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: Carbs

The Secret to Great Abs

Admit it: half the reason we all watch Lost is because the main characters are just so great looking. They all have those ripped abs and defined arms that every guy and gal wants. Guess what? It’s not as tough as you’d think to look like Kate or the Doc (oops…lest I start yet another “which guy for Kate” debate, Sawyer, too). The big myth about getting a sleek, jelly-free belly is that you have to do endless stomach exercises. Hence the never-ending procession of rollers, riders, crunchers and other fitness gimmicks that never give you the washboard you want. You cannot roll, twist, or squeeze your way to a sexy stomach, no matter what the infomercials tell you. Here’s why: you already have abs! They might not be as developed as the dude on the cover of Men’s Health, but you already have abs. The problem is that fat is covering them up. Get rid of the fat, and your abs will show up just fine. Believe me, they are there. Doing stomach exercises is important for further developing those muscles and building core strength (more on that in a moment), but the best thing you can do as far as your torso is concerned – not only for improving confidence, your looks, and your comfort with your body, but your health – is to shed fat. Midsection fat is the most harmful kind of fat to your health and is a critical indicator of stress. Flex your stomach – even if you’re a couch potato, there’s a little muscle there. Now, if you are flexing and you can still grab abdominal fat in your hand, that’s exactly how much is surrounding your precious internal organs – and that’s a dangerous thing. Fat on your backside? Not so much. So by all means, crunch away – but your middle will actually get bigger if you don’t simultaneously shrink the fat. Spot toning without overall fat reduction is the wrong approach to getting flat abs, but it’s what most people do. (And notice, nothing changes much, and we all have to suffer through yet another magic abs infomercial with way too much spandex.) I’m a big proponent of taking care of your torso, not so you can look like a Lost extra (though that’s not a bad thing), but because a healthy middle means reduced chances of obesity (duh), diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and sleep problems. I’ll be bringing you tips on cutting fat in upcoming posts, but here’s a quick suggestion: cut out all refined carbs, sugar and alcohol for two weeks. I guarantee you’ll see a major reduction in bloat and midsection fat. Although excess calories are what adds the poundage, sugar is the culprit that goes right to the gut. It’s incredibly difficult to have a spare tire if you are primarily getting your calories from protein and produce. Be sure to check in tomorrow when I’ll be posting a discussion I recently had with Russ Suchala, … Continue reading “The Secret to Great Abs”

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The Sisson Spoof

Cereality: doing our part to make diabetes a national pastime.

Folks are raving about the “genius” of Cereality (thanks, Donny Deutsch), a chain of bars for grownups that lets them access their “inner child” again. Hey, when cocktails get old, I guess people need new ways to flood their body with lethal amounts of sugar.

The cereality of life may be fun – temporarily – but sooner or later, we have to get back to being grownups. I think a certain amount of play is healthy for adults, especially in our modern, fast-paced society. But I’m pretty disgusted by the simultaneous jading of youngsters and infantilization of adults going on everywhere you look. We are a nation of instant gratification addicts. It’s not just in health – baby boomers haven’t saved for retirement, fashion’s latest trends feature women looking like pigeon-toed little girls, and the general trend of commercials for both fast food and household items is to make grown men look like five-year-olds. Men hiding from mouthwash because it doesn’t taste good? Come on! I don’t want a mother, I want a wife, and I don’t want a bowl of Lucky Charms, either. I’ve got a family to care for and suspending reality for cereality isn’t the way to do it. I’ll pass on the obesity and diabetes, thanks. How about you?

In reality, relying on refined sugar – particularly at the beginning of your day – is an excellent way to tax your body’s insulin response and pave the way for diabetes so you can harm yourself and everyone you love. But in cereality, it’s all good fun!

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And This Is What I Call a Deal-Breaker

I’m sure you’ve heard the headlines about Orlistat, the obesity drug, being approved for OTC use. What you may not have heard about are the side effects of this fat-blocking drug. Orlistat, which will still be distributed by Rx as Xenical for morbidly obese patients, will now be sold as Alli in drugstores nationwide. A magic pill it ain’t, Apples. I have a big (pardon the pun) problem with this drug, for several reasons. 1. How It Works I have no doubt that Alli is going to fly off the shelves faster than bananas in a monkey farm. People want to lose weight without making changes, and that’s the unfortunate truth. Some of us are lazy; some are depressed; some don’t have the information; and like children believing in Santa, many simply want to believe in a magic cure. These folks are the ones GlaxoSmithKline is banking on. Drug companies love a sucker. Alli “works” (and even this is highly debatable) by blocking fat absorption. This is problematic, to put it lightly. First of all, fat does not make you fat. The human body was meant to operate in a fat-burning metabolic state. Whether you believe in God or cite Darwin or both, there’s absolutely no disputing this fact. The advent of grain agriculture is a new thing for humans, relatively speaking, and the transition from a flesh-and-vegetable diet to a grain-and-sugar diet has humans suffering in a glucose-burning state. The side effects of this high-sugar diet are horrendous: inflammation, heart disease, depression, insomnia, diabetes, mental degeneration, aging, obesity and cancer. Do you still really want to block fat? People I coach are shocked when I put them on a higher-fat diet because mainstream wisdom still worships at the altar of low-fat. Know what happens? Infections clear, cholesterol drops, energy increases, anxiety dissipates, skin glows, and the pounds melt away. Second, reducing fat deprives your body of vital nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, which all need fat to metabolize. Blocking fat means you can’t properly absorb critical nutrients, which is why Alli has to be taken with a multivitamin to offset some of the damage. 2. The Law of Unintended Consequences: Oily Stools? Alli is available under conditional approval. This is the same FDA approval stamp that got us into the HRT and Cox-2 disasters. How many thousands of women suffered from breast cancer and how many people had heart attacks as a result of these reckless approvals? Conditional approval. As I mentioned the other day in an update on the FDA’s drug woes, conditional approval is a process by which the FDA essentially allows the burden of safety to rest with drug companies. (Yes: more often than you want to know, the FDA lets pharmaceutical companies begin marketing and selling a drug before lengthy testing has been conducted.) This tacit trust is just super-duper for drug companies eager to sop up years of product development costs with fast cash, but I’m stumped as to how this is beneficial for actual … Continue reading “And This Is What I Call a Deal-Breaker”

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We Take the Sting Out

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites: All the news you want to click! 1) There’s something worse than a donut, actually. There’s a caffeinated donut. No cops were hurt in the making of this product. The rest of us should just stay away. 2) Cure for diabetes! That’s no joke. There is a very simple, free, enjoyable way to prevent – even cure – many cases of diabetes. It’s called exercise, and people aren’t doing it. In fact, diabetics seem to studiously avoid exercise, according to this clickativity. Guess what? Diabetes is a stupid, made-up disease. We invent it from a combination of sloth and sugar and stress. It’s not even an interesting or worthy disease. If health problems were softball, diabetes would be the one shuffling around in the dust while all the other problems got chosen first. Why? Because they matter. Because they strike innocent people. Because they need research and cures. Diabetes is a big joke compared to diseases we should be worrying about. Which is why, in our softball game, diabetes would go home crying. Over milk and cookies, little diabetes’ mother would explain: “Junior, 99% of the time, you’re simply not a disease deserving of any attention – not when there are so many other real diseases that don’t have cures and can’t be prevented. You just don’t need to exist. You’ve been needlessly invented and you have no excuse. In fact, your father and I haven’t quite known how to tell you this, but…you’re just a big, pointless waste of our health, time and money. In fact, I have to remind myself not to exercise, dear, or you’d simply vanish. Poof.” Just imagine if we ate caffeinated donuts. 3) Counting Calories? Don’t Read the Label Companies have all sorts of ways of making labels reflect the amount of calories they feel like their food contains, as opposed to how many calories the food actually contains. Slate brings us an excellent investigative piece on some of the crazy chemistry adventures of the food industry. May we point out: who really cares about calories? If you are eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and some good fats, you won’t exceed your caloric needs. Another tip-off to too many calories: feeling stuffed. That’s a definite indicator. We’re not opposed to nutrition and caloric information on food products – the more information, the better. But rest assured, if there’s a rule or a regulation, companies are going to find a way around it. Trans fat gets banned? No problem – they’ve just come up with a new refined fat that’s even worse. People don’t like the word “lard” on their ingredients’ list? That’s okay – just change it to mono- and di-glycerides and fool ’em all! It shouldn’t be a big surprise that calorie information is often misleading. Fortunately, if you eat fresh, whole foods, you won’t have to worry about calories. Cool, huh? 4) A Dangerous Cocktail Antidepressants, kids, and pharmaceutical companies: it’s a deadly combination. … Continue reading “We Take the Sting Out”

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Get It While It’s Hot!

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites: All the news, none of the preservatives. 1) Inflammation Causes Cancer This is huge news, so be sure to spread it! Scientists have long suggested a link between inflammation and cancer, but lacked conclusive evidence. Lo and behold… Inflammation is caused by many things. Among the most common culprits: injury, stress, smoking, alcohol abuse, obesity (this is a “two way street”), and poor diet. Pro-inflammatory foods are – you guessed it – the most common foods in the American diet. To avoid inflammation, avoid sugars and starches, fried foods, and processed, packaged items. Examples are waffles, pasta, french fries, snacks and chips, pastries, and frozen convenience meals. Translation: stay away from things that inflame! Inflammation is a common culprit behind obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and much more. In related health matters, acid reflux may lead to cancer, too. And guess what causes acid reflux? Your buddy, inflammation. Like the guy on the couch in your college days, it’s time to say goodbye if you’re letting inflammation hang around and damage your health. Here are important things to avoid if you want to reduce heartburn and reflux risk. 2) Fun Facts About Mark’s Daily Apple Did you know that hovering over links and pictures here at Mark’s Daily Apple can provide you with hours of hilarious entertainment? That’s because we pride ourselves on sneaking in funny (okay, maybe cheesy is more like it) comments when Mark is not looking. Don’t tell him. Another fun fact: See that nifty little description above Mark’s head? We’re going to be holding a contest to change it (which means the contest just started). One of the Bees likes “Better than bran muffins.” Mark says “Will blog for health.” We want to know what your idea is! We know there’s a witty, funny, healthy phrase inside you, just waiting to get out! So tell us. Shoot us your ideas by clicking “Ask Anything!” at the top of this page. A very cool and healthy reward goes to the first winner. Because hey, we might just change it again. 3) Embolization is the new surgery! Wait…what’s embolization? Scientists say that uterine fibroid tumors can be treated successfully without surgery, which involves serious risks, side effects and longer hospital stays. The trade-off: one in five women undergoing the embolization process has to come back for more traditional treatments. But it’s a reasonable and encouraging alternative to the invasive and permanent nature of hysterectomies. 4) Fizzy Fruit We’re in a tizzy over fizzy fruit (hey, we couldn’t resist). Thanks to Dr. Mercola for the heads-up: this ridiculously unhealthy “fruit” product aimed at children is being marketed with the help of some old Coca-Cola pros. Now if you’ll excuse us, the Fuming Fuji has blown his top and we need to call the contractor. Fruit is already fun for kids. We don’t need to make it fizzy – who needs yet another processed food? This is one more example of taking a food … Continue reading “Get It While It’s Hot!”

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The Fuming Fuji Says No to Enhanced Soft Drinks

The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it’s aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuming Fuji has decided to have a serious problem with enhanced soft drinks.

But, Fuming Fuji, you ask, if we’re going to have soda, isn’t it better to enhance it with vitamins and natural flavorings?

The Fuming Fuji says no!

The claim: Soft drinks are now coming in super-enhanced varieties loaded with vitamin C.

The catch: Soft drinks are now coming in super-enhanced varieties loaded with sugar. The Fuming Fuji cannot wait for super-enhanced lard cakes to be loaded with vitamin C also – what a difference to health that will make!

The comeback: People aren’t going to stop drinking soda. At least make it healthier!

The conclusion: Wise words. Perhaps we should add ginseng to bacon bits. Fuming Fuji predicts a new food revolution of selling the same old junk. Fuming Fuji asks what is next: Botox Burgers?

The catchphrase: When you get sick from this garbage food, at least you will not be deficient in Vitamin C.

Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji.

[tags]children’s health, soft drinks, vitamin C[/tags]

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