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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December 21 2014

Weekend Link Love – Edition 327

By Mark Sisson
39 Comments

Weekend Link LoveI was on the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast to talk about some extremely important aspects of a healthy lifestyle (and they don’t include diet).

My appearance on The Chalene Show podcast, where Chalene and I discussed my history and I broke down the Primal Blueprint, is now live. Go give a listen.

I also appeared on the Self Made Entrepreneur podcast with Jason Bax. If you’re interested in how I came to start, run, and grow Primal Nutrition, check it out!

Research of the Week

I was just thinking we were due for another round of articles telling us how we’ve got this whole evolutionary health thing totally wrong.

In patients with existing heart disease, saturated fat intake has no relationship to the risk of heart events or mortality.

Are you vegetarian or vegan? Not for long, according to research.

Maternal caffeine intake may predispose offspring to obesity.

The primary excretory organ for the fat we burn are the lungs.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 47: Interview with Alessandra Wall – Clinical Psychologist, Life Coach, and Certified CrossFit Trainer: Brock Armstrong (the voice of the blog podcast) interviews Alessandra Wall about her clinical approach to helping patients with emotional eating and professional burnout.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Interesting Blog Posts

How diet impacts circadian rhythm.

Unsurprisingly, the media isn’t giving us the full story about statin trials.

Media, Schmedia

In Washington state, parents receiving WIC assistance can no longer use the funds to get whole or 2% milk. Only skim and 1% fat milk are permitted.

CNN covers the role of diet, supplementation, and lifestyle modification in treating — and perhaps even reversing — early Alzheimer’s disease.

Are midwives safer than doctors? The answer may (or may not) surprise you.

The former editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and current director of the United Health Group’s chronic disease initiative, Richard Smith, penned a nice op-ed in the BMJ lamenting the “global, uncontrolled experiment” of conventional dietary recommendations (PDF).

Everything Else

Brown rice is pretty high in arsenic.

The 20 most dangerous hikes in the world, according to Outside Magazine. Anyone do any?

A company is trying to build a vegan milk from scratch using yeast cultures and cow DNA.

You heard the experts: home cooking makes you fat and you should rely on microwave dinners and prepackaged snacks!

Lard might be the hot new cosmetic.

The pubic biome may help solve sex crimes.

We work too much, sleep too little, and it’s killing us.

Is the 2 hour marathon really inevitable?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Dec 21 – Dec 27)

Picture of the Week

Santa Grok does barbell squats using tractor tires instead of weight plates. He’s way better than Santa Claus. (Longtime readers will recognize that happy bearded face. It’s The Unconquerable Dave, aka Papa Grok. If you don’t know him, read this.)

Santa Grok

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39 thoughts on “Weekend Link Love – Edition 327”

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  1. Thanks for some lazy Sunday reading material! I read the “Are you vegetarian or vegan? Not for long, according to research” article already and have to agree. I’ve been a vegetarian for 8 years now and don’t plan on eating meat again, but I’m not opposed to the idea of my body craves it. If I ever become pregnant I suspect I’ll crave meat again, and I’ll eat it. I’ve also thought that if I traveled overseas I’d likely eat small amounts as I wouldn’t want to appear rude to hosts or miss out on a huge part of different cultures.

  2. Help (please). I am confused. Why wood trees grow Twinkies? If they wanted to, say, offer snacks to lure seed dispersers, the snacks would have to last out in the weather long enough to do the attracting. Ergo they would not be Twinkies. When plant do offer food rewards to pollinators or seed dispersers, they tend to be as stingy with carbs as possible and load them up with anti-oxidants, etc. In other words: berries, and the other sort of stuff that the evolutionary health types encourage us to eat.

  3. The conventional wisdom responses to the Alzheimer’s study are truly pathetic, e.g. … James Hendrix, director of Global Science Initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association, explained in an email statement.
    “Outside of a supervised research setting, no one should adopt these specific ideas to try to improve their, or a loved one’s memory and thinking,” he said. “We simply don’t know what the effect would be.”

    Essentially following the Primal Blueprint with Metformin might be dangerous? LOL. Other critics say the treatment is “too hard to follow.” Pfffft

    1. I thought the same thing! Let’s NOT consume coconut oil, exercise, sleep 8 hours at night, eliminate sugar and processed foods, supplement wisely – because of the “unknown” effects. Seriously? Instead, let’s continue giving our life savings to big pharma, doctors, and nursing homes; while providing our loved ones with a front row seat to our long, slow, torturous, mental and physical decline. This system has been working so “well”. Ridiculous! I appreciate that scientists, despite being late to the party, are finally investigating the merits of an ancestral lifestyle to treat all sorts of ailments, Alzheimer’s being only one of them. But to suggest that no one should try this on their own – can’t wrap my brain around that one.

      1. Yes, I can’t believe the numbe of medical people who recommend not sleeping eight hours per night and who recommend drinking lots and lots of soda! Why I encounter them all the time! Every day somebody tells me to drink more soda and eat more Twinkies! Terrible, I tell you! Just terrible!

        And the people who sell supplements tell me they are really good, too! How could they possibly be wrong? After all, they sell them and they should know!

  4. If anyone wants to check out the original study about reversing Alzheimer’s, you can find it here: http://www.impactaging.com/papers/v6/n9/full/100690.html

    And folks are probably sick of me posting these links on various Paleo & Primal sites, but I am trying to get the information to as many people as possible. If you are interested in learning about Alzheimer’s as a metabolic condition (“type 3 diabetes”), please head over to the Weston A. Price Foundation site and check out an article I wrote for their journal just this past summer. It places Alzheimer’s squarely in the “diseases of civilization” category, with low-carb nutrition, targeted supplementation, exercise, and stress reduction as therapeutic strategies.

    http://www.westonaprice.org/modern-diseases/type-3-diabetes-metabolic-causes-of-alzheimers-disease/

    The WAPF site is a little hard on the eyes, so if anyone would like a pdf version, feel free to email me and I can provide one. (TuitNutrition [at] gmail [dot] com)

    I absolutely believe AD is preventable, and once it’s taken hold, reversible. (Even for someone with severe and longstanding dementia, *some* degree of improvement may be possible, if the intervention is aggressive enough. But I’ll tell you on e thing for sure: it ain’t gonna happen for the folks in homes & facilities where they’re being fed white bread, margarine, grape jelly, egg whites, and all that other great stuff on their dietitian-sanctioned low-fat, low-cholesterol diets.

    I am working on an e-book about all this, which you can read more about here:
    http://www.tuitnutrition.com/2014/08/Type-3-Diabetes.html

    Thanks everyone! Please feel free to pass this along to Alz caregivers…it may give them a ray of hope in a situation they have come to think is nothing but bleak.

    1. Thank you Amy, my father died from dementia on Saturday. Research into preventing or slowing this terrible disease is appreciated. I do believe there is a real link between diet and dementia. Best wishes to you, Julie

      1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Julie. My condolences. I lost my mother to cancer a few months ago, and she had been in very poor health for a long time from complications from badly managed T2 diabetes. It’s too late for me to help her, but I am trying to help as many other people as I can. It doesn’t have to be this way…people just need the right information. (And the will to *apply* it, of course. Often times that’s the hardest part.)

  5. Just checked the list of 20 most dangerous hikes. My first hike ever is on there, Angel’s Landing in Utah. Only we were carrying 30 pounds of canyoneering gear each. 🙂

    My first winter hike is on there too. Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. 🙂

    Given how unbelievably awesome those experiences were, extrapolating I think it that list makes a nice hiker’s bucket list!

    1. Great hikes. I’ve done the hikes in Peru and Guatemala. The 80’s Peru had the Sendero Luminosa (Shining Path terrorist group) attacking hikers once in awhile.

  6. I failed as a vegetarian and crashed and burned (dramatically!) as a vegan. That was 25 years ago, and I’ve been chewing away on it ever since: why do some people thrive as vegans and some don’t? There’s one clue: the consistent finding that only 1.5 – 2% of the population remains vegan for lengthy periods. Aha! The ends of the Bell curve are 2.5% each of the population. At the other extreme are the carnivores – Lex Rooker as the poster child – who live for years on end on only raw meat and fat. It seems that while many people try veganism, as many leave the movement as join it, and the primary reason, according to vegan doctors, is ill-health. Not wanting to fit in – most vegans are counterculturalists anyway. Ill health is the prime reason given for falling away.

    This leads naturally to the hypothesis that some people, maybe as many as 2.5% of the population, have a genome that supports the vegan diet. There are just so many points at which biogenetics can fail. Most people can convert ALA to DHA and EPA at the measly rate of 0.05%. You can eat flaxseeds by the ton, but without the all-important enzymes, the brain and central nervous system will suffer. Dr. Michael Greger, a vegan activist, has a very interesting video on YouTube in which he discusses the findings of two very large studies on vegans. He reports sadly that vegans have twice the rate of mental disorders of omnivores – he suggests eating flaxseeds to get the omega-3s but apparently does not know about the conversion rate variability. Some people can convert ALA at the rate of 9%, which may make all the difference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFFWstlfDRk. Greger’s rather funny; watch the contortions by which he insists that vegans are still healthier than omnivores despite having the same heart disease mortality and lifespan, and much higher levels of degenerative brain diseases! Overall, though, this is a very informative video.

    Same problem comes up with converting carotenoids to retinoids. If a person doesn’t have the genes that permit high-efficiency conversion, vitamin A deficiency is on the cards. What about amino acids? 14 of the 22 are considered non-essential – but the better description is conditionally essential. Some people simply cannot convert one amino acid into another, leaving them at risk for deficiencies. The vegan activist doctor Michael Klaper reports protein deficiencies in the ill-health of long-term committed vegans who are apparently doing everything right. http://www.indiadivine.org/content/topic/1969466-fwd-the-vegan-health-study-from-michael-klaper-md-very-long-email/

    What about copy numbers of genes? People whose ancestors ate a high-starch diet have many copies of Salivary amylase 1; chimpanzees and hunter-gatherers whose diet is low starch have only 2 copies (Perry et al. 2007). In Mexican children, the non-obese (eating the same high starch diet) had 10 or more copies of Salivary amylase 1 (Falchi et al. 2014). Those unfortunates who have fewer copies are obese.

    Then there are the gene polymorphisms we inherit (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms). ApoE3 or ApoE4? It matters, because this is the gene that determines how we handle dietary cholesterol. Lactase-persistence is determined by possession of a SNP. And so on.

    20-30% of Westerners can metabolize soy, evidenced by production of S-equol, while 50-60% of Asians can do this. This may be as much due to gut bacteria as to genome or epigenome, but there is good evidence that the bacteria that colonize our guts shortly after birth change the gut such that other guilds fail to thrive. So it’s unlikely that non-soy-metabolizers could simply seed their guts with soy-eating bacteria. Some people can’t eat any legumes at all, or any nuts.

    Humans may share 99.9% of their genome, but the 0.1% that’s variable between people amounts to 10,000 SNPs. That makes a huge difference!

    So, where this line of thought is taking me, is that 97.5% of the population is unlikely to thrive as vegans with minimal supplementation; 97.5% won’t thrive as carnivores (Rooker and his peers seem to manage without any supplements at all – raw meat has sufficient vitamin C). http://www.rawpaleodietforum.com/journals/lex's-journal/

    95% of us fall along the continuum requiring some animal source foods or plant foods plus increasingly heavy supplementation, and at some point it’s going to be impossible for some people to thrive on plant foods alone regardless of how heavily they supplement – because new essential factors, and new knowledge about human ability to metabolize particular foods – keep popping up all the time.

    BUT, regardless of where an individual falls on the continuum, I think it’s increasingly obvious that the Standard Western Diet of highly-processed carbohydrates (particularly very high levels of sugars), industrial seed oils, and factory-concocted foodlike substances (Michael Pollan’s phrase), is unhealthy. It’s humbling but healthy to acknowledge that dietary success is more about genetics than morals, ethics, or willpower.

    I hope that the day will come when babies are routinely food-typed at birth just as they’re now blood-typed. Genetic testing gets cheaper all the time and can be done from a saliva swab. It could prevent a lot of suffering and generate a lot of good health.

    1. SuzU, all that info. is in former vegetarian, Denise Minger’s “Death by Food Pyramid”. The most important conclusion she had was also that of Weston Price. You need the precious fat soluble vitamins…”whether from shellfish, fish eggs, high quality dairy, bone marrow, organ meats like liver, or cod liver oil.”

  7. Ok, no more scrumptious omelettes or my famous curry coconut liver–it’s Fritos and TV dinners for my health!

    Yeeesh these experts are idiots sometimes.

  8. That Australian article about not cooking your foods at home is typical of the war on “paleo” that has been started by the pre-packaged food industry in conjunction with the Heart Foundation (the Australian one) and the Dietitians Association of Australian.

    Their arguments are so weak that it’s amusing but at the same time I am concerned. Australia is fast becoming a fatter and sicker nation and it’s little wonder when our health authorities continue to push us to consume more refined carbs, minimise saturated fats and use industrial grade PUFAs.

    1. The first bunch of people to comment on the article tore it a new one too. Propaganda is both easier and more difficult since the Internet came about.
      Easier to disseminate BS, easier for it to be debunked quickly.

  9. Just when people are starting to realize we need more real food, some idiot goes and creates another artificial one. How about a little fake milk to go with your failing health? Nice.

  10. I’ve done four of those: Mist Trail /Yosemite, Bright angel /Grand Canyon, Angels Landing /Zion and Longs Peak/ RMNP. And would not hesitate many of the others if I had the chance. On a good weather day, any sensible, well conditioned and prepared person can do those hikes (but if you get vertigo easily may want to reconsider) . I suspect they are “dangerous” because their are popular routes and heavily trafficked by casual day hikers way over their heads. You could get hit by a bus crossing the street while texting. I’ll take my chances with “dangerous” hikes and encourage others to try them too with the right attitude and preparation.

  11. Wow. So according to DR Ken Sayers, early hominids ate a variety of foods that was based upon local availability. Where can I get a job stating the obvious? Another straw man argument. I wish some researcher or mainstream nutritionist would admit for once that, yes, paleo people didn’t eat sugar, white flour, and soda and that maybe it’s those things that are the real danger not “fad’ diets that encourage clean eating based around seasonally available whole foods.

    1. Unfortunately the study is being misreported all over the place. The actual study did not concern the diets of more recent hominids of genus Homo but only the first and oldest species, H. habilis, and other early hominids, such as Australopithecus (e.g., “Lucy”) and Ardepithecus (e.g., “Ardi”). They conduct a very thorough review of the data from all fields of biological anthropology that have been used to attempt to reconstruct the dietary niche of these early hominids, and then apply the framework of optimal foraging theory, which is often neglected in discussions of early hominid diet. It is a brilliantly written and researched article which concludes that, in CONTRAST to later hominids (which includes H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens) that evidence a high reliance on hunted and gathered animal foods, the evidence and theoretical perspective suggests that early hominids did NOT rely heavily on such foods, but only sporadically.

      Given this, I am flummoxed by all the media attention this paper is getting in regards to the paleo diet. If anything, it should support it, suggesting that as hominids developed and honed their paleolithic technology, they increasingly included hunted and extracted animals as a main part of their dietary niche. This, in turn, increased human longevity even further beyond that of our closest living ape relatives, the chimpanzee and bonobo.

  12. I’m sure the women who had side effects from home cooking were making a sh*t ton of dessert.

  13. Broken link for “Brown rice is pretty high in arsenic”.
    Feel free to delete this comment when fixed.

  14. I recently did the Kalalau Trail in Kauai. It really wasn’t that bad. It rained heavily the night before and the trail was very slippery, but the first creek crossing was not too deep. Our second hiking day saw no rain so our third and final hiking day was easy with very few slippery sections of trail. The scary cliff part was not nearly as bad as it looked.

  15. I did the mount Washington as a Boy Scout when I was 14. Just did the mist trail this year and it was spectacular. The part where you traverse the cliff at Vernal falls is the most thrilling part. Yosemite is a hiker/climber paradise and there is a hike for all abilities. I would add the cross island hike on Bora which ascends mount Otemanu to the list. Spectacular!

  16. You don’t have to go to Italy or Austria for Via Ferrata. We have it here in Kentucky at Red River Gorge. Never heard of any injuries there.

  17. Papa Grok has to put on a few pounds to do justice to the Santa suit!

  18. Never realized I was as hardcore as I am. I’ve done two of the hikes on the list…Angel’s Landing and Bright Angel.

  19. Loved the podcast. Interesting to hear about the business side of MDA and how you’ve managed to scale and grow to the level you have done. Reassuring to know that it took 47 years before you find your purpose – At 32 I thought time was running out!

  20. Mark, you’re the 2nd person this week I’ve heard bring up how most of the fat we burn leaves through our lungs. It’s very interesting stuff as I’ve always wondered how it left our body.

    Also read the vegans not being so for long. Some of the conversations in the comments section are completely asinine…

  21. “Maternal caffeine intake may predispose offspring to obesity.”

    Whew! I’m relieved. At least maternal coffee consumption doesn’t make the baby come out “dark” as my mother-in-law believes.