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: saturated fats

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:

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Grass-fed Vs. Conventional: When Does It Matter Most?

By now, you’re convinced of the general overall superiority of grass-fed, pasture-raised meat. If you come at it from the nutrition angle, grass-fed wins across the board. If you’re more concerned with the ethics of animal husbandry, grass-fed animals live overall better lives than animals in concentrated feedlots. If you worry about the use of antibiotics in agriculture and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, grass-fed animals receive less medication (and sometimes none). Whatever your inclination, animals who range free and nibble their biologically appropriate diet of various grasses tend to be happier, healthier, and produce more nutrient-dense meat, milk, and fat. It’s objectively “better.” Even an honest vegan will admit that.

But the stuff is expensive. I have the luxury of buying and eating solely grass-fed, pasture-raised meat and dairy, but not everyone can. Most folks have to choose. They have to pick their battles. Today’s post will help you choose wisely.

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Dear Mark: Fasting Issues, Pullup Neck Pain, and Red Palm Oil

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. The first one comes from Neda, who’s experiencing some issues that may be related to her fasting schedule. How should she modify her fasting? Or should she eliminate it altogether? The second question concerns a common issue: neck pain during pullups. Why does it happen and how can we avoid it? And finally, what’s the deal with red palm oil? I give my take on the controversial oil, drawing on randomized controlled trials and personal feelings about orangutans to arrive at my conclusion.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Nutrient Deficiencies and Fatigue, Anxiety, CLA Supplements, and Plant-Derived Oils

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions from readers. First up, are there any specific nutrient deficiencies that can contribute to fatigue? Which minerals and vitamins should you shore up when experiencing malaise? Next, what’s the deal with anxiety? Does it serve an evolutionary purpose, or is it just a pathological condition? Third, is there a place for conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation in a healthy diet and lifestyle? I dig into the studies to help you decide. And finally, what plant-derived oils beside just avocado oil are good to use when staying Primal?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Butter and Coagulation; Early Weaning and Growth Charts

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a quick two-parter. First up, I discuss the results of a 2008 study into the effect of high acute intakes of various fat sources on postprandial (i.e. after eating) blood coagulation markers. Since butter came out looking not so hot, a reader wonders whether this should impact our butter consumption. Find out what I think down below. And after that, I explore infant growth charts and early weaning from breast milk in response to a new father’s question about a doctor’s suggestion.

Let’s go:

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10 Principles of Primal Living That Are (Finally) Getting Mainstream Media Coverage

We don’t take credit for everything, of course, but the fact remains that the Primal/ancestral health community has been championing principles that directly oppose the conventional wisdom for nearly a decade. And while serious researchers have been paying attention to and studying these issues individually for years, no one had really synthesized them under the evolutionary umbrella. Now that our movement is becoming more popular and the scientific case for its principles more solid than ever, denying that a bit of sun might be good for you or that sitting is killing you slowly or that eggs aren’t deadly after all is no longer tenable.

Yes, Primal health principles and positions are getting mainstream recognition. Let’s take a look at some of the major ones.

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Dear Mark: Palmitic Acid and Eating Speed

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m discussing the seemingly evil qualities of palmitic acid, the preferred storage form of body fat in humans and many other mammals. Studies seem to indicate that pure palmitic acid has negative health effects, so should we be avoiding palmitic acid-containing foods like butter, meat, or palm oil? Then, I explain the health effects of eating really fast. As you’ll see, there are quite a few reasons to eat more slowly than quickly. I also include a few tips for fast eaters who want to slow down.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Sprints and Blood Sugar, Resistant Starch as Carbs, PUFA in Coconut Oil, Cycling as Chronic Cardio, and Morning Sickness

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I cover four questions and my wife Carrie covers one. First, I discuss the effects of sprinting on blood sugar in the short term and long term. Next is whether or not one counts resistant starch as a carb in their daily allotment. Third, I identify the actual proportion of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in coconut oil. Finally, I give my take on cycling as a gentler mode of chronic cardio relative to running. Carrie wraps things up with a short review of the evolutionary reasons for morning sickness.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Cold Weather Sprint Alternatives, Palm Olein, Podcast Questions, and Dark Circles

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a four-parter. First, I discuss some alternatives to traditional outdoor sprinting for people in cold weather. Just because you can’t go run 100 meter dashes doesn’t mean you can’t get a fantastic sprint workout. Running is unnecessary. Next, I give my take on the suitability of palm olein in the diet. Nutritionally, it seems sound enough, but are there other concerns we should consider? Then, I tell you how you can get your questions answered on a future Primal Blueprint podcast. Last, Carrie gives a reader with chronic dark circles under her eyes some avenues of exploration for figuring out the cause.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Paralysis by Overanalysis, Beer, and Liquid Coconut Oil

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got three questions to cover. First up is a question from a reader who feels paralyzed by too much health information. Whereas before the basics might have made sense to him, digging further into the literature and the blogs is only making it harder and harder to make the right choice, or any choice at all. I totally understand and can relate. Next, I discuss the possible negative health effects of beer. Is it just the gluten that’s a problem, or are there other issues as well? Finally, I explore liquid coconut oil, or coconut oil that’s been altered to remain liquid at any temperature. Is it safe? Is it Primal? Is it actually worth using? Find out the answers to all these questions in today’s Dear Mark.

Let’s go:

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