Family Meals Keep Belly Fat Off: The Power of Unplugging During Mealtime

by Mike Mutzel


Shawn Stevenson discusses why socializing during meals can contribute to a sense of community, reduce feelings of loneliness, and provide emotional support. Sharing meals with others can also influence your eating habits, fostering healthier choices.

Shawn shares evidence suggesting that eating while watching screens, such as television, computers, or smartphones, may contribute to unhealthy eating patterns. This behavior is often referred to as “distracted eating.” When individuals are engrossed in screen-based activities while eating, they may not pay as much attention to their food or internal cues of hunger and fullness. This can lead to overeating or making less healthy food choices.


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Episode Time Stamps:

03:30 We are the most chronically diseased nation in history. CDC says 60% of all US adults have at least 1 chronic disease. 40% have two or more.  Being well is now not normal. 75% of US citizens are overweight or obese. 60% have some degree of heart disease.

04:45 Behavior change is not the solution. It is difficult to make diet changes in an environment of ultra processed foods.

06:55 Create a microenvironment around yourself that makes healthy choices easy. Behavior can become automatic. The root cause is the culture, shared values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors shared by a group of people that are passed to the next generations.

08:30 Childhood obesity has tripled in the past few decades. In 1999 the average child had a diet of 61% ultra processed food. By 2018 it was almost 70%.

09:30 People who eat together with their family consistently consume more real whole nutrient dense foods.

11:00 3 meals a week eaten with family can dramatically reduce the incidence of obesity and developing eating disorders in children.  For adults, eating family dinners results in work morale staying high, stress staying negligible, and higher productivity.

13:05 Only 30% of families eat together on a regular basis. We evolved to eat together. We communicated and shared family history and knowledge.

15:20 Our devices divide us and should be supplemental communication. Our genes expect us to connect with real humans.

16:20 60 to 80% of all physician visits today are for stress-related illnesses.

17:00 Downregulate stress: Being with people we care about produces more oxytocin, the love hormone.  It neutralizes the effects of cortisol.

17:50 The parasympathetic state is rest and digest. When you are with people you care about, you digest and assimilate your food better and have better elimination.

18:30 Frequent eating in isolation causes poor diet quality and lower intake of vital nutrients that help prevent disease.

19:30 Eating at home with your children regularly gives you time to discover, observe, and communicate, to have them truly be seen.

22:30 Make healthy food taste good, to help with the transition from junk food. Our flavor receptor system is complicated and intertwined with our ability to smell.

23:20 Post-ingestive feedback is where your cells take notes on the nutrition in your food. Cravings are cultural. We crave what we have been around.

23:50 Flavor is a language.  Food scientists manipulate our flavor associations.

25:25 Shawn’s simple recipes focus on 40 foods that improve metabolic health, cardiovascular health, mental health, and sleep quality.

28:00 People who eat less than 4 grams of DHEA/EPA omega 3s each day have the highest rate of brain shrinkage.

29:30 Impossible burgers are ultra processed and packed with unhealthy ingredients.

32:00 Every culture eats cultured foods. Eating kimchi can reduce belly fat, weight, and BMI.

36:25 Animals stressed before slaughter have different and unpalatable meat. Everything and everyone is made of energy. Our attention on things affects the outcome.

42:30 Virtual Family Health & Fitness Summit access is part of your book purchase.

53:00 We outsource our care to entities that profit from our sickness.

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