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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Category: Protein

Dear Mark: Protein Powder Dangers, Fermented Polyphenols, Whole Foods’ Farmed Salmon, and K-Cup Bone Broth

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four reader questions. First, a recent NY Times article makes some scary claims about protein powder—and protein in general. Should you worry? Next, what does a study about probiotics and polyphenol absorption mean for probiotics in general? Third, what do I think about Whole Foods’ new farmed salmon, which purports to be way healthier and more sustainable than other farmed salmons? And finally, I discuss K-cup bone broth.

Let’s go:

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My 8 Favorite International Dishes to Expand Your Primal Palate

Standard Primal eating is quite simple. Meat, veggies, and perhaps some starch. That’s partly what makes it so effective and intuitive. As far as dietary lifestyles that call for making most of your food from scratch, the Primal Blueprint is one of the easier ones.

As a red-blooded American, most of the recipes I post on MDA and publish in my books are “Primalized” versions of American cuisine. It’s only natural. So you get Primal meatloaf, Primal casserole, Primal pancakes, and other familiar fare. I even published an entire cookbook devoted to it called Primal Cravings.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t like different flavors. I do.

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Should You Eat Less Protein?

Over the past several years, I’ve noticed a subtle shift in the way the media discusses dietary protein, with many experts promoting lower intakes. The push for lower intakes hasn’t only come from the mainstream crowing about red meat and colon cancer. Many voices from the alternative health communities are urging a reduction in protein. Even the ancestral health community counts among its ranks protein skeptics.

Am I one? I’m not sure. In past posts, I’ve discussed how my own tastes have changed, going from eating high protein to more moderate amounts.

Today I’m addressing the standard arguments levied against high protein intakes. Hopefully, we can get to the bottom of the issue.

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The Benefits of Caloric Efficiency (and 10 Ways to Achieve It)

We really like to eat. We choose restaurants based on portion size. We work out just to increase our capacity for guilt-free gluttony. And even when we don’t actually like it, we still want it because the food industry employs experts in brain hedonic processing to engineer food products your brain literally cannot stop craving. As Louis CK put it, we don’t stop eating when we’re full, we stop eating when we hate ourselves.

I’m not immune. In college, they called me Arnold, after the pig from Green Acres, because I could (and did) out-eat anyone. Linebackers 1.5x my size were no match. I love food, but I’m not interested in cramming as much food as I can get away with. Not anymore.

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Dear Mark: Is a High-Carb, Low-Protein Diet Best for Longevity?

For today’s Dear Mark, I’m answering a question about the optimal diet for longevity. An article sent in by a reader claims that a recent mouse study has identified the perfect diet for everyone, but especially for older people: a high-carb, low-protein one. They even manage to throw in some stuff maligning the paleo diet (they just can’t resist).

Find out below if the claim holds water. Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Ground Meat Amino Acid Balance, Casein and Albumin, Heart and CoQ10, and Probiotics

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions. First, are ground meats actually better for your glycine:methionine ratio, seeing as they contain all sorts of weird bits? Next, are the dairy proteins casein and albumin worth including in one’s protein arsenal? Third, is eating beef heart for its CoQ10 content another example of “eat like for like”? And finally, what’s my take on a recent article in the Atlantic about the futility of commonly-available probiotics?

Let’s go:

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Why the Variety of Your Protein Sources Matters

Sometimes the simple story is good enough. I’d venture to say that simple is usually good enough, particularly when it comes to health. A good diet? Eat lots of plants and animals, don’t eat so many carbs, and stop being scared of natural fat. Training? Lift heavy things, move around a lot at a slow pace (constantly, if you can swing it), go really fast once in awhile, and enjoy what you do. Lifestyle in general? Get some sun, be with your tribe, get into nature as often as possible, inject meaning, laugh, love, and live. There—that gets you most of the way. Simple, right?

Another common piece of advice is “eat protein.” And yeah, that’s true. We need protein to survive. It’s probably the most essential nutrient in existence because we can’t make it ourselves. But sometimes digging a little deeper pays off.

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10 Ways to Optimize Your Meat Consumption

In many ways, the Primal Blueprint developed and grew as a response to the ridiculous overreach of conventional wisdom. I only started looking for new ways to eat and train after doing everything “right” ruined me. All that nonsense about saturated fat and cholesterol clogging your arteries, carbohydrates being required for “energy,” healthywholegrains offering nutrients you couldn’t get anywhere else and lifelong protection from disease was so odious and obviously incorrect that it drove tens of thousands of people into the waiting maw of MDA. Perhaps the biggest piece of faulty conventional wisdom is the supposed lethal danger of meat. When you feel great eating meat every day, when a rare steak seems to improve your performance in the gym, when you tried going vegetarian for that hot vegan girl one time and ended up gaining ten pounds of belly fat, it’s hard to believe the experts.

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Dear Mark: Did Three New Studies Debunk the Primal Blueprint?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions that at first glance appear to cast doubt on some of the founding tenets of the Primal Blueprint. First, did a recent study show that low-carb dieting is no better—and perhaps worse—than low-fat dieting at helping you lose body fat? The second is a two-parter: are we hypocrites for “ignoring” the insulinogenic effects of protein, and does a paleo diet actually abolish the beneficial effects of CrossFit?  And third, a new study found evidence of cereal grain consumption in a group of European hunter-gatherers. What gives?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Does Cupping Work?; Do I Need More Protein?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a couple questions from readers. The first one concerns cupping, the controversial therapy used by dozens of Olympians, including most notably Michael Phelps. What does it do, if anything? How does it work, if it even works? And then I discuss the need for increased protein intake in the context of losing lean mass. We want to lose fat, not lean, remember, and there’s evidence that increasing your protein intake can preserve lean muscle. Especially when you’re exercising a ton and eating low-carb.

Let’s go:

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