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: monounsaturated fats

Dear Mark: Potato Diet, Lean Gains, EVOO/Butter/Ghee, Exogenous Ketones, and Early IFing

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering several questions drawn from the comment board of last week’s post on fasting vs carb restriction. First, how do I square my recommendations with the successful reports of potato dieters losing weight on a high-carb tuber diet? Second, is Leangains optimal for mass gain? Third, how do I use extra virgin olive oil, butter, and ghee? Fourth, could exogenous ketones help a man with dementia, MS, and seizures? Fifth, how should a woman with stalled weight loss integrate fasting?

Let’s go:

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Supplements For Brain Health: What Nutrients and Supplemental Foods Make the Most Difference

As humans, our most important bodily endowment isn’t our claws, sharp teeth, powerful haunches, iron grips, prehensile tails, venomous secretions, or aerosolized musk. It’s the brain. We use it to shape the world around us, to bend physical reality to our will, to manipulate matter and create powerful technological terrors. These days, the human brain is more important than ever. If you want to enjoy life, pursue and succeed at your passions, to conquer your little corner of reality—you need a healthy brain. Brain health is key to total health—and quality of life.

By some analysis at least, however, neurogenerative diseases remain on the rise and take an ever more extreme emotional and economic toll. So, how do we keep our brain health intact? While much of it comes down to doing the things that keep your brain healthy and avoiding the things that harm it—exercising instead of sitting on the couch, breathing exclusively fresh air instead of tobacco smoke, sleeping instead of staying up—another big variable is the food we eat.

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How Ancestry Might Inform Your Fat Choices

One of the more exciting developments over the past few years has been the explosion in population genetics research. People are a diverse lot, and even though we’re all people who essentially want the same things out of life (and we’re working with the same basic machinery), there’s a lot of wiggle room. It’s not just information for curiosity’s sake. The information researchers are uncovering about human ancestry can have real ramifications for how said humans should eat.

A couple years ago, I wrote a post laying out a few guidelines for using your personal ancestry to inform your diet. Today, I’m going to talk about another one: polyunsaturated fat metabolism.

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Dear Mark: Carbs and Serum Saturated Fat, Fat and Polyphenols, and Avocado Oil for Searing

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. All three questions come from last week’s saturated fat post. First, I explore the true reason for increases in serum palmitic acid—too many carbs. Second, I investigate whether dairy or saturated fat affect polyphenol absorption, and whether it actually matters. And finally, I discuss the merits of avocado oil for high heat cooking and searing.

Let’s go:

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10 Reasons You Should Be Eating More Monounsaturated Fat

Amidst all the debate over how saturated fat and PUFAs differentially affect our health, we often forget about monounsaturated fats, or MUFAs. These are almost universally tolerated, if not loved. No one really maligns them. Vegans and carnivores alike consume them on a regular basis. You find ’em in nuts and seeds alongside PUFAs. You find them in animal fats alongside saturated fats. In most healthy diets, whether alternative (Primal, keto)  or conventional (Mediterranean, AHA), monounsaturated fats feature prominently. They can’t really be avoided. But they’re an afterthought in hard core nutrition geek circles. Probably because no one really attacks them. Probably because they’re uncontroversial.

Let’s change that. Today, I’m going to explain why, in explicit detail, you should be eating more monounsaturated fat—if you aren’t already.

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12 Surprising Things You Can Do With Avocado Oil

If it were up to me, I’d have a steady supply of perfect, ripe avocados on hand. They’d have no blemishes, no bruising, no weird soft spots, no stringy veins running through. Every avocado would be ripe and somehow manage to stand up to rough handling. They wouldn’t be watery or mushy—just creamy. Life would be good, and I’d probably retire and begin an all-avocado diet. But that’s not reality. Avocados are a crap shoot. They take forever to ripen. There’s usually something wrong. Half the time I have to cut out half the flesh just to approach edibility. And I say this living in the home state of the best avocados in the world.

Enter avocado oil. No, it’s not quite the same as a plump avocado. No, you can’t make guacamole out of it, although some disgusting heathen has probably tried using gums and thickeners. For that it falls short of a plump avocado. But because first-press avocado oil—the kind I make—retains most of the fat-soluble nutrients, antioxidants, carotenoids, and chlorophylls found in the fruit, just like extra virgin olive oil retains olive nutrients, first-press avocado oil provides the power of the avocado in a compact, reliable, convenient, pourable package.

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Dear Mark: Low-Fat Versus Low-Carb Study and Plain Ol’ Olive Oil

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions from readers. First, I field one of the dozens of emails I received concerning the latest low-carb versus low-fat study making the media rounds. The reports have ranged from declarations of low-carb dieting’s imminent death to more reasonable discussions of the actual paper. The Time article actually keeps things closer to the latter, which was nice. For the final question, I discuss the merits of regular old olive oil. Is extra virgin olive oil the only one worth entertaining?

Let’s go:

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What’s So Healthy About Avocado Oil?

It doesn’t take much digging to figure out that most of the oils we eat in this country are fantastically poor choices. There’s the heavy processing to consider as well as the GMO sourcing, the rancidity, and dramatic omega fatty acid imbalance to name a few unsavory points. Sure, we make different choices in our own kitchens, but sometimes we find ourselves wishing we could recreate a certain taste in a Primal version of an old favorite recipe or just find a better flavor in one of our new favorite Primal meals. As a result, even the most Primally devout among us are on the lookout for the healthiest choices with the right practical adaptability. (And, oh yeah, good taste.) In the interest of relishing our food while respecting our bodies, we hunt down lesser appreciated alternatives. Plus, there’s just something fun about undermining the status quo to support worthy culinary underdogs. One of the great finds of my Primal journey has undoubtedly been avocado oil—a little recognized healthy fat with big versatility.

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The Quest for a Healthy Primal Mayonnaise (plus a Limited-Time Sweepstakes)

In a few short months, my team and I will be unveiling a new product that I’m confident you’ll be very interested in consuming. No, it’s not a book. It’s not an ebook, either, nor is it a new certification program or supplement. It’s something you eat – something you literally consume with your mouth. It’s a food product for which people have been clamoring and combing the grocery aisles, both brick and mortar and virtual, in vain. It’s mayo.

We’ll be releasing a Primal mayonnaise using avocado oil as the base.

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Crispy and Creamy Avocado Fries

Avocado fries have that tempting combination of a crispy outer layer, creamy middle and addictive fried flavor. Made with nothing more than avocado, coconut, egg, salt and spices, it’s a pure and healthful snack or salad topping loaded with beneficial fatty acids.

Before you scarf down an entire plateful, keep in mind that a little bit of avocado goes a long way. The good news is that avocado fries are both rich and filling so a small portion is plenty satisfying. This simple recipe gives avocado fries a Southwest flair, adding cumin and chili powder to the mix. You could take this theme a little further by adding finely chopped cilantro to the coating and finishing them with a squirt of fresh lime.

One last thing: Don’t make this recipe unless you have a bottle of hot sauce in the fridge. It adds the extra kick that sends avocado fries over the top.

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