Weekly Link Love — Episode 52

Research of the Week

In an Iranian study, fast food—but not sugary beverages and salty snacks—is strongly associated with liver enzyme elevation.

Neanderthals used tar to bind arrow heads to shafts.

Overweight people tend to accumulate fat in their lungs as well, raising asthma risk.

Pro footballers (soccer players) have an elevated risk of neurodegenerative disease.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 383: Janie A. Bowthorpe: Host Elle Russ chats with thyroid patient advocate and author Janie A. Bowthorpe M.Ed.

Episode 384: 10 Awesome New Fitness Trends: Host Brad Kearns takes you through 10 exciting new fitness trends.

Primal Health Coach Radio, Episode 31: Laura and Erin chat with Carmen Hunter, who specializes in helping clients break through their comfort zones.

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.

Media, Schmedia

Grandma does CrossFit.

Could a 5-hour workday work?

Sociologist goes back to school to learn genetics to disprove “nature over nurture,” ends up confirming it.

Interesting Blog Posts

It’s a shame that we even need things like “adult recess.”

Physicians are burnt out.

Social Notes

You’ll never guess what happened to diabetes incidence after Mauritius swapped out palm oil for soybean oil.

Is Oslo planning on banning meat in school lunches—even those brought from home?

Tis the season.

Everything Else

Kellogg’s will no longer market sugary cereals as “healthy.”

Review of “Game Changers.”

Why there’s no “one size fits all” diet.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

As I’ve always said: Whole food sources of omega-6 fats are different from seed oils.

Article I found interesting: Should we ban headers?

I certainly hope it works (without side effects): New and improved CRISPR.

I dig it: Why Trevor Hofbauer races using his intuition rather than a watch.

We knew this long ago: Potatoes are as good as energy gels.

Question I’m Asking

What has been the biggest negative change to hit humans in the last 100-150 years? What has been the biggest positive change?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Oct 19 – Oct 25)

Comment of the Week

“‘Do you think technology will ever figure out human biology and vault us into sci-fi territory?’


– Succinctly said, Darren.

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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46 thoughts on “Weekly Link Love — Episode 52”

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  1. Biggest negative change: screens of all sorts
    Biggest postive change: functional medicine

  2. That burn out article….ugh. Just left the bedside after 20 years as an ER nurse. I finally realized (after years and years) that I couldn’t do it anymore if I valued my own health and sanity.

  3. on the one hand, I agree that it’s a sham to market frosted flakes as healthy. on the other, if you believe the things you read on a cereal box, can’t fix that. where is the line when it comes to “buyer beware”

  4. I think the biggest negative change is so many people working outside the home so no one has time or energy to cook real food. By the time we retire, thus having the time, we have changed so much we’ve forgotten what real food even is.

  5. What has been the biggest negative change to hit humans in the last 100-150 years?

    Well, unequivocally climate change. Especially if you live somewhere like the Marshall Islands. We’ve no ability to predict how a season will go. Almanacs are out the window.

    What has been the biggest positive change?

    I can’t speak to humanity, but as an American I’m going to go with the outlaw of slavery in our country.

    1. Sorry, but droughts are down, fires are down, cyclone are down and you’ve never had to live through an Ice-Age. You have never been less likely to die from a weather-related event, or even suffer much inconvenience.

      Tell us again what the problem is?

      Meanwhile, the earth has been warmer and the atmosphere contained more CO2 for the majority of its history.

      1. Perhaps you could check on the situation in Australia over the past few months to confirm the veracity of you first two statements!

    1. Perhaps he should not stop, because some readers have those subscriptions, but it would be nice for Mark to note with the text next to the link that this is one that not everyone will be able to read. BTW, if it was “5 Hour Workweek” you were interested in, a google of the name leads to this unprotected article on the same subject: https://www.european-business.com/rheingans-digital-enabler/interviews/things-that-become-a-burden-are-delegated-often-unfortunately-to-the-wrong-person/

  6. What has been the biggest negative change to hit humans in the last 100-150 years?

    The infiltration of communism in education from K to University.

    What has been the biggest positive change?

    Advances in communication and transportation.

  7. “ What has been the biggest negative change to hit humans in the last 100-150 years? What has been the biggest positive change?”

    The internet. To both questions. The world is what we make of it.

  8. I did not watch the documentary, but my brothers followed Arnold’s diet when they were teens and they had shakes with a dozen eggs and milk everyday plus other meat protein!

  9. Hi Mark, I happened towatc the documentary last night. As someone who is mostly vegan and still reads your articles I thought there were a lot of compelling facts presented about veganism. I am surprised that you choose to dismiss the documentary and even reply to the question in a patronizing manner without watching the movie first… The Dr. who conducted the study on erections said this isn’t a real study but it was just an interesting experiment. The blood plasma which was clear after vegan meals as compared to the cloudy one after animal based meals due to fat particles floating in it was interesting. You can’t dismiss the fire fighters who lost 100’s of points of cholesterol and lowered their blood pressure as well as lost weight after going plant based. There is also a ton of data about the deleterious effects of high meat consumption on arteries. Watch the movie before you dismiss it. Arnold didnt dispute that he used to eat tons of protein. They showed footage of him doing so in his youth. The movie was based on research, studies and facts… it wasn’t compelling because of a soundtrack or the the expression on the athletes faces ho happened to perform better plant based…that’s just silly. If you want to eat animal protein and it works for you that’s great.. I dont think you should dismiss the research in the film so blatantly… If a vegan diet works for some so be it.. it doesn’t mean vegans are less healthy as you would see had you watched the movie.. my personal experience is the less animal products I eat the better I feel… and I’m not alone in that…

    1. Agree
      Watched the documentary myself and there’s some compelling arguments which seem to be diametrically opposite from the compelling paleo/primal arguments. Sorry Mark but I’m a bit disappointed in your response to this and think you’re going to need to watch it for yourself before shooting from the hip. It’s certainly given me plant based food for thought and I’d really appreciate a proper critique of the views expressed in the documentary.

    2. I hadn’t heard of this film prior to reading Mark’s blog this morning, so decided to watch it. I think the argument over paleo vs vegetarian is somewhat pointless, they can both be a healthy or crappy way of eating depending on food choices. I’m not a vegetarian but found the film to be very thought provoking on many levels.

    3. DId you read the review of “Game Changers” that Mark linked to above?


      It goes into the details of 10 errors in the film, discussed by Dr. Ryan Lowery in a video review, with his main points listed on that youtube page in shortened form and also includes links to all the studies he cites. He makes a persuasive case that the movie played fast and loose with facts in order to promote a certain viewpoint. It’s worth a look before assuming that the film’s take on veganism vs. meat eating is correct or the only possible or important opinion on the question.

      I think you’d also understand Mark’s dismissiveness if you listen to the review he posted here, and that I reposted in this reply.

      If veganism works for you, great, but I personally think the movie is doing a great disservice to the cause by presenting such shoddy descriptions of studies that seem to support it’s case, but don’t.
      I’m an omnivore and that’s what works for me. I personally resent being told eating meat is bad for me, or that eliminating meat from my diet would improve my health and fitness, especially when the film resorts to falsifying the importance and meaning of the “facts” it presents in order to tip the scales in its favor. Not cool and it deserves to be criticized for that. Check out the review.

    4. But your last few sentences are kind of the issue in a nutshell. If it were only that a vegan or vegetarian diet worked for a person, like as you say, there would be no controversy. You can and should eat however you feel best. Lately we’re seeing a lot of threats to people choosing to eat as they see fit for themselves and their families because they’re not vegans.

      Vegans aren’t being threatened or being forced to eat more meat. Ancestral health people are being targeted with the talk of banning meat or taxing it. When things have to be battled over as a public policy issue, different groups are made to fight each other instead of discussing the actual merits of their personal diet choices. So defensiveness on an ancestral health site is sort of expected considering the situation. It’s kind of hard to believe that the documentary doesn’t intend to throw its hat into the policy making ring.

    5. Alexandra Marks,
      You said:
      “You can’t dismiss the fire fighters who lost 100’s of points of cholesterol and lowered their blood pressure as well as lost weight after going plant based.”

      But one can if the cholesterol improvement, lost weight ,and blood pressure reduction can be attributed to other factors in that clinical trial.

      From the review Mark cited above:

      “As for the biomarkers that were significantly changed in the firefighters, this was a poorly controlled study. On top of changing their diet, they subsequently reduced total caloric intake and began exercising more. This is what caused the weight loss, which subsequently caused reductions in cholesterol biomarkers. Any individual who is overweight or obese will see similar reductions in mass and cholesterol is they drop their caloric intake and increase energy expenditure. ”

      This is an example of what’s wrong with the film. I doesn’t adequately explain the studies it’s referencing. If it did it would be obvious that the calorie reduction and increased exercise alone could explain the inproved biomarkers. If you don’t control for other changes besides replacing meat with plants, you can’t then honestly claim that the vegan aspect was responsible for improvement, especially in this case when the other two lifestyle changes have been proven in numerous studies to create such improvements, with or without a plant based diet.


  10. I personally hate it when “better sex” and “better erections” are used as a reason to try a diet. I think it’s the dumbest goddamn reason for someone to change their diet. Talk about general health, longevity, vitality, energy, physical performance, strength, mental clarity, memory, ya know, shit that actually matters. Who gives a shit if you have a harder erection if your health sucks in the ways that matter.

    1. Isn’t a better erection a sign of general health, vitality, energy, physical performance, and strength…

  11. Hello Mark, This is not a reply to any article. I would love your take on BHRT. I am a 56 year old female. 5’9, 130lbs. I have been an athlete my entire adult life. I have been blessed with determination, bullheadedness, and just a deep desire to preserve my health through time. Two years ago it all seemed to just go away. I began to feel ill. Nothing specific, just not well. Then my ability to sleep was gone…completely. For days on end I couldn’t sleep and in between those I would sleep just a couple of minutes here and there. Needless to say I was loosing it, physically and mentally. I am a Health Coach. What happened? Countless of doctor visits where I felt I had to fight them off not to take ridiculous medications and countless hours of my own research I have found some relief. I added supplements that are helping, yet I am still not well. Don’t know exactly what is wrong until I came across a pod-cast by David Asprey and hormones. aha! I am lacking hormones. Great! Let’s fix that. Not so fast…Almost nobody knows about this, and those who do charge $450.00 dollars a consult. Integrative medicine doctors don’t even know exactly how to go about it. I feel outraged that after so many visits to so many different doctors who told me something was wrong with me. I was sent to emotional therapy, Neurologists, Psychologist, blood work, NOBODY brought up the fact that my hormones are out and there is a big chance this is what causing my “illness”. And, those who know about it, have it out of reach for the common person. Please comment if you know anything about this. I am trying to learn whatever I can. Thank you.

    1. Dulce, I feel your pain and frustration! Have you looked into these books? Estrogen Matters, Stop The Thyroid Madness, and The Paleo Thyroid Solution. I have been battling low thyroid for decades, and then sudden surgical menopause in my 40’s. I’ve found that doctors know zip about proper treatment. These books helped me convince a doctor to prescribe the medications that got me well again. Hope that helps!

    2. Dulce, Another is Dr Jolene Brighten. She wrote a book called Beyond the Pill but is excellent with hormones or look at Dr Michael Ruscio.. does a lot of gut health stuff.

  12. My wife just made it through breast cancer treatment. Our oncologist, who was amazing and extremely science based, had exactly ONE dietary imperative. Do NOT eat soy. You see, my wife’s breast cancer was the type that uses estrogen to grow. It had an estrogen receptor. Soy phytoestrogen does not lower estrogen and is so similar to estrogen that it is a stand-in in the cancer receptor. BTW- there was some talk about keto being beneficial to the cancer fighting regime, but since most folks struggle to keep weight on with any diet, it is currently not recommended.

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mark!!!!! I knew when I read the title of the documentary and the small write-up about it that it was going to be another one of those “plant-based diet is the only way to go” nonsense docs. I believe it has a political agenda. That’s just my opinion. But, either way, I’ve tried, over the years (I’m a 68 year old woman) to go vegan or vegetarian, but it simply doesn’t work for me. I have to have animal protein, it’s the only thing that works for me. I had a health crisis in the 90’s and feel very deeply that the universe led me to keto/paleo diet….before I’d even heard of these diets. I had been riddled with acute anxiety from eating grains and sugar and was overweight. The very day that I eliminated those 2 items from my diet, my anxiety was GONE!!! I began losing all my excess weight immeditately and have kept it off for over 20 years now. I’ll never go back to my old way of eating. <3

  14. I think it was Gary Taubes who said many diets have good results because they reduce carbohydrate intake even if that is not the intended goal. For example, a person trying to get healthy on a plant based diet probably won’t be swilling beer and soda and eating cookies and cake. They will be reducing carbs ( especially simple sugars ) even though that is not a primary tenet of the diet.

  15. Sorry,
    I am adverse to any athlete, usually supported or hoping to be supported by Big Business, who makes any claim. Eating well, regardless of the “Diet” is beneficial to ones health. Foods (GMO’d, Chemically enhanced/modified , highly processed) forced on us by conspiring corporations are not for “our” good.

  16. there is one thing i have always wondered about that is very related to primal/paleo lifestyle.

    many people nowadays have bad eyesight, damaged teeth and similar small things that would be dangerous in the time of Grok, not being able to see far away would limit hunting and spotting danger, bad teeth would make eating harder, so by my logic all of these should be able to heal somehow…

    i’m mostly focussing on my eyesight, i know that the cause was too much video games, and that it means the eye muscles are permanently cramped. muscles can heal, so i’ll need to find a way to relax them and restore their range of motion.

    could you do an article on these luxury diseases that not many people believe can be cured?

  17. Regarding the latest vegan documentary, I have not watched it. As you say, documentaries can be persuasive, so one must dig to find the truth. I spent 2 years as a vegan after being convinced to do it for animal compassion reasons. During that time i read, watched and investigated all I could on the health aspects, first so I could do it as wisely as possible, and second so I could verify what my vegan friends were telling me- that it was the healthiest way to eat. After two years my own body was giving me clear indications that the diet was doing me harm. I had developed signs of insulin resistance, gained weight around my middle where in a pattern I’d never had before, and I had terrible carb cravings. Never did I see conclusive evidence in the literature that a vegan diet was clearly the best (findings seemed biased or inconsistent). And clearly my body did not do well on it, and I was careful to eat whole, organic vegan stuff, not crap. So 2 months ago I went back to eating primal, a way I had thrived in the past, beginning with the 21-Day Keto Reset introduction. Already I feel better, the weight is slowly coming off. That is enough for me to completely ignore any further vegan documentary. N=1 and all that, but my body loves Primal, low carb eating. And no more cravings!!

  18. OMG, seriously? Arnie is now on the plant based side? The guy in Pumping Iron at a table full of Paleo looking food with a group of people, and who wrote stuff later like “we policed each other so we didn’t eat too much carb”!? The guy who used to go to slaughterhouses to buy blood for the iron it contained? (that may be a myth, I’m no fact checker) So that was all lies and he was secretly a Cali Raw Foodist all this time? Who knew?

    Bodybuilders do have an unreasoning fear of fat. They’d rather get everything from protein and control the energy calories totally. But I’d expect him to turn to Barry Sears before he goes to the Vegan crowd.

    The weight lifting grandmother was my favorite link this week. Woo, go gramma!

    1. Hi Anjelica, I was also unaware of what Arnie was doing with veganism but apparently he started transitioning to a vegan diet in 2016 at the behest of his doctors, so he certainly did not become a 7 time Mr Olympia on it.

  19. Mark, your Sunday email was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word! Your arguments are sound and backed by science, you did a excellent job explaining in detail the comparative differences of soy versus animal. Thank you for that!

  20. Hi Mak,
    I just read your response regarding the “Game Changers” movie. I have never tried a vegan diet, I have actually stuck to mainly Primal/Keto based eating for many years now. I have recently added more healthy carbs into my diet since having surgery and also more fruits. I could feel my gut health increasing almost immediately. What is your take on the touch points regarding carbs in the movie? Also, what did they say about meat and animal products that is factually wrong? They also did not touch base a lot on seafood. Could a pescetarian diet be the best way to go? Personally, the high fat, low carb diet actually made me feel depleted and weak after awhile. Right now I am eating a pretty balanced macro diet. Do you truly believe that a vegetarian, vegan or pescetarian diet (even if one does need a B-12 vitamin) is really a bad way to go? Looking forward to your response.
    Thank you!

  21. The vegetarian/omnivore debate (battle) will go on forever. I’ve been involved in progressive nutrition since the 60’s one way or another and have heard pretty much all of it. It will NEVER end as it involves on-going changes in technology and especially emotions, dogma, business profit and personal desires. Mark, I admire you for being point on this silliness and standing your ground. The bottom line to the bottom line cannot be argued….our species was/is and will always be omnivorous…period. I pay zero attention to what the rich & famous and exalted athletes eat…that’s ALL about generating profit & spin. I liken these debates to how insane cyclists get over bike weight and will spend thousands of $ to save maybe 5-6 ounces when the rider is 5/10+ pounds overweight. Btw….I recently heard vitamin B-12 is now linked to lung cancer….LMAO…the debates & ca-ca will never end. K

  22. Very insightful commentary on “game changers” can be found on Peterattiamd.com. Peter Attia has a podcast called The Drive. Very cerebral. He is all about the problems inherent in nutritional studies because of the many variables to consider. Also thinks game changers is very questionable. Comparing the SAD diet to a plant based diet has many room for variables.

  23. You mentioned soya in the game changer blog. But what about Soya Lecithin.Some are advocating that it emulsifiers fat that you eat. Sounds sketch to me. You?

  24. What advice/suggestions about diet, workouts, mindset, rest and nutrition would you give to a 13 year old boy who wants to be a professional athlete?

  25. Game Changers…

    I have very similar sentiments but it is somewhat thought provoking and having days where you only eat vegetarian I do not think is all bad. Unfortunately, it was heavily one sided toward veganism. It’s hard to believe that some of the athletes (particularly the body builders) got to that level without eating some quality proteins.

    Additionally, I do not think it’s all bad if we challenge thinking but at least do it in a way that paints a better picture.

    Followers of the likes of yourself and others will challenge that kind of thinking but how many others can and will follow that kind of documentary blindly?

  26. Interesting about the Neanderthals making arrows. I read somewhere before, recently in the scheme of things, that there wasn’t any evidence of them using projectiles, which I found puzzling. Even monkeys/apes will fling poop!