The Doctor's Farmacy with Mark Hyman, M.D.


How COVID-19 Shines A Light On Our Broken Food System with Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian

Only 12% of us in the US are metabolically healthy—it’s pretty alarming when the healthy population is the minority. And in the age of COVID-19, it’s important to recognize that those with a chronic disease are at an exponentially higher risk of hospitalization than someone who is metabolically healthy. If we as a population were healthier (think less obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.), the evidence supports that we’d be faring much better throughout this pandemic. Of course, a major driver of chronic diseases and the risks they create is our food system. We can’t expect to be a resilient population if we aren’t feeding our bodies real food with real nutrients we can use to function optimally. 

To dig into this topic further, I was excited to sit down with Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy. Dr. Mozaffarian is a cardiologist, Dean and Jean Mayer Professor at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and Professor of Medicine at Tufts Medical School. As one of the top nutrition institutions in the world, the Friedman School’s mission is to produce trusted science, future leaders, and real-world impact. Dr. Mozaffarian has authored more than 400 scientific publications on dietary priorities for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, and on evidence-based policy approaches to reduce these burdens in the US and globally. He has served in numerous advisory roles including for the US and Canadian governments and, in 2016, Thomson Reuters named him as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.

For context, this interview was conducted on April 30, 2020.

Here are more of the details from our interview: 

  • Three ways COVID-19 influences food and nutrition, and visa versa (3:28)

  • How our national health and economic outcomes from COVID-19 might be different were we a metabolically healthy society (7:37)

  • We can improve our metabolic health in real time (9:53)

  • Micronutrients and their potential for preventing and reducing COVID-19 severity (11:32)

  • Strategies to address our chronic disease pandemic and problems with our food system (28:41)

  • How obesity is affecting our military and national security (33:23)

  • Why we need a coordinated national organizing office around food and nutrition policy (48:18)

  • Functional Medicine for our food system (54:55)

  • Obstacles to changing and improving our food system (56:12)

  • Educating policymakers through strategic collaboration among stakeholders (1:00:30)

Find the “Report of the 50th Anniversary of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health: Honoring the Past, Taking Actions for our Future” at

Follow Dr. Mozaffarian on Twitter @Dmozaffarian.

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