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: Sugar

Why Are Some Wines More Primal-Approved Than Others?

Wine is one of humankind’s oldest and most favorite beverages not for the health benefits, or the antioxidants, or the resveratrol, but because it enhances life. Poets, authors, artists, philosophers, and laypeople across the ages will tell you that wine makes food taste better, promotes richer conversation, unfetters creative expression (a single glass can really dissolve writer’s block), relaxes the racing mind and emboldens the spirit.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed wine with dinner and friends. Usually every night. Not only as a gluten-free replacement for the grain-heavy beer I used to drink to wind down at the end of a day, but as a hedge against the various causes of early mortality light-to-moderate wine consumption seems to protect against. Some of the most recent research suggests that moderate wine consumption may even help against the run-of-the-mill cognitive impairments associated with aging. The mechanisms behind the beneficial relationship of wine and health are not fully understood, but most studies attribute it to the high concentrations of polyphenolic compounds, like flavonoids and resveratrol. Even the alcohol itself has benefits in low doses, increasing nitric oxide release and improving endothelial function. The various health benefits associated with moderate wine consumption were just too well known and numerous to ignore.

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Dear Mark: Bodyweight with Weights; Glycemic Index Versus Load

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a pair of questions from readers. First comes from Gaspare, who heard me talking on Joe Rogan’s podcast in January and wonders whether bodyweight training and weight training can complement each other. It turns out they can. Then, I discuss glycemic index, glycemic load, how foods can have low glycemic loads but still be bad for weight gain, and how focusing on glycemic index and glycemic load might be misleading, if not an outright mistake.

Let’s go:

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8 Reasons Why Low-Carb Diets Actually Work

The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this:

Reducing your carbohydrate intake lowers your insulin levels. Since insulin keeps fat locked into adipose tissue, lowering insulin can increase the amount of fat released to be burned for energy.

For the portion of the overweight/obese population with insulin resistance and chronically-elevated insulin levels, this is a fairly accurate description of why low-carb diets work so well. When you’re an insulin-resistant hyper responder in whom even a baked potato can cause elevated, protracted spikes in insulin that hamper fat-burning for long periods of time, or a person living under the backdrop of perpetually-elevated insulin, dropping the most insulinogenic foods can be your way out of obesity.

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Do You Know How to Properly Hydrate?

Hydration. It seems like it should be so easy: drink some water, go about your day, the end. If only it was that simple. In fact, there are many (often contradictory) opinions out there about what we should be drinking, and how much, and when, especially for the athletes among us. I have written about hydration before, and kept up to date with breaking research in recent years. Now, as I am working on the completely revised, updated, and expanded edition of The Primal Blueprint (slated for release in December 2016), I’d like to share a more sophisticated and nuanced opinion on the subject. As you might recall, in the original Primal Blueprint I essentially said, “obey your thirst like Grok did” and left it at that. So let’s dig a little deeper, especially for those of us who are active and athletic.

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Dear Mark: Sugar in Blackstrap Molasses, Eating Cheat Foods All at Once or in Installments, and Healthy Pooping with a Fused Knee

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. The first one concerns blackstrap molasses, a type of sugar I’ve suggested people eat for its rich mineral content. Does the value of the minerals outweigh the impact of its sugar content? Next, say you’ve got a slice of birthday cake you’re committed to eating. Is it better to eat it all at once or piece it out across multiple days? And third, how can someone who’s unable to squat obtain the benefits of squatting while pooping? In the absence of actual squatting, is there anything a person can do to smooth out the process?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Sugar for Stress Relief, and Weight Loss Releasing Toxins

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. First, a new study out is one of the first (and maybe only) to show that acute sugar consumption can reduce the normal cortisol increase we experience in times of stress. Interesting stuff, eh? Find out whether I think this is a good thing, a potentially useful “hack”, or, given our collective tendency to overthink things and embroil ourselves in stress stews, a recipe for disaster. Next, we’ve all heard that weight loss releases stored toxins and environmental pollutants into our bodies, but is there any science that actually shows this is happening in people losing weight? And if we are releasing toxins by losing body fat, does that mean keeping the weight on is actually healthier? Find out down below.

Let’s go:

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How Much Sugar Is Recommended Per Day?

By now, American exceptionalism is a universally-accepted truism. Like dogs over cats and Star Wars over Star Trek, it’s simple fact that America is qualitatively different than other nations. Some would say “superior,” but I think modesty is more becoming of a nation of our stature, providence, and history. Why else would extraterrestrials decide to land on the White House lawn, as they do in every culturally relevant piece of sci-fi, if we weren’t exceptional? Would American parents everywhere claim their kids were special if they actually were not?

But perhaps the most conclusive evidence of our exceptionalism lies in how our nutritional labels relay information about sugar. If you go to a place like Germany or the UK and flip over a package of Haribo Goldbären (gummy bears), it’ll tell you how many percentage points the sugar in the candy counts toward your daily limit. Point being: everyone else has an upper limit for sugar consumption.

But the US? We have no upper limit on sugar. And when it comes to added sugar, it’s a total free for all. It’s not even listed.

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25 Ways to Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin does a lot of important things for us. It pulls glucose from the blood and fritters it away into our cells to be burned for energy or stored as glycogen. It prevents hyperglycemic toxicity to neurons, pancreatic cells, the arterial walls and the generation of excessive levels of reactive oxygen species. It even promotes muscle protein synthesis and helps augment muscular hypertrophy, especially following resistance training. Clearly, we need insulin. Without it, we’d die, as type 1 diabetics readily do without an exogenous source.

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Dear Mark: Burning Off Holiday Sugar, Long Bike Commute, and Low Calorie Diets for Teens

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’re answering three questions. First up, how can you mitigate and overcome an acute holiday sugar binge? What are the best exercises for getting rid of all that sugar, fast? Next, is a long (like, really long) bike commute congruent with a healthy Primal lifestyle, assuming you also want enough energy and time to lift weights, run sprints, and play with your kids? And finally, are there any downsides to calorie restriction in teens? Probably, so read on to find out.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Sleep Deprivation as Hormesis, Sweet Cravings, CrossFit, and More

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter that’s really closer to a five-parter. First are a couple of questions from Joe, who first wonders about the hormetic benefits of acute sleep deprivation (are there any?) and then asks how he can beat a sweet tooth he suspects is brought on by lack of exercise. The second pair of questions concern CrossFit (is it an example of Chronic Cardio and should I be recommending it?) and breadfruit (does it have a place on the Primal eating plan?). And finally, Andy asks for the origin of the popular “gut is 80% of our immune system” statement.

Let’s go:

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