Dear Mark: Acrylamide, Sprint Alternatives, Gynoid Fat, and Adult Bed Sharing

French FriesIn this week’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll be covering three wide-ranging topics. First is acrylamide, the french fry toxin, the coffee carcinogen, the rat destroyer. It appears in almost every starchy item cooked or roasted at high heat, and it’s classified as a carcinogen. What do we do about it? Do we even have to worry about it? Next up are sprint alternatives for the person who loves to runny really fast every once in awhile but has a herniated disk that becomes aggravated shortly after said sprint. Sprinting is an important, beneficial activity, so long as you can do it pain and injury free, so I try to come up with a few worthy options. Then, I offer some advice to a man with gynoid – or lower body/hip/thigh – fat, most of which hinge on my suspicion that he’s low in free testosterone. Finally, I discuss the benefits – and drawbacks – of co-sleeping with your adult partner.

Let’s go:

So recently I was in Starbucks and it seems a law has been passed in San Diego where mandatory posted warnings against the detriments of Acrylamide, a chemical that is created when a food is baked or roasted that is highly toxic and carcinogenic, must be presented. Are you familiar with Acrylamide and how would you suggest we go about avoiding it?


Acrylamide is a carcinogen that forms when starches are heated above 250 ºF, particularly when “browning” occurs. Boiling and steaming do not reach 250 degrees and thus do not form acrylamide. The easiest way to avoid acrylamide is to avoid the foods highest in it.

As you saw in the link, restaurant and store-bought french fries, chips, crackers, baked goods, and other high-heat starchy fare are uniformly high in acrylamide, while meats and most vegetables are extremely low. Bread, particularly crusty, well-toasted bread, is a big offender as well. Coffee’s another one (hence the message in Starbucks). Homemade foods can also be high in acrylamide, but they don’t have to be. Provided you take certain precautionary steps, you can enjoy your sweet potatoes without worry.

Steaming or boiling are good options. Braising should be better than baking, roasting, or frying, but there’s still the chance for some acrylamide formation.

Certain “dietary plant materials,” like clove extract and grape polyphenols, are actually able to inhibit acrylamide formation during the cooking of starches. Rosemary, too, can reduce it. I’d imagine other antioxidant-rich plants, herbs, and extracts would have similarly inhibitory effects. Next time you make sweet potato chips in the oven, consider including some herbs and spices in the mix.

Fermentation reduces acrylamide fermentation. This may not matter much to you (who ferments french fries, and how do you even do that?), but if you have any bread eating friends or family, try convincing them to make the move to real sourdough (or away from grains altogether).

It’s also worth noting that man is the cooking animal. We’ve been subjecting our food to fire for hundreds of thousands of years (at least), and it’s likely we’ve developed some endogenous acrylamide detoxification pathways along the way. Most human studies have failed to find a connection between dietary acrylamide and rates of cancer (except for kidney cancer and multiple myeloma). That’s not to suggest it’s harmless. It’s that every (cooked food) diet is going to include some acrylamide. It’s unavoidable. The key, I think, is to avoid or minimize eating the most egregious sources. Don’t eat fries every day, for example – even if they’re cooked in pastured duck fat.


I’ve, in the last few weeks, gone totally paleo. I feel better, look better, and my back hurts a little less than it did. However, I do have a herniated disk in my back and as much as I’d love to sprint ( I actually love running and go to the gym daily), it makes my back pain way worse afterward. Any suggestions on cardio that will be similar to sprinting or a way I can run with my bad back?


If I had to guess, the reason why sprinting aggravates your back is the impact of landing. When you sprint, you’re hitting the ground pretty dang hard, and the shock can reverberate throughout your body. Any weak link – like a herniated disk – will feel the brunt of the effects. Here are my tips:

1. Sprint uphill. When sprinting uphill, your feet don’t “fall as far” as when you’re sprinting on a flat surface, and so the impact is reduced.

2. Check your sprinting form. Make sure you’re landing on the forefoot-to-midfoot, rather than on the heel. Allow your heel to come down into contact with the ground, but only after you’ve established contact with the fore/midfoot. You also want to maintain good posture when running. If you let your shoulders internally rotate and your head dip forward, you’ll lose postural integrity and risk incurring pain. Also, when you run, your head shouldn’t be bobbing up and down. Film yourself, or have someone watch when you run and note whether or not your head bobs and your posture fails.

3. Try an alternate mode of transportation. Cycling, swimming, running in water, even crawling can reduce the impact on your back. I love a good stationary cycle sprint myself.

4. Find a full body exercise, preferably involving weights, that you can perform safely at a high intensity with good form without pain. Then, do that exercise at a high intensity for short, repeated bursts – maybe 5-10 rep sets with short rest periods.

5. Don’t sprint. If nothing’s helping, avoid the activities that cause pain. You want to heal, and pain is your body’s way of telling you that damage is (or soon will be) being done.

Hi Mark,

Thanks to supportive friends and the resources you and others have provided online, I’ve been following the paleo lifestyle for around a year now. So first, thank you for everything you’ve already contributed to the world.

As I’ve gone down the paleo path, to measure progress, I got a DexaFit body scan. Part of the result showed that I store an abnormally high proportion of my body fat in my gynoid region (waste/hips/thighs). For additional context, growing up, I was a “fat” kid until I was about 14, when I started exercising more / eating less.

All this got me wondering – is my body shape today due exclusively to my genetic make-up (nature) or the actions I’ve taken in life (nurture)? Is it some combination favoring one or the other? At what point are we “locked-in”, where our actions no longer have an impact?

I wonder, if I hadn’t been a “fat” kid growing up, maybe I’d look different today, even eating the same things and following the same workout regimen. Through the years, I’ve heard miscellaneous “facts” like weightlifting too early stunts growth, there’s some belly fat you can’t lose after a certain age, etc.

Thank you for your insight! I really appreciate your expertise on this.


As with just about everything, it’s both nature and nurture. That is, environment interacts with genetics to produce the people we become, with all our health conditions, quirks, foibles, flaws, and strengths. The black and white dichotomy between nature and nurture is pure silliness (except for maybe something like eye color or hair color) that no one really takes seriously anymore. It’s (almost always) both.

On to your specific issue. For you, a male with a more “feminine” pattern of fat deposition, I would suspect low testosterone levels. A recent study found that patients with hypogonadism, characterized by chronic testosterone deficiency, stored dietary and free fatty acids primarily in the hips and thighs. In the leg-and-thigh adipose tissue of the low-testosterone group, acyl-CoA-synthetase (which is partially responsible for fat deposition) activity was greater. Another study confirms that when it comes to body fat distribution, genetics have a greater role in women, while environment is the primary determining factor for how fat is distributed in men. Luckily for you, you can control your environment. You can affect how much testosterone you produce, often without resorting to hormone replacement creams or injections or anything like that.

Certain nutrients help restore and maintain testosterone productions. Eat the foods that contain them. Supplement if you can’t or won’t eat the foods.

  • Magnesium – Eat leafy greens, almonds, halibut. Take epsom salt baths, apply magnesium oil transdermally, take chelated magnesium supplements.
  • Selenium – Eat Brazil nuts, kidneys, wild fish.
  • Zinc – Eat red meat, oysters.
  • Cholesterol – Eat brains, egg yolks, liver. We make testosterone out of cholesterol.
  • Fat – Eat fat, especially saturated and monounsaturated fats. One study found that olive oil (monounsaturated) and coconut oil (saturated) enhanced the conversion of cholesterol into testosterone, beating out grapeseed and soybean oils.
  • Vitamin D – Get sun, eat wild fish, take D3 supplements.

You’ll also want to make some lifestyle changes, if you haven’t already.

  • Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep dramatically reduces testosterone in young men. Similar relationships between sleep quality and testosterone are found in older men, too.
  • Reduce stress, or find ways to deal with it. Cortisol “opposes” testosterone, so an imbalanced or excessive cortisol rhythm will hamper your production of testosterone.
  • Meditate. Meditation is relaxing by definition, and one study even shows it reduces the cortisol:testosterone ratio.
  • Try breathing exercises. I talked about belly breathing a while back, and you might want to try that out.
  • Get a massage.

Even if these tips don’t result in reduced gynoid fat (I bet they will, though), they will result in an improved, more enjoyable life and diet. You might also want to get your free testosterone tested, just to make sure that low T is indeed your problem. Good luck!

Hi Mark,

Can you tell us your opinion about adults (partners) sleeping together? Is this a primal behaviour? Is sleeping on your own more restful?


It all depends, of course. There’s no one single absolute overarching answer.

If your partner snores to the point of keeping you awake, sleeping separate will get you more sleep and is probably going to be more restful and therefore more healthy.

If your partner has the jimmy legs, and the notion of a bony knee or ankle bone digging into the small of your back makes you unhappy, sleeping separate is going to be more restful.

If your partner has obstructive sleep apnea, you may have disturbed sleep and increased musculoskeletal pain.

However, recent research indicates that sleeping with a partner lowers cortisol (reducing stress), increases oxytocin (increasing bonding and closeness), and lowers inflammatory cytokines. If you’re fighting with that partner over conflicting sleeping habits, of course, you’ll probably be stressed out (cortisol goes up), be unwilling to touch each other (lowering oxytocin), and you probably won’t get the anti-inflammatory benefits.

Harmonious co-sleeping with a partner is more restful. Argumentative co-sleeping is not.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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83 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Acrylamide, Sprint Alternatives, Gynoid Fat, and Adult Bed Sharing”

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  1. It’s good to see alternatives to sprinting. I’ve been following the Primal Blueprint/Paleo diet for two years now, but one ruptured and two bulged lumbar disks have kept me from doing any sprinting. Back injuries/pain are one of the top medical complaints among Americans, it would be nice to see more alternative paleo exercises for those of us dealing with these issues.

    1. Agreed. My back is OK but at 70 my body can’t take a lot of pounding. I find water “aerobics” great exercise. I put “aerobics” in quotes because, although there is some of that, I also do a full set of sprints and lots of resistance work.

      1. Like the water aerobics idea. I like to think of a sprinting workout as any time that I am going “all out” This could be in a crossfit style MetCon, or it could be running, swimming, or biking very fast for a shorter period of time. I like to do 8 sets of about 200m sprints (for running) with about a minute break in between.

      2. I am a PT and I usually suggest avoiding any exercises that require sitting and/or flexing forward of the trunk for people with disc problems. Both of these movements put an increased stress on the discs of the spine causing pain. Mark is right that the pounding force through the spine while running is what is causing your pain. However, running up hill will require you to flex forward from your trunk, also putting a lot of stress on your injured discs. SO it may be counterproductive in your case. I would suggest starting your sprints on an elliptical (so that you are not getting the pounding) and gradually working towards running. Most disc problems are mechanical in nature and are usually easily treated if you know the correct exercises. I would suggest looking into “Treat your own back” by Robin McKenzie. It teaches you about the mechanics of the spine and exercises to help reduce and abolish the pain.

    2. Surprisingly, my PT recommended kettlebell swings for cardio in lieu of running or biking; I have two lumbar bulged discs below a full spinal fusion. I can’t use heavy weight and good form is CRUCIAL but its a great workout. I’d recommend anyone with a bad back discuss it with their doctor because I’m sure there’s people for whom this would be contraindicated. But because my feet never leave the ground, I don’t get the nerve impingement and hip/leg/back pain I got from bikes and running.

      1. agree wholeheartedly with this.

        interval training with kettlebells is amazing for your heart rate… and glutes!

      2. I love kettlebell swing intervals. Another favorite that my trainer introduced me to is jump-rope intervals with an actual rope. I don’t know how that would be for someone with a bad back, but I imagine since you’re mostly just stabilizing your core, it would be okay. With a rope, you can’t go as fast, and it burns your arms! Oh, and you learn how to jump really fast — if you think hitting yourself barefoot with a regular jump rope stings, wait until you whack a toe with a rope!

        1. I, too, thought jumping rope would be a great exercise for me about five years ago. The first day was great. On the second day I had a little back discomfort. The third day, it was back pain. I now have compression fractures in my back, as a result of those few days of jumping rope. Most people should be cleared by a doctor before jumping rope.

    3. If its impact related D Ball slams would be a awesome exercise for you. The Range of motion may still be a problem. I was gonna link a video that I have but can’t find it. Basically a medicine ball squat slam with a ball that doesn’t bounce. Will definately elicit the sprint reponse your after.

  2. What are alternate ways to prepare onions (for things like soup) besides frying them?

    1. Slow roasting gets all the delicious sweetness and richness without browning. Wrap your onion – peeled or not – in a tinfoil parcel with a chunk of butter and some thyme sprigs. Roast on low-ish temperature – 300-350F – for anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours, size and temperature dependent. Lovely soft, sweet onions that can be chopped and added to soup or, my favourite, served whole/halved/quartered alongside a hunk of beef.

    2. Slow-cook lots and freeze portions for soup(esp french onion). 2 or 3 tablespoons butter — grease it around the bottom and partway up the sides, fill cooker with sliced onions; butter prevents the sticking and burning that might occur. (Haven’t tried it with coconut oil, but might be nice.)

    3. Onion Mushroom soup is easy and tasty. I cook to taste. (Baking and charcuterie I measure everything in metric).

      General recipe:
      7-8 lbs of spanish onions thinly sliced. In a dutch or pot, use ghee to sweat the onions and brown. (A brown ghee adds a sweet and almost nutty flavor that adds depths).

      The cooking vessel is important as building fond is key. After the onions are browned, add water (6cups) and deglaze the the bottom.

      Add mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste add.

      Add an acid: apple cider vinegar, red wine or white wine to taste.

      Add a 1/3 cup of sherry if you are feeling French.

      If you are “Swiss paleo”, use oven proof bowls to serve in. Ladle the soup into the bowls and add shredded, medium hard swiss cheese to the top. Broil the bowls until the cheese browns and serve ASAP.

      Bon apetite!

  3. an alternative to sprinting may be a good rowing machine. Be sure to study proper technique, though.

    1. Mark linked to this article in his post:

      Sprouting grains and beans deactivates (forgive my inexact terminology) phytates and can reduce gluten content, thus rendering a grain/legume more easily digestible. Fermenting (lie sourdough bread) relies on the action of naturally occurring lactobacillus and wild yeasts to partially digest the sugars and proteins in grains/legumes and improve digestibility.

    2. The answer to your second question depends on the amount consumed. When enough is consumed, the thoughts are: consume more!

    3. Mark did a whole extensive post on fermented grains:

      In short, he says nope because of how long it takes to make them and because it doesn’t necessarily remove all the anti-nutrients.

      I’ve never had any desire to soak or sprout grains. Heck, I barely have the desire to soak and dehydrate nuts. I tried traditionally-prepared beans a couple times, and I never thought the end result was worth the work. I don’t like beans that much.

    1. ‘too much work’ as in “Hand-cutting all of those fries… ” LOL!!!!! And I thought I’m lazy! I feel so good about myself now…

        1. A doctor in an emergency room once told me that mandolines should be banned. Too many sliced fingers.

      1. I just use one of the blades that came with my thrift-store food processor. The fries it cuts are short, 2-4 inches, but I swear they taste just as good. 😉 But I hand-dice potatoes for hash browns, generally.

        Seems to me that a little lacto-ferment plus a dusting of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and basil or oregano should do a good job keeping acrylamide at bay when I fry potatoes in tallow…

  4. I love me some fries. I eat them every day after a workout – so that’s 3 times a week. I bake them, not fry them, to keep them very low fat post-workout. Sometimes I do sweet potatoes rolled in cinnamon, cayenne and cocoa powder. Sometimes I do white potatoes in Old Bay. I bake them at 425*F for 20 mins, flip, 15 mins. I go through 5-6 lbs a week. I won’t be stopping, acrylamide or not.

    1. i’m surprised & dismayed to see some (Unsweetened) cocoa has so high acrylamide.

    1. I think they call it “vodka”. After distillation, that is… 🙂

    2. I learned from the inside of a Dubble Bubble wrapper that French Fry flavoured gum was introduced to Belgium but was not popular. I think it was in the 80s.

      1. 1983 if I remember correctly. What a useless fact to pull out of my pocketses.

  5. Can anyone tell me how much fat should I be eating if my goal is to lose weight? thanks

    1. personally I ate a LOT. The more fat I ate the more weight I lost. Good fat though which included, animal fats from grass fed animals, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, ghee, a FEW nuts, avocado, a small amt of good quality high fat cheese, double cream, a a dollop or two of greek plain yoghurt. I am an Aussie though and we have no problems getting full fat dairy in our country. Our cream is not sweetened or anything. I also learned to make my own fatty dressings for my salads, and I used it liberally. I ate a lot of eggs too, and always added boiled eggs to my salads. I hope this helps. I love helping people and have a little group on facebook if you want to join us. Email me for details. [email protected] or contact me via the forums, but I don’t check it regularly! 🙂 Jane

  6. I can vouch that having separate comforters on the same bed has improved our co-sleeping dramatically ( no more fighting over the blankets). When we want to cuddle, just slide over under one. Two blankets also leaves an escape hatch in the middle, since we often have two bed-hogging kids sleeping with us.

    1. I am a big believer in seperate blankets. We’ve gone so far as to have seperate sheets too. Fitted sheet is a king, and the two flat sheets are twin sheets. When our daughter slept with us, she had her own blankets too.

      1. we went that route too in a way…I’ve always believed the top sheet keeps me warm; my husband believes the top sheet is trying to kill him by strangulation. So I have one, he doesn’t and that bizarre marital argument has been put to bed.

  7. Who ferments french fries? Me I guess. One of the first things I ever fermented was potatoes. They were very good as I remember. If anyone is interested, gives directions.

  8. So…to clarify…anyone else still wondering about coffee? I notice the linked list only discusses ground coffee (not brewed).

    Based on what Mark said here is cutting it too extreme?

  9. Don’t worry so much. We don’t eat that many potatos and drink that much coffee to worry about.

  10. I second swim sprints—I experimented with tons of sprint like activities, and nothing gets the heart ripping like some tabata intervals at the end of a swim workout—

  11. Indoor rowing, people. Doing sprints in a static rower is dead easy and these machines are usually available in most gyms. Now, this is a full-body workout.

  12. Im on third shift and my wife is one firsts. I share a bed with our basset/beagle does that count?

  13. I was so relieved when my husband got a diagnosis (Parkinsonism with REM sleep behavior disorder) that gave me an excuse to insist on separate bedrooms. Fighting a snorer is so frustrating, much less a shouter and puncher. And then there was the time that in his sleep he took my hand, brought it to his mouth, and bit it. There is treatment for REM sleep behavior disorder, which involves a loss of the normal paralysis during sleep, so the person acts out their dreams.

    1. Oh my gosh! I once got a punch in the face during sleep. Apparently I was thought to be someone else… hmmm maybe he WAS telling the truth after all ha ha.

      1. I was brought up in the Shaky Isles (NZ) and the city I was in was having (still has) constant small earthquakes. Maybe a few perceptible tremors every other week. I was terrified and always woke before an earthquake- school, tv and home always overstated ‘The BIG ONE is OVERDUE!’ I expected to be buried beneath rubble with spiders and maddening thirst as company to a slow death at any moment.
        As a result when I sleep and there is some guy beside me, sluggishly moving position in his sleep I come fully awake in a state of fight or flight, adrenalin coursing, then spewing at the interruption. It’s not worth it. For me.

  14. I just remembered a pretty good piece of exercise equipment called “the versa climber”… does a good job of working upper and lower body at the same time.

    Another good thing for people who like treadmills (not me) is incline fast walking!

  15. Fascinating info. I’ve never heard about Acrylamide. I like to have sweet potato fries but I also bake them – like another commenter above.

  16. My wife convinced me to see a sleep specialist a few years ago my snoring was so bad. Turned out I had sleep apnea due to poor sinus construction, the nature side of the equation. I now use a CPAP machine, has made a huge difference in my energy level. Funny thing is my last visit the doctor said “I’m worried, you’ve lost 17 pounds since I’ve last seen you and you already had the lowest BMI of any of my patients.” I told him not to worry, I just eliminated about 90% of the grains I used to eat from my diet lol. I’m 5’8″ and weigh 153 pounds.

  17. Acrylamide? Maybe a carcinogen but so are lots of things.
    Of more interest is the fact that acrylamide monomer is a very potent neurotoxin.
    Put together acrylamide, MSG and a susceptible individual and you may have the makings of the “icepick” model of neural damage leading to food addiction and/or weight gain. Or indeed, to other problems entirely.

    “The cumulative effect of prolonged, low-level exposure to acrylamide monomer is the insidious development of a progressive peripheral neuropathy.”

  18. I definitely find sleeping on my own easier! My husband lived away from us for three years, and only came back for the occasional holiday, and every second weekend… and I have to say I realised how much I LOVE sleeping on my own! I am a very light sleeper, and my husband has a bad nose and therefore tends to snore/breathe heavily, and he also moves a lot. Now he’s moved back home, the quality of my sleep has DEFINITELY decreased! It’s a pity really, but I’m not sure what’s to be done about it (I’d sleep in a spare room, except with three kids we don’t HAVE one!).

  19. Teddy,

    not sure if you’re reading this, but
    I’m pretty sure it’s not because you were a “fat” kid growing up. I have the same body fat distribution, and I was always the skinniest kid. Only recently (I’m now 27) has my body fat gone up to 22 % (according to our body fat percentage scales, which only measure in the legs anyway), and most of it assembled on my hips / thighs.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing up that topic – now I know what my problem is and that a paleo lifestyle alone will probably not be enough to fix it!

    1. Is that what you got from this article? To me it seemed as if Mark was saying that the paleo lifestyle should be enough to fix it. “Luckily for you, you can control your environment. You can affect how much testosterone you produce,” and “Even if these tips don’t result in reduced gynoid fat (I bet they will, though)” Those statements indicated to me that a few modifications in the paleo diet, while remaining paleo, should correct the problem.

      1. That’s exactly what I meant, I should follow those special tips *in addition to* the paleo lifestyle to maximize testosterone production.

        Though after thinking about it, I’m not sure if that’s my problem – I do have a lot of body hair, which should be linked to enough testosterone. I might have to get that tested first.

        1. Good deal. It occurred to me later that that is probably what you meant.

  20. I am impressed by your writing. Actually, there is very little can write like you.I will back to read again .Carry on writing.

  21. I find jump roping to be a great sprint workout. Make sure you warm up with some easy jump roping first and then do double jumps for the sprinting.

  22. The next post on co-sleeping should be about cats and dogs. I find it incredibly comforting to sleep with our cat right up to when he is co-sleeping on my head while chewing on my hair or licking my eye.

  23. I sprint on my bike (have a “wicked hill” nearby that I go up and down on.

    In the winter I love to cross-country ski. I’ll give it for a minute or two and then ski “normally” for a few. Works great. Sometimes I put on a weighted jacket for extra work. Of course you need snow.

    If I could swim better, I’d sprint a the pool. I am, however, one of the world’s worst swimmers as per the World’s Worst Swimmers handbook.

    My wife snores (she says I snore… whatever!). We have slept in separate rooms for a few years now. Once you get over the “guilt” factor, it’s great. You can pick a room for your conjugal visits 🙂

    Have a great day, all.

  24. I had herniated lumbar discs a while back, even after going Primal, to the extent that surgery was suggested. Traction and chiropractic helped the symptoms, but what fixed me for good was heavy barbell lifting: deadlifts and squats. The body handles acute stressors better than chronic stressors, and adapting to the acute stress of lifting ultimately saved my spine from the chronic stress of weak core muscles and bad posture. Now my lower back is my strongest part and I’m very glad I didn’t get surgery.

    Regarding gynoid fat pattern, I was also a fat teenager and my testosterone as an adult is so chronically low that it sometimes registers in the female range. But the cool thing about hormones is that when you produce less of them, the body becomes more sensitive to their effects. Works for testosterone just like insulin. Mark’s suggestions are exactly what it takes for guys like me and Teddy to make the best of our circumstances. We may never be extremely big nor have luxurious body hair, but we can certainly achieve android fat distribution, great strength, and dangerous fertility.

  25. On sprinting alternatives I ride BMX, single speed cycling encourages a sprint rest workout. They are relatively cheap in comparison to road bikes, tough and easier to throw in the boot of the car. I can’t ride a kids bike I here you cry! Says who? I’m 39 so if I can anyone can!

  26. I have finished reading this article–time to go get some McDonalds!

  27. Has anyone else had success with Dr John Sarno’s approach to chronic pain? Basically your brain can cause the restriction of blood flow in various parts of your body as a response to stress. If you don’t deal with that stress this can lead to real severe pain. It usually happens in the lower back. The patient then gets a scan and they find a herniated disc. But most people as they get old have herniated discs especially in the lower back. If you disc was really pressing in the spine you wouldn’t feel pain but numbness and paralysis. This actually happened to my dog. She wasn’t in pain her hind legs were paralyzed.

    I suggest at least checking one of his books out.

  28. I have a question for Mark.

    I was under the impression that most of the cholesterol we eat passes through our body and we do not absorb it. I thought that was the primary reason why dietary cholesterol, the stuff we eat, is almost completely unrelated to our blood cholesterol. You make a point of saying eating cholesterol helps us create testosterone. Can you elaborate some?


  29. I also can’t run due to dodgy knees. Try boxing / sparring instead. It doesn’t need to be at a boxing gym or a ‘hardcore’ type gym, a lot of regular gyms do it. Nor does it need to be done in a ring. More PTs are able to do with you.

    I just had a sparring session last night with my PT last night. He wore pads, I wore gloves and he would yell out the combination of punches to hit him with. Only 15 mins long, with occasional 30 second breaks. But oh so tough. Heart rate right up like sprinting near my max. I was going all out as with sprinting, with controlled aggression too. Plus it increases your core strength and arm strength massively.

  30. Dear Mark,
    thanks for sharing.
    concerning the acrylamide:
    I know of only 3 studies that were conducted on humans and they have found absolutely no evidence that they are linked to cancer, in fact one of the studies showed a decrease in cancer!
    All the other studies were conducted on animals that have never mastered fire let alone roasting 😉
    when we see a study for example that fed a high cholesterol diet to a rhodent in oder to prove cholesterol is bad we despise those results because rhodents are vegetarians. We have to apply the same criticism here befoe jumping to conclusions!
    the acrylamide is converted in the liver into the toxic glycidamide but that only occurs in rhodents NOT in humans. Please consider checking the data 🙂

  31. Concerning sleeping patterns, if you look at social mammals, they tend to sleep in a huge pile. 🙂 I’m not familiar with the patterns of hominids, but I do know that sleeping close to a partner (or one’s entire family) is a nice feeling, and reduces stress greatly.

    1. …actually, the problems concerning sleeping together may stem from too soft, springy beds. In fact, in my opinion beds are NOT primal, and one should sleep on a hard surface. In such a situation a partner moving around won’t make the ground shake. 🙂
      I’ve been sleeping with a single comforter laid down on hardwood for more than ten years now, and when I tried sleeping in a bed, I threw it out after a month due to back pain and restless sleep.

  32. so do sweet potatoes and sweet potato flour need to be soaked as well?

  33. Hi folks, I have been a low carb pale eater for twenty years and I am interested in adding some starches to my diet as I feel sometimes that something is ‘missing’ I have read about our ancestors cooking (roasting,baking) starchy tubers and therefore acrylamide concerns me as cooking this way is the most likely way to create acrylamide ….but then you think to yourself, did they suffer high incidences of cancer? And I even thought back to people in modern industrialised countries like mine (the uk) in the 18th and 19th centuries who consumed lots of bread, roast and baked meats (acrylamide formers) and, as we know, cancer rates were a lot lower then than they are now. So is acrylamide REALLY that harmful to humans? I think I will boil my sweet potatoes to be safe but hunter gatherers didnt boil their starchy tubers did they? Food for thought….