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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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October 08 2018

Dear Mark: Air-Frying, “Primal” Vegan-ish, Perfect Heath Diet, and Bad Rep or Rap

By Mark Sisson
15 Comments

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions. First, is air-frying gentler than deep-frying? Does it produce less acrylamide? Second, what do I think of a reader’s Primal-style plant-based way of eating? It’s actually quite good. Third, why didn’t I mention the Perfect Health Diet in last week’s post on top trending diets? And last, did I make a typo or grammatical error when I wrote “bad rap”?

Let’s find out:

Russian squat thing is great.

Anyone know if air frying potatoes creates acrylamide to the same degree normal deep frying does?

Wasn’t it? It’ll obviously never happen around here, and it would raise all sorts of civil rights issues if adopted across the board, but man would it be effective.

Turns out that air-frying is way more gentle on potatoes than deep-frying. Compared to deep-frying, air-frying potatoes reduced acrylamide formation by 90%.

And if you “pre-treated” the potatoes with a solution of nicotinic acid, citric acid, glycine, and salt, you’d get a further reduction of 80-90%.

I don’t know. The initial 90% sounds good enough that I’d hold off on that strange pre-treatment. In fact, I bet you could get a decent approximation of the benefits with a simple marinade on the potatoes. Maybe lemon juice and thyme?

Great round up Mark!

I’m just wondering what you think of a very ‘primal’ 95% vegan like diet?

I have Chron’s disease, but despite the data showing a carnivorous diet helps IBD I have found through a lot of trial and error I cannot handle cooked muscle or organ meat of any kind without a lot of pain.

I eat a vast variety of gently cooked vegetables, massaged salads, cooked and cooled legumes (also potatoes) Seaweed, some cooked and cooled buckwheat & rice, plus the occasional raw dozen oysters or fresh sashimi (Around once a week, expensive & I find it feels like enough). I only use olive oil (I have a Mediterranean background and find I tolerate it better than Butter or coconut oil)

I feel best on this, but wouldn’t really quantify it as any of the above diets.

Anything you think I could be missing out on eating this way? I’m a slim female with a high glucose tolerance if that helps.

Cheers Sophie

That’s a solid way to vegan. It’s quite close to what I recommend plant-based dieters do. You’re eating real food. You’re eating actual plants, not plant-based junk food. You’re avoiding seed oils. You’re eating oysters and raw fish—that’s huge. You’re treating your legumes right, and you don’t appear to be overly reliant on grains. Rice is one of the more innocuous grains, and buckwheat is actually a pseudo-cereal (and quite a nutrient-dense one at that).

A few suggestions:

Supplement creatine. It’s only found in red meat and fish, and most vegans are deficient. Correcting the deficiency tends to improve cognitive function. Since you eat fish once a week, you won’t be quite as deficient as others, but it’s still a good idea (and really inexpensive) to take 5 grams a day. Here’s a good creatine supplement.

Supplement carnosine and taurine. These are two other nutrients found primarily/only in animal foods. They act as antioxidants in the brain and play big roles in health and disease. Here’s a good carnosine supplement. Here’s a good taurine supplement.

Eat some raw egg yolks. I love a handful of raw egg yolks. One of my favorite ways to get choline, a true nootropic. It’s a decent, gentle source of uncooked high quality animal protein, too, which you can probably use.

How could you not mention the Perfect Health Diet?

The Perfect Health Diet is a great way to eat. Back in 2012, I even wrote the foreword to The Perfect Health Diet book. The problem is that it doesn’t qualify as a “popular diet trend.” It should be. I’d love for Dr. Oz to plug the PHD, for Oprah to include it in her book club. The world would be a much healthier place. But that’s not where we are.

The article was designed to inform newcomers to the diet scene while still providing enough meat for the more advanced readers. There just aren’t all that many newcomers looking for info on the Perfect Health Diet.

Speaking of which, if you guys have noticed a dearth of activity on Paul Jaminet’s part, it’s for good reason: He and his wife have been developing a new cancer drug that, according to his preliminary animal research, looks to be effective against every tumor they tested. Even the really malignant ones. Phase 1 human trials are set to begin in 2020. I really, really hope it all works out.

Typo heads-up…
You said: “Atkins gets a bad rap”. It should be Atkins gets a bad “rep”. The correct word (rep) is short for reputation. Thought you might like to know. Loved the post though!

Thanks for the tip!

I actually intended to use “rap,” though, in the sense of “criticism.” Think of the “rap sheet,” a list of a person’s crimes or offenses. Or “rap” as in “sharp blow,” sort of a physical manifestation of criticism or reprimand.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading and be sure to comment down below if you have any input or additional questions.

References:

Sansano M, Juan-borrás M, Escriche I, Andrés A, Heredia A. Effect of pretreatments and air-frying, a novel technology, on acrylamide generation in fried potatoes. J Food Sci. 2015;80(5):T1120-8.

Antioxidant activity of carnosine, homocarnosine, and anserine present in muscle and brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 1988;85(9):3175.

Yamori Y, Taguchi T, Hamada A, Kunimasa K, Mori H, Mori M. Taurine in health and diseases: consistent evidence from experimental and epidemiological studies. J Biomed Sci. 2010;17 Suppl 1:S6.

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15 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Air-Frying, “Primal” Vegan-ish, Perfect Heath Diet, and Bad Rep or Rap”

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  1. I’d be interested in anyone who has recommendations for good air fryer brands. I have seen a ton of people talking about using them recently and now I’m intrigued.

    Also, I think your use of “bad rap” is absolutely correct. Atkins may HAVE a bad rep – as in reputation, but they GET a bad rap.

  2. Thanks for the air fryer study link. That’s the third time one of my comments has made it into a Dear Mark. Surely there’s some kind of prize for that, right? I’ll take a box of Macadamia Sea Salt Collagen Protein Bars and a half dozen bottles of Primal Kitchen ketchup, you’ve got my email.

    😉

    1. Daniel it seems more indicitive of your lack of knowledge, requiring you to lean on Mark for answers! 😛

  3. Mark is right about “bad rap.” This phrase is even listed in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary (under “rap”).

  4. Okay I’ve been really interested in air fryers but I haven’t seen one that specifies that it isn’t coated in Teflon. Is there one? Even if air frying is healthier, I don’t want to do it if I’m putting my food in Teflon.

    1. Maybe the Breville smart oven air? I have the smart oven pro and love it. Might have to upgrade after reading Mark’s post…

  5. I read the “typo” comment last week and got a good chuckle. One of those English words that many native speakers get wrong–the expression is a bad “rap” even though it makes sense it could be short for reputation. On a non-health related note, someone wrote in a business email today that something never “seizes to amaze” them. 😀

  6. What is this “air-frying”??? Was your reader simply talking about frying potatoes in an open frying pan, as opposed to immersed in hot fat??

    1. An air fryers is a small appliance. You can type “air fryer” into the search box of any large retailer’s website to see what they look like.

  7. I have a question for “Dear Mark”
    Here it is:

    I am completely and totally primal for 10 years now. Can I become O6 deficient ? Since 90% of my fat intake is saturated or O3.

    1. Do you eat nuts? Do you eat seeds? Poultry? Pepperoni?

      Yes, you get plenty of O6!

  8. Great questions (and answers!) I’ve been considering an air fryer just don’t like having too many different appliances. I’ve managed to make it this far without an Instant Pot, lol!
    Super impressed with Sophie’s near vegan diet, and with Mark’s suggestions. Some people need more animal protein than others.

  9. Doesn’t choline sources contribute to a significant elevation of blood TMAO, associated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events?