Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
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Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.

Chief Science Officer
Say Hello

Dr. Smith obtained a bachelor’s degree in PE & Sports Science and a teaching certificate in PE & Mathematics from Loughborough University, England. He completed both his master’s degree (Exercise and Sport Science) and his doctorate (Physiology) at Colorado State University. He has worked with Dr. Cordain, the founder of the modern Paleo diet movement, since 1988. Dr. Smith is also a leading expert on supra-maximal interval training. He has maintained his own health and conditioning practice at The Sports Club at Mission Hills CC in Rancho Mirage, CA since 2006.

Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
Meet The Expert

What makes you an expert on The Paleo Diet?

I bought into the hypothesis and subsequent development of a modern-day Paleolithic diet template back in the late 1980s when I arrived at Colorado State University, as a graduate student embarking on completing a masters degree in Exercise and Sport Science. As luck would have it, Dr. Loren Cordain was assigned to be my advisor and I never looked back!

Describe the impact The Paleo Diet has had on you and your family's life?

I have used The Paleo Diet® as my nutritional template since I was in my early twenties—over 35 years. I am convinced that my good fortune in regard to my health and fitness today is because of this. For my family, everyone has benefited: My sister is a breast cancer survivor, my mother once suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, and my father regressed cardiovascular disease.

What does “healthy living” mean to you? And what do you like to eat when you go to the movies (i.e. what is your favorite cheat food)?

It means encompassing all aspects of life that affect health: diet, physical conditioning, sleep, and stress relief. I believe being happy in your life is extremely important for your health, and so that guides much of my decision-making. Part of that is adopting a “when in Rome” philosophy (some of the time). Because I don’t go to the movies that much (I typically wait to watch the movies on-demand at home), I will often have a small popcorn. But my favorite cheat food? Hmmm, probably freshly made chips (and salsa)!

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing for The Paleo Diet?

There isn’t much that doesn’t interest me, which isn’t necessarily a good thing when you are trying to keep on top of a busy life. But as a performance coach that works in the golf and tennis industry, I enjoy playing both of those sports. My father is an artist, photographer, and calligrapher, and I’ve been doing calligraphy since I was very young. In recent years I have renewed my interest in calligraphic design and photography.

See The Articles
The Importance of Topical Vitamin C for Skin Health
Find out what vitamin C can do for your skin health!
By Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
The Paleo Diet® is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Chronic inflammation is at the heart of most chronic illnesses, including autoimmune disease, heart disease, and cancer. Here’s how The Paleo Diet can stop chronic inflammation, minimizing your risk of these problems.
By Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
Why It’s Important to Eat a Low-Glycemic Load Diet
Eating foods that send our blood sugar levels on a roller coaster can lead to health conditions like insulin resistance and diabetes.
By Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
Plant Protein vs. Animal Protein: What's the Difference?
Here's why meat and eggs provide significantly better nutrition than beans or other plant-based foods.
By Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
Why The Paleo Diet Doesn’t Focus on Macronutrients
We are individuals with different dietary needs and seasonal availability. So why try to stick to a set macronutrient profile that has previously never existed, when variability is a part of life?
By Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
How to Apply The Paleo Diet 85/15 Rule
Need more wiggle room in your diet? Try this categorized approach to dieting that will get you results while allowing you to enjoy your favorite off-limit foods.
By Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.
Paleo Leadership
Trevor Connor
Trevor Connor

Dr. Loren Cordain’s final graduate student, Trevor Connor, M.S., brings more than a decade of nutrition and physiology expertise to spearhead the new Paleo Diet team.

Mark J Smith
Dr. Mark J. Smith

One of the original members of the Paleo movement, Mark J. Smith, Ph.D., has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the benefits of Paleo nutrition.

Nell Stephenson
Nell Stephenson

Ironman athlete, mom, author, and nutrition blogger Nell Stephenson has been an influential member of the Paleo movement for over a decade.

Loren Cordain
Dr. Loren Cordain

As a professor at Colorado State University, Dr. Loren Cordain developed The Paleo Diet® through decades of research and collaboration with fellow scientists around the world.