The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
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
For anyone who’s experienced it, the frustration can be miserable. The countless tossing and turning, the minutes that tick by (turning into hours), and you STILL haven’t gotten a modicum of decent sleep. No matter how hard you try to ignore it, that urge to constantly move or stretch your legs just won’t let up.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS), aka Willis-Ekbom disease, affects a decent chunk of the population: thought estimates vary wildly, this 2017 representative survey places its prevalence between 5.7 and 12.3% of the population. That’s up to around 40 million people in the U.S. alone who go to bed every night knowing they’ll likely be kept awake for hours with that unrelenting, restless sensation.
Valter Longo is a leading fasting researcher. Since the early 2000s, he’s been one of the top guys running legitimate fasting studies in cancer patients, regular people, and, of course, rodents. He’s gotten great results, elucidating the idea that fasting causes human cells and tissues to enter “survival mode” which allowed them to survive the withering effects of cancer treatment. I’ve cited many of his studies in previous posts.
Several years ago, he came up with an “easier” way to induce the fasting effect in people: the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD). Instead of having people skip food altogether—which may not sound crazy to readers of this blog, but probably does to most people—he designed a low-calorie 5-day diet for people to follow at periodic points throughout the year. Longo thinks the FMD is the best way for people to reduce their risk of aging-related diseases, extend lifespan, and live healthier, longer lives. It’s designed to give cancer patients and other people access to the benefits without the mental deprivation that often accompanies true fasting.
“Right now, skeptics are looking at keto and calling it the latest fad diet that will likely fade over time. From an evolutionary perspective, this observation is objectionable. Robb Wolf, former research biochemist and author of the bestselling The Paleo Solution and Wired to Eat, makes the observation that keto is very likely the default Homo sapiens factory setting. This is because a steady supply of food—especially a high-carbohydrate load—was not part of our experience until civilized times. At the same time, the complex and rapidly evolving human brain desperately needed a massive percentage of our daily calories (20-25 percent) in the form of glucose or the glucose-like substitute of ketones. If we didn’t evolve to make ketones, we would have been forced to resort to the highly inefficient process of gluconeogenesis every time our brains ran short of fuel. Stripping down lean muscle to fuel brain function is no fun when you trigger fight-or-flight reactions during the afternoon blues, but it’s really no fun when you are starving with no guarantee of your next meal.”
From The Keto Reset Diet
Ah, chocolate. What a life.
According to the Aztecs, the great feathered serpent god of wisdom and creation known as Quetzalcoatl introduced the cocoa bean to mankind. It’s likelier that it originated in the Amazon rainforest and wound its way north to Mesoamerica, whose inhabitants figured out they could domesticate, ferment, roast, crush, and mix cocoa with water, chilies, and spices to produce a bitter, intoxicating drink. It then took a boat across the Atlantic, learning Spanish along the way. Europe wasn’t sure what to make of the bitterness until someone spilled a little sugar into the drink. Cocoa quickly swept across the continent, giving rise to large corporations that persist to this day, like Cadbury, Nestle, Hershey, and Lindt.
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First up, what are we to make of a recent study claiming to show that “high-fat diets” are harmful to rodents? Is it truly a high-fat diet, and what does it mean for us? For the second question, I field a comment from a reader experiencing a confluence of troubling symptoms and test results on his keto diet. And third, does keto actually cure diabetes, or just manage it?
Readers, especially those new to Primal eating, frequently request quick and easy ideas for ancestral cooking. While new recipes may be inspiring, sometimes expanding your kitchen repertoire doesn’t require whole new meals—but new flavors you can infuse into multiple recipes you’ve already mastered. More than just another ingredient to extend the cooking process, herbs and spices are quick, inexpensive additions that can literally transform just about any Primal meal. Parsley and cinnamon need no introduction, but how well acquainted are you with sumac and fenugreek? When was the last time you added lemon balm or Mexican oregano to a recipe?