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Show 1145: Are Big Corporations Hacking the American Mind? (Archive)

American corporations are exploiting our desire for pleasure and hacking our bodies and brains. It doesn't make us happy. How can we reverse this trend?
Dr. Robert Lustig
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Are Big Corporations Hacking the American Mind? (Archive)

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The distinction between pleasure and happiness might seem like a philosopher’s quibble. Fat Chance author Dr. Robert Lustig tells us why this difference is vitally important to our national wellbeing. Corporations are hacking the American mind because of our ignorance about the difference between them.

Pleasure vs. Happiness:

Dr. Lustig describes the neurochemical foundations behind the difference between pleasure, fueled by dopamine, and happiness, powered by serotonin. He attributes the negative extremes of addiction, due to an overload of dopamine, and depression, from too little serotonin, to the ways that corporations have manipulated Americans with marketing. That’s why he titled his book The Hacking of the American Mind.

How Does Neuro-Marketing Enable Hacking the American Mind?

Dr. Lustig details how neuro-marketing plays into the sad state of affairs that has resulted in too many Americans ending up fat, sick, broke, stupid, depressed, addicted or unhappy. How has our government enabled these developments? What roles have our educational systems played? And most importantly, how can we break out of this vicious cycle?

To dampen dopamine and increase serotonin for more lasting contentment, we need to pay attention to the four Cs: Connect, Contribute, Cope and Cook. Learn about the science behind the corporate takeover of our minds.

This Week’s Guest:

Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL, is professor of pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Lustig consults for several childhood obesity advocacy groups and government agencies.

Dr. Lustig is the author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, and his latest book, The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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comments (31 total)
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I believe this should say Big Corporations Are Hacking the American Mind!

Dr. Lustig is absolutely correct. We bought his book. It’s going to take a great awakening in this country to restore us to the people we should be.

Such a powerful topic – and each person facing sugar and flour addiction – or the mental or emotional spiral that comes with it should read Bright Line Eating. It’s a game changer. Our choices, our habits, our intentions for our own lives must overcome the marketing engines and addictive substances.

I was going to rate this as 5* on itunes, but don’t know how to do that. There are instructions for downloading to cell phones but not pcs.

Thank you, excellent and very important program!

The guest mentions how depression has increased over the years. One factor not considered in the rise in depression, and even stress, is economics. Stagnant wages that haven’t kept pace with costs of living since the late 70s, unemployment, underemployment, and the resulting problems of food and housing insecurity; no money for children’s education; one big medical bill away from bankruptcy, etc., all contribute to people becoming more depressed about their lives. I would argue this issue plays as big a role in the mental and even physical state of the nation.

This is# 1 problem!!!!!!!!!!

I wonder is there so much dis-satisfaction for so many because we feel we ”need” for so much, so many ”things” to be happy? Constantly bombarded with commercials of every type. People considering ‘wants’ over needs. Just a thought.

Excellent point, Beverly.

Wow! This is an AMAZING episode. Thanks so much for airing it! It takes complex science and research and puts it on “the Lower shelf” so we laypeople can understand it. It helps connect the dots among many of the crises we face today. I’ve already shared this episode. Thanks again!

Anyone see the recent NY Times article?
What These Medical Journals Don’t Reveal: Top Doctors’ Ties to Industry

It’s not a tax problem. It’s a congress problem. All being bought to stay in office. Limit terms. One.

How can I hear this program for free? I live in Austin, TX

Hi Randa,

All People’s Pharmacy radio shows are available for free. You can stream the aduio from the website at this link. Just click on the green arrow about the photo of Dr. Lustig.


You can also download the free MP3 file to your electronic device.


Just toggle the mp3 version instead of the CD.

Finally, you can download the show from iTunes or any podcast provider.


* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^