Harvard Nutritional Psychiatrist - These Foods are DESTROYING Your Nervous System

Harvard Nutritional Psychiatrist - These Foods are DESTROYING Your Nervous System


  • Food impacts the brain and mental well-being.
  • The gut-brain connection highlights the impact of food on mood.

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5 Foods Damaging Your Brain

  • Added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and refined sugars directly affect the brain.
  • Processed and fast foods are engineered to be hyperpalatable and may contain added sugars and unhealthy oils.
  • Artificial sweeteners can drive anxiety and affect the gut microbiome.
  • Unhealthy fats, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils lead to inflammation.
  • Processed oils, often labeled as vegetable oils, contain high levels of processed soy oil and contribute to inflammation.

Gut Inflammation & the Brain

  • The gut and brain are connected anatomically, physiologically, and biochemically.
  • Messages and neurotransmitters are transmitted bidirectionally between the gut and brain through the vagus nerve.
  • The breakdown products of food in the gut can lead to inflammation and a leaky gut, allowing toxins to reach the brain, leading to neuroinflammation.

Is a "Leaky Brain" Real?

  • The concept of a leaky brain may explain symptoms and conditions related to brain health.
  • Brain health should be considered as part of overall health.

Ultra Processed Foods are Designed to Light up the Brain

  • Research and development of processed and fast foods aim to make them hyperpalatable and trigger cravings.
  • Food industry uses science to engineer foods to trick the brain, ultimately prioritizing profit over health.
  • Consumers need to be savvy and educated about food labeling and tricks used by food companies to make informed choices for their health.

Seed Oils

  • Processed seed oils are not the same as eating whole nuts or seeds.
  • Fiber and micronutrients in whole nuts are beneficial.
  • Use processed seed oils as a finishing oil or for flavor in moderation.
  • Better options for cooking and dressings are extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and ghee.


  • Ghee contains short-chain fatty acids and butyrate, which are beneficial.
  • It is a healthy option when used in moderation and not avoided altogether.
  • Problems with saturated fat occur when consumed in excess.

Does Metabolic Dysfunction Start in the Brain or Body?

  • Metabolic dysfunction likely starts in the body and impacts the brain.
  • Genetic predispositions to obesity may be triggered by the environment and food.

Processed Food Intake Since the Pandemic

  • Increased processed food sales were observed during the pandemic, impacting people's food habits.
  • The pandemic led to changes in food consumption habits, including increased consumption of processed snacks and comfort foods.
  • Factors contributing to this include isolation, changes in work habits, and environment.

Food as Comfort (00:26:04)

  • Seeking comfort from food can be a result of psychological conditioning or actual physiological effects
  • Comfort foods may provide a short-term feeling of relief due to the impact on serotonin levels, but may lead to long-term damage to the brain
  • Moderation in consuming comfort foods is advocated for mental well-being and sustainability
  • Having grace with oneself and maintaining a balanced approach to eating is important for sustainable health

If You Only Ate Whole Foods, Would People Still Overeat? (00:33:48)

  • Consuming whole foods may allow the body to self-regulate, leading to better metabolic health and signal recognition for satiety
  • Caloric restriction may have a greater impact on those consuming less nutritious food compared to those consuming whole foods
  • Historical evidence suggests that previous generations had regular whole foods diets and were generally healthy without serious health issues

Mental Health Data and the Diagnostic System

  • There is ongoing debate about the increase in mental health diagnoses, with some attributing it to improved testing and awareness
  • The diagnostic system for mental health conditions is challenging, as it does not have the same definitive diagnostic tools as physical health conditions
  • Food should be viewed as a form of medicine, and making positive dietary changes can have a significant impact on one's health and well-being

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