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: Diet & Nutrition

Smart Fuel

SMART FUEL

Avocados are at the tail end of their season right now, so you can scoop up these deliciously fatty treats for a great price. The best part about this rich fruit? The fat is good for you! Especially in winter, when skin is prone to dryness, an extra daily dose of beneficial fatty acids can be all it takes to stay comfortable in your skin.

Slice, score, or mash your avo, drizzle with a little lemon or lime juice, add a dash of kosher salt, and you’ve got yourself a really nutritious snack. Keep in mind that, like nuts, avocados are very high in calories, so enjoy in moderation.

Fuel up with this smart pick before the weekend hits!

[tags] good fats, avocados, low-carb snack, omega-3 [/tags]

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The Buzz

WORKER BEES DAILY BITES

Where to start!

Health 2.0 – it’s a term now – is taking off in a big way.

You can be part of it here at MDA! Collaboration, hand-built information, and alternative health news and views – now that’s personalized health care. Check out a health care industry blogger’s take on it by hitting this clickativity.

We’re anti-peanut and not afraid to say it!

Our fellow blogger Dr. Joe Mercola blogs about the latest shenanigans of the food industry. Not even peanuts are safe. Peanuts! But we still like almonds. (Psst…peanuts are full of molds and toxins. Not exactly your best bet for lunch. The government actually allows what’s considered a permissible amount of contamination. Thanks, Uncle Sam. We feel the love.)

You have to wonder when peanut butter companies save you the trouble of using a knife and talk about that like it’s a good thing.

How Healthy Are You, America?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released its annual health report. We’ll be getting into some of the 2006 numbers tomorrow. Take a gander now if you’re curious…

Grandma’s Favorite Dish Made Your DNA?

Not only is a mother’s diet during pregnancy important for the health of the child…but so was Grandma’s. A new study reported in Science Daily has discovered that eating habits can have an effect on DNA through several generations. Now, this was a “murine” study – in other words, some squeakers (mice).

So don’t feel too guilty about that year you had a little too much love for chai soy lattes. However, the important message is that genetics and health are more complicated than we’ve previously thought. Makes dinner take on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

[tags] DNA, food, peanut butter, web 2.0 [/tags]

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Home on the Range

Sara here. I have a little issue with the high prices and low quality of eggs at the supermarket. At least, I do now, because when Junior Apple Janet wrote in with the following, I had to spread the word:

“Home with my parents for the holidays, I was a bit confused when Dad came home with 88 cent eggs. Yes, 88 cents. More confusing still was the rainbow of colors and sizes of the eggs – not sure I’ve ever eaten green eggs before. I don’t know when my parents started doing this, but I am a convert. In fact, I ate nothing but eggs the whole time. My folks humored me until I insisted on serving omelets for the third day in a row. I couldn’t get over how much better farm eggs are! Why isn’t everyone doing this?”

Farm-fresh eggs are a good thing. They’re fresher, tastier, more nutritious, and cost less than your average parking meter. Who would bother with the thin-shelled, bland, pale store variety of eggs when real farm eggs are available?

What’s going on, Apples? If you are lucky enough to be living in or near a rural area, I recommend that you check out the egg situation.

The purpose of this post (yes, there is a point) is to highlight some of the better-egg tips in case you, like myself, aren’t within easy access of a farm.

Egg-Buying Advice:
– Go organic, of course.
– Give each egg in the carton a quick feel to make sure it’s not cracked and stuck to the carton.
– Choose Omega-3-enhanced eggs for an easy fatty acid boost every day.
– Look for eggs that are a little bit chalky or matte. The shinier the shell, the older the egg.
– Try to pick eggs that don’t have a lot of irregularities and bumps – an older chicken giveaway. Older chicken = inferior eggs.
– Don’t worry about cholesterol.

And, while we’re on the topic of eggs, did you know that egg foo yung (an American Chinese invention) is a surprisingly healthy restaurant food? Fried rice, egg rolls and the endless procession of cornstarch-based sauces in many American Chinese restaurants aren’t exactly your best bet for nutrition. But egg foo yung is typically sauce-free, high in protein, low in fat and sugar, and usually has a few veggies thrown in. It’s really not much different from an omelet. Speaking of omelets…

[tags] organic, eggs, egg buying tips, egg health benefits, egg foo yung, free-range [/tags]

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Sticks & Stones May Break Your Bones…

BUT NOT NEARLY AS EFFECTIVELY AS HEARTBURN PILLS

A large-scale study out of Britain has reported that taking popular heartburn medications like Tagamet and Pepcid AC can seriously increase your risk of bone fractures, because the drugs block calcium absorption.

Check out the article – here’s the clickativity.

Of course, the pill pushers contrarians say that a simple calcium pill can offset the damaging effects of heartburn medications. That’s classic – needing a second pill to address problems caused by the first pill, which is unnecessary in the first place.

An easy fix for heartburn is avoiding foods that cause it. Getting daily exercise, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol are also good ways to avoid heartburn.

Each year, about 300,000 older Americans break a bone, and 60,000 of them will die from the injury.

Heartburn medications are a $10 billion-a year cash cow.

Sara adds:

And surprise, surprise: Ole’ Denmark did a heartburn study last year but reported that heartburn medications are, wouldn’t you know, perfectly safe. I keep trying to give the motherland the benefit of the doubt, so I would like to cast doubt on this new British study, but seeing as how it was funded by the U.S. government and GlaxoSmithKline, I have to say, something is rotten in Denmark.

[tags] Tagamet, Pepcid AC, heartburn, pharmacology, calcium, osteoporosis [/tags]

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Clickativity Scene

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites 1) Gosh, thanks, Labelman! The FDA has created an interactive online tool to help people better understand the Nutrition Facts Label. Visitors to the site learn to “Make Your Calories Count” with the help of Labelman. Yes. The program helps explain percentages, serving sizes and caloric information. The Nutrition Facts Label has been criticized virtually since its introduction. The label is perhaps misleading to some because it is based upon a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet, which is much more than many people, especially women, need to consume. Additionally, nutritional percentages are somewhat misleading. A candy bar may “only” have 20% of one’s daily recommended saturated fat intake, but that doesn’t make a candy bar healthy. The big problem with this percentage standard is that the actual product may be ridiculously high in fat, sodium or sugar, but appear to be “low” compared to the total daily limit. For example, a soda may contain about one-eighth of the recommended daily sugar for a 2,000-calorie-consumer. But soda is nothing more than sugar water and is therefore one of the worst things you can put in your body. Cynics in the health industry point out that this “percentage” comparison standard, which does not actually reflect the individual merit of the product, almost encourages unhealthy eating habits. We’re not sure how helpful a guy named Labelman could be, but we want to know why the standards are what they are, anyway. Who says 160 grams of carbohydrates a day is desirable? Is saturated fat really so terrible if it’s properly balanced with health fatty acids like Omega-3? And how about serving sizes – who really only drinks 8 ounces of something or eats 7 chips? Discuss, Apples. 2) Seven Ways, Same Result The New England Journal of Medicine released a study today that says newer tests are not appreciably better at predicting heart attacks than standard tests. Now, if you run a Google search for this story, you’ll find that they are all suspiciously alike – even newspapers in India are running the same lines. What that means? A press release or a statement from NEJM, most likely. (Yes, this happens all the time.) The study of some 3,900 people found that testing for CRP, homocysteine and other substances (considered the new rock stars in heart disease treatment) aren’t much better at predicting heart problems than a good old cholesterol or blood pressure test. This study reveals some interesting things. Let’s read between the lines. It doesn’t necessarily mean that CRP or homocysteine tests are bad; it simply means that obvious factors are enough to determine risk. Guess what those obvious factors are? Even the conservative NEJM discusses them: However, the standard risk factors — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history, advanced age, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and diabetes — proved to be just as accurate when it came to predicting heart disease. Testing cholesterol is still a great way to go, not because cholesterol is bad (like mainstream … Continue reading “Clickativity Scene”

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Are Germs Making You Fat?

A fascinating article in New Scientist discusses the impact that germs have on your weight.

In short, our digestive tracts are host to millions of microbes that aid in fermenting and digesting food. There are germs that help break down carbohydrates, germs that help digest fats, and so on. What’s fascinating is the new finding that obese people have more of a particular type of microbe that not only digests “better” but digests carbohydrates “better”.

However, in this situation, “better” is not better at all. In times when food was scarce (certainly not a problem now), being able to maximize every bit of nutritional value from each bite was a benefit. That’s not such a good thing now, particularly for carbohydrate digestion. What this means is that being overweight makes you more likely to become even more overweight.

This is really big news, Apples.

It’s a self-perpetuating system. The more carbohydrates are taken in – because the body is becoming better and better at digesting them – the more those carbohydrates are stored as fat. The body literally is set on a “get fat” course because the digestive tract becomes “efficient” at turning food into stored fat. All thanks to germs.

These digestive microbial bacteria are developed early in life – within the first few years. You can see how a childhood spent eating bad foods sets people up for a lifetime of obesity. And because of the self-perpetuating nature, the more fat you get, the more fat you get.

There’s good news, however. When study participants were put on a reduced-carbohydrate diet, the carbohydrate-friendly microbes began to die, coming closer to levels found in thin people. And, of course, the individuals lost weight. Eventually, the body can be retrained, and the digestive microbes we want – the ones that don’t extract quite as much from the food we eat – increase. All it takes is the first step, and the body can be retrained.

More on this in coming posts, Apples.

Aside from the carbohydrate and weight issues, there’s a further issue to consider: should we be supplementing with beneficial bacteria? And if so, which kind?

[tags] digestive tract, bacteria, gut bugs, germs, carbohydrates, metabolism [/tags]

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