Ask Mark Sisson

Many of you will recall my guest post over at Mark's Daily Apple. At the time, Mark and I agreed he'd do one here as well, and I decided it would be best to wait until after the holimonth. Well, it's time; and though he and I bounced a few ideas back and forth, I was always left disappointed about all he could've addressed, but wouldn't, in sticking to one subject.

Well, I'm happy to announce that Mark solved that little dilemma by suggesting a guest post that will actually be a lot more work for him.

So here's the deal: Ask Away. Preferably in the comments, but you can also send me an email (the address is on my About page). Of course, anything having to do with food, diet, fitness, weight loss, fasting supplementation, cooking, etc. etc. is fair game.

Want to know more about Mark so that you can be best informed about what to ask? Then read all about him and take in those photos. Also, Mark is the designer of The Primal Blueprint, so you might have a question or two about that. You won't even have to wait for his forthcoming book.

OK, folks, let's make the most of this great opportunity. Once we have sufficient questions I'll get them off to Mark and he'll prepare a guest post to answer as many as he can.

Later: More Ideas For Questions.

Update: You Asked; Mark Sisson Answers

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Meese on January 26, 2009 at 13:35

    Hi Richard! I love your blog and have been lurking for months. I have the following questions for Mark (or anyone well-informed) — I apologize if they are misguided, redundant, or just plain dumb…

    I've been puzzling over Lyle McDonald's posts on leptin and had the following 2 questions:

    1) On a primal/paleo/evfit type of lifestyle in which one consumes relatively constrained amounts of carbohydrates, could falling or low leptin still become a problem as both carbohydrate metabolism and fat storage would tend to decrease, possibly prompting hormonal responses to guard against starvation? For instance, I notice when I am fasting, I am not particularly hungry or weak (insulin levels good!), but I am extremely and uncomfortably cold.

    2) McDonald seems to recommend brief(ish) carb-heavy “refeeds” to bring leptin levels back to baseline after dieting. As fat and protein don’t seem to have appreciable effects on leptin, and fat and sugar stores tend to decrease on a primal lifestyle, how can a recovering dieter/non-bodybuilder raise leptin levels? Assuming one already gets adequate sleep, is there a better way than controlled carb binges?

    In any case, thanks for opportunity and the blog! Cheers, M.

  2. Bill on January 26, 2009 at 17:21

    what are your thoughts on a all meat diet,some say thats the way we should eat,are there any benifit's to that.

  3. Marc Feel Good Eating on January 26, 2009 at 18:50

    Richard thank you for getting this set up.
    I take Mark's "Damage Control Formula" and feel it's some if not the best product of it's kind on the market.
    My question;
    What is your take on the post work out meal and GH release?

    Thanks again Richard.


  4. Andy on January 26, 2009 at 20:12

    Mark's latest post regarding the before and after pictures are amazing. Nuff said.

  5. Richard Nikoley on January 26, 2009 at 13:01

    While there are a lot of success stories here on this blog, and on yours and others, Mark, there are also the comments (and I'm sure the emails to bloggers personally) from those who have seen some success and then stalled in their progress.

    So, Mark, over the months and years, have you come to recognize any common themes, and do you have a short list of things "the stalled" out to look at or do in order to get back on track?

  6. Keith Norris on January 26, 2009 at 13:33

    I'm curious as to what your take is on Quinoa. Being a gluten-free seed, (and from a leafy green plant)I wonder if it is indeed free of the immune system irritants that plague the grass grains. I've been looking for a bean substitute for my Tex-Mex chili — could these be the ticket?

    Thanks in advance!

  7. Mark on January 26, 2009 at 22:14

    Thanks for doing this, Richard and Mark!

    I may be repeating Marc here, but I'm wondering about the apparent difference in opinion (I think) between Mark and Art DeVany: be sure to eat within the first hour after a hard workout (Mark), or definitely wait until at least an hour has passed (Art)?

    Thanks again!

  8. Madmax on January 27, 2009 at 16:11

    I'd like to know how Mark approaches Intermittent Fasting; ie how often he does it and for how long.

    I too second Meese's questions regarding Lyle McDonald's "carb re-feeding" idea. McDonald is an interesting case. He's heavy into the science aspect but he does not recommend a paleo/primal lifestyle. In fact, I get the impression that he thinks its "faddish" and unscientific. Lyle is also no fan of Gary Taubes. I would usually dismiss someone like him but for those that know Lyle, they know that he knows his science. This makes ignoring him out of hand difficult.

  9. robert chon on January 28, 2009 at 10:22


    Thanks for setting this up. Both sites are terrific resources.

    I'd be interested to know Mark and Richard's take on the newest wave of miracle supplements.

    I'm speaking of course of those which generally perform the function known as "colon cleansing."

    The purveyors make many claims, mostly regarding the removal of toxins from the body and of course, substantial weight-loss claims.

    Thanks in advance for answering my question.

    Robert C.

  10. Keith Norris on January 28, 2009 at 06:02

    Another question for your consideration, Mark —

    Dr. Scott Connelly (of MetRx fame) is a big proponent of whey protein and raw dairy in general. This seems to be his "gold standard" vis-a-vis protein bio-availability. I would think that the lactose/insulin issue, not to mention the body's immune/inflammatory reaction to dairy, would render whey/dairy protein substandard. Thoughts?

  11. Michael on February 2, 2009 at 09:47


    At the risk of just re-hashing Meese and Madmax, here goes: can there be potential value in intermittent/random higher carb days? Nothing ridiculous, but I'm thinking something like ratcheting from, say 100g or less per day, to the occasional 200-300g per day. Aside from the leptin issue noted by Meese above (which I did not know about), I'm wondering whether this could simply be a valuable form of variation/randomizing that "confuses" the body in a productive way…


  12. Michael on February 2, 2009 at 17:17

    Yes, yes, good points, and thanks for the reply. These days I am at the stage where "randomizing" takes some conscious effort (as self-contradictory as that may sound). My IF "schedule" is now pretty un-consciously random, so I'll try to think about more variation in food sources and types (the IF already helps me vary my daily caloric intake). I'm sure it will evolve into habit eventually. Plus a "high" carb day now and then gives me an excuse for the occasional fun indulgence (a couple of beers, a little bit of ice cream, etc.) One reason I raised the question is that I recently had a chance to read a bit of Art DeVany's work while he had his private blog open to the public. His emphasis on randomness and power laws is really interesting, and yet despite that, it was hard to imagine him allowing for *any* periods of higher carb intake — even though power laws would seem to dictate that these are a natural part of the cycle (I'm guessing our ancestors might have stumbled upon a rare cache of something sweet/high carb?)

  13. Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2009 at 10:52

    I tend to think so, just from an evolutionary perspective. But I also think the same thing about fat, protein and even calories. I kind of chuckle when I see people logging their food to the tune of 2,500 kcals per day, or whatever. For me, it's something like 0 some days, 5k on others, 1-3 on still others, and so on. Sometimes it's fatty meats, sometimes fish, sometimes lean meats, and so on. Sometimes I eat a lot of fruit, but usually in short bursts.

    I think that's all appropriate for an otherwise healthy / lean person. If still fat and/or diabetic, that may not be appropriate.

  14. Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2009 at 18:36

    I've always understood De Vany to get higher carbs intermittently via fruit.

    I typically do not eat much fruit, but when I do, I gorge on it. I think that's closer to what we would see in wild conditions.

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