Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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Month: December 2006

Make a Better Choice

As mentioned yesterday, the national health report card has just been released by the NIH. My fellow Americans, we did not make the honor roll. We are not number one. (Though there’s a roll, all right.)

Here’s how America scored in some major subjects:

Heart disease: 685,000 deaths (down about 10% from 1980)
Cancer/tumors: 556,000 deaths (up about 35% from 1980)
Diabetes: 74,000 deaths (triple the 1980 rate)

Things that killed people in 1980 – like cirrhosis, accidents and the flu, are way down. But preventable diseases like diabetes, some types of cancer, heart disease and cardiovascular conditions are way up.

Obesity is up – a lot. In the 1960s, that rate was about 44%; it’s now over 66%. Click here for the kid stats.
– You might be surprised: heart disease killed more women last year than men. Take care of those arteries, ladies!
– Also worth considering: the millions of deaths, bad reactions and side effects of drugs used to treat all these conditions. Can’t we do better?

What all this means:

It’s tempting to feel a little pessimistic, but a lot of this news is actually good. That’s right, good!

We don’t have to worry too much about clean water or adequate food or – even with the big mess health care is in right now – access to a doctor. There’s a lot to fix in this country, but the good news is that we’re blessed with a lot of options and advantages.

Most of the diseases and health issues facing Americans are things that are preventable with a few basic lifestyle changes: things like eating less, cutting out sugar, eating more vegetables every day, quitting smoking, getting exercise, taking supplements that limit free radical damage, and avoiding stress.

While these things are challenges and there are a lot of choices to weigh, the important thing is that we have choice. That, in itself, is a blessing.

So, choose to be healthy! Health, to the extent you can control it, is nothing more than good choices (because you can’t help genetics or luck). So always be making a better one.

[tags] American health statistics, national health, country comparisons, National Institutes of Health, NIH, major causes of death, most common health problems [/tags]

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Dairy: Blunder Tonic

THE LATEST PLAY IN THE STATISTICS GAME

We’ve all seen the ads touting dairy as a weight-loss aid. Every granola bar, breakfast cereal and block of cheese now brags about it. Welcome to yet another entertaining quarter in the ongoing Statistics Game. Dairy is a big topic and there are several studies we’re going to take a look at today. And by take a look, I mean tear apart.

As far as I’m concerned, “da-iry” hasn’t done anything great with the place (though the ad campaigns are always cute). The aliens can have it. We’d all be a lot better off without the so-called Wonder Tonic – and we’d lose weight a lot faster.

It is true that calcium plays a role in fat metabolism (a small role – more on that in a moment). But it’s also true that calories play a role in getting fat. Reducing calories from any source is going to help you lose weight much more effectively than simply drinking milk instead of, say, soda or juice. For one thing, milk has almost as much sugar as a glass of Coke (yes – check the labels ). For another, milk is hardly nature’s perfect food for humans. Cow milk is nature’s perfect food for…cows. I realize that’s controversial, but it’s true. And relying on calcium for your weight-loss goals is like relying on vitamin C-enhanced Seven Up for your antioxidant needs.

I love a good slice of cheddar as much as the next guy and gal, but there’s no way any responsible health care practitioner should ever recommend making dairy a part of a healthy diet, much less a weight-loss plan. Hey, if you’re living on potato chips and pizza, a glass of milk might be a step up. I set the bar a little higher, and I hope you do, too.

Dairy, in limited amounts, isn’t something I worry too much about. I don’t think it’s an ideal human food, especially since most of us lack the enzyme needed to digest it and essentially force ourselves to become accustomed to the stuff. But you could do worse than the occasional dollop of cottage cheese or scoop of sugar-free yogurt, especially if you favor organic dairy. (Which, by the way, you should: regular dairy is typically full of antibiotics, hormones, and contaminants like pus. Yum.)

Enter dubious study #1.

Though Major Moo (the dairy industry) paid for six clinical studies – yes, they funded their own studies – the main one is what I’m calling the Tennessee Two Pounder. The University of Tennessee loves Major Moo, and Major Moo loves T. U. The lead researcher in the study was astounded by the amazing benefits of dairy, which he discovered after being paid millions of dollars conducting the study. For a few million, I can be amazed by just about anything, but I still wouldn’t be amazed by the results he got: a mere two pounds on the “it’s not a dairy diet” dairy diet.

When this

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Smart Fuel

SMART FUEL

Avocados are at the tail end of their season right now, so you can scoop up these deliciously fatty treats for a great price. The best part about this rich fruit? The fat is good for you! Especially in winter, when skin is prone to dryness, an extra daily dose of beneficial fatty acids can be all it takes to stay comfortable in your skin.

Slice, score, or mash your avo, drizzle with a little lemon or lime juice, add a dash of kosher salt, and you’ve got yourself a really nutritious snack. Keep in mind that, like nuts, avocados are very high in calories, so enjoy in moderation.

Fuel up with this smart pick before the weekend hits!

[tags] good fats, avocados, low-carb snack, omega-3 [/tags]

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The Buzz

WORKER BEES DAILY BITES

Where to start!

Health 2.0 – it’s a term now – is taking off in a big way.

You can be part of it here at MDA! Collaboration, hand-built information, and alternative health news and views – now that’s personalized health care. Check out a health care industry blogger’s take on it by hitting this clickativity.

We’re anti-peanut and not afraid to say it!

Our fellow blogger Dr. Joe Mercola blogs about the latest shenanigans of the food industry. Not even peanuts are safe. Peanuts! But we still like almonds. (Psst…peanuts are full of molds and toxins. Not exactly your best bet for lunch. The government actually allows what’s considered a permissible amount of contamination. Thanks, Uncle Sam. We feel the love.)

You have to wonder when peanut butter companies save you the trouble of using a knife and talk about that like it’s a good thing.

How Healthy Are You, America?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released its annual health report. We’ll be getting into some of the 2006 numbers tomorrow. Take a gander now if you’re curious…

Grandma’s Favorite Dish Made Your DNA?

Not only is a mother’s diet during pregnancy important for the health of the child…but so was Grandma’s. A new study reported in Science Daily has discovered that eating habits can have an effect on DNA through several generations. Now, this was a “murine” study – in other words, some squeakers (mice).

So don’t feel too guilty about that year you had a little too much love for chai soy lattes. However, the important message is that genetics and health are more complicated than we’ve previously thought. Makes dinner take on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

[tags] DNA, food, peanut butter, web 2.0 [/tags]

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The Sisson Spoof

Disclaimer: For the record, Pizza Hut wants you to know that their pizzas fulfill as many as four food groups in a single meal. Where’s my gold star…

[tags] food groups, pizza nutrition information, spoof, Pizza Hut [/tags]

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Real Men Eat Lettuce

I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe at the bizarre-but-true existence of the Heart Attack Grill. Call it vulgar, call it wasteful, call it offensive – but someone’s eating there. A lot of someones. And I guarantee you they’re not healthy.

The Heart Attack Grill: the restaurant that so prides itself on inducing heart problems, the burgers have names such as “Double Bypass”. Of course, as John Stossel points out, no idiotic unhealthy venture would be complete without scantily-clad “nurse” waitresses. (Because if you’re going to infuriate the health experts, you might as well offend the better-smelling half of the population, too. The bizarre American intersection of fast food meat and female objectification – didn’t these guys learn anything in college? Did they go to college?). Everyone knows I’m no big fan of the food police. Also, I fully admit to a love affair with salad rivaled only by Popeye. But, considering the fact that millions of people every year are tragically affected by easily-prevented heart attacks (and the fact that a half-million die), this kind of gloating stupidity concerns me, if only because these men may be reproducing.

[tags] bypass burger, John Stossel, Heart Attack Grill, nurse waitresses, sexism, female objectification, fast food [/tags]

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