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: March 2007

Why the Atkins Diet Works

No doubt you’ve seen the major news out today that the Atkins diet is significantly more effective for weight loss than higher-carb diets promoted by the likes of Dr. Dean Ornish and Barry Sears. As you’d expect, Ornish says the study is flawed. Sears says the study is bad science. That’s fine, boys. The Atkins followers not only lost weight, they were healthier by the end of the year.

Both Sears and Ornish take issue with the fact that compliance in the study was, at best, half-hearted (meaning the ladies who participated didn’t exactly follow the various plans to the letter).

My response to that is: all the more evidence that upping your protein and fat intake is a wise idea. If you can lose weight, lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease, and you don’t even have to follow your diet perfectly…where’s the problem?

A year-long study compared four different diets – Atkins, LEARN (Uncle Sam’s feel-good acronym will not leave you feeling good), the Zone, and Ornish’s bread-buffet regimen. At the end of the year, Atkins followers lost about twice the weight of the other participants. This is no big surprise – it’s yet another study that proves what I’ve been saying for years: cut the carbs.

Critics – mainly, Sears and Ornish – are, as I expected, getting lost in the details and ignoring the big, fat elephant in the room. They point out that ten pounds of weight loss instead of five pounds of weight loss is no big deal.

Well, okay, but that depends on your perspective – I’m willing to bet good money that had the results of the study gone in their favor, they’d be singing a different tune. Instead of “10 pounds is no big deal,” we’d hear: “Double the weight loss – this is huge!” Instead of a “flawed” study, we’d hear: “We’re talking about a long-term, year-long, significant study!” And instead of splitting hairs about the lack of 100% compliance, my guess is that Ornish and Co. would say “This is a realistic study that looks at how people actually follow diets, rather than perfect, artificial conditions in a lab.”

So, while the pasta-and-bread fans are crying to Uncle Sam, here’s the question the rest of us are smart enough to ask:

Why are doctors so afraid of fat?

The overwhelming majority of studies – of all shapes, sizes and ulterior motives – supports, again and again, the case for a high-fat, high-protein diet for humans. And if the weight loss isn’t enough, those who enjoy bacon and butter also lower their cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors.

Doesn’t anyone in the carb camp ever stop and think – wait a minute, why are we subscribing to the low-fat, low-cholesterol dietary model to begin with? (People more cynical than me will note that the corn and wheat industries are among the most powerful lobbies, and the most heavily subsidized industries, in the world.)

How much more evidence is

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Yeah, But What Is It?

Lolla rossa and so much more.

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When Life Hands You Lemons… Squeeze Them Over Your Lolla Rossa

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

All the news, none of the trans fat!

Except for #1 and #4, That Is

Here are 9 – mostly – great ways to get a healthier heart. #1 is Big Moo baloney (for our readers just joining, Mark and the Bees frequently rant about Big Moo marketing deception). #4 is fine, but sometimes an antioxidant supplement is a better bet than relying on a sugary juice. If you’re wanting to lose weight or lower your blood sugar, we recommend eating whole pomegranates or taking a supplement instead of downing the juice.

Flickr fun: thanks to Podchef!

Low-carb lovers: 1; Bran fans: 0

Mark has been invited to join in a conference about this hot study. The scientists will be debating whether or not low-carb is a smart way to go, in light of two new powerful studies that indicate a grain-based diet is not healthy for humans. We’ll keep you updated on the developments!

Moms of America Roll Their Eyes: This Is News?

Yeah, yeah. Three proven ways to get better sleep tonight: journal your worries, eat a tablespoon of peanut butter (just avoid the Peter Pan for goodness’ sakes!), and drink a cup of warm organic milk or chamomile tea. Oh, and send the kids to the grandparents’ house.

Web it out:

Parents, here’s a great review of an important resource for raising resilient children.

Random obesity fact still manages to startle.

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How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

The Tuesday 10

It can be frustrating to stick with a healthy diet when factors like cost and kids enter into the equation. Junior Apple Kathy Lee faces a challenge many moms are familiar with: how do you provide kid-friendly fare that is both nutritious and inexpensive?

10. Switch snacks to veggies

A large part of your grocery bill can be eliminated by avoiding the processed snacks and treats kids love. Parents know that Pop Tarts and Gushers are unhealthy, but there are plenty of seemingly healthy snacks – things that promise nutrition like “nutri-grain” crackers and “vitamin-enriched” gummy treats – that really rack up the total bill. The truth is, most of these processed “healthy” items are no better than candy, so as a parent, you don’t have to feel guilty for steering clear of them and heading for carrot sticks, apple slices and celery instead. An entire bag of fresh apples costs less than a single box of crackers, and is much healthier. Make the switch from boxed snacks to fruit and vegetables.

9. Eliminate soda, sports drinks and juice

These items are expensive and unhealthy (though they almost always carry tricky health claims). Many moms are tempted to buy juice – and 100% real juice is often the most expensive of all. But even “real” juice is really just sugar water. Have the kids drink water instead. They can have juice when they go to Grandma’s.

8. Going organic?

We all think of organic food as being more healthy – and generally, that’s true. But organic products are also much more pricey. Mark recommends making a choice to save yourself cash. While organic produce is a nice idea, it’s not the end of the world if you buy the regular tomatoes. Animal products like meat and cheese, however, are better when they’re organic. If you are going to spend a little extra money, spend it on the organic animal products and don’t worry about the lettuce. If you can’t afford organic foods, look for food that is at least produced in-state. Or, try to find out if there are local farms or butchers (bonus: they are often less expensive, too!).

7. Freeze!

Frozen berries, vegetables and meats are generally much cheaper than fresh foods, and the irony is that many times, these frozen items are actually “fresher” than the fresh stuff! At least one frozen vegetable is always on sale, and they tend to rotate, so your family can eat healthy and enjoy a nice variety for just a few bucks a day! Cooking for a family day in, day out can get tiresome, so whipping up nightly stir-fries or stews with varying veggies is a simple, cheap way to keep things healthy and interesting.

6. Watch the sales

Even that expensive European salad blend goes on sale at some point. Grocery stores tend to rotate the sales on spinach, romaine and other lettuce blends. Why pay 4 dollars for a bag of mesclun

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The Buckler Brief

Happy Tuesday, Apples. I’m back with a new format for the Buckler Brief that I think you will enjoy. Each week, I’ll be bringing you a quick wrap-up of the latest clinical studies on the natural health benefits (and sometimes bogus claims) of things like supplements, antioxidants and foods. Get healthy: know your nutrients!

This week:

Controlling both blood sugar and oxidative stress may be more effective for those with type 1 diabetes than controlling blood sugar alone. In this study, antioxidant vitamin C was shown to help.

Moderation really is the key to good health. In a study on caffeine, scientists found that a little daily dose of caffeine is good for you. Like wine, you can get too much of a good thing, so stick to one or two cups of coffee or tea per day. This is great news for Starbucks.

“The Dish on Fish”. I enjoyed this thoroughly-researched medical article on Omega-3 fatty acids. Though it’s not available for free, the findings are: the scientists concluded that the benefits of fish far outweigh the risks. Benefits include reduced bad cholesterol, increased good cholesterol, and reduced risk of heart disease. I recommend taking a daily Omega-3 supplement if you are  concerned about consuming fish too frequently. And remember, when you eat fish, don’t go for the breaded, fried kind! Stick with grilled or baked fish.

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The Fuming Fuji Says No to Juice

The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it’s aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuming Fuji has decided to have a serious problem with juice.

But, Fuming Fuji, you say, juice is healthy for children!

The Fuming Fuji says no!

The claim: Fuji, you’ve gone too far this time. Of all the things on earth for you to fume about – juice? Juice is fruit! It has vitamins!

The catch: I see, you are the juice police. You must be very proud of your sugar water. Yes, fruit is healthy. But juice is not fruit. That is like saying broth is chicken.

The comeback: You know what? Sometimes you draw really creepy analogies, Fuji. I’m giving my kids juice, because they need their vitamins. And there’s nothing you can do about it, you angry little apple!

The conclusion: Do you think an apple would have an incentive to lie about juice being healthy? Well, okay, maybe. But you are very much mistaken if you think sugar water is beneficial to the tiny tots! There are much better ways to get vitamins into small fry, such as vegetables and fruit. And Fuji knows that most juice is not even real juice. Why are chemicals, dyes and corn syrup acceptable fuel for precious seedlings? The Fuji does not accept!

The catchphrase: Juice is juicy – and that is the problem.

Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji.

[tags]children’s health, juice, apples[/tags]

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