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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Tag: body fat

Weekend Special: Human Foie Gras

Rejoice!

A new clinical study was just released linking a low-carbohydrate diet to reduced liver fat. Get this, though – the scientists actually compared the low-carb diet to a low-calorie diet and found the low-cal diet severely lacking. Their results aren’t surprising, especially to our readers. In fact, we’re almost tempted to put this in the “Duh” files, but these guys seem to be on our side: they went into it with a hypothesis that maybe, just maybe, a low-carb diet could be helpful, and the results speak for themselves. A study that’s actually intended to investigate the advantages of a low-carb diet without the underlying assumption that CW-driven low-cal diets are better? No way we’re passing up a chance to discuss it!

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Oprah Hits 200 Pounds. Again.

If that sounds like a tabloid headline, well, it is. Except it was culled from Oprah’s own Magazine “O”.  It’s been an inside joke around here for years. We even thought about writing an entire book on the subject a few years ago “Why Can’t Oprah Lose Those Last 30 Pounds?” Well, now it turns out that not only couldn’t she lose those last 30, she has gained yet another 40 and has recently hit 200 pounds again. And all this happened despite the fact that she’s had daily access to world-famous personal trainer Bob Greene (OK, she was the one who made him famous). And she has world-famous doctor Mehmet Oz (author of You: The Owner’s Manual and You on a Diet – OK, she made him famous, too). Oh, and let’s not forget that other Oprah creation –  world-famous self-help guru Dr. Phil, who penned his own weight-loss tome, but could still stand to lose five or fifty pounds himself. These guys ought to be ashamed of themselves individually and collectively. Talk about the Emperor having no clothes! Especially Greene. The one single client who made him a gazillionaire and set him up for life, and he’s never been able to get any appreciable results with her. How can he sit on her show and talk about a healthy diet, “emotional eating” and proper exercise – and claim to be her trainer – with a straight face, while she balloons up in front of America?

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Loathe Handles: Belly Fat Increases Early Death Risk

Loathe your love handles? A study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests the extra belly fat isn’t just an eyesore; it can increase your risk of an early death.

While the link between extra belly padding and health problems has been long established, this new study is the first to show such a powerful link between pant size and death risk.

For the study, researchers from Imperial College London studied almost 360,000 people from nine European countries. The average age of participants at study onset was 51. Across the 10 year study period, 14,723 study participants died.

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New Study: Exercise is Good and Lowers Obesity

In a new study out of the Archives of Internal Medicine investigators discovered that even people with extra copies of the “fat mass and obesity” genes called FTO did NOT get fatter if they were active throughout the day. In other words, a so-called genetic predisposition to obesity was effectively avoided when the owners of the so-called defective genes were active four to five hours a day doing low-level aerobic stuff. And it didn’t have to be much: brisk walking, housecleaning and gardening were sufficient. Just like Grok did in the original Primal Blueprint. 900 calories day of this was plenty.

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Dear Mark: Healthy Body Weight?

Dear Mark,

What do you think about the claim that being heavier doesn’t necessarily mean you’re less healthy than someone who’s thin?

Thanks to reader Corey for his question and for sending the New York Times article that highlights recent research.

The article references a study published in this month’s Archives of Internal Medicine.

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The Definitive Guide to the Primal Eating Plan

In my recent Context of Calories post, I explained how the different macronutrients we eat at each meal (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) have different effects in the body. I suggested that, despite their raw calorie values, it’s far more important to get a lasting intuitive sense of how much of each macronutrient you need and when you need it (or not).

But how do you do that? How do you figure out the proper number of calories—and breakdown of fats, protein and carbs—to accomplish your fitness and health goals? To lose weight? Lose fat? Gain muscle? Maintain status quo? Run marathons?

In fact, most popular daily diets look at overall calories as the main factor in weight loss and weight gain. The age-old conservation of energy Conventional Wisdom says that “a calorie is a calorie.” From there, most diet gurus generally prescribe some formulaic one-size-fits-all breakdown of fats, protein and carbs. A classically trained Registered Dietitian will tell you that protein should be around 10-15% of calories, carbs should be 60% (and mostly from whole grains) and fat under 30%. This macronutrient breakdown stays the same regardless of how much weight you need to lose or what other goals you might have. Barry Sears has his 40/30/30 “Zone” diet. The USDA bases everything on a choice of between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day. But, as I said earlier, it’s not that simple. Calories do have context.

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Your Belly Bone’s Connected to Your Brain Bone

A study published online in this month’s Neurology suggests that people whose waistline expands once they hit age 40 are more likely to develop dementia in their 70s than their slimmer peers.

For the study, researchers measured the abdominal fat of 6,583 people between the ages of 40 and 45 living in Northern California. After an average of 36 years, 16% of participants had developed dementia.

Based on this data, the researchers determined that those with the highest abdominal fat measurements were roughly three times more likely to develop dementia than those with the lowest levels of abdominal fat. These findings held true regardless of whether the individual was of normal weight overall, overweight or obese, although the researchers note that future dementia risk was highest among obese individuals with high abdominal fat measurements. According to researchers, women were more likely than men to have high abdominal fat levels, along with non-whites, those with less than a high school level of education, smokers, and people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

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It’s My Neighbors Fault I’m Fat

A study appearing in a recent issue of the journal Urban Studies suggests that the neighborhood a person resides in can motivate – or discourage – their likelihood of exercising or remaining physically active.

For the study, researchers from The Ohio State University, the University of Chicago and the University of Utah reviewed data from the Metropolitan Chicago Information Center Metro Survey, the 1990 U.S. Census, and the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods Survey to determine the level of exercise of 8,782 residents of 373 neighborhoods in Chicago.

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Higher Cancer Risk if You’re Fat

A collaborative meta-analysis of more than a quarter million cases of cancer around the globe finds clearer association between obesity and several types of cancer. The findings are reported in the latest issue of The Lancet.
Following on from findings reported by the World Cancer Research fund last year, the study reveals that risk is increased not only in common cancers such as breast, bowel and kidney, but also in less common cancers such as blood cancers (myeloma and leukaemia) and melanoma (a form of skin cancer). Dr. Andrew Renehan and colleagues from the University of Manchester and Christie Hospital, did a meta-analysis (a combined analysis of 221 previous studies), looking at over 250,000 cases of cancer, to determine the risk of cancer associated with a 5kg/m2 increase in body mass index (BMI). The researchers found in men, a 5kg/m2 increase in BMI raised the risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma by 52%, thyroid cancer by 33%, and colon and kidney cancers each by 24%. In women, a BMI increase of 5kg/m2 increased the risk of endometrial (59%), gallbladder (59%), oesophageal adenocarcinoma (51%) and kidney (34%) cancers. They also noted weaker, but significant, positive associations between increased BMI and rectal cancer and malignant melanoma in men; postmenopausal breast, pancreatic, thyroid, and colon cancers in women; and leukaemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in both sexes.
via Science Daily

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Carl’s Jr.: ‘Feel Good About Being Fat’

The proliferation of over-indulgent double meat, double bacon, double cheese, double bypass-surgery monster burgers across our fast-food nation has been taken to an all new level as detailed by this article in Portfolio magazine. (If you don’t believe me take a look at this interactive feature.) It doesn’t take a 7 page magazine article to tell us that fast-food chains from sea to shining sea have hardly even paid lip service to the public outcry against their freakishly fatty fare. You can hardly go anywhere without being bombarded with ads of fit young guys diving into double-pattied, greasy behemoths “no holds barred.” The latest evil-genius marketing ploy uses opponents charges against them by developing a false sense of pride associated with eating something that is so extremely socially incorrect. The bigger burger you eat, they tell us, the higher your middle finger flies in the face of whiny, veggie-eating health nuts.

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