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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Category: Weight Loss

Dear Mark: Exercising (and Eating) in the Heat; Post-Antibiotics Gut Health Support

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a pair of questions from you folks. First up, what with the crazy heat wave sweeping much of the planet, a reader writes in asking about the best way to eat and move in the heat. Should you cease all activity? Should you modify your normal movement patterns and eat and drink differently to keep the heat at bay? Read on to find out. Next, how should a person deal with and support the post-antibiotics gut biome? What can we do to mitigate the negative effects broad-spectrum antibiotics have on our gut bacteria?

Let’s go:

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Is the Paleo Diet Supported by Scientific Research?

People constantly demand proof for the efficacy of the Primal eating plan. And I’m glad they do. The Primal Blueprint makes sense on an intuitive level, and those success stories we see every Friday sure are persuasive, but it’s also important to see broader support in the scientific literature. Many times, people demand proof without really wanting any; they assume it’s all imaginary just-so stories. “Where are the studies?” has become a retort rather than a legitimate query.

Well, it’s time to retire it. With 22 paleo diet papers and counting, the scientific research is quickly accumulating — and it’s quite positive. In last Sunday’s Weekend Link Love, I shared a list of (most of) the available paleo diet studies. Today, I thought I’d summarize some of these studies for you. Not everyone can be expected to have access to, read, and be able to interpret all of the research that is published. But there’s some really interesting stuff in there that I think you might benefit from knowing (and passing along to interested parties who ask). But be sure to have a look for yourself. Don’t just take my word for it.

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The Myth of Perfect Conditions: 9 Common Excuses Used to Delay Exercise

It’s the Goldilocks Syndrome…. It’s too hot to exercise. It’s too cold. It’s too early. It’s too late. I’m too tired or busy or overweight or overwhelmed. When x, y, or z changes, things will be better, easier. That’s not long to wait, right? And, so, we talk ourselves into waiting and out of working toward fitness. All the while, we’re fully convinced we have the world’s most pragmatic mindset. What else could we do in such a situation? It’s just the way it has to be. Exercise just can’t happen under these circumstances. And so we give away our chance at vitality because we’re married to a set of conditions, which become – like it or not – our excuses.

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Dear Mark: Sugar for Stress Relief, and Weight Loss Releasing Toxins

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. First, a new study out is one of the first (and maybe only) to show that acute sugar consumption can reduce the normal cortisol increase we experience in times of stress. Interesting stuff, eh? Find out whether I think this is a good thing, a potentially useful “hack”, or, given our collective tendency to overthink things and embroil ourselves in stress stews, a recipe for disaster. Next, we’ve all heard that weight loss releases stored toxins and environmental pollutants into our bodies, but is there any science that actually shows this is happening in people losing weight? And if we are releasing toxins by losing body fat, does that mean keeping the weight on is actually healthier? Find out down below.

Let’s go:

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How We’re Setting Our Kids Up to Be Fat, Sick, and Unhappy

I’ve been on a bit of a “children’s health and wellness” kick lately, with a couple posts discussing the importance — and, unfortunately, dearth — of free play and exploration in our children’s lives. Some of you have speculated via email that Carrie and I have something to announce, but that’s definitely not the case. This is simply an important topic for everyone with a stake in the future of this world. The mental, physical, and spiritual health of our children today will determine our trajectory through history in the decades to come. If a fat, sick, and unhappy generation takes the reins of this planet, nothing good will come of it.

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Do Low-Carb Diets Cause Insulin Resistance?

A few weeks back in the “How to Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity” post, I apparently dropped a bit of a bombshell: that very low carb diets can induce insulin resistance. Many of you wrote to me asking about the effects of low-carb dieting on insulin sensitivity and wondering whether you should begin eating more carbohydrates to counter it. Well, maybe, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to eat carbs if you’re low carb. The wrong way is to just add a ton of carbohydrates on top of your low-carb Primal eating plan without changing anything else. Doing that, especially in perpetuity, will likely lead to weight gain, hyperinsulinemia, and even more insulin resistance. Bad all around.

Now, many people are perfectly happy on a perpetually low-carb diet. I function quite well on a low (but not very low) glucose diet, hovering around 100-150 grams a day and often dipping below that. I might go even lower if I didn’t love vegetables and berries so much. But, assuming you are experiencing physiological insulin resistance caused by a very low carb or ketogenic diet, what happens when you do want to incorporate carbohydrates in your diet?

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