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: women’s health

Dear Mark: Osteoporosis, Body Fat Gain on Caloric Deficit, and Stalling on Primal

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First, I try to help out Karson, a guy who’s trying to convince his osteoporotic, sun-starved mother to try a few lifestyle interventions that may improve her condition without coming off as smug. Hopefully I’m persuasive enough. Next, is it really possible to gain body fat on a caloric deficit, or is something else going on? And finally, Dawn seems to be doing everything right, but she’s not losing any more weight — weight that she feels should be coming off. What can she try next?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Red Meat and Breast Cancer, Net Carbs, and Solutions for Excess, Unavoidable Sun

For today’s Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First up, I discuss the latest study claiming that red meat will kill us all. Or maybe it’ll be killing roughly half of us all, seeing as how this paper concerns red meat and women’s breast cancer risk. Next, I give my position on the “net carbs” issue. Do we subtract fiber, leave it as is, or do something else entirely? And finally, I talk a lot about the importance of getting enough sunlight. But what happens when getting enough sun isn’t the problem? What can an outdoor worker do about too much sun?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Tweaking Sprints for a Stressful Life; Carrie’s Primal Transition

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I answer one question and Carrie answers another. First up is one from Diane, a (full-time) working mother who’s noticed something interesting about her variable response to sprinting: when she’s relaxed and low-stress or on vacation, sprints lean her out; when she’s working and inundated with stress and responsibilities and concerns, sprints make her retain or even gain body fat. Since she realizes the power of sprinting and doesn’t want to give it up completely, Diane wants a few tips for hacking sprints on a high-stress lifestyle. Next, Carrie gives a quick overview of her transition into the Primal lifestyle and breaks down what Primal living looks like for her these days.

Let’s get into it:

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Dear Mark: Sprints and Blood Sugar, Resistant Starch as Carbs, PUFA in Coconut Oil, Cycling as Chronic Cardio, and Morning Sickness

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I cover four questions and my wife Carrie covers one. First, I discuss the effects of sprinting on blood sugar in the short term and long term. Next is whether or not one counts resistant starch as a carb in their daily allotment. Third, I identify the actual proportion of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in coconut oil. Finally, I give my take on cycling as a gentler mode of chronic cardio relative to running. Carrie wraps things up with a short review of the evolutionary reasons for morning sickness.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Milk Thistle and Estrogen, Low Libido, and Pollution Mitigation

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First, I cover the potentially estrogenic effects of milk thistle extract and discuss whether or not it’s a problem for your endocrine health that outweighs the benefits to liver health. Next, I discuss the reasons why someone might have a low libido eating a paleo style diet, and give a few potential solutions to explore. And finally, Carrie helps a reader figure out some ways to mitigate or avoid the damage wrought by air pollution. It’s everywhere these days, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit there and accept our fate.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Resistant Starch, Zinc Deficiency, and Something New

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. In the first section, I discuss the extremely hot (and then allowed to cool off) topic of resistant starch, explaining who might benefit from it, who might not, and where you can find further information on the subject. Second, I briefly go over how a zinc deficiency might arise and how you can address it on a Primal eating plan. The third section is bit of a surprise, featuring a very special guest writer. Since this is text and you guys can just skip ahead to see who it is, there’s admittedly very little suspense. But still. It’s a surprise that I think you’ll enjoy and appreciate.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Conditioning Bare Feet for Rough Surfaces, and Residual Weight Gain After a Miscarriage

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I answer two good questions from readers. First up, I discuss the conditioning of bare feet for the purposes of walking across a multitude of surfaces. Believe it or not, much of the conditioning happens upstairs – in the brain. Then I give a little advice to a woman who’s having trouble losing stubborn weight after a miscarriage. She’s doing everything right without getting anywhere; could that actually be the problem?

Let’s go:

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Co-Sleeping: The Risks and the Benefits

Co-sleeping, bed sharing, or whatever else you want to call it – is an abomination of a behavior that no self-respecting mammal engages in. If you don’t believe me, consider how other mammals handle their kids. You know the old can and string phones we used to make as kids? New chimpanzee parents will string a vine between two empty coconut shell halves, placing one half in the baby chimp’s nest in the next tree over and the other half in the parents’ nest, allowing them to monitor the baby’s cries and activity during the night. If the baby wakes up, they’ll swing on over to the other tree and produce a hairy teat until the little chimp quiets down. Then it’s back to bed. The first thing female voles do after giving birth is dig a separate hole in the ground where the infants will sleep. Same with gophers. Kangaroos are famous for their pouches, which for years researchers assumed the mothers used to keep their infants safe, with easy access to the nipples. But in actuality, the kangaroo pouch is used to store shrubs, grasses, various other edible plants, and boxing gloves, as well as cover up their breasts (kangaroos are incredibly shy and modest creatures).

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Dear Mark: First Trimester Frustration, Liver Dosage, and NY Times Barefoot Piece

Being pregnant is tough – or so I hear. You’re tasked with creating a child, with actually building an entire human being bit by bit from scratch. You have to carry that child, even as it grows to seven, eight, or even nine pounds or more inside your body. And all the while, your body seems to be rebelling against “what is best.” You want to eat the best food and get the right exercise and do all the right things, but what happens when your body fights you? What are you supposed to do when all you can stomach are mac and cheese and tortilla chips? For the first section, I try to help a woman in her first trimester with these issues. Next, I discuss the question of retinol overload from dietary liver, along with whether or not we need to worry about nutrient density in other organs, too. And finally, I give my take on a recent NY Times piece on barefoot running that seemed to call its usefulness and relevance into question.

Let’s go:

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Gender Differences in Fat Metabolism

A few months ago, I addressed the role gender plays in how we respond to intermittent fasting. That post sparked a great discussion, and I’ve since received a fair number of emails from readers eager to learn other ways in which gender plays a role in our health and nutrition. One email in particular set me off on a round of research. So, a hat tip to you, Winifred, for giving me something to think, learn, and write about. I hope everyone finds it to be helpful.

As you may know, women and men store and metabolize fat differently from each other, and a 2008 paper (PDF) reviewed the evolutionary reasons for these differences. Here’s a summary of their findings and few other noteworthy factoids:

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