David Gillespie – Sugars, Fats, Oils and Taming Toxic People

Author David Gillespie joins me to talk about sugar (Sweet Poison), Fats (Big Fat Lies), Toxic Oils, and Taming Toxic People. What role do corporations play in our health, what changes can you make for the health of your family, and what to do if/when you encounter a psychopath in the workplace.

David Gillespie – Sugars, Fats, Oils and Taming Toxic People Introduction

Now I love the idea of personal empowerment. There’s so much information out there and not just information, but access to the scientific literature. I personally don’t believe that you have to be a medical practitioner to understand it. In fact, I think that you could argue that the process of educating medical practitioners or dentists, for that matter, doesn’t really lend itself to questioning authority.

In fact, if I’d done that in university, I’d probably have been kicked out. Once you graduate, you are so absorbed and rightly so, in the complexities of dealing with a human being, the enormous responsibility that entails, and all the things you’re confronted with in a busy practice, so casting an educated unbiased mind on some fundamental health issues, exploring the published literature across various specialties offers a perspective that can be enlightening, informative, game-changing, and even inspiring.

My guest today is David Gillespie. Now, David is a father of six and he describes himself as a recovering corporate lawyer. He’s also a former co-founder of a successful software company and incredibly the author of eight best-selling books, many of them on health. In his first book, Sweet Poison, published in 2008, it’s widely credited with starting the current Australian wave of anti-sugar sentiment.

I mean, dentistry may have been warning about sugar and tooth decay for 50 or 60 years, but we all now know it goes much further than that. David has been described in the media as academically-gifted, a linguist, excellent at most things he turns his mind to, an old-fashioned renaissance man who finds very few things dull and everything else very interesting. I hope you enjoy my conversation with David Gillespie.

Podcast Transcript

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Hello and welcome to Unstress. I’m Dr. Ron Ehrlich. Now I love the idea of personal empowerment. There’s so much information out there and not just information, but access to the scientific literature. I personally don’t believe that you have to be a medical practitioner to understand it. In fact, I think that you could argue that the process of educating medical practitioners or dentists, for that matter, doesn’t really lend itself to questioning authority.

In fact, if I’d done that in university, I’d probably have been kicked out. Once you graduate, you are so absorbed and rightly so, in the complexities of dealing with a human being, the enormous responsibility that entails, and all the things you’re confronted with in a busy practice, so casting an educated unbiased mind on some fundamental health issues, exploring the published literature across various specialties offers a perspective that can be enlightening, informative, game-changing, and even inspiring.

My guest today is David Gillespie. Now, David is a father of six and he describes himself as a recovering corporate lawyer. He’s also a former co-founder of a successful software company and incredibly the author of eight best-selling books, many of them on health. In his first book, Sweet Poison, published in 2008, it’s widely credited with starting the current Australian wave of anti-sugar sentiment.

I mean, dentistry may have been warning about sugar and tooth decay for 50 or 60 years, but we all now know it goes much further than that. David has been described in the media as academically-gifted, a linguist, excellent at most things he turns his mind to, an old-fashioned renaissance man who finds very few things dull and everything else very interesting. I hope you enjoy my conversation with David Gillespie. Welcome to the show, David.

David Gillespie: Good day, Ron. Good to see you again. Well, not see, but hear you.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, good to see you too, or hear you, anyway.

David Gillespie: Yeah.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Now, David, you are, I think I just said to you before we came on-air that I hope when I grow up, I can write as many books as you have. You have been amazing, you’ve been prolific, you’ve dealt with so many issues and some of them I wanna touch on today. Just give our listener a little bit of background, a short history of David Gillespie.

David Gillespie: Sure, okay. Well, in terms of books, the first book I wrote is now coming up to its 10-year anniversary actually, September 2008 really, Sweet Poison, which was really, to me a statement of the obvious, which is that I had more through luck than good management. Discovered that there’s a very large body of science that told us exactly why, and in particular, me, why I was overweight and why I couldn’t find a good way to lose weight.

The solution according to the science was blindingly simply, which is that we’re consuming a molecule, which is half of the everyday sugar called fructose. And that molecule has devastating effects when it cascades throughout our digestive system. Simply because we are really really poorly adapted to it. We evolved in an environment where it was very very rare, and therefore we didn’t evolve any particular ways to use it or ways to defend against its harm.

We’re now in an environment where it’s the opposite of rare. It’s now in everything. The result is the obesity crisis and the cascades that come from the other damage it does. I mean, obesity is just one of the symptom it causes. It cascades through to destroying our livers, and then our insulin response, and then causing type 2 diabetes, and then heart disease, and kidney failure. You name it.

By the time you get to the end of the list, it adds up to about seventy cents in every health dollar we have to spend. All because of this one molecule. And that just fascinated me. From a personal perspective, it meant that if you applied it, you should reverse all of that, which I did, and it did. And then I wrote about it in Sweet Poison.

I thought this is an interesting little story to tell. My publisher also thought it, too. Neither they nor I imagined for a minute that it would sell more than 2,000 copies. Being a fairly oblique thing being published by a recipe book publisher, which at the time Penguin Lantern was. Much to everyone’s amazement, it’s now sold more than a quarter of a million books.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Wow.

David Gillespie: My publisher and I talk about this from time to time. Mostly because it told us why sugar does what it does. And people just don’t want to know sugar is bad for you. They already knew that. You don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to know that sugar is bad for you.

Everyone tells you that all the time. What people didn’t know was why it was bad for you. And exactly how much of it they were really consuming. Cause they thought, what as I did, that the only sources of sugar in your diet were the sugar you added, or maybe the occasional chocolate bar you ate. Not realizing that it is now a primary component of selling food.

Sugar is an addictive substance. Food with sugar sells better than food without sugar. So, that’s what food manufacturers do. They know they put it in the food it sells better. If they could get away with putting nicotine in the food, they would do that, too. Those are just basic facts. And those are the sorts of things that Sweet Poison was about.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: It’s interesting, David because the dental profession has been talking about the dangers of sugar to teeth for fifty or sixty years. I know it’s become very trendy for a lot of people to quit sugar in the last couple of years. But this was your byline, ‘Why sugar is making us fat’ is exactly what the point of it was.

David Gillespie: Yeah, absolutely. People trivialize the dental thing. I probably was guilty as well. “Oh, okay, so it knocks a few teeth out.” No, it doesn’t. It destroys your teeth. And the annual cost to that, to Australians, out of pocket is about nine billion … with a ‘B’ dollars a year. Which is about 10% of our health budget. It’s an extraordinary cost on society and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Sugar destroys our bodies at every point in our bodies. Teeth are just the first bit to go because they’re the entry point.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: I often say, “If the heart is part of your body decays because of what you eat, just imagine what’s happening to the rest of your body” and you actually don’t have to imagine it; you just have to look at statistics.

David Gillespie: The biochemistry there, not of what I’m saying, none of it was controversial in 2008. It’s even less controversial now. There’s solid science to every single word of it. I guess that’s where I … one of the many ways I’ve been attacked, and by the way that was surprising all on it’s own, is I thought I’m just gonna put out a book that states the obvious and no one will care. But it was furiously attacked by dieticians, by the Heart Foundation, you name it. They came out of the woodwork to denounce it.

I thought I was just simply regurgitating well-settled science. It turns out that is well-settled science. But because it treads on the interests of some very powerful corporate interests in this country and worldwide, they rallied all of the front groups. I had no idea even that the Heart Foundation or the Dieticians Associates would be on the side of the business rather than the consumer. It turned out that they were. And that really surprised me.

As I said, nothing was particularly controversial about the science from a scientific perspective. It was very controversial from a business perspective. It was very profit endangering. But from a scientific perspective, this is all old old old news. The only thing that’s really changed in the last ten years is that many of the animal studies that showed this when the book came out have now been replicated in humans and show the same thing.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: This story of corporate is obviously a favourite topic of mine, and it’s a story that I believe is very very easy to miss. But once you hear it, it’s very difficult to ignore.

David Gillespie: Yeah, absolutely. Look, it pervades many aspects of what we’re told. It’s astounding, the level to which it goes. I was absolutely amazed to come under attack from the Heart Foundation. Then I discovered that a significant proportion of their revenue came from a program called the Tick Program.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: So I was going to ask … That was my next question.

David Gillespie: Yeah, which by the way, did not have sugar as a criteria. So they would hand ticks out to foods that were almost entirely sugar. And the reason for that was because those foods were low in saturated fat, or high in fiber, or whatever the mantra of the Heart Foundation was. But they were completely blind to the sugar content. Now food manufacturers took about three milliseconds to notice this. And so now, you know what, we can get Heart Foundation endorsement on our high sugar food as long as we make sure it’s low-fat, high fibre.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah. I think a lot of … Millions of people, in fact, use it as a guiding principle towards what they thought, or considered, to be healthy food or better health. Clearly, that wasn’t necessary … In retrospect, removing the tick was perhaps the biggest public health message the Heart Foundation made. But then we-

David Gillespie: Well, it would have been were it not for the fact that they replaced that-

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: With the health star rating-

David Gillespie: The health star rating. Which is-

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: You’re one step ahead of me, David. Go on. Tell us about the health star rating. What do you think?

David Gillespie: It does include truth. I’ve got it at such an extraordinarily high level that you find sugar loaded foods, like Milo, which is sugar, with four and a half health stars. That on its own should tell you that this is a system that’s been gotten to. Any system that results in butter being given half a star, and Milo being given four and a half stars is broken. You don’t need to know any more than that, you just need to know those two things and you know this is a system that’s been bought by the corporate food in Australia.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: But introduced at a government level.

David Gillespie: Absolutely. And over and over and over again, we see, not just this government, but every government that we’ve had for the fifty years absolutely refuse to do anything about impacting the profits of the processed food industry, the people who sold the processed food, or the sugar producers.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: So, your view on sugar tax?

David Gillespie: I started from a position that it wouldn’t actually change anything. What was being proposed, which is a soft drink tax, because, in terms of the proportion of sugar in our diets, soft drinks are by no means the primary source of. They’re a source. A significant source, but they’re not the primary source. While you tax soft drinks and not tax breakfast cereals, soft drinks are 10% sugar by weight, breakfast cereals are 30% sugar by weight. Why on earth would you set one product over another? And then I saw something that’s really amazing.

From a purely scientific perspective, I looked at it and said, “What difference would that make? It would make zero difference.” It would change where the sugar was coming from a little bit. People might choose cheaper brands of soft drink, or they might choose other sources of sugar. So the end result would be no significant difference in the amount of sugar Australians consume, therefore the health benefit would be zero.

But then I saw something really extraordinary happen. Grattan Institute came out and analyzed how much money this tax would raise. They found it would raise 520 million dollars a year. Half a billion dollars a year. Then I saw the really interesting thing happen. Then I saw the Heart Foundation leaping on board and saying, “We need a sugar tax”. I saw you name it, every health group going around, all of the ones except for the Dieticians Association who still haven’t really joined in the call but they are the laggers. Everyone else suddenly was for a sugar tax.

It then became apparent to me that I was completely ignoring the economic angles of this. And that is that if all the tax to get all these people who have been opposing the message of sugar on board is the sniff of that half a billion dollars a year in revenue that might end up in their pots, then so be it. If that’s what it takes, and all we’ve got to do is punish the sugar manufacturers, then go for it.

Not because I think the tax will change consumption habits, but what will change consumption habits is all of these health agencies who have been vocally opposed to the notion that sugar is harmful, suddenly on board with that message. And singing from the same hymn sheet. Then our sugar tax can work.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, and I thought it was interesting and I know you follow this same story, was just after it was floated a few weeks ago in the Sydney press, there was a follow-up article warning us that if we had a sugar tax, we may actually end up having more alcohol. You remember that story?

David Gillespie: So the story was written by … The study was based on … I can’t remember the study or the story, but either was done by a veteran of the lobby for there being nothing wrong with sugar. Who now is an advisor to the Sugar Research Association, which is the sugar industries attempt to provide sugar versions of signs. It’s typical of the response of the vested interest here to start pointing out everything else and saying, “Oh, don’t touch the sugar! There’s these other horrible … This could be worse.” Plan A was to tell us we weren’t consuming that much anyway.

Something called the sugar paradox, which is nothing short of a scientific fraud coming out of the University of Sydney. Pointing to data which simply did not exist, saying that we were consuming less sugar than we ever have before and yet we’re getting fatter. The paradox being that every other country in the world eats more sugar and gets fatter, whereas in Australia we miraculously eat less sugar and still get fatter. That’s an interesting story if I only it was true.

That was plan A. That hasn’t gone so well, so sounds like we’re scratching around the bottom of the barrel and now we’re apparently going to drink more alcohol if we tax sugar.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Now I thought it was a classic sort of play, and again one of these things is, once you’re aware of it, you just look at that article and you think, ‘Okay. So, this is the game that’s being played.’ Let’s move on though because in 2012 you wrote a book which was called Big Fat Lies. How is our preoccupation with fat making us sick? Which is a logical follow-on from the … Alerting us to what’s really causing the problem. Kind of tell us a little bit about what you covered in that book.

David Gillespie: Look at sugar and then it lead me to looking at the biochemistry of how we metabolize food. What the obsession with fat has done, because that’s what the sugar industry wanted us to do, and the 1960’s papers have now become available that show. What in fact happened was that the sugar industry in the United States very intentionally pointed researchers towards that as being the culprit.

They dutifully followed along. That’s where we’ve had and generated the dietary guidelines that have ruled what we ate and what we can buy for the last thirty, forty years. That is this low-fat mantra. Or more particularly low saturated fats. So, what I will call the war on animal fat. Because apparently, the saturated fat, according to that, clogs the arteries, gives us heart disease, and cascades through to various other things, although it starts to get vaguer and vaguer.

When you actually look at the science on that, it starts to … Well, forget about science, starting from a position of logic, it doesn’t make sense. Which is why would something which was the core of our evolutionary food supply, that is animal fat, suddenly be responsible for all modern disease? Just logically blaming ancestral food for modern disease simply does not make sense. If animal fat was this bad, it would have caused all of these diseases way before the late 20th century.

But when you drill down into the biochemistry of it, you find out that we are superbly adapted to consuming animal fat. Like all animals, we, in fact, construct most of our body out of animal fat. Not surprisingly, being that we are an animal. We are superbly adapted to … All of our cell membranes are made from saturated and monounsaturated fat. It’s a critical component of our body. Consuming it, far from being harmful, actually enhances many aspects of our body.

That messaging didn’t suit the sugar industry. So what has happened, is that in destroying saturated fat, which is what the sugar industry went for to try and stop you looking at sugar, the food industry reacted by saying, “Well, okay. If that’s bad, what’s good? Oh, okay! Well, what we can do is use plant fats, which aren’t high in saturated fat at all. So, called vegetable oils. Vegetable oils actually don’t come from vegetables. They actually come from seeds. So they crush up seeds, remove the fats from them, and sell them as vegetable oils.

Now those things are really things like sunflower oils, soybean oil, canola oil, rapeseed oil, etc. Those things are all very very high in polyunsaturated fats, but very very low in saturated fats. And that suited the marketing message which was, “Well, this food’s not low-fat, but it is low saturated fat. Now the reason they couldn’t remove the fat altogether was because they very quickly discovered that when you take the fat out of food, it’s just completely unpalatable.

In order to continue selling food, which is, of course, the food industry’s purpose, they had to replace the evil saturated fats with the seed oils. It turns out that that’s a really really bad idea, from a metabolic perspective. Rather like sugar, we are very poorly adapted to a food supply which is high in polyunsaturated fats. Our bodies can’t tell the difference. A fat is a fat as far as most metabolic processes are concerned and we will just use them because they’re there.

In fact, worse than that when it comes to polyunsaturated fats because we do need them in very very small quantities for brain function, for immune system function, for our eyes to work, etc. We grab ahold of them and hang onto them if they appear in our food supply. When our food supply became full of them, we got very good at grabbing hold of them and hanging onto them in our body. The effects of that are disastrous. There’s unequivocal evidence that high levels of Omega-6 and fat in the diet double the risk of cancer, at least. Double the risk of cancer.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Wow.

David Gillespie: That’s not just me being an alarmist, or running around waving my arms and wearing a tinfoil hat. This is real studies, long-term studies in humans. These substances infiltrate our food supply in every point. It is now impossible to buy processed foods which is not full of seed oils. Where the primary source is not a seed oil. You just can’t do it. You go into a supermarket and try to find food that does not have seed oils in the fat, and you will be restricted to the outside perimeter.

You’ll be buying meat, bread, milk, those sorts of things, fruits and vegetables. Those are the only things that don’t have added seed oils. Even in the meat aisle, you’re not safe. Because the meat has probably been fed grain which significantly increases the amount of these fats in the meat.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Now David, you are now going back to the Heart Foundation, say we’re gonna go in for a big one. They give McDonald’s a tick in 2004. I mean, it did cost McDonald’s I think fifty thousand dollars a tick, but they gave it to them because they changed their fats. Tell us a bit about that.

David Gillespie: Yes. They gave them a tick for ironically removing saturated fat from their deep fryers and replacing it with seed oil. Now up until 2004, there was actually nothing wrong with eating a chip fried at McDonald’s because it was fried in fats that we were evolutionarily adapted to consume. If McDonald’s still fried in those fats, I would buy chips at McDonald’s today.

But they don’t. What they do now is fry in seed oils. The really bizarre thing is that the Heart Foundation simultaneously tells us that junk food, I.e. McDonald’s, and everybody else who now fries in seed oils, by the way, everybody now fries in seed oils, junk foods, fried foods, are bad for us, but margarine is good for us. Both made out of exactly the same thing! Seed oils.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: You’ve already … Big Fat Lies in 2012 lead to Toxic Oils in 2013.

David Gillespie: Toxic Oils is a detailed analysis. So, Big Fat Lies is the science. Toxic Oils is a detailed analysis of, “Okay, well that’s interesting. But how do you actually apply this in everyday life? What does this mean? Should I eat grain seed with beef? Should I care where my eggs come from? What sorts of foods are low in these seed oils? What sorts of foods are high in them? What are the best brands to choose?” So it was that sort of practical analysis of the Australian marketplace that’s in Toxic Oils. Plus of course, some recipes which use the fats I recommend.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Now another thing I wanted to ask you about was this concept that’s very popular in public health messaging of calories in, calories out. Eat less calories, burn more calories. And it all seems very logical, but it’s not as simple as that. What do you think?

David Gillespie: It’s nonsensical. I’ll give you the equivalent. If I said to you now, “Listen, we’ve decided that you’re consuming too much oxygen, Ron. So, what we’re going to do to you is that I’m gonna get you to hold your breath now. You hold it as long as you can and tell me when you can no longer do that.” You can do for maybe ten minutes if you’re a legend. That’s the same that’s going on a diet. You stop an automated process which is breathing, until such point as you can no longer stand it and then the body says, “Stuff this for a joke” and takes over.

Now people say to me, “Well, that’s not the same as going on a diet. That’s the same as not eating at all.” And they’re absolutely correct. The same as going on a diet would be for me to say to you, “Ron, I want you to count the number of breaths you take in the next minute. Let’s say, sixty. And now, for the rest of your life, I want you to take fifty-five every minute.

No matter what you’re doing. Whether you’re running up a hill, whatever, I want you to take fifty-five. Now actually, you will need some when you’re running up a hill so take fifty-six then. You would look at me like I was completely barking mad. But that’s exactly what calorie counting is. The body determines exactly how many calories it needs for what it’s doing. It’s a very instantaneous response, exactly the same as our need for oxygen.

There are two components to making us work. Oxygen and food. We burn glucose using oxygen to produce energy. That’s how we work. We seem to be happy to accept that we automatically control our requirement for oxygen. But are not happy to accept that we automatically control our requirement for the food. When both are fully automatically controlled.

So if we do more activity, we eat more. If we do this activity, we eat less. Which is why the prescription, by the way until the 1940’s was bedrest. The logic being, the best way for you to stop eating so much is to lie in bed, not spend as much energy, then you won’t eat so much. So it has its own logic. So we’re happy to accept that when it comes to oxygen, but not when it comes to food. The reality is that we do control our appetite exactly the same way we control our appetite for oxygen. We choose based on our needs. The only reason that doesn’t work is if something messes up that automated control system. And guess what? It turns out that the science now shows that fructose does exactly that.

It matches up the automated control system by a little bit. Not by a lot, by about 35 calories worth a day. So, we’re still operating on autopilot, but the autopilot’s broken. The result is that is we all eat just a little bit more than we need. When the body eats a little bit more than we need, it stores it as fat. Now it’s not that we’re gluttons, it’s not that we just can’t resist modern food or any of that nonsense.

Any of that psychobabble that’s put about about calories in calories out. Or that we need to exercise more. If you exercise more, you’ll eat more. Easy. But if your appetite control system is broken, you’ll not only eat more, you’ll eat a little bit more than you need to. And it doesn’t matter if you exercise or not, you’ll get fat.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, well particularly, if you are upsetting that regulatory system by being on a low-fat diet.

David Gillespie: One of the inevitable consequences of being on a low-fat diet is that you will eat foods that have more sugar in them. The reason for that is that in order for food to remain palatable when you remove the fat from it, you have to replace the fat you remove with sugar. And so that those foods don’t taste too sweet you also have to add salt. You find that low-fat foods are high in sugar and salt than their full-fat alternatives.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Your journey has been sugars, the fats, the oils. Now surely I would have thought you’d written a book about salt by now.

David Gillespie: I do cover salt in Big Fat Lies. It’s only a chapter in there. I talk about how there’s no point restricting salt at all. In fact, it could be dangerous. The culprit for hypertension and kidney disease in our diet is not salt. It’s the sugar. As long as you remove the sugar, then you eat as much salt as you want to. Which, by the way, will be automatically regulated by your body.

Your appetite with salt will vary and it will be based on what your body actually needs. So salt is not dangerous. There’s an excellent book written last year on salt by U.S. researcher James, whose surname I can never-

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yes, yes.

David Gillespie: DiNicolantonio, or something?

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: We’ll put links to this, I want to get him on the show.

David Gillespie: It is a fantastic tour of all the bad science about salt for anyone who’s interested. So, I’m not going to write that.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: No, no. It’s called the Salt Fix. But again, just to remind listeners as you already have about the … Not all meats are the same, not all salt is the same either.

David Gillespie: Yes and no? I don’t think you need to pay a vast amount of money for salt. From our body’s perspective, we need sodium chloride and if you want to pay to have it be rock salt, or two hundred and fifty million years old or something. Which by the way, all salt is, then I guess you might feel better doing that, but honestly, salt is salt.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Okay. Now let’s move onto this latest book you’ve written which is a little bit of a change. Toxic People. What’s an empath? What’s a psychopath? Tell us-

David Gillespie: So, a psychopath is a person who completely lacks empathy. We have lots and lots and lots of names for these people in our society. We call them bullies, we call them narcissists, we call them sociopaths. But they’re all the same thing. They all boil down to the same set of characteristics, which in the end, boil down to a complete lack of empathy.

Those characteristics are that they are initially charming, but ultimately highly domineering and manipulative. Concerned only for themselves and nobody else. Highly impulsive. Just really dangerous to people around. Even more dangerous people to work for. If these people have any degree of control over your life, then you are in a very bad place indeed.

I didn’t want to be pulling punches in what I call them, so I just decided that science justifies the conclusion, but the world is broken up into two types of people. What we would call normal people, empaths, who are people who care about other people. And psychopaths, who are people who don’t.

It turns out that when you drill into it, there’s a hardwired difference in the brains of those people. In the book, I put forth a proposition that psychopaths are in fact humans 1.0. They are what we used to be like before we developed the hardwiring, the social circuitry in our brains that allowed us to interact in groups larger than a family group. Humans are unique in that respect. We’re the only animal on the planet that can cooperate with strangers. That can leave together and pursue a common goal with people we don’t know, but who we do trust.

That ability to trust others and to cooperate with each other is actually wired in our brains in something called a spindle neuron. Which is something we adapted from our ability to tell the difference between smells and tastes. Which allows us to empathize, it allows us to imagine what this would be like for the other person, and to take that concern into account.

In other words, it’s almost a telepathic ability to worry about the welfare of another person. It’s a perfect adaptation to allow us to work together in groups. Psychopaths don’t have it. They have no empathy. They can’t understand why we would care at all about another human.

They understand that we find that bizarre and unusual, and dangerous. So they pretend to not to be like that. And spend most of their lives pretending to be like that. But if a person who lacks empathy, who is a psychopath, is in charge of a group of other people, then they will ruthlessly manipulate those people to their own ends.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Now did you find that there were any common health perimeters that might contribute to this psychopathic profile?

David Gillespie: Yeah, well, what I found is that there’s a significantly larger proportion of these people in the population than most would suspect. I’m not talking about people who are in prison for chopping people up, although certainly many of them are psychopaths. I’m talking about the people who are in our society who are our manager, who are our politicians, who are actors, who are people in positions of authority. I’m talking about these people who have these traits.

The book is, like all my books, is not just about the science, it’s about, what do you do about it? If you find yourself in a position where you are working for someone like this, how do you cope? How do you manage it? How do you protect yourself? And I go through a very detailed analysis of that and come up with some real solutions for people, rather than their normal solution which is when you’re being bullied, leave. That’s the normal solution, whereas I give a much more detailed analysis of that based on what the science actually says about psychopaths.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Don’t want to give away too much from the book, but what are one or two little tasters that our listener could come away with?

David Gillespie: I guess if you’re in the workplace and you find your boss is a psychopath, and I go through in detail how to diagnose whether that is the case, but I suggest a strategy of protecting yourself while you find somewhere else to work. Ultimately, you’re not going to change them, and you’re not going to get them fired. Unless the entire workplace is united against them. Which almost never happens because they are so expert at manipulating people against each other.

So, one of the first things they do when they come into workplaces is identifying slight fissures in the social structure of the workplace and make sure they go whacking great ridges into those fissures, and have people warring with each other. The reason they do that is in that emotional warfare that’s going on while people are fighting each other, they can get away blue murder. It’s rare to find a workplace united enough to act against a psychopath.

Unless you’re in that fortunate position, then your next best option is to find somewhere else to work. But what I say to people, is don’t do this in a hurry. Don’t react against the psychopath. Don’t report them. Don’t whistle blow on them. Don’t do any of those things. What you should do is maintain professional politeness, professional distance, document everything, and furiously find somewhere else to work.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Okay. We’ll have links to all of this on the show notes. I just wanted to ask you one last thing before we finish up. And that is, what do you think people’s greatest challenges on their health journey through life in our modern world? You’ve mentioned a few, but overall, what do you think one of the biggest challenges are for people?

The Biggest Health Challenge

David Gillespie: I think the biggest danger to people is the seed oils, honestly. I think sugar is relatively easy to deal with, as you can taste it. If something’s sweet, then it’s got sugar in it. That’s relatively easy to deal with. With seed oils, you can’t taste the difference. You don’t know whether the food you put … You can’t go to a restaurant and tell by taste whether what you’re being served is seed oils or something else. You can’t buy packaged food and know.

The labeling is so obscure and so difficult to work out, and so convoluted, that it is very difficult to do. You can’t know what your meat was fed. In a food supply where people are doing their absolute best to obscure that piece of information from you, and they are, and they are getting away with it, it is almost impossible to accurately identify. That is a real challenge and that is to me a much greater concern than the sugar. Because sugar, taste it, identify it, remove it, everything goes into reverse, you’re fine.

Seed oil appears to be cumulative and very destructive because we are talking there about diseases that there just isn’t a cure for. All of the cancers and cancer rates are exploding in this country. You never see this in the news, but we hear lots of stories about wonder drugs that will prolong life on cancer or even put them into remission, etc. No one ever talks about the fact that the rates are exploding.

We’re looking at things like thyroid cancer, five times the rate, in just the last 20 years. Things like bladder cancer, anal cancer, so on. Some of these cancers, the rates are exploding and in general, all cancers are exploding. That’s because our diet is now infused with a substance which we have known for forty years in human trials. Doubles the risk of cancer. That to me is the dangerous part of all this. It’s embedded, it’s hidden, it’s impossible to detect, and it is lethal.

Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Wow. David, thank you so much for joining us today.

David Gillespie: Pleasure.


Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Sugar. Big Fat Lies. Toxic Oil and now Toxic People. Like I said in the intro, coming at things from a non-medical background with an inquisitive mind, and as a lawyer has to do going over documents or scientific literature with forensic detail, provides some interesting insights.

I mean, talk about empowering yourself as an individual. It’s clearly important, but hey, you don’t have to go off and write eight best sellers. Well done, David. Now the issue of the two essential fatty acids we’ve talked about is a really important one and they’re essential because we can’t make them ourselves. Our bodies go through a constant balance of proinflammation and anti-inflammation.

Omega-6, essential fatty acids are pro-inflammatory. Omega-3, essential fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. And when we eat foods that are sourced from animals, that have been pasture fed and importantly finished, there is a good balance of these two essential fatty acids.

But, when animals are grain-fed which is done to fatten them up and make them more valuable, economically, at least, the proportion of Omega-6 fatty acids, that is proinflammatory types go through the roof. Seed oils are also higher in Omega-6.

Which makes health authorities recommendation of avoiding animal fats and using seed oils a little strange, considering chronic inflammations the common denominator in all chronic disease. I mean, doubling your risk of cancer? Now please refer to part one of my book addressing the issue of why public health messages are so confusing and contradictory.

It’s also timely that his latest book is on toxic people. Now one of the longest-running studies of human health is out of Harvard University. Going back seventy-five years and tracking what the most important predictors were of health, wellness, and longevity. And it turns our relationships are the greatest predictors. So that’s just not necessarily one relationship but your relationship with family, with friends, with other people.

Talk about emotional stress, the power of thought to impact on your health. So very interesting, very timely this book and his eight best sellers. David has written some fabulous books, and as I’ve said we’ll have links to them in the transcripts to this episode on my website drronehrlich.com/podcasts. Hope you’re enjoying the podcast. Send me some feedback or suggestions and go the iTunes store and hey, come on, give us a good review. Until next time, this is Dr. Ron Ehrlich. Be well.



This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.