Weekend Link Love – Edition 288

Weekend Link LoveBoth The Primal Connection (Amazon, Audible, iTunes) and The Primal Blueprint (Amazon, Audible, iTunes) are now available in audiobook form. If you’ve been reading MDA for awhile but have yet to read the definitive texts that expand upon the message, these audiobooks are a great way to get caught up in a few hours.

Episode #11 of The Primal Blueprint Podcast is now live. I answer your questions and give a quick recap of PrimalCon Vacation Tulum. If you haven’t already subscribed on iTunes, do so now and you’ll never miss an episode.

Research of the Week

In addition to being a source of healthy fats and polyphenols, dark chocolate also provides benefits by acting as a prebiotic, feeding good gut bacteria, and spurring the creation of anti-inflammatory fermentation products.

Three all-nighters a week may cause brain damage (in rodents).

A low-starch, low-sugar diet supplemented with resistant starch improved metabolic health in zoo gorillas.

The ubiquity of “extreme skeletal structures” and lower limb “robusticity” among Neandertal and homo sapiens fossil remains indicate a daily activity load for our ancestors that exceeded the habits of modern elite athletes.

Eating lots of animal protein appears to be protective against cognitive, physical, and social decline in the elderly.

Oh, and the more muscle you have, the longer you’ll live.

Archaeologists recently found the earliest known case of cancer in humans – an Egyptian from 3000 years ago.

Interesting Blog Posts

Suppversity breaks down the anti-arthritic effects of small amounts of virgin coconut oil, plus other benefits.

Is mineral water an underrated supplement?

Media, Schmedia

Wireless power is coming soon. You have to wonder if it will cause any health issues, though.

Saturated fat has been exonerated (again), but you wouldn’t know it from reading this garbled “article” full of contradictory statements and misplaced value judgments. Did a robot write this?

Everything Else

Worried about inhibition of your melatonin production at night due to light? A biotech firm has just released a new “Melatonin Production Factor” for eyewear that promises to predict how long you can safely use electronics at night without seriously compromising your sleep.

Is (certain) farmed salmon getting healthier and more sustainable?

A fascinating interview with a cancer researcher about sugar, fructose, and cancer.

It’s a story as old as time. We engineer corn to poison a predatory worm. The predatory worm evolves to resist the poison and thrive on the engineered corn.

I’m not sure I trust this.

How a playground that resembles a hobo encampment is changing kids’ lives for the better in Wales, and what it says about the prevailing parenting methods.

Recipe Corner

  • This orange chicken is way better – and healthier – than the stuff you’re probably used to eating out of so-greasy-they’re-translucent Chinese food containers.
  • If you’ve been searching for a way to eat more “alternative” cuts, start with oxtail slow cooker soup.

Time Capsule

One year ago (Mar 24 – Mar 30)

Comment of the Week

I think I’ll sign my next question to MDA as “Marque” and see if it gets answered… :D

– You shouldn’t have said anything and just done it!

About the Author

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.

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47 thoughts on “Weekend Link Love – Edition 288”

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  1. More muscle generally just provides you with a bigger engine to get things done with. In later years, more muscle = more function. Looking forward to the bodyweight exercise article 😉

    1. Someone should also mention that this is a study that found an ASSOCIATION with longer life and, as we all (should) know, correlation is not causation.

      That doesn’t mean that maintaining muscle mass isn’t important (even if it ultimately doesn’t prove to extend life) nor even that one doesn’t cause the other, but one can’t determine cause from this study (as Mark’s short blurb implies).

      That said, I’m off to swing some kettle bells. Later!

  2. Re. the farmed salmon, it may be getting ‘leaner and greener’, but I’m sure they put dye on (or in?!) farmed salmon to make it pinker, sometimes you can see it in the packets. Poor frankenfish. Puts me off eating it.

    1. I wonder if it is healthier, it isn’t as fatty as some of the other farmed junk but I didn’t get a strong health message from that article. It is too bad Monterrey Bay doesn’t address the health of people in their analysis or that there is not a web site that aggregates their info with human health concerns.

  3. By ignoring the results of their own research, the British Heart Foundation proves that their guidelines are not evidence-based. End of.

    1. I don`t think it`s quite that simple.
      True, the meta-analysis by Chowdhury et al. found that saturated fat was unrelated to cardiovascular risk – but so were all fats except for trans fat; so, if this “exonerates” saturated fat, it also exonerates omega-6 PUFAs with regard to their (alleged) pro-inflammatory effects in the context of CHD. I´m willing to bet, though, that if the latter were the headline, everyone in the Paleosphere would be quick to point out that the inclusion criteria were very lax, and a meta-analysis is only ever as good as the studies it is based on – ye olde “garbage in – garbage out,” in short.
      In conclusion, the “article” Mark mocks for its allegedly misplaced ambivalence simply reflects the fact that the evidence in its entirety is, as of yet, still ambivalent, seeing as this meta-analysis doesn`t tell us much of anything, and thus doesn`t exactly constitute a big help in clearing things up.
      To quote Stephan Guyenet:

      “The data on saturated fat are consistent with my long-standing position. If saturated fat consumption impacts cardiovascular disease risk, the effect must be small because it’s difficult to detect. However, that doesn’t mean it’s prudent to eat a bacon and butter diet. These studies reflect typical dietary patterns and have nothing to say about extreme diets. Personally I’m wary of diets very high in saturated fat because we don’t have much good quality data on them, and contrary to what is claimed in some circles, it probably does not resemble what our ancestors ate.”

      (This is bolstered by the Cordain et al. – paper on our East African ancestors Mark recently cited, which argues for a pretty balanced intake of SFAs, MUFAs, and PUFAs.)

      1. Great comment.

        On the other hand, there are many studies indicating that replacing SFA with O6 PUFAs leads to increased risk of CHD rather than decreased (as only a few studies have suggested). So at the very least, they should be balanced with respect to eating both omega-6s and >10% of calories as SFA. In the end, though, I bet there is a large range of acceptable PUFA/MUFA/SFA intake in terms of fat breakdown, just as there is a large range of acceptable carb/fat/protein intakes for health/longevity.

        1. Exactly.
          (I didn`t mean to imply that omega-6s are actually (completely) off the hook; I just meant to communicate that this meta-analysis doesn`t tell us much either way, and we shouldn`t pretend that it does.)

      2. Well, this research, and the BBC article, shows that conventional wisdom is in disarray, and has been reduced to incoherence.

        The spokesman continues to take it for granted that “we know” that saturated fat is bad, even though his own research says that we don’t know. It also sounds ridiculous to say “more research is needed” — how much more than the 600,000 people in this (and all the other) meta-analyses do we need? Would they be saying that if the meta-analysis had implicated saturated fat after all?

        It also illustrates what a hard time the media has making sense of this. The journalist says that this latest research doesn’t mean it’s ok to load up on cream cakes and meat pies… thereby conflating the cream and the cake, and the meat and the pie. (Serious BBC Voice: “This latest research doesn’t mean that it’s ok to suck lard up through a cigarette, or eat camembert whilst crossing the highway with your eyes closed.”)

        Anyway, I agree that it is strange that PUFA has no bad effects according to this study. (Although, I haven’t read all the studies in the meta-analysis in sufficient detail to know how well they controlled for healthy-user bias; and I have in mind the other meta-analyses that did show a downside to omega-6. But still.) And I agree that there is no doubt a wide range of acceptable SFA/MUFA/PUFA ratios…

        But for me, the bottom line is that the fear of saturated fat has driven people away from highly nutritious foods (meat, eggs etc) and towards poor-quality carbs, with all their associated problems.

        The BHF could help to reverse this, and really promote health, by thinking clearly about the implications of the latest research. Instead, they continue to peddle shuffling, dissembling, confused, post-hoc twaddle.

        1. By and large, I agree with your “bottom line,” but I have to say that the bashing of the strawman construct dubbed “conventional wisdom” around these parts gets on my nerves: Of course “conventional wisdom is in disarray” in the face of conflicting data (and conflicting they are – make no mistake), because “conventional wisdom” is actually no more a monolithic bloc than, for example, the “Paleosphere” – which also battles severe difficulties with regard to coalescing around “core recommendations,” and could thus justifiably be described as just as “incoherent” as CW (just look at all the drama over moderate legume consumption that followed Chris Kresser`s appearance on Oz, for example). Also, we do indeed “need more research” with regard to saturated fat intake if we earnestly want to figure out which dietary template truly is “optimal,” and if “optimal” even exists in a general sense:As long as nutritional genomics research is still in its infancy, how are we to know for sure that “Primal eating” is superior to “Cordain Paleo,” or that either trumps decent Mediterranean or DASH templates, without methodologically sound, properly implemented RCTs, for instance? For that matter, how can we expect to ever get the “mainstream” to take “Paleo” seriously if we continue to churn out endless streams of anecdotes instead of “hard data” (in contrast to “Primal eating,” “Cordain Paleo” can at least present studies to confirm its alleged benefits, although those have so far been small, short, and fraught with confounding factors, for the most part)? Finally, I find it rather ironic that the “Paleosphere” displays a pervasive tendency to relentlessly mock CW`s mindless focus on isolated nutrients to the detriment of “nutritional meta level” understanding while simultaneously glorifying people like Taubes and Lustig, who do the exact same thing, just with different nutrients – but that`s fine and dandy because, hey – their hypotheses nicely fit in with “preconceived Paleo postulates,” amiright?
          To sum up, vilifying saturated fat certainly hasn`t done anyone any good, but reversing gears by glorifying it instead and passing the trophy for “worstest nutrient(s) evaaaa” to fructose/carbs in general/omega-6 PUFAs (regardless of source/dose/context) probably won`t fare any better because
          a) it is just as premature at this point and
          b) it displays the exact same binary thinking pattern that got us in trouble in the first place.
          Ultimately, time will tell, but I for one would be very surprised if this new old “black and white paradigm” got us out of the conundrum we currently find ourselves in.
          Rant over.

        2. Karl, we agree that the underlying science is uncertain, and unreliable. I see the debate and discussion in the paleosphere as reflecting that — it’s an honest attempt to cope with that uncertainty, and try to make sense of it. By contrast, ‘conventional wisdom’ does indeed continue to present a monolithic bloc of certainty, in the form of the USDA Guidelines, and the reports of the various major health charities. As a result, they are becoming increasingly out of date. The ‘Dietary Guidelines for America’ is not a straw man.

          And of course I think more research is needed. What I meant was that we don’t need yet more research re-litigating the issue of saturated fat. How many times are we going to try it for the same crime? Isn’t there a statute of limitations on this? We need to move on, and pursue new questions, and new avenues of enquiry (like the ones you suggest).

          And, for the record, there’s nothing wrong with binary thinking if it turns out to be correct. Don’t drink sulphuric acid — check. Don’t jump off a cliff — check. Don’t eat trans fats — probably check. But obviously the choice of diets is not binary, and nor are the options ‘eat no fat’, and ‘eat only fat’. Everyone can agree that we need a ‘balanced’ diet, we just need to figure out where the balance lies.

        3. Scott,

          I would agree that we seem to agree more than we disagree (this is getting complicated), but I have to insist that “CW” is not getting a fair trial around here: The monolithic “USDA Guidelines” are not all there is to/synonymous with “CW,” just as monolithic “Cordain Paleo” is not all there is to/synonymous with “Evolutionary Nutrition,” and both “CW” and “EN” comprise both profiteers who gloss over scientific uncertainties in order to make a quick buck as well as basically honest, well-meaning people who are just trying to figure things out to the best of their ability.
          As to the “binary thinking” : Context always matters – even with regard to the examples you mention (How much sulphuric acid in what concentration? How high is the cliff, and what is below it? Which trans fats in what dose?) – though this is mostly semantics, I admit. The crux of the matter is that no dietary ideology endorses the consumption of foodstuffs that have consistently and clearly been demonstrated to be harmful (processed junk); concerning everything else, things are clearly not “binary” – if they were, we wouldn`t have conflicting data to argue about.

        4. Scott,

          the “corrections to the paper” do indeed “indicate that omega-3s good,” but where did you get the “omega-6s bad” part from? As far as I can tell, the two studies on omega-6 fatty acids the authors left out didn`t change the overall conclusions on omega-6s.

        5. Hi Karl,

          You’re right. I was presuming that they were referring to Ramsden’s meta-analyses:

          Ramsden, C. E., Hibbeln, J. R., Majchrzak, S. F., & Davis, J. M. (2010). n-6 Fatty acid-specific and mixed polyunsaturate dietary interventions have different effects on CHD risk: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition, 104(11), 1586-1600. doi: Doi 10.1017/S0007114510004010

          Ramsden, C. E., Zamora, D., Leelarthaepin, B., Majchrzak-Hong, S. F., Faurot, K. R., Suchindran, C. M., . . . Hibbeln, J. R. (2013). Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis. BMJ, 346. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e8707

      3. Bacon and butter diet? Blech. Even LCHF advocates like Volek and Phinney don’t advocate anything like a butter and bacon diet. More mono-unsaturated fats, some PUFA (but avoid the oil versions in favour of olive oil, high-oleic safflower and canola. You don’t need much PUFA to meet your body’s needs) and don’t actively avoid saturated fats. Watch calories. Over-eating will still make you fat.

        Personally, I like both butter and bacon as compliments. I just can’t sit down to a giant plate of bacon even though I like bacon.

        1. Kat,

          granted. The problem is that this is not how many people endorse/apply LCHF (Jimmy Moore is a prominent example).

  4. The article about the playground in Wales has brought a tear to my eye! In fact, it’s reminded me to encourage my kids to get out and do more on their own. Like I did. Luckily we live on the coast in a spectacularly beautiful part of Wales so its easy enough to do…mun.

      1. Dw i’n hoffi hyn. I think I’ll head to the park behind my house in a minute now.

  5. I love the idea of rodents going out on a bender – I’ll be sensible now and read the article!

    1. Aren’t intelligent people supposed to be more skeptical? Most of us can certainly see a scam a mile away!

  6. The wired article isn’t surprising. As an engineer, for every predictable consequence (the worms) there are also unpredictable consequences to advances in technology

  7. With regard to the recipe for oxtail soup with “swede mash”, for those who didn’t know, a swede is a rutabaga (Swedish turnip). If you’ve never tried it, rutabagas are good baked. Peel and cut into chunks, along with onions and carrots or sweet potatoes; sprinkle with EVOO and your choice of seasoning; then bake until tender. Makes an easy side dish that goes with any kind of meat.

    1. Thank you. I had always vaguely wondered what a rutabaga was, assuming it must be disgusting since you can’t buy it in the shops. It’s just an ordinary common swede, like I use all the time in winter soups.

  8. Neat. I just bought a couple of cases of San Pellegrino mineral water from Costco because my pregnant wifey has been craving it and buying it by the bottle at the grocery store. They’re ~$2 per bottle individually, but a case of 12 was about $11 on sale. Nice.
    I had hoped there was a good reason for the cravings, and now I can tell her maybe there is. You need lots of minerals to build a baby.

  9. That’s the kind of childhood I had. At age 3 I could roam up to 3 houses away unsupervised. At age 5 I had free range of the neighborhood unsupervised. My mom walked me to school first day of kindergarten and after that said I knew the way there and was on my own. Our moms would kick us out of the house, tell us to go play, lock the door and don’t come back until supper time. We built secret hideaways in the open space behind my house. We walked in the sewer storm drains under the streets. We caught polliwogs and caterpillars and raised them to become frogs and butterflies. We slid down grass hills on pieces of cardboard. All of this without a single adult eye anywhere. All of this even though I was a little girl. How things have changed.

  10. Loving the new podcast and I’m definitely interested in the Audio Books. Did you do the voice narration yourself? I’m glad to hear that saturated fat is exonerated…I’m going to go eat some buttery cheese eggs now…

  11. Stefani from Paleo for Women had a book just come out recently and it’s not in the Weekend Link Love yet??

  12. I get my mineral water from Manitou Springs. Fill up several gallons once a week and enjoy. Really good stuff and high mineral content if you know which springs to go to. Some of them are really disgusting and are just reserved for grossing out the tourists. 😉

  13. “Extreme skeletal structures” compared against “elite athletes”?

    Is this a joke? They compared it to cross country runners and swimmers. Of course the Neanderthals et al had more developed structures. How about comparing against elite sprinters or elite athletes of power based sports (rugby, football, hockey, etc)?

    That study should’ve been tossed.

  14. it is a fact that the term sustainably wild caught is a nice lie people tell themselves so they can feel like they are helping the environment. I can only think of one thing that is sustainably wild caught that actually fits the bill , that is stone crabs and the reason for this is that you don’t kill the crab you just take one of its claws and even then it is not a cheap product.Like it or not the future of sustainable seafood is farming it and even though the environmental nuts don’t like it , it will not only be clean it will make seafood more affordable.there is technology being developed at places like Mote marine labs in Florida that will get rid of the waste , and there are feeds being developed by private companies using every thing from algae to farmed sea worms that will make the nutrient profile of this fish as good as what you would find in wild caught fish.I like this website but some of the comments and links to articles that claim that we are running out of everything on the planet are basically rooted in ignorance or a lack of research and logical thinking.

    1. Well, if the future of ocean fish is farmed fish then we are indeed running out of something: wild fish. Maybe someday we’ll rely on Soylent Green. If that’s “resources aplenty” I’d rather starve. 😀

      There are too many of us.

      1. No, the fishing industry’s too sloppy with by-catch. They waste up to 66% of their haul in unintended catch that dies tangled up in their big drag nets. The dead fish/sea life doesn’t even get ground up and used as farmed fish food!

  15. Does that mean chronic cardio isn’t so bad? Or were the Neanderthals doing some kind of advanced antelope-transportation runs?

  16. My husband was telling me about the sleep deprivation and brain damage… he’s a merchant marine and can go days with just a handful of naps… very scary!

  17. Re: the wireless electricity and magnetic field–will this affect people with implanted machines, such as defibrillators, pacemakers, and such? As it is, they cannot use or be around microwave ovens.

  18. I hope that the BMC Biology interview with Lewis Cantley on cancer and carbohydrate is widely read. A few quotes:

    “[A]ll the fructose you eat is cleared on its first pass through the liver. In other words, the liver scarfs up all the fructose and immediately converts it to fat, while glucose stays in the bloodstream for some period of time. That’s why we call starches hyperglycemic molecules; they keep glucose levels in your bloodstream high for a long time. That is good for the brain – the brain loves to eat glucose. It’s good for the muscle. But fructose doesn’t actually supply any energy to your brain at all, it doesn’t supply any energy to your muscle; it only gets stored as fat. That’s really quite remarkable, if you think about it. You eat sucrose – one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose – that glucose is being used by your muscle and your brain – your brain loves getting that glucose – but the fructose is all just getting stored as fat.”

    “The problem with those [artificial sweeteners] is that a disconnect ultimately develops between the amount of sweetness the brain tastes and how much glucose ends up coming to the brain. So the brain figures you have to eat more and more and more sweetness in order to get any calories out of it. The consequence of people eating lots of sweeteners, no matter what they are – whether they’re natural or unnatural – is that it increases the addiction for the sweetness.

  19. Good to hear the gorillas are thriving over in Ohio. It makes sense that resistant starch improves their health markers because… high fiber is what gorillas eat in the wild. I don’t think these findings necessarily vindicate resistant starch and/or fiber for humans though, as the gorilla gut is FAR better adapted at converting fiber to fatty acids than ours. Just wanted to throw that out there – thanks!

  20. @Rick the population problem is another made up crisis.The truth is that real population dynamics are pointing to a population bust as in the worlds population will actually decrease in future decades, we and by we I mean the people of the world are not reproducing at high enough levels to keep current population levels, and this is without accounting for things like wars , accidental deaths and disease. On the Soylent Green front what I am talking about is farmed fish being fed a diet that is actually what they are supposed to eat, instead of what they eat now and raised in farms that are biologically secure and do not pollute the environment. cattle ranching is moving from places like Texas to Missouri and Florida due to the availability of year round forage for the cattle, but even this trend will reverse itself with advances in technology that are currently happening and scientific discovery and understanding.As far as running out of wild fish it is all this advances in aquaculture that will not only save wild fish but also bring their numbers back to self sustaining levels.If you have time check out the website for Mote marine labs in Florida and while your their give them a donation to help with their work be part of the solution , not the problem.I am an actual hunter/gatherer so I do lots of research on animals and nature , before I got into hunting and fishing I use to be as pessimistic as you ,but once I began to see the real wild world and how it really works and did tons of research on a great many subjects that showed me the truth of things I became much more optimistic and now can’t wait to see the next great discovery or technology that will make our world a better place.

  21. I’m skeptical at the number of articles regarding improvements in salmon farming that have popped up over the last six months. I’m wondering if this is an industry effort to drive to farmed salmon because we can’t be too sure about the impact to Pacific salmon following the Fukushima disaster in Japan?