eating good food and taking key nutritional supplements to ensure that they keep their hormonal health balanced. So, and that is actually going to help support good mental health. You know, we always teach good nutrition, good food nutrition first for hormone balance. Then in addition to good food nutrition, we sometimes recommend key supplements to keep hormones balanced. So think about this one. If the man in your life is making frequent trips to the bathroom, you know, all night long, you may want to check out a supplement that's called Prostate Pro. It helps to reduce inflammation in the prostate gland. You know, some more good news about our hormone supplements is that they're on special this month. So you can go to our website at, read about them, and you can order them. You can order them online, or you can call our office at (651) 699-3438. And we'll talk and tell you more about what might help you. So Leah, we're back.

LEAH: We are back and Dr. Korn, I apologize for having to cut you off before, but you were just giving us some really great tips about things that people can eat to really get into with their energy levels and things that will facilitate having more energy throughout the day. And you were starting to, you were kind of talking to us about, you know, looking at, okay, am I drinking too much coffee? And then is that leading to turning to other types of beverages, especially higher sugar beverages later on in the day. So how about, could you just pick up where you left off there and kind of continue that conversation with us?

DR. KORN: Sure thing. And I wanted to give you a tip to figure out if you're drinking enough fluid to begin with; enough water. And the way we can assess whether we're hydrating enough is that we take our body weight and we divide it in half. And it's that number in ounces that we should try to drink every day. So a 150 pound person should have at least a gallon of water a day, maybe even a little bit more. Now, a little bit more, a little bit less. And of course, keeping in mind if you have any particular health issues that would preclude that. But nonetheless, that's a good idea to shoot for. And I bet that many, many people never reach that during the day and instead are drinking Coca Colas or artificially sweetened drinks. So that's the number one tip. Now, you also asked me what about people who are not cooking or who are tired and feels like so much work to do. I love Crock-Pots. I love to introduce people to cooking by being able to have the pot itself do most of the work. And one of the best types of foods to have for energy is protein, whether it's plant protein or legumes or beans or animal proteins, whatever your favorite food is. And of course, remember the animal proteins have the best number of amino acids that support our brain chemicals. So get that chicken and your onions and garlic and potatoes and carrots, and throw that into the Crock-Pot. It takes you five minutes to throw it in and the Crock-Pot will have a delicious stew for you six, seven hours later. What could be easier than that?

DARLENE: Oh, that's great idea. That's wonderful. And it brings it down to what people actually can do. Now, you were, before we went on break you, we were starting to talk a little bit about the wine habit that we call it or the cocktail at night. And maybe talk a little bit more about how does that actually affect your mental health? You know, people think, “Oh, I'm going to do that to relax.” Well, what happens to people?

DR. KORN: Yeah, so true. We, it's kind of the opposite effect though. Isn't it? Actually, alcohol is really sugar. That's why, when I'm working with people with an alcoholic addiction, I say we have to treat the sugar addiction because alcohol converts to sugar. And do you know that we now know that depression is a dis-ease of being out of ease, a disease of inflammation of a low fire that's always burning in the body. And you know the number one culprit? Sugar.

DARLENE: You are so good. I love listening to you. You are so good. So…

DR. KORN: I have very few “no-no’s”; very few absolutely "nevers", but sugar is the enemy.

DARLENE: It sounds just like what I do in consultations.

LEAH: Yeah. So that, that is all great. And I think let's circle back on that, that sugar topic and just in just a little bit. But Dr. Korn, I just wanted to do a couple of statistics here for us, and that leads us into another, another question that, as of March, 2020, so around this time, last year, it was reported that there are more than 37 million Americans taking antidepressants in this country. So that bears repeating; so 37 million Americans are taking antidepressants. But what I found really interesting and kind of disturbing actually is that about 40% of people taking the antidepressants do not get symptom relief. So basically about 40% of those 37 million Americans are not, you know, those, those antidepressants not helping them. And then on the other hand, I'm sure you get clients or get patients who they know they struggle with their mental health, but they don't really want to go down the medication route just yet. Or they're, you probably have clients who are on some of these medications and maybe want to try to wean down or even get off some of these medications. So my question to you then is what, what do you think about, or what are some alternatives or things that we think about, ways to get a person in a better mental health place so that they could either avoid medications or wean down or get off of their medications?

DR.KORN: I am thrilled that you asked that question because not only are people not getting relief, but the medications are now being shown to have long-term negative effects. And they affect mitochondrial function, our little engines in our cells. As you know, they, they can contribute to long-term sexual dysfunction. So it's not just that they're not working. It's that, that they can cause additional problems.

LEAH: Right.

DR. KORN: And this is what led me to write The Good Mood Kitchen, because you're absolutely right. Most of my clients come to me and say, “This isn't working, or I don't want to get on this.” And I was so glad you talked earlier about children and mental health, because we also have an epidemic, not just to the antidepressants, but the ADHD medication.

DARLENE: Oh yes.

DR. KORN: All of this. I promise you with very, very rare exception, we can manage our mental health with food; with food and with exercise and with nature. So how do we do it? We have to make the connection as we discussed. We have to recognize that we've got that low fire, that inflammation that we have to quench with our wonderful anti-fire foods, our antioxidants that are blue and red color. When I talk with my patients, I don't get into vitamins and minerals. I talk about colors. I call them the “brain-bow” foods.

LEAH: Oh I love that.

DR. KORN: Our blueberries, our raspberries, our red apples, our purple grapes; all of these wonderful reds and oranges and greens. If we eat the “brain-bow”, we will support our brain.

LEAH: Awesome. Dr. Korn, I do have to cut you off again here really quick. We have our second break coming up. So let's circle back on those “brain-bow” foods. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And if you are looking for an easy, easy to follow real food plan to boost your mood and energy, I would suggest looking into our Nutrition for Weight Loss program, which is starting a new round on April 20th and April 29th. So these are 12 weeks of classes to give you accountability and to boost that mental health.


DARLENE: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I think we all know the past 12 months has been challenging for many of our kids and grandkids, as they did not have a normal school year. You know, as parents and grandparents, it's only natural for us to worry about their future and really we understand your concern. So let me share you share what I did as a good grandmother. I bought a learning program at Learning RX in Woodbury for two of my grandchildren. Even though they live in Oregon, they're able to receive the brain training because of technology. And I'm always saying nasty things about technology, but this is one place it helps. Now with their brain training that is occurring daily, you know, I really believe they’ll be ready for in-person school when the school is ready for them. So here's a comment that my granddaughter Willow said: “I love getting up early to work with my brain trainer. It is fun, and now I can focus better on my chemistry.” So, you know, the Learning RX programs address the root cause of learning struggles, like reading or attention issues. They have multiple locations and they offer both in-person and remote training. And so how do you get connected with them? The first step is to call them to schedule an initial assessment. And it's like a long assessment. And when you call, mention our name, Dishing Up Nutrition, because you're going to get a discount. You know, normally the cost is $199, and you get a special rate at $59.

LEAH: That’s a huge discount.

DARLENE: It is. And then you really can zero in on what your child or your student needs. So if you want to learn more, just go to Learning RX, or you can call (651) 413-9457. And guess what? The brain trainers at Learning Rx believe good nutrition helps support their work too.

LEAH: Yeah, that's great. And I just wanted to plug in there too, that we had Rich Frieder, I believe I said his last name correctly. We had him on as a guest on Dishing Up Nutrition last February. So if any of the listeners out there wanted to hear his voice and listen to their approach on brain training, but also how, again, how they appreciate the connection between nutrition and how the brain functions. Our listeners can go back and listen to that old episode last year.

DARLENE: You know, when they, I think it helps to build kids' self-esteem. The more they can do the better they feel about themselves. And then you supply the right nutrition for their brain and you end up with a well-functioning young adult.

LEAH: Yeah. It's a, win-win kind of all around. Absolutely. So let's turn us back to Dr. Korn. Thank you again for taking a pause on your, on your thoughts, but we were just, you were really just getting going into, we had posed a question of, you know, how do people, where do people start, or what are other ways people can support their brain and their mental health without the use of medications, or maybe even be able to reduce or get off the medications that they are on using nutrition approaches. And you were really getting, going into using those colorful foods, like the blues and the reds and the “brain-brow” foods, as you called them as a way to, again, kind of put out those small little internal fires that that's, what's called inflammation. So can you just continue to build on that? We talked a little bit about the “brain-bow” foods and where else did you want to go with that?

DR. KORN: I think the next step is to think about fats. And we all know the importance of good quality fats. And we lived for so many years with all of this myth about how fats make us fat, how they cause heart disease. Both are myths that have now been disproven. But as a result we had for many years, very low fat diets, and that starves the brain of fat. Now our brain needs fat to function and we need good fats for good moods. And so the next place I start is changing out the bad fats. I always find that it's easier to make the positive changes that are easy to make and, and let go of some of the negative food habits or types of foods. I've never had anyone say, “Oh, Dr. Korn, please don't make me eat good, raw organic butter.” People are happy to eat good olive oil, virgin olive oil, coconut oil, good quality butter from the farmer's market; so important for the brain. So that's the next step. How about nuts? Raw nuts. We can make the mistake of having roasted nuts with lots of table salt. No, I suggest raw nuts. And if you have trouble digesting, you can soak your raw nuts with a little bit of a raisin or prunes overnight. You get a wonderful sweet syrup. Hence you get natural sugars. You get wonderful fats. You get the color of the “brain-bow” from the grape and you have a nourishing brain food for your mood.

DARLENE: Gosh, I could just sit here and listen to you just talk. I love it.

LEAH: Yeah. And I really loved what you said, Dr. Korn in that, some of the, for those first steps that you can focus on, instead of taking away foods or saying or eliminating or say, you said, your “no-no” foods. You have very few of those, but actually putting in the good stuff first. Like that's a really great first step. So that it, again, you kind of, you start incorporating those things before we start saying, ok, how can we phase out maybe the not so helpful foods?

DARLENE: You know, one of the, go ahead.

LEAH: No, you're good.

DARLENE: Okay; all right. So Dr. Korn, you know, right now in the last couple of three months, I've been taking your Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider training course. And it is long, but I love it. So if anyone is interested in learning more, I would really recommend that. You know, one of the areas that you talked about, and we talk a lot about this in our classes too, is that for some people who maybe have more of a gluten sensitivity, you know, and gluten, of course, we know that it is found in things like wheat and, you know, that's the protein. They're sensitive to that. And then sometimes people are actually sensitive to the casein that is in dairy products. And then there's a connection to the mental health because it is linked to depression, psychosis, and even attention deficit disorders. And it's for these people that have this, you know, sensitivity. Would you like to talk a little bit about that? Because I think this is kind of new information. Because people can't believe that if they're having a piece of toast in the morning that maybe by 10 o'clock, they're going to feel depressed. So I'll turn it over to you.

DR.KORN: Yes. You bet. As a matter of fact, the history of this is fascinating because it was during World War II when this was discovered. And what happened is that there was a wheat shortage in Great Britain because of the war. And one of the side effects of that was that the people who were in the mental institutions got better. And they discovered that their problem was they were allergic or sensitive to the gluten and wheat. And that was tearing up their gut. It was causing all kinds of, can you believe it, opiates in the brain and in the body that was altering their mental health. And so we fast forward to now there's been gobs of research done on this, well-established that, do you know that 50% of the people with schizophrenia are sensitive to gluten? And very large numbers of people who are depressed are actually going to get better when they go off of gluten. You don't need to have diarrhea, which is the common symptom of gluten sensitivity to be sensitive to gluten. And so what I recommend… there were two, two roads to go down. One is, you can say, I'm going to test this out and I'm going to go gluten-free for three months. And that means not only none of the grains that gluten, but also making sure that you read labels because there's often a lot of hidden gluten in the labels. And you just go off gluten and you watch your mood get better, but you also watch your arthritis get better. Your muscles don't feel as stiff. You can think better and feel better. Now, if you say, “Oh, prove this to me with a laboratory report,” then you can pay to have a test to test your gluten sensitivity. So either way, you've got a choice.

DARLENE: So Dr. Korn, I have one for you. I be maybe you don't know this, but this is one that I discovered. You know, when you're working with maybe, you know, two year olds or three-year-old, or even one year olds, and they are the kids that flip-flop in bed all night and they're restless sleepers. And they just are struggling all night long. And I have found that when we take them off of gluten, a hundred percent, all that behavior goes away and they can sleep again. They don't, are not restless. And they're calmer. Just, just a little one for parents that are, you know, struggling with that right now. So…

DR. KORN: I am so glad to hear you say that. I, I never put that together, but of course that makes a lot of sense.

DARLENE: Right. Well, you know what? Sometimes it's pays to have these grandchildren because you start to look at things.

LEAH: Yeah, no those…

DR. KORN: Well, I think you mentioned casein too, which is the protein in dairy. And the, what's fascinating is that 50% of the people who are sensitive to gluten are also sensitive to casein. And what are some of the signs and symptoms? It can be depression. But I also see skin problems. Whenever you see skin problems in children, adolescents or adults, think dairy, think cow’s dairy. And could be lactose, could be casein, but I get people off of dairy foods, which most people don't realize only a very small portion of the population of the world can actually make good use of dairy. And if you're lucky enough to be from the Northern Scandinavian countries, you, you win the jackpot on dairy, but most other people don't do quite as well.

DARLENE: You're right. So that, you know, these are great tips, Dr. Korn, just down to the basics on people. You know, it is interesting because I think if people know that and they have a teenager who has acne, you know, it's a simple solution. And maybe that's a way to kind of weave your way into better nutrition for a teenager. You know, acne is a serious problem for them.

DR. KORN: Absolutely. And do you know there's research out now that says that acne and depression go hand in hand? And it's not just having the acne for a teenager that makes you depressed, but it's the same underlying inflammatory process that leads to both. And that's why we see them both together in our teens.

DARLENE: I'm going to look that research up for sure, cause that's, that's a good connection for parents and…

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. So this is a great place to just take our third and final break, actually. So hang with us, Dr. Korn. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. You may be listening to this show or podcast, and maybe you're starting to say to yourself, “I need to eat better, but I just can't give up my pizza on Fridays, my morning mocha, my evening wine, or maybe that chocolate fudge brownie ice cream that always seems to make its way into the freezer.” So I suggest if you're feeling that way and just not knowing where to put your foot first, I suggest making several one-on-one appointments with any one of our nutritionists or dietitians at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And we all have different personalities and different things that we like to talk about and different, you know, some of us know a little bit more about certain things. So you can always look up our profiles online. We have a little meet us tab on our website. And we also all have been on Dishing Up Nutrition before. So if you want to listen to a couple of episodes and see who you might resonate with the most, that's another way to get to know us a little bit better. And we know that permanent change takes time and we have all the time that you need when in our sessions. So give us a call at (651) 699-3438 and let's get started.


DARLENE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental illnesses and affect about one-third of all teens. Just think about that; one-third of all teens. You know, and I think if you've listened to Dr. Korn or read her books, she's going to point out the importance of good nutrition as a preventive factor. Kids don't have to have anxiety. So as parents and grandparents, we can advise, but do they listen? No, usually not. They often listen, though, to a professional nutritionist or a dietitian. And we could help direct them into making better choices. So you know, maybe it's time to set up a few appointments for your teen to learn how to eat real food that they're going to end up with better mental health and beyond that success train that I think we all want our kids to be on. So give us a call at 699-3438. And that's (651) 699-3438. And let's set some times up and get kids feeling better.

LEAH: That's great. So Dr. Korn, we just wanted to take a minute and thank you, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share all this nutrition knowledge and all your insights and all your wisdom with us today. We just wanted to make sure, sometimes we run a little short on the back end, so we just want to say we love having you as a guest on Dishing Up Nutrition, and maybe someday here in the future, we can have you back again to elaborate more on some of the concepts we've talked about. But I did just want to let you talk for just a minute about how people can find out more about you, more about your work if they are just interested in learning more beyond what we've talked about in the podcast today.

DR.KORN: Well, thank you. It's been delightful to talk with you and I'd come back at any time and even get up early to do so.

LEAH: Oh, that’s great.

DR. KORN: So you can find me at And my books are on Amazon and I've got courses, not just a long course, for professionals, but I've got some short courses too, that are an hour long that are online. They're fun to take with lots of videos and recipes and really easy initial steps to make to improve your mood, reduce the anxiety, like eating oatmeal, and, just really feel like we can all gain control of our mood with food. So that's the best way to reach me through my website. And you can send me an email directly from there as well.

DARLENE: Oh, that's great. You know, we always say to clients, “The more, you know, the better you'll do.” And this is one way to know more and yeah, it's great to hear our voices all the time, but it's also great to hear other people's voices, and just how you say things, because sometimes the way you say things resonates with certain people. And that's just great. So Leslie, let's talk a little bit more about sugar. Does that sound okay, Leah?

LEAH: Yeah, that sounds great.

DARLENE: All right; and how it is connected to brain health and brain function. And I got a little, some little facts here. 200 years ago, the average American ate two pounds of sugar a year. Just think about that.

LEAH: Yeah, you carry two pounds easily. Right?

DARLENE: And then in the 1970s, and I was around then and there was a popular band called The Beaches that were playing. Leslie, you probably remember that. And they, people ate 123 pounds of sugar each day. Now people are eating 152 pounds or more, I think it's up by, it's 166 pounds of sugar. Well, when you take that and break it down, that's six pounds a week. Or that is like, no, no, no, I'm sorry. I got that wrong.

LEAH: Yeah.

DARLENE: I think that's, basically what people are eating, it's about a cup of sugar a day. And so what does that do to the brain? I mean, that's a lot of sugar, you know, you mentioned before the inflammation part, but maybe kind of go through that again and connect how that affects depression.

DR. KORN: Well, it is. It's very inflammatory. And the thing is we often go to sugar to satisfy a craving, to satisfy a mood, to boost our energy, but it's all false because it doesn't last. And it actually leads to our epidemic of diabetes. And by the way, I've got a book on diabetes and, and a course on this because mood, food, diabetes, mental health, it's all interrelated because it all speaks to how our natural system gets disrupted by artificially concentrated foods. Now let's just think about what nature gave us. Nature gave us the sugar cane. If you've ever had a trip to The Bahamas or to the Caribbean, you may have been able to suck on a delicious sugar cane, but what did nature give us? Nature gave us a sweet fibrous cane to suck on. It's lots of minerals and vitamins in it. No one ever got diabetes or depressed from sugar cane. But come along, pull out all that sugar concentrated, it becomes a drug just like cocaine or anything else. And so it's going to disrupt the nature, the natural body of the endocrine system, the immunological system. And then it's very hard to undo this drug like craving because it's so powerful on our tongue. It makes us go, wow. It lights up our brain and nothing less will satisfy. So indeed we have to undo this addiction to these powerful, potent unnatural tastes.

LEAH: Yeah. That, I mean, like, I think what you were saying there, Dr. Korn is that the sugar that we get exposed to these days in our, in our modern diet, it, it hits the brain in such a way that it's, we're not developed to be able to handle that. So it really does have such a powerful effect on the brain and on the body. And, and one thing that I actually took out of your book, I, I loved this saying, is that mood swings follow blood sugar swings. So maybe just, we have about two and a half minutes or so. Can you just maybe dive into how, how our mood follows the sugar or follows those blood sugar swings?

DR. KORN: Sure. We, we take in the sugar and our mood goes up. Our blood sugar goes up. And if that sugar is a refined sugar or white sugar; we're getting a donut, it shoots up so fast that our energy is high. We are literally high on it. And then it drops precipitously. And this is what we see, not only in a low mood, but this is what we're seeing oftentimes in children with so-called behavior disorders. It's actually because they're having sweet cereals, sugary, you know, Pop-Tarts for breakfast. And they leave the house and they feel energized and they go to school and 90 minutes, two hours later, they want to throw a book at the wall. And then they get sent in for ADHD medications. So again, the sugar artificially raises our blood sugar so quickly, raises our mood, but then it drops. And that's when we, when you start to feel irritable, angry, you want to yell at someone, you're depressed, that's a sign that your blood sugar is unstable. And then what happens to make matters worse is then people go on artificial sweeteners. So let's say you're smart enough to get off of sugar, which is altering your mood, but then you say, well, I'm going to use a Diet Coke. I'm going to use the Diet Pepsi, or I'm going to put a packet of artificial sweetener in my coffee. Did you know that those artificial sweeteners are poisonous to the brain? They're called excitotoxins. Hear the word toxin, because they disrupt our brain cells. And we know that they disrupt our mood. So not only is the sugar not good for us, but these artificial sweeteners we turn to are almost even worse.

LEAH: Yup, absolutely. And I think that's a great place to put a pin in it. Thank you so much, Dr. Korn. That was a really wonderful synopsis at the end.

DARLENE: And thank you for being on today. We love it.

LEAH: Yeah. And our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food.

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