Speech: Science For Smart People

After a few days of hassling with Final Cut Pro (which I don’t like very much … Adobe Premiere is more user-friendly), I managed to get clear versions of my slides into the video of my speech. So here it is, Science For Smart People, the speech I gave on the low-carb cruise.

Dr. Michael Fox, one of the other speakers on the cruise, told me later he enjoyed the speech very much and thought I should be giving it in medical schools, but was concerned the section about the HERS estrogen trial might needlessly scare women away from taking hormones.  The estrogen women are given today isn’t the same kind used back then.  I asked him to explain on camera, so he did.  I included that interview at the end of the speech.

If you’d like a DVD copy after viewing, you can now order this speech or Big Fat Fiasco (or both) from this page. Since my wife and I are the shipping department, we’ve simplified things by charging a flat $14.99 for either DVD, shipping included, no extra charges for outside the U.S. You can also order both speeches on DVD for $24.99.

(Note to those of you outside the United States: we occasionally receive overseas orders for the Big Fat Fiasco DVD. No need to place that order. If you order the Fat Head international DVD, Big Fat Fiasco is already included as a bonus track.)


74 thoughts on “Speech: Science For Smart People

  1. C Wolf

    Micronutrient deficiencies are major issues. Iodine alone is #4 in the world.

    Beef is a rich source of iron and B vitamins.

    1. Compare fat content from skinless chicken to lean beef.

    2. Then compare nutrients.

    3. Resources:






  2. TonyNZ

    Finally managed to watch it. Great job.

    Not a whole lot of new information for people that read the blog, but I found it the most humorous of the things you’ve done so far. You seemed much more relaxed and having fun in this one also, did you feel that way? I would imagine it’s easier giving a speech like this without the threat of someone jumping up and saying “but you need carbs for energy! Without carbs your brain can’t operate!”

    Keep it up.

    I was more relaxed during this speech. The previous one was before a room full of strangers. No idea how they’d react. This time it was more like playing for the home crowd.

  3. labrat

    Love your speeches. Great job.

    Can’t get on board with Dr. Fox however. I am not convinced in the menopause is a disease model. It would be nice to see some back up references so I can explore his evidence using the tools you supply in your speech. As far as the evidence I have explored so far – the estrogen protection theory is as vacuous as the diet/heart/cholesterol one.

    I’ll leave it up to him to make that case, but I don’t think the view is that menopause is a disease. It’s more that once we’re past reproduction age, Nature doesn’t much care if we live or die.

  4. John Newlin


    Have you read this article?

    I’m trying to figure out if the conclusion are real or not. Can you help me out? 🙂

    Looks like case of selecting and torturing the data to produce the conclusions they wanted. They selected eight studies, some of which they admit may have problems:

    “Many of the identified randomized trials in our meta-analysis had important design limitations. For example, some trials provided all or most meals, increasing compliance but perhaps limiting generalizability to effects of dietary recommendations alone; whereas other trials relied only on dietary advice, increasing generalizability to dietary recommendations but likely underestimating efficacy due to noncompliance. Several of these trials were not double-blind, raising the possibility of differential classification of endpoints by the investigators that could overestimate benefits of the intervention.”

    That’s just one paragraph of many that shouldn’t exactly inspire confidence in their meta-analysis. At least they were honest enough to write this:

    “Given these limitations of each individual trial, the quantitative pooled risk estimate should be interpreted with some caution.”

    Later, they said publication bias could be a problem (in other words, perhaps the total pool of published studies from which they selected eight tends to exclude contrary studies) but they didn’t think it was likely. That’s laughable. Dr. Eric Westman has had papers rejected with explanations that amounted to “We’re not going to publish this because everyone knows saturated fat is bad.”

  5. Cathi

    Ok, transdermal Estrogen is safer than Oral taken Estrogen because it by passes the liver. But what about Bio-identical Estradiol , which is keyed exactly to one’s own body Verses the Synthetic form Horse derived Estrogen, which is not made to match a women’s body? Which is the safer of the two? Isn’t it kind of like the Difference between Steak and Baloney. I personally feel that eating steak is a safer than eating Baloney, but I’m not s scientist. If I was a scientist and being a women myself would want to do some controlled studies on these two, to see which is the best and healthiest form to put in my body or any women’s body. I personally, will not touch the Synthetic form of Estrogen derived from a Horse, but again I am not a scientist. I am only going by my on observation skills of what seems to make sense. Kind of like the difference between eating Steak or Baloney.

  6. Robbie Trinidad

    I remember the Scientific Method being taught as early as grade school here in the Philippines, but it was hardly the focus of our Science classes. For the most part, the focus is on the body of knowledge rather than the the methodology. It’s the methodology of acquiring that knowledge that differentiates science from religion or philosophy.

    At first I wondered how your presentation would be of any value since you were preaching to the choir. But then I realized that a lot of those on low-carb diets don’t understand the science behind it. All they know is that they tried it, it worked, and now Dr. Atkins is their infallible messiah.

    I think learning a little something about science is useful for people of any dietary persuasion, if only to arm themselves against all the nonsense that pops up in media articles.

  7. eddie watts

    i was incorrect in my comment above, i re-watched the special features and it was AL Sears who commented on whether humans are dogs or rabbits and that feeding any of these a diet not matched by their evolution they develop heart disease.

  8. Linda Smith

    Just wanted to make sure everyone understand what these important college degrees mean and why we should continue to give them a certain degree of . . . . disrespect:

    BS – well we all know what BS means!

    MS – More of the Same!

    PhD – Piled Higher and Deeper

  9. Dan T

    Mr Naughton,
    Your disection of weak science is some of the best I have seen. You have found your calling please keep up the good work. What will it take for you to apply your genius to the so called Climate Change rubbish. The same science that runs nutrtition is the same science being done on climate change.
    Save the world and save science!

    I’ve commented on that issue several times on the other blog.

  10. Nina

    Thanks for including the Dr Michael Fox interview.

    What studies have been done on oestrogen, coronary plaque and bone density? Has the cause-effect relationship been established or is there a correlation with menopause and falling oestrogen levels?

    I wonder what Dr William Davis thinks about this.

    A colleague, who used to send letters referring women from their doctor to hospital for breast cancer treatment, refused to take HRT because most of them took oestrogen.

    I’m also thinking of my grandparents’ generation who seemed to do fine after menopause and not suffer problems of osteoporosis. I wonder what other dietary factors may have had an impact on women’s health in this area, but is yet to be revealed.

    Interesting interview, but I’m not convinced and am glad I opted out of HRT.

    I’m not sure about studies looking into those topics. Dr. Fox certainly warns that the wrong diet accelerates the negative effects of menopause.

  11. Lynn Dunning

    I completely disagree with this doctor. Oestrogen is simply NOTnecessary for most post menopausal women because we live in an environment saturated with synthetic oestrogens. Most post menopausal women tend to be oestrogen dominant actually and oestrogen dominance is very bad for one’s health. Throwing further oestrogen into the mix is a bad, bad idea. One can easily ascertain whether they are oestrogen dominant via testing.

    Natural progesterone on the other hand will benefit most women. Natural progesterone is both heart protective and anti cancer. Check out the work of Dr. John Lee and Ray Peat for further info.

  12. C Wolf

    Gee, if you just drink coffee, cancer will just go away. 🙂

    Coffee cuts risk of lethal prostate cancer: study

    Agence France-Presse


    More is better when it comes to drinking coffee to ward off the risk of deadly prostate cancer, according to a major US study released Tuesday by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

    Men who drank six or more cups per day had a 60 percent lower risk of developing the most lethal type of prostate cancer and a 20 percent lower risk of forming any type of prostate cancer compared to men who did not drink coffee, it said.

    Even just one to three cups per day was linked to a 30 percent lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer.

    “Few studies have specifically studied the association of coffee intake and the risk of lethal prostate cancer, the form of the disease that is the most critical to prevent,” said Harvard associate professor and senior author Lorelei Mucci.

    “Our study is the largest to date to examine whether coffee could lower the risk of lethal prostate cancer,” she said.

    The effects were the same whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated, leading researchers to believe the lower risk could be linked to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of coffee.

    Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in US men, but it is not always deadly.

    A blood test can detect it early, and the cancer can be graded on what is known as a Gleason score; the higher the score the more likely the cancer is to spread.

    There are 16 million survivors of prostate cancer worldwide, and one in six men in the United States will get prostate cancer during their lifetime.

    Risk factors are typically linked to Western high-fat diets, heredity, alcohol and exposure to chemicals.

    The study examined 47,911 US men who reported on how much coffee they drank every four years from 1986 to 2008.

    Over the course of the study, a total of 5,035 cases of prostate cancer were reported, including 642 fatal, or metastatic, cases.

    The lower risk seen in coffee drinkers remained even after researchers allowed for other factors that typically boost risk and were more often seen in coffee drinkers than in abstainers, such as smoking and failure to exercise.


    COPYRIGHT 2002 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

    Another meaningless association.

  13. Dan

    Talk about division, try this

    x = y so x2(squared) = xy
    & x2-y2 = xy-y2
    Factoring: (x+y)(x-y) = y(x-y)
    Divide by (x-y) to get x+y=y
    Since x=y, we have 1+1=1
    Therefore 2=1

    Note that x-y=0 and by dividing by zero, you can prove anything.

    Check out more “proofs” on Wikipedia


    Makes about as much sense as relative risk.

    Don’t tell the nutrition researchers; they’ll start using it to prove anything they want.

  14. Carol

    I was surprised to see Dr. Fox at the end of your talk. I thought you put him there as a test, to see if we had been paying attention to your lessons in the video. ” The transdermal method bypassing the liver is better” at the moment is just a hypothesis and needs to be validated with a DBRCT. If that study is done and there is a benefit to the treatment group, then all his statements will be true. If he’s making those claims before the study is done, then it’s just his opinion and we should think many times about starting estrogen. Given the harm from oral estrogen, I wouldn’t want to use it by any means of administration with out the definitive trial.

    Thanks for the science education.

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