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
May 13, 2012

Weekend Link Love – Edition 189

By Mark Sisson
61 Comments

Some guy named Jerry Tobbs (I might have that wrong) recently explained why he thinks the campaign to stop America’s obesity crisis keeps failing.

Here’s the winning entry from last month’s “ethics of meat eating” NY Times essay contest. What do you think?

Don’t eat green bacon (unless it’s St. Patrick’s day).

Amish farm kids are “remarkably immune” to allergies, a new study has found. Something tells me Amish moms aren’t slathering their kids with Purell.

We Want Paleo!, a new organization devoted to getting restaurants to start offering Paleo-friendly menu items, needs your help.

Epigenetics rears its lovely-but-potentially-deadly head once again, this time showing the effect of different sleep durations on the expression of genetic influences on body weight in sets of twins.

In a recent study, serum vitamin D levels of 50-60 nmol/liter were associated with the lowest all-cause mortality risk. Not all that surprising, right? But both very low (10 nmol/L) and very high (140 nmol/L) levels were associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality. It’s a classic reverse J curve.

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (May 13 – May 19)

Comment of the Week

I voted 5+, but to be totally honest all occured this last weekend. 2minutes swordfighting max effort 4 times.

Run away from short barbarian horde (children)(about a minute) then avoid injury as you play dead when they catch up) 7 times. various throwing of javelins and axes and finally dodge four charging horses four times.

What can I say? Roman re-enacting is hard work!

– Now that’s the right kind of re-enactment, Ian.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

59 Comments on "Weekend Link Love – Edition 189"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Annie
4 years 6 months ago

How had I not heard of the “farm effect” before in the allergy discussion. Fascinating link on the Amish.

And I’ve just put two and two together and discovered that corn tortillas make me feel like crap (I know, I know) so I’m psyched to see the bell pepper tacos. Thanks!

Brandon
Brandon
4 years 6 months ago

50-60 nmol/liter seems very very low compared to what has been recommended over recent years as “optimal”: 125-200 nmol/L. Which, near the low end, is what lifeguards and other people who spend a lot of time in the sun reach naturally.

What could be causing the apparent increase in mortality — insufficient vitamin A, K2, and magnesium? Other confounding factors associated with people who spend a lot of time in the sun?

Dan
Dan
4 years 6 months ago

Is it natural if the lifeguard reached that level with the aid of sunscreen?

Sondra Rose
4 years 6 months ago

Given the high latitude of Copenhagen, I imagine that the higher levels of D were achieved via cod liver oil, not sun exposure.

Vitamin A toxicity may be the confounding factor here. Dr. Cannell has written about this on the Vitamin D Council website.

Matthew Caton
4 years 6 months ago
I have found that just because something is good, doesn’t mean the extreme is best. Now that it is near summer-time here in Florida, I find that I can only tolerate the sun in the morning, and the late afternoon. Being out in the middle of day is miserable. Just stepping out into the sun you can feel that it is too intense. The UV index is high everyday. Sondra brings up a good point with the vitamin A, but if vitamin A toxicity was the case they would see higher serum levels of calcium. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1359/jbmr.2001.16.10.1899/full In the Vitamin D… Read more »
dragonmamma
dragonmamma
4 years 6 months ago

I just finished reading the winning meat-eating essay, as well as all the finalists. They varied from absolutely ridiculous (Ingrid Newkirk), to rambling, to not-bad. The winner was pretty good, but I actually preferred the essay by Justin Green.

Harry Mossman
4 years 6 months ago

The bell pepper “tacos” sound good but they are stuffed peppers not tacos. Also, “cauliflower mashed potatoes” are not mashed potatoes.

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
4 years 6 months ago

Hah, this is my son’s pet-peeve. I’ll fix something like zucchini with pizza toppings and call it “squizza.” He’ll say: “This is good, mom, but stop pretending it’s pizza, because it’s not and it suffers in comparison.”

Joshua
Joshua
4 years 6 months ago

That is being quite generous. You know what I have never wanted while eating a taco salad? A big bite of raw bell pepper. Look, a taco is great because of all of its ingredients – a corn tortilla being one of them. If you hand me some cumin-ey meat and some assorted veg on a bell pepper, there is no way a single person ever anywhere is going to think, mmm what a good taco that was. More than likely the sentiment will be closer to man bell peppers really aren’t very good raw.

Karen C.
4 years 6 months ago

Are you kidding? Bell peppers are AWESOME raw! It’s the only way my kids will eat them (but not the green ones – they aren’t ripe!)

J
J
4 years 6 months ago

The Amish kids articles made me laugh, the experts are at a loss again. Genetics? Exposure to germs on the farm?

One word expains it: nutrition.

They are probably living as close to the Nourishing Traditions style as possible.

Patty
Patty
4 years 6 months ago

The amish are famous for eating tons of sweets. So while they may eat a pretty good diet otherwise, they fail on sugar intake.
My vote goes with higher exposure to nature in all its grubby, wonderful glory, and less exposure to chemicals.

Joshua
Joshua
4 years 6 months ago

And NO vaccinations!!!!

Barrett
Barrett
4 years 6 months ago

There was a really great Radiolab segment where a guy gave himself tapeworms to rid himself of very severe allergies. The hypothesis was that tapeworms suppress the same immune response that triggers histamine reactions. And it worked! Maybe the Amish just have more worms…

Rebekah
4 years 6 months ago

As a native of Lancaster County… yeah, the Amish aren’t too great on nutrition. “Pennsylvania Dutch” cooking is heavy on shortening, flour, and white sugar. There are plenty of natural-foods enthusiasts among the Amish as well, but on the whole I wouldn’t pick them as a shining example of Nourishing Traditions-style eating.

I think that if they have advantages in health it comes from living more closely to the earth (literally) and moving a lot.

Helen
Helen
4 years 6 months ago
The Amish and good nutrition? Don’t bet on it. The diet of the Amish around here is about 50% sugar, and the rest is white flour. And sure, they garden, but they pressure-can most of what they produce because they always have to be prepared for long bouts of unemployment with little or no income. What all the researchers seem to overlook is the role that social support and stable families play in human health. And Amish kids are allowed to really be KIDS. They are allowed to do things that all kids used to do 50 years ago, but… Read more »
Joshua
Joshua
4 years 6 months ago

I don’t know. Judging from what they sell on the roadside and publish in their cookbooks, it’s a lot of awesome looking cakes and doughnuts and pastries. Maybe that’s just what sells or they’re trying to weed out the competition, but I wonder what a real Amish diet would look like.

Moe
Moe
4 years 6 months ago

Cakes and doughnuts sell very well. Liver sausage and headcheese do not (not to SAD-diet people anyway, LOL!)

There are a lot of variations in diet among any group and the Amish are no exception. But they are more likely to view dessert as a treat and exercise as a requirement, rather than the other way around.

(traditional recipes for doughnuts and pastries also use decent ingredients and put store-bought crap to shame, but that’s another story.)

Sondra Rose
4 years 6 months ago

I think it’s more likely that it’s their good gut health due to no antibiotics during pregnancy and high levels of breastfeeding.

Matthew Caton
4 years 6 months ago

Most Amish don’t use anti-biotics, and if they do, they certainly don’t take them whimsically.

According to the study below, taking anti-biotics in early childhood more than doubles your risk for developing allergies.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2222.2000.00939.x/abstract?userIsAuthenticated=false&deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=

Maybe if the researchers can’t figure something out next time, they can ask me.

reader V.
4 years 6 months ago

Thanks!

Gayle
Gayle
4 years 6 months ago

signed up for ‘we want paleo’ hopefully restaraunts will start offering the option

J
J
4 years 6 months ago

Jerry Tobbs? You mean Gary Taubes? Obviously…

I’d like an explanation of what that error was all about.

Shannon
4 years 6 months ago

Joking around between friends, I would guess…

Olivia
Olivia
4 years 6 months ago

So this article doesn’t pop above Gary Taubes site on google search results 🙂

Marielle
Marielle
4 years 6 months ago

Little confused about the green bacon thing; I’ve seen that on nitrate-free bacon, too, and was told that it had something to do with nonpathogenic bacteria and fat molecules. My, how my world has been turned!

cancerclasses
4 years 6 months ago
Yeah, don’t freak out about your green bacon just yet. That article is a couple OU “scientists” saying “Um yeah, we’ve seen that green bacon too, but we ignored the existing science & “discovered” it’s ‘nitrate burn’ but we’re gonna claim we discovered it even though it was already discovered, and um, oh yeah, we don’t know if it’s bad for people to eat it, so we need a pile of money so we can secure our financial futures & have a job for the rest of our lives studying it all over again.” It’s crap, important first step my… Read more »
Matthew Caton
4 years 6 months ago

Nice researching. How did your Google break? That’s a bummer.

LM
LM
4 years 6 months ago

I love the “We want paleo” idea. I hope they also target coffeeshops. I love coffeeshops, but all that they ever offer are breadlike substances. I’d love to see some Paleo options.

Jany
Jany
4 years 6 months ago

Hear, hear! Even when they offer salads, they’re usually full of sugary dressing.

The best option I’ve found so far is, surprisingly, Starbucks – which at least offers an assortment of nuts and the occasional apple, nuts, and cheese platter.

cancerclasses
4 years 6 months ago
Wikipedia, people!! Those researchers probably kept their mouths shut about this since they’d be out of a job & lose their grant money if this was commonly known, there’d be no hysteria to justify the “studies.” From Wikipedia re Biliverdin: “Biliverdin is a green tetrapyrrolic bile pigment, and is a product of heme catabolism.[1][2] It is the pigment responsible for a greenish color sometimes seen in bruises.[2] Metabolism Biliverdin results from the breakdown of the heme moiety of hemoglobin in erythrocytes. Macrophages break down senescent erythrocytes and break the heme down into biliverdin, which normally rapidly reduces to free bilirubin.[1][3]… Read more »
cancerclasses
4 years 6 months ago
Also check Biliverdin reductase: “BVR has also more recently been recognized as ***a regulator of glucose metabolism!!!*** and in cell growth and apoptosis control, due to its dual-specificity kinase character.[11] This control over glucose metabolism indicates that BVR may play a role in pathogenesis of multiple metabolic diseases – the notable one being diabetes, by control of the upstream activator of insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway.[12]” And “Cells that experienced a 90% reduction in BVR experienced ***three times!!!*** normal ROS levels.[15]” There’s more there but I spam Mark’s page too much already, even if… Read more »
Dan
Dan
4 years 6 months ago

What would cause someone to have D levels at 140 nmol/L?

Sondra Rose
4 years 6 months ago

140 nmol/L = 56 ng/ml. See my previous comment re: possible confounding factors in the study.

Cathy Johnson (Kate)
4 years 6 months ago

This one’s particularly timely for me, since a friend’s been here working for 3 weeks and we’ve eaten out a LOT. I’m managing to stay pretty Paleo, but I’m looking forward to fixing my own, again, knowing what’s in it, having exactly what I want rather than having to just say “please hold the beans/bread/rice/potatoes/ and could I have real butter, please, not margarine?” Some places we’ve taken to taking our OWN butter or good vinegar…

We’re lucky to have a decent source of nitrite and nitrate-free bacon, though!

cancerclasses
4 years 6 months ago
Now all we need is a decent source of nitrite and nitrate-free vegetables! From Wikipedia re Sodium nitrite “Nitrites are a normal part of human diet, found in most vegetables.[14][15][16] Spinach and lettuce can have as high as 2500 mg/kg, curly kale (302.0 mg/kg) and green cauliflower (61.0 mg/kg), to a low of 13 mg/kg for asparagus. Nitrite levels in 34 vegetable samples, including different varieties of cabbage, lettuce, spinach, parsley and turnips ranged between 1.1 and 57 mg/kg, e.g. white cauliflower (3.49 mg/kg) and green cauliflower (1.47 mg/kg).[14][17] Boiling vegetables lowers nitrate but not nitrite.[14] Fresh meat contains 0.4-0.5… Read more »
Matthew Caton
4 years 6 months ago

Cathy,

I do the same thing. 🙂

Please, please don’t drench my vegetables in a gallon of veggie oil!

It’s really hard to assume what you are eating is safe. Almost everything contains gluten.

Sometimes I am surprised by how food producers manage to get gluten into almost every food imaginable. It’s like they are trying or something.

rob
rob
4 years 6 months ago

I grew up Amish and until I was 16, I didn’t know what a “cold” was, or what “acne” meant.

Danae
Danae
4 years 6 months ago

I want to double-check my understanding of the units used to measure serum vitamin D in lab tests. The results mentioned in the study above are shown in units of nmol/L, and I’m accustomed to seeing my lab results (in the US) shown as ng/mL. I think that you divide nmol/L by 2.5 to get ng/mL. So the “optimal” 50-60 mnol/L would be equivalent to 20-24 ng/mL? And the “high” value of 140 mnol/L is 56 ng/ml? Am I doing that correctly?

Johannah
Johannah
4 years 6 months ago

Yeah, I calculated this too. So what’s up with this?

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 6 months ago

This is the conversion I have found online as well which makes no sense. This would mean the study is saying 20-24 ng/ml is optimal – which is a very low level. I think the study mixed up their units….Which would say a lot about it’s credibility. Hopefully Mark sees this and gives some clarification.

Sondra Rose
4 years 6 months ago

In Europe they use nmol/L, so it’s not liekly to be a unit mix up.

At that latitude, higher levels of D are likely to be acieved through cod liver oil, not sun exposure alone. It’s more likely to be Vitamin A toxicity or competition for D receptors by A that is the confounding factor.

Dr. Cannell discusses this on the Vitamin D Council website.

Craig
Craig
4 years 6 months ago

I enjoyed the article on the causes of obesity. What the article doesn’t mention is the enormous amount of money there is to be made in the American diet. I have to wonder if the obesity activists aren’t possibly funded by the food industry that needs people to eat they way they do for their profits. We subsdize the very things that are killing people.

Debbie
Debbie
4 years 6 months ago

I think that is a very real possibility. And then of course people have to spend more money at the doctors or medical professionals to help with the ailments caused by said subsidised “foods”. Just conjecture of course. 🙂

fritzy
fritzy
4 years 6 months ago

Maybe, but probably has more to do with the fact that paradigms change slowly. Consider that we have been made to fear fat for so long and have been convinced of the “simple” formula of “calories-in/calories-out” that changing this paradigm to something so dramatically different is not going to happen over night. Say the phrases “heart healthy…” and “artery clogging…” and most people give the appropriate “whole grains” and “saturated fat” respectively without thinking. A few “naysayers” like Gary Taubs aren’t going to change this quickly, despite how logical and scientifically sound the arguments.

Matthew Caton
4 years 6 months ago
I have to agree with Debbie and Craig on this one. Heart healthy whole grains is a marketing term used to sell megatons of whole grains. (I hope “gut-irritating grains” catches on more.) But the only reason why there are megatons to begin with is subsidies. And Debbie is right on. The medical industry would be nothing with the food industry and government subsidies. I have always wondered how Gary Taubes would respond to this question… How do you explain countries, as in China, where high glycemic carbohydrates with little nutritional value are the main staple, but the people are… Read more »
Catie
4 years 6 months ago

A touch underwhelmed by the winning Ethicist entry. The overriding notion of giving thanks though, can’t really be faulted.
I always marvel at, and thank the swine gods for their amazingly delicious epidermis.

Eating in Orlando
Eating in Orlando
4 years 6 months ago

Agree, the five finalists were weak. Someone from PETA!?! Give me a break.

TokyoJarrett
4 years 6 months ago

Really? I think it was written in a way that’d be hard to argue against if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, and yet it’s not in anyone’s face, which I liked. Definitely don’t think I could have written it any better, any way.

Barbara Hvilivitzky
Barbara Hvilivitzky
4 years 6 months ago

I thought one of the constraints was that we could not mention how animals were raised or killed or am I wrong? And I too thought the essay was weak. Gee I’d hate to read some of the losers!!

Jan Rendek
Jan Rendek
4 years 6 months ago

From the Amish kids article: “… the mysterious factors that seem to protect farm kids …”. Yeah, it’s a HUUUUGE mystery, isn’t it? Some magic without doubt. Those pesky Amish are for sure involved in witchcraft! :-))

I (a town child) will have to thank my father for taking me every weekend to his father’s place in the village and almost forcing me to take hikes in the woods. I did not love it back then, now I can appreciate it.

Rien
3 years 11 months ago

Posted on Thanx for that hard work, sustain the nice pfreorm Fantastic pfreorm, I’m likely to commence a modest Weblog Engine program pfreorm employing your website I really hope you get pleasure from running a blog using the well-liked BlogEngine.web.Thethoughts you express are genuinely brilliant. Desire you are going to correct some far more posts.

Gydle
4 years 6 months ago

Interesting that the essay that won violated the contest rules – i.e. connected the “ethics” of meat eating to the way in which the meat was raised. I thought that was why the contest was so flawed in the first place. Lesson learned: break the rules and write what you think is a good essay anyway.

rose
rose
4 years 6 months ago

Great links this week!

Pat
Pat
4 years 6 months ago

Here’s a great podcast interview of Gary Taubes.
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/11/taubes_on_fat_s.html

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
4 years 6 months ago

This line from the ethics article sits very well with me, and works for me. I think the winner did a great job, because his argument is deeply felt, but also deeply rational:

“Which leads to my main argument: eating meat raised in specific circumstances is ethical; eating meat raised in other circumstances is unethical. Just as eating vegetables, tofu or grain raised in certain circumstances is ethical and those produced in other ways is unethical.”

Chase
Chase
4 years 6 months ago

Of course green bacon is safe to eat! That’s what the Angry Birds eat isn’t it?

Amy
4 years 6 months ago

My new favorite place to eat out is Ted’s Grill, the chain owned by billionaire mogul/rancher Ted Turner. The serve grass fed beef and bison, wild caught salmon and trout, and have great options for veggies. Though I’m sure the recipes aren’t PURE paleo, they are quite tasty and about the closest you can get at most restaurants. I love the cranberry chicken, almond crusted trout and their broccoli with butter and creamed spinach sides.

Olivia
Olivia
4 years 6 months ago
“‘But, we have discovered that a simple chemical process, which inhibits the flow of oxygen in the blood and degrades the blood protein hemoglobin, causes the blood to turn from red to green. Identifying the degraded blood components allowed us to characterize the related green pigment seen in bacon and other meats.'” That sounds like they’ve re-worded a description of “Blue Baby Syndrome” – aka methemoglobinemia. Which is essentially nitrite poisoning from excess nitrate fertilizers running into drinking water in ag areas. I can’t find a reference but could have sworn Dr. Atkins said dairy products inhibited the nitrate-nitrite conversion,… Read more »
wpDiscuz