“re: Sunday with Sisson – One remarkable thing about life is that it seemingly opposes the increase in entropy/disorder that physics would normally associate with increases in heat and the passage of time. By moving and learning our bodies and brains become more ordered, and the efficiency with which they convert heat into work improves. This doesn’t violate the second law of thermodynamics because the total entropy of the universe still increases. The increase in the entropy of the environment exceeds the reduction in entropy associated with a more ordered state of brain or muscle structure and function. When we move, the entropy of the environment surrounding the muscles and nerves increases, so that ordered structures such as fascial adhesions do not form.
But this only happens if multiple systems interact in a complex manner – the logic doesn’t hold up if a joint lacks cartilage or synovial fluid, or if our diet lacks magnesium or something. The conversion of heat (calories) into internal order has its limits as well, because too much movement degrades our bodies. Things like life and optimal performance are only possible for a finite range of movement intensity, specific patterns of movement, and the right balance of dozens of dietary inputs. Bed rest and chronic cardio are both sub-optimal; too much or too little movement in a joint is sub-optimal; too much or too little of an essential nutrient is sub-optimal.
I think consciousness has evolved to detect deviations from optimality in these complex internal states and simultaneously adjust many internal components using comparatively simple behaviors – just move in a way that doesn’t cause too much pain, and eat the foods which appetite dictates (but obviously modern food chemistry, desk jobs, etc., mess this up). We all get the sense that we crave particular foods if we lack a particular nutrient, and this subconsciously drives our eating behavior. Primal folks like to avoid processed foods because they contain many calories and few nutrients, causing us to crave more food to get the nutrients that we need, which results in overeating and weight gain. Scientifically this is speculation, but there is some New and Noteworthy science here. Not sure if I can post links, but a search for ‘Response of the microbiome-gut-brain axis in Drosophila to amino acid deficit’ should produce a new paper that demonstrates the causal connection between a specific nutrient deficiency and an appetite for a specific type of food. Sure it’s drosophila, but presumably the mechanism is similar in humans, and to my knowledge it’s the first such demonstration of the sort in any species. So yeah, you could consider movement the key to everything in life because without it you’d be dead, and stuff breaks if you turn it too hard, but like diet and social interaction, it’s just one key on the chain.”
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.