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...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected

Tag: research analysis

Is Gluten Sensitivity All in Your Head?

First, non-celiac wheat/gluten sensitivity was a sham and everyone claimed its participants were in a collective mass delusion. Then some actual studies came out, and it appeared to be a real condition. Soon after, researchers offered different theories. Maybe it was FODMAP intolerance. Maybe it was all that wheat fiber messing up the gut. Maybe it was too little fiber and other fermentable substrate, and we were actually starving our gut bugs and compromising our intestinal health. Maybe it wasn’t even the gluten. And maybe it was actually some kind of a placebo. One of the most recent findings was that gluten sensitivity might not even exist. What’s the truth?

Read More

Dear Mark: How to Eat Blackstrap Molasses; Healthy Whole Grains Studies

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two reader questions. First, I answer a very specific question about blackstrap molasses, that nutrient-dense sweetener with the distinctive taste. How can a person who hates molasses work it into their diet? Next, I address concerns surrounding a set of healthy whole grain studies that I’m sure you’ve been hearing about. Are whole grains really healthy? Will they make you live long and prosper? Is there something unique to whole grains we’re missing out on?

Let’s go:

Read More

The Health Paradox Paradox

A paradox is an observation that contradicts a previously-held assumption about reality. But assuming the observation is true, a paradox isn’t really a paradox. It’s not the new observation that’s wrong or faulty or misinterpreted; it’s the assumption that contradicts reality and needs reworking. The history of science is littered with paradoxes that dissolved when previously held assumptions were modified under the weight of new observations. The health, fitness, and nutrition spheres are rife with presumptions, conventional wisdom that pretty much everyone—from authorities and experts on down to laypeople—holds to be true. But we’re finding that these presumptions are increasingly challenged by the steady onslaught of new observations. Some of the most notable presumptions include but aren’t limited to:

Read More

Do Foam Rollers Really Work?

I own a foam roller. Every fitness facility I’ve visited in the last three years has hosted a large arsenal of foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and other instruments of fascial torture. The CrossFitter community has 2.3 per capita. I hear K-Starr sleeps on a bed made of lacrosse balls with foam rollers for pillows. Everyone and their grandma has one. I’m not even joking; I saw a group of track-suited seniors doing some kind of a synchronized foam rolling routine in the park recently. The things are everywhere. And you can certainly spend an inordinate amount of time rolling around on the things, causing all sorts of painful sensations that should, in theory, help you. But does it really help?

As I mentioned earlier, I have one. I’ve used it and, I think, benefited from it. But it hurts. It’s pretty much the most unpleasant thing you can do. Not just because of the pain, but also the tedium. It had better be worth the trouble.

Read More

Why Breakfast Isn’t the Most Important Meal of the Day (For Everyone)

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I’m always interested in exploring those time-tested bits of advice, those old wives’ tales, that folk wisdom handed down generation over generation because they’re often right, or at least contain a kernel of truth. And if a piece of conventional folk wisdom turns out to be wrong or misguided, understanding why it endured for so many years is a fun exercise and usually reveals other messages and truths. Today, I’m looking at the importance (or lack thereof) of breakfast. For years, you’ve heard how important breakfast is. Your grandma says it. Your doctor probably scolds you if you’re not eating it. We all grow up having this “fact”—breakfast is the most important meal of the day—drilled into our subconsciouses. Even the people who just don’t feel hungry in the morning feel guilty about it and compelled to stuff something into their craws.

Is it right or wrong?

Read More

Dear Mark: Vegetarianism Causes Cancer?; Glucosamine Useless?; Decision Fatigue Debunked?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answer three questions. First, does long-term vegetarianism cause cancer or alter our genetic code? Some media coverage of the latest vegetarianism study seemed to suggest as much. Next, is glucosamine just totally useless if you’re not going to fork out a ton of money for pharmaceutical grade stuff? Maybe not, but let’s find out. And finally, I’ve written about decision fatigue a couple times before. What’s my take on the new research seeming to debunk one of the central concepts supporting it—ego depletion/finite willpower?

Let’s go:

Read More

15 Reasons Not to Trust That Latest Nutritional Study

Nutritional studies are often the best we’ve got. Without them, we’d be plucking anecdotes from a swirling vortex of hearsay, old wives’ tales, and prejudices. Some actionable information would definitely emerge, but we wouldn’t have the broader vision and clarity of thinking offered by the scientific method. Most of them are deeply flawed, though. And to know which ones are worth incorporating into your vision of reality and which only obfuscate and further muddy the waters, you have to know what to watch out for.

Today, I’m going to discuss many of the reasons you shouldn’t trust the latest nutritional study without looking past the headlines.

Read More

Should You Sleep-Low to Boost Performance?

Thought experiment time. Say you train hard, hard enough to deplete a signifiant amount of glycogen. Your muscles are empty, sensitive to the effects of insulin, and screaming for a couple potatoes to refill glycogen. What do you do?

In most circles, the answer is to eat those potatoes and refill those glycogen stores. And why not? The post-workout period is a special window of opportunity for eating a bunch of carbs and having them go to the right places with minimal insulin required. They won’t contribute to fat storage. They’ll go straight to your muscles. Restocking glycogen sets your muscles up to repeat the hard work and keep up with your training. It makes sense.

What if you didn’t eat the potatoes after a hard workout? What if you abstained from carbs entirely after a glycogen-depleting workout? What if you just went to bed without any (carbs in your) supper? What if you were an elite athlete and skipped the carbs?

Read More

Dear Mark: Red Blood Cell Fatty Acid Content and Obese Paleo Figurines

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a pair questions that, well, question some of the fundamental principles of Primal living and eating. First up concerns a study seeming to show that linoleic acid (from seed oils) is a healthier, less inflammatory choice than olive oil or fish oil. Could it be true? Find out below. Then, I discuss the existence of obese female figurines from the paleolithic as evidence of obesity in actual paleo populations. Does a doll with a belly mean the Primal way of eating, living, and moving needs to be reworked?

Let’s go:

Read More

Dear Mark: Do High Protein Diets Cause Colon Cancer?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m talking about a new rodent study has just been released that seems to identify the general low-carbish, Primal-ish way of eating as bad for GI tract health. I know, I know. It seems odd, especially since so many people get relief from digestive disorders, inflammatory bowels, and irritable guts after ditching grains and eating more animals and plants. I’ve certainly benefited from going Primal, having spent decades of my life being ruled by IBS to enjoying pristine bowel health the last decade and counting. But what do I and millions of others know?

Let’s dig into it.

Read More

Join Over 300,000 Subscribers!

Signup and get:

Primal Blueprint Fitness plus 7 other eBooks
7-Day Course on Primal Fundamentals
Special Offers and More!