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: saturated fats

How to Do Keto with Dietary Restrictions (and a Giveaway)

Almost everyone has at least one dietary restriction. Maybe your religion or cultural traditions prohibit specific foods or food pairings. Maybe your physiological response to certain foods—an allergy or intolerance—prevent you from eating them. Or perhaps your immediate goals preclude a food’s inclusion in your diet.

Like every other diet, keto is already circumscribed by basic principles, which can make further limitations difficult to accommodate. But the benefits of going keto, at least for part of the time, are well-established and worth the effort. You want to do it. How can you go keto while honoring your own dietary bounds?

It depends on the restriction.

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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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Will Saturated Fat Kill Your Cells?

No matter what kind of evidence comes out to the contrary, the anti-saturated fat sect won’t relinquish its dogma. Whenever its advance is rebuffed—perhaps by an observational study showing the lack of relations between saturated fat intake and heart disease, or a study showing the beneficial effects of saturated fat on multiple health markers—they regroup and try another route. The latest is a study that several readers sent to me, worried that the attack had finally made it through the defenses. In it, researchers purport to show that saturated fat increases the solidity and rigidity of cellular membranes, reducing membrane fluidity and eventually leading to cell death.

Is it true? Have we finally lost? What was this study all about?

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Coconut Oil Is Going to Kill Us All (or Maybe Not…)

I was beginning to rest on my laurels. It had been months since the inbox had flooded with upset readers asking me to address the latest episode of the conventional establishment’s attack on healthy food and living. Until last week, when people starting freaking out about the American Heart Association’s attack on coconut oil. As USAToday put it, “Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy.”

I was surprised. While I get most of my scientific references from USAToday (the “Works Cited” section of my upcoming keto book is just a single link to USAToday.com) and they’ve never let me down in the past, I didn’t know what to make of their coconut oil claims.

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Dear Mark: Fat Roundup

Last week, I wrote about my 16 favorite fats. You had questions. For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll answer some of them. First, I explain why my keto salad recipe didn’t include any dense protein. Second, I explain a few options for steaming heavy cream. Third, I tell where I get my mac nuts. Fourth, I discuss whether you should worry about dioxins in pastured eggs. And fifth, I address the question of dietary fat and fatty liver.

Let’s go:

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My 16 Favorite Fat Sources (Plus My Latest Big-Ass Salad)

Going ketogenic has made me hone in on my fat sources even more than before. This is an essential practice for anyone seriously pursuing a ketogenic diet. As fat will comprise the majority of your calories, you need to maximize the nutrition you’ll obtain from the fats you choose. You could technically go keto using canola oil, refined coconut oil, and MCT oil powder—many of the ketogenic formulas used in epilepsy clinics are highly processed and refined—but I wouldn’t recommend it. Micronutrients still matter. They arguably matter even more when your food sources are restricted.

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Mark’s Big-Ass Keto Salad

For years now, all those who know me (including readers of the blog) have heard me talk about my daily “big-ass salad.” It’s been my lunch of choice for a couple of decades at least, and I don’t see that ever changing. Over the years I’ve adapted it to my personal tastes, nutritional experiments, and—lately—my keto practice.

Some people minimize vegetable intake when they’re eating keto. I’ve never found that necessary or beneficial. In fact, I highly recommend plenty of above-ground vegetables and even berries for an optimally varied, nutrient-dense keto diet. That’s my Primal take because personally I practice keto with an eye toward strategy, not restriction.

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Dear Mark: Red Blood Cell Fatty Acid Content and Obese Paleo Figurines

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a pair questions that, well, question some of the fundamental principles of Primal living and eating. First up concerns a study seeming to show that linoleic acid (from seed oils) is a healthier, less inflammatory choice than olive oil or fish oil. Could it be true? Find out below. Then, I discuss the existence of obese female figurines from the paleolithic as evidence of obesity in actual paleo populations. Does a doll with a belly mean the Primal way of eating, living, and moving needs to be reworked?

Let’s go:

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Grass-fed Vs. Conventional: When Does It Matter Most?

By now, you’re convinced of the general overall superiority of grass-fed, pasture-raised meat. If you come at it from the nutrition angle, grass-fed wins across the board. If you’re more concerned with the ethics of animal husbandry, grass-fed animals live overall better lives than animals in concentrated feedlots. If you worry about the use of antibiotics in agriculture and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, grass-fed animals receive less medication (and sometimes none). Whatever your inclination, animals who range free and nibble their biologically appropriate diet of various grasses tend to be happier, healthier, and produce more nutrient-dense meat, milk, and fat. It’s objectively “better.” Even an honest vegan will admit that.

But the stuff is expensive. I have the luxury of buying and eating solely grass-fed, pasture-raised meat and dairy, but not everyone can. Most folks have to choose. They have to pick their battles. Today’s post will help you choose wisely.

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Dear Mark: Fasting Issues, Pullup Neck Pain, and Red Palm Oil

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions. The first one comes from Neda, who’s experiencing some issues that may be related to her fasting schedule. How should she modify her fasting? Or should she eliminate it altogether? The second question concerns a common issue: neck pain during pullups. Why does it happen and how can we avoid it? And finally, what’s the deal with red palm oil? I give my take on the controversial oil, drawing on randomized controlled trials and personal feelings about orangutans to arrive at my conclusion.

Let’s go:

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