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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Tag: ketosis

Dear Mark: Ketosis and HIIT, Keto After Menopause, Inuit and Ketosis?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a few questions from you folks. First, can a person maintain their high intensity interval training while starting a ketogenic diet? Is there anything you should watch out for? Second, is keto a good option for postmenopausal women? Though we don’t have any direct research on the subject, there is hope. And then we discuss the peculiar case of the Inuit and the missing ketones.

Let’s go:

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Is Keto for Everyone?—Cautions, Caveats, and Contraindications

In a few months, I’ll be releasing a book extolling the virtues of a ketogenic diet. I’m currently several months into a ketogenic experiment, which is going well. I just wrote a Definitive Guide explaining why you should consider going keto. I’m on record as stating that everyone should dip into ketosis from time to time. You’d think I’d recommend that everyone go keto. Right?

There are caveats. There are contraindications. There are very good reasons for a person not to go keto, or at least to take a few extra precautions. Today, I’m going to tell you when you should exercise particular care when considering a ketogenic diet.

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Dear Mark: Fat Roundup

Last week, I wrote about my 16 favorite fats. You had questions. For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll answer some of them. First, I explain why my keto salad recipe didn’t include any dense protein. Second, I explain a few options for steaming heavy cream. Third, I tell where I get my mac nuts. Fourth, I discuss whether you should worry about dioxins in pastured eggs. And fifth, I address the question of dietary fat and fatty liver.

Let’s go:

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My 16 Favorite Fat Sources (Plus My Latest Big-Ass Salad)

Going ketogenic has made me hone in on my fat sources even more than before. This is an essential practice for anyone seriously pursuing a ketogenic diet. As fat will comprise the majority of your calories, you need to maximize the nutrition you’ll obtain from the fats you choose. You could technically go keto using canola oil, refined coconut oil, and MCT oil powder—many of the ketogenic formulas used in epilepsy clinics are highly processed and refined—but I wouldn’t recommend it. Micronutrients still matter. They arguably matter even more when your food sources are restricted.

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Dear Mark: Keto Follow-Up

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering some questions from the comment board of last week’s Definitive Guide to Keto. You folks came up with some great ones. Is counting carbs in non-starchy vegetables still unnecessary on a ketogenic diet? What’s the connection between ketosis and “starvation mode,” and should we be worried? What if you don’t want to lose weight on a ketogenic diet—what modifications should you make? Are you in danger of blowing a breathalyzer test due to ketone metabolites on your breath? Can endurance athletes benefit from keto? Is cyclical ketosis preferable to constant ketosis? Are sugar alcohols ketogenic-friendly?

Let’s go:

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Adaptogenic Keto Fat Bombs

The basic ketogenic diet garners about 65-75% energy needs from fat sources. While a good Primal diet offers much in the way of healthy, varied fats, with keto it’s helpful to have extra strategies for incorporating additional good fats. That’s where the keto fat bomb comes in.

But that doesn’t mean shoring yourself up for anything tasteless or unappealing. Many fat bomb recipes—like this one—aren’t even savory. In fact, with just enough sweetness, the prevailing taste of this keto fat bomb is rich, cocoa goodness—deepened by an earthy nuance of chaga mushroom mix.

And here’s what makes these particular fat bombs so special. Not only do you gain all the major benefits of collagen and a healthy dose of nutrient-dense fat from coconut oil and almond butter, you’ll also get the nutritional magic of adaptogenic chaga. One of the true superfoods, chaga is a fungus long used in traditional medicine that is rich in both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phenols. It has the highest ORAC value of any natural food and is rich in major and trace minerals. So, you can be sure this keto fat bomb offers more than its share of both delicious flavor and essential nutrients.

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The Definitive Guide to Keto

I use my Los Angeles surroundings as a barometer for changes in the mainstream approach to health, and it holds up quite well. Silicon Valley can claim to be the cradle of technology, but L.A. is definitely the cradle of diet and fitness trends; and the latest is most definitely keto. At the local cafe where every species of Malibu fitness enthusiast gathers to gossip and fuel up, I’m seeing fewer gels and energy bars, and way more butter coffees and discarded packets of the new powdered ketone supplement products.

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Mark’s Big-Ass Keto Salad

For years now, all those who know me (including readers of the blog) have heard me talk about my daily “big-ass salad.” It’s been my lunch of choice for a couple of decades at least, and I don’t see that ever changing. Over the years I’ve adapted it to my personal tastes, nutritional experiments, and—lately—my keto practice.

Some people minimize vegetable intake when they’re eating keto. I’ve never found that necessary or beneficial. In fact, I highly recommend plenty of above-ground vegetables and even berries for an optimally varied, nutrient-dense keto diet. That’s my Primal take because personally I practice keto with an eye toward strategy, not restriction.

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My Experience with Exogenous Ketones: Tale and Truth

I woke up the morning of the ceremony with butterflies in my stomach. I’d done the necessary prep. I’d abstained from carbs the past week and food the past 24 hours. I’d performed four consecutive full-body circuit workouts to deplete muscle glycogen, and undergone a liver biopsy to confirm full depletion of liver glycogen. I wasn’t taking any chances. Although I had extensive experience generating endogenous ketones and subsisting on my own body fat, exogenous ketones were another matter entirely. You don’t want to mess around with a holy sacrament without doing due diligence.

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The Fat Burning Brain: What Are the Cognitive Effects of Ketosis?

Although mainstream sources still mistake “the brain needs glucose” for “the brain can only run on glucose,” regular MDA readers know the truth: given sufficient adaptation, the brain can derive up to 75% of its fuel from ketone bodies, which the liver constructs using fatty acids. If we could only use glucose, we wouldn’t make it longer than a few days without food. If our brains couldn’t utilize fat-derived ketones, we’d drop dead as soon as our liver had exhausted its capacity to churn out glucose. We’d waste away, our lean tissue dissolving into amino acids for hepatic conversion into glucose to feed our rapacious brains. You’d end up a skeletal wraith with little else but your brain and a hypertrophied liver remaining until, eventually, the latter cannibalized itself in a last ditch search for glucose precursors for the tyrant upstairs. It would get ugly.

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