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: marketing

I’m Not Lovin’ It

It’s time for another Rotten Apple Award, kids. The Impulsive Buy blog – which puts the “ew” in product review – covers everything from the new mint flavored Tylenol to McDonald’s new cinnamon bites, or bits, or buns, or something. The Rotten Apple is not being bestowed upon Impulsive Buy, however – it’s Mickey D that deserves all the glory on this one.

We try not to pick on McDonald’s too much. After all, there’s the Cheesecake Factory, where you can gain a pound by eating a single slice of cake. And to its credit, McDonald’s does make nutrition and calorie information available, something which the Cheesecake Factory evidently has a lot of trouble doing. But I feel McDonald’s is being blatantly disingenuous when there’s all this talk about premium chicken, premium coffee, and premium salads going on yet surreptitiously the G.A. (that’s Golden Arches) still pushes new sugary, fattening products with more speed and consistency than their employee turnover rate.

Isn’t it rather hypocritical to advertise those happy mommy-n-me commercials featuring salads, apple slices and sweet smiles, or to make a big public announcements about eliminating trans fat from french fries, while simultaneously introducing this 460-calorie dessert of glorified sugar biscuits? I know McDonald’s isn’t trying to position itself as Mecca for health nuts, but they’ve also done heavy (elephantine, really) marketing in the last few years to play up their healthier options and apparent concern for people’s hearts and waistlines.

Now that’s just rotten.

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A Word on Those Juicing Infomercials

A reader recently asked me if I recommend juicing as a way to increase your intake of vitamins and antioxidants.

Here’s what I think:

1 – Juicing isn’t a good idea because you lose out on one of the principle benefits of fruit: the fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, of course, but it also helps keep your blood sugar from spiking. Drinking pure juice has an effect that is really no different from chowing a candy bar or slamming a soda.

Fiber helps regulate the absorption of fructose into your system. If you’ve heard about the glycemic index, you probably already know about the important role fiber plays in evenly releasing glucose into your bloodstream. (If not, check out the official Glycemic Index.)

2 – When you take out the fiber, you’re left with sugar. My readers know I’m no fan of the sweet stuff, especially from sources like high fructose corn syrup, refined flours and starches, and processed foods. I think for most people anything over 80 grams of carbohydrates a day – roughly three servings – is a terrible idea, yet Americans routinely eat three or four or even five times that. (By the way, I’m talking about carbohydrates from flours and starches, not nuts, fruits and vegetables! Eat those recklessly!)

There’s no reason any child or adult – excluding athletes – needs to ever drink a “sports beverage” or an “energy drink”. These things are basically a pancreatic panic attack waiting to happen. Juice gets a bill of health because we all know fruit is healthy, but juice is not fruit. The truth is that juice is virtually no different from these other sugary drinks.

3 – Juice is dirty. If you caught Wise Bread’s discussion of food manufacturing secrets the other day, you’ll remember the particularly disgusting news that orange juice is typically made from oranges that are coated in all sorts of pesticides and chemicals. And it all goes right into the juice.

When you “juice” at home, this is still a problem. Wash an orange, peel and eat it – you’ve avoided the chemicals because, perhaps even more important than washing, you removed the skin. Wash that orange and throw it into the juicer, however, and you’ve just ingested whatever chemicals were hanging out in the peel that didn’t get washed off. Juicing infomercials typically brag about how wonderfully potent juice is because it offers several servings of fruit in one glass. Think about that now with pesticides. (Also, a glass of juice is not several servings of fruit, anymore than a mug of chicken broth is several servings of chicken breast. You can get around pesticides by going organic, but you’ve still got that pesky sugar problem.)

[tag] nutrition, fruit, juice, food, health, juicing [/tag]

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‘Repositioning’ Is a Nice Way to Say Manipulation

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Here’s your daily dose of clickativity from the world of health, Apples!

Puff Piece

We’re all over Food Processing‘s report on Ye Ole Pizza Puff. Evidently, pizza puffers are desperate to find ways to reposition (translation: manipulate). So much so, they’re not relying on the old marketing standbys: lower fat, lower calories, reduced sodium. Trans fat? Nope. Not even.

Marketing always works better when there’s a story to buy into. Preferably older and…mythier.

Food marketers are no exception: pizza puffs are being repositioned as fulfilling the ancient Greco-Roman tradition of breaking bread. The Romans shared small treats to aid in digestion, stimulate the appetite, and share the much-desired warm fuzzies. Appetizers, basically. This is an age-old tradition that anyone can appreciate. What’s not to love about a small bite to ease digestion and get everyone in a cheerful mood?

The difference is that the Romans ate real food. They may have had vomitoriums, but they sure didn’t have deep fryers.

You’ll love the shameless discussion of how to convey a particular story to trigger a desired emotional response in consumers (ca-ching!). We particularly love this line:

While these products are viewed as healthier than shelf-stable snack foods, their fat and sodium levels can be high. These ingredients are part of what makes the food taste good and increases their satiety. So the real challenge is how to create a ‘healthy halo.’

Can our food processing foes rise to the occasion? Or will this challenge prove too difficult even for them?

Give Your Colon the Blues

Blueberries, that is. They’re excellent for your colon, and let’s face it, so much tastier than toast. Blueberries have practically illegal levels of fiber and antioxidants, and you can eat an entire one-pound bag for fewer calories than a bran muffin.

Check out our delicious blueberry breakfast recipe.

Reducing Stress: Not Just for Girls

WebMD has just published a nice piece advising women over 50 to reduce their stress. It’s a terrific little list, so there’s no reason everyone shouldn’t be trying these tips out. Get to it! Go on, shoo!

Yoga: it’s not just for hamsters anymore. Thanks to Seattle Roll on Flickr!

Web It Out:

Are you right- or left-eyed?

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Top 10 Health Scams

The Tuesday 10:

There are hundreds of scams for weight loss, health, disease cures, and fitness, but here are the current rotten stinkers:

10. Hoodia

The only kind that works must be eaten fresh. And it’s banned from export because it’s a protected flora. This weight-loss gimmick even comes with the #1 dead giveaway of scams everywhere: a heretofore undiscovered culture/tribe has finally, miraculously, revealed their secret, conveniently, to a white man who can’t wait to share this magical product with the world. Give me a break. That’s called a movie, not science. Here’s my expose .

9. Cellulite shoes

Again with the mysterious culture shrouded in lore. These don’t work – period. Though I do hear they help you fall and bruise your butt. Here’s a piece of my mind.

8. Cellulite creams

Sara frequently rants about this subject near and dear to many women’s hearts (or other parts). The best way to deal with cellulite – which isn’t curable no matter what the quacks like Mesunique claim – is to cut down on sugar, which stores itself in outer fat cells, and get some daily exercise. The more muscle and less fat you have, the smoother you look.

7. Colon cleansers

The colon is important, delicate, and needs to stay in top shape. That said, it does not have a brain, and your body does not store fecal matter for years on end just waiting to finally be emptied by some miracle cleansing product. What comes out is just buildup of a few days, and anything beyond that is, well, b.s. This myth was actually completely debunked by surgeons a century ago. I am in favor of probiotics, such as those sold by Natren (a great company) but extra fiber from psyllium or other “miracle” cleansers is totally unnecessary. So: hooray for fiber from fruits and vegetables.

6. Algae

Yes, this slimeball is abundant in protein. If you eat a truckload of it. Pay attention to serving size – often companies make claims about a product being extremely potent, but hope you’ll remain blissfully ignorant about how this potency relates to serving size. Supplementing with algae for aminos and other health benefits is about like relying on water for your vitamin and mineral needs. I like Perrier as much as the next guy, but I’ll stick with a multivitamin, thanks.

5. Male “enhancement” products

Guys, come on! Try enhancing intimacy and your skills instead.

4. Female “enhancement” products

Ladies, let it go. You don’t need these gimmicks – the folks selling them are just boobs (sorry). We men like you the way you are. If you still aren’t convinced, and don’t mind some PG-13 content, head on over to Bill Stieg’s blog at Men’s Health for the scoop on what we guys really think about the gals.

3. Bottled waters

Read my expose on mock waters . You cannot oxygenate or enhance water. You can’t penta it, hydro it, living cell it, or do anything else but drink it. Drink up, but don’t fall for the water hype.

2. Vegetable oils

Refined oils like canola, soybean

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