Marks Daily Apple

Marks Daily Apple - Primal Living in the Modern WorldMarks Daily Apple

I’ve learnt a lot from this website. It’s a good source of information. It’s the first place where I learnt about the importance of being barefoot and intermittent fasting. I’ve also used it frequently to get a different point of view on something I’ve read elsewhere. I don’t alway agree with what Mark says, but he gives good balanced views of things in general.

This is probably the first page that I ever looked at on Marks Daily Apple.  It’s called How to Strengthen Your (Bare, Flat) Feet. I have had a fairly flat left foot for as long as I can remember, at least since my early teens, and I was fascinated that there could be something that can be done about it and that the arch can be strengthened. After reading this, I looked into it some more and ended up buying “toe shoes”. In spite of the laughter these sometimes generate, they have been good for me. My left foot is stronger now than I can remember. It’s not perfect, but it has improved.

I learnt a lot about intermediate fasting, and fasting in general, from Marks Daily Apple. If you search the site, you’ll find many, many pages on fasting – here’s just one.

I also like his explanation of how we can become a fat burning machine. This is incredibly powerful to me. Here are a couple of extracts from this page on Marks Daily Apple. The first extract explains why are current assumptions about diet are causing us problems;

The basic underlying assumption is that glucose is the preferred fuel of most cells; BUT, because we can’t store very much glucose (as glycogen in liver and muscles), we need to provide a continuous source of glucose in the form of exogenous carbohydrate (high carb meals) to keep the brain, blood, and certain organs humming along and the muscles primed for activity. AND, if we don’t feed ourselves enough carbohydrate every few hours, our blood sugar will drop and we’ll go into “starvation mode” and cannibalize our precious muscle tissue. AND any lack of regular glucose refilling (i.e. skipping a meal or fasting) will cause cortisol to rise, which will have additional deleterious effects. FURTHERMORE, an excess of glucose in the bloodstream is known to raise insulin and will predispose excess calories (from all sources) to be stored as fat. THEREFORE, we should also be doing a lot of moderate-to-heavy cardio or lifting activity most days to burn off this excess stored body fat. HOWEVER, if we want to be ready and able to exercise frequently and strenuously to burn off our stored fat, we need to eat lots of complex carbohydrates between workouts to refill our glycogen stores. And ULTIMATELY, the only way to lose weight is to restrict calories (calories in<calories out), BUT if you’re working out regularly, it’s almost impossible to maintain a calorie-restricted regimen and still be able to work out hard enough to burn appreciable calories. Sheesh.

and this second extract explains why the carbohydrate assumption is wrong;

Glucose is not the preferred fuel of muscle cells under normal human resting metabolic conditions or even under most normal human movement patterns (exercise). Fat is. Sure, given an unlimited supply of glucose and regular refilling of glycogen stores, skeletal muscle will burn through it during exercise the same way a fire burns through kindling when that’s all you have to offer. The body can shift carbohydrate oxidation to keep up with intake. But skeletal muscle can burn fat with great efficiency (and far less oxidative fallout) at relatively high outputs for very long bouts. Cardiac muscle actually prefers ketones, and the brain can run just fine (maybe even optimally) on a blend of ketones and minimal glucose. Our survival as a species has depended on these evolutionary adaptations away from glucose dependency. Entire civilizations have existed for ages on what is practically a zero-carb diet. Think about this: there is actually no requirement for any “essential dietary carbohydrates” in human nutrition. It’s possible to live a very long and healthy life never consuming much – if any – in the way of carbs, provided you get adequate dietary protein and fat. The same can’t be said for going too long without protein or fat. Cut too far back on either of those macronutrients and you will eventually get sick and die.

and this final extract explains why fat should be our primary energy source;

Fat and protein were the dominant macronutrients (when food was even available) over the majority of our two-and-a-half million years as evolving humans. The lack of regular access to food and a scarcity of carbohydrates for much of this time necessitated that we adapt efficient pathways to readily store and access body fat for energy if we were to survive day-to-day and generation-to-generation. Our movement patterns were such that we never required large amounts of glucose or that we needed to store very much glycogen. It was predominantly fats, ketones and the minimal infusion of glucose via gluconeogenesis that got us here. Dietary carbs were insignificant. In fact, when you consider how ridiculously small the body’s glycogen reservoirs are, you understand that it would have been impossible for us to survive as a species if glucose were truly the “preferred” fuel. The liver, the main back-up glycogen/glucose storage facility for the brain and other glucose-burning organs, can only store about 100 grams of glycogen. Less than a day’s worth. Your muscles can only hold another 350-500 grams, barely enough to run for 90 minutes at a reasonable clip, and that glycogen isn’t even available to provide fuel for the brain. Meanwhile, we have a virtually unlimited storage capacity for fat (like 100,000 grams or close to a million calories on some people). The reason glycogen storage wasn’t necessary is because, between our copious fat storage capability, easy access to fats as fuel, gluconeogenesis and ketones, we just didn’t need much. Evolution tends not to reward structures or functions that take up unnecessary space or waste energy.

This is really why intermediate fasting is good. If we eat all the time, especially with carbs and sugars, our body always has glucose and glycogen and it forgets how to burn fat. It’s only after about 8-12 hours of fasting (non eating) that the body has to remember how to use fat stores to provide energy.

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