A Speech On Bad Science and Heart Disease

People started sending me links to this speech awhile back, and I meant to get around to watching it … then all the stuff hit the fan with finding out we’d need to move, buying the mini-farm, starting a full-time contract job as a programmer, etc.

Anyway, I finally watched it tonight and enjoyed it.  I covered some of the same territory Dr. Diamond covers here in Fat Head and Big Fat Fiasco, but he’s dug up some additional good study references.  I also found the improvements in his labs after he changed his diet compelling.  Enjoy.

p.s. — You may have noticed we no longer offer the U.S.-only version of Fat Head for sale. That distributor has fallen a year behind on royalty payments, offering excuses ranging from changes in corporate structure to stock market dips to sun spots. We hope to force them to cough up the money eventually, but in the meantime, we’re not going to sell their DVD. So if you live in the U.S., just order the international version we produced ourselves. It’s a couple of extra bucks, but it also includes the Big Fat Fiasco speech as an additional bonus track.


31 thoughts on “A Speech On Bad Science and Heart Disease

  1. Helder Correia

    Hi, Tom. Does the international version contain any (non-English) subtitles?

    No, it just has the region restriction codes removed and works in PAL or NTSC players.

  2. LCNana

    Holy Cow! And I do mean a nice fatty cow….that talk by Dr. Diamond was great. Thanks so much for this, Tom. I’ll hoist a nice cup of bone broth with a dollop of butter on it to your health.

    That’s a toast I could believe in.

  3. Barry

    Umm, I think you should charge him royalties also. Not saying you’d be able to collect like on the domestic DVDs but a lot of this is your content. Haven’t finished yet to see if he acknowledges your work. Maybe he does. Only about 3/4 ways through.

    I think it’s more likely we both found a lot of the same sources. He also found others I didn’t.

  4. GuineaPig

    have you ever thought about selling Fathead on ebay?as far as i know it’s a 50c insertion fee plus 10% of what you sell it for (no 10% fee if it isn’t sold).

    That’s worth a look. We’ll have to prevent the U.S. distributor from selling anywhere else as well, since that’s apparently money we’ll never see.

  5. Nowhereman

    Brilliant speech. This guy deserves kudos for standing up like this, and speaking out. His presentation is also excellent, actually going all the way back in the scientific literature several centuries worth to prove his points.

    But there is one thing I would take exception with:

    Neuroscience isn’t necessarily free from the problems plaguing the heart sciences. They are just as likely these days to prescribe medication for you, rather than find an actual cause for your problem. I see this in a family member, who suffers from epileptic seizures. He is on a very expensive cocktail of drugs, including Depakote to control his seizures. No, he’s not on Paleo. I’m the only one of my family who is. Despite my pleading and trying to convince his parents (his mother is my sister) to see if he is Celiac or has some other food-related sensitivity that might explain it, they continue to blindly follow the neurologist’s advice. More drugs. The problem is that the neurologist may not know, because he is so specialized, that some people with seizures, may also be a Celiac.

    It’s a tragedy. He’s a bright young man, yet I see his health failing gradually. But I can’t convince him or his parents to do something, anything different. 🙁

    I’m sorry to hear that. I hope Dr. Diamond, after seeing how much bad science is behind the notion that everyone with cholesterol over 200 needs statins, is applying similar critical thinking in his own field.

  6. David

    Off-topic, sort of. The 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators is being held in Las Vegas, and of course Hope Warshaw is the star. I can’t help but notice that the pharmacist in the interview (scroll down), who has had diabetes for 60+ years, looks inflamed.


    Egads. I almost wish I could attend that meeting, just to see what kind of nonsense she’s going to present.

  7. Erin

    Hi Tom. I only found your blog a couple weeks ago and I have been voraciously reading everything on here – great stuff! I read WWGF back in February and I was blown away; since then I’ve been on a quest to read everything I can find on nutrition & health. You have mentioned a few times that you talked your mom off of taking statins – how did you do it? Both of my parents are on Lipitor, both are over 65, and neither have had a heart attack, so from everything I’ve read it seems like they are not good candidates for such a powerful drug. My dad is a scientific kind of guy and I know he’d respond well to journal articles, etc., that showed the error of his ways. Do you have any suggestions on resources I could show him? Thanks!

    I’d recommend Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s book “The Great Cholesterol Con.” There are also many excellent articles on Spacedoc.net.

  8. Erin

    Also, I thought you’d like this quote, as it seems to fit your philosophy – I came across in Judith Harris Rich’s book No Two Alike:

    “Unless science is to be a credentialed aristocracy, we must surely be open to participation by the uncredentialed and unorthodox. The history of science seems to suggest that the work of amateurs deserves, if anything, special protection.”

    Absolutely! I read an article awhile back titled something like “Peer Review By Twitter,” explaining how non-credentialed science buffs have been busting bad science in cyberspace. Just look at how Denise Minger called out T. Colin Campbell for a perfect example. He of course tried to dismiss her as not having the credentials to question him, but the math is what the math is.

  9. John

    Nowhereman- you should look into The Charlie Foundation. Their goal is spreading information about The Clinical Ketogenic Diet and the Modified Atkins Diet as a treatment to reduce, and in some cases eliminate, epileptic seizures. They could probably direct you to more resources that could help someone in your specific situation.

    The only problem I see with the Ketogenic diet for epilepsy is that it often relies heavily on vegetable (or more accurately, seed) oils. I don’t see any reason why animal fat couldn’t be used instead. Even with this potential problem, the diet is still effective in about two-thirds of cases.

  10. Nowhereman

    @John Thanks. I’m already well aware of The Clinical Ketogenic Diet, among other things. But again, I’m not the one who gets to say anything about what treatments my nephew gets. I’m just hoping that in a year or so after my nephew gets done with school and moves out of his parents home that he’ll be more willing or able to listen to me.

  11. Peggy Cihocki

    This talk, like your video, is awesome! I felt a bit of De Ja Vu as I was watching it–I think I’ve seen it before–but it was worth watching a second time.

  12. TheGame

    For someone who loves freedom of speech, you sure do love to suppress comments that disagree with your point of view.

    I see you don’t grasp what “freedom of speech” means — not that I’m surprised — so I’ll explain it to you: “Freedom of speech” means the government does not prevent you from expressing your opinions. Your freedom to speak in no way obligates anyone else to provide a forum for your thoughts. If I send an editorial to local newspaper and they don’t publish it, they haven’t violated my freedom of speech. All they’ve done is exercise their own freedom to choose what to publish and what not to publish.

    So yes, since it’s my blog, I exercise my right to freedom of speech/freedom of the press by blocking comments from morons like Kenny who attempt to post the same inane comments about smelly butts over and over and over and over. I’ve also blocked a few trolls who argue the same points over and over and over and over without adding anything new to the conversation. There are certain people in the world who will happily argue endlessly, turning every discussion into a bad impression of Monty Python’s “Argument Clinic” sketch. Those people are a waste of time.

  13. eddie watts

    freedom of speech, got to laugh at that!

    anyway, his speech is good, brings out more of an assault on statins and more of a conspiracy theory assault on those doctors doing the studies.
    your speech is better for being shorter and actually having the slides visible throughout.

    i’d send people to yours first and have done in the past, who knows how many actually watched them of course. i do most of my canvassing through facebook. i’ve actually found quite a few people do read my links even though they don’t tell me until months later!

  14. eddie watts

    wish i could edit.

    just wanted to say: wonder what they were eating while he was giving this talk. imagine the humour of feeding people high carb typical chow while giving this talk!

    Judging by the crowd response, I assume they were eating dessert.

  15. Jennifer VanderKooi

    Excellent talk and thank you for sharing the link.

    I was very interested in the last few minutes where Dr Diamonds links plaque formation with bacterial infection. While I have seen arterosclerosis linked to inflammation this was the first time I had heard of bacteremia as an underlying factor. Are you aware of any studies done supporting or shedding more light on this hypothesis? If so could you share links or PubMed abstracts?

    I wish your Fat Head video was available thru Netflix here in Canada but alas it is not. If I order the international DVD will it have Science for Smart People on it as well?

    Our international distributor is incompetent and we hope to get away from them soon. The international DVD includes the Big Fat Fiasco speech. Science for Smart People is a separate DVD.

  16. Zachary

    Ha, the laughter in the audience when he mentioned the part about eating as much meat and fat as you want is exactly the same reaction I always get when I mention this to most people. I always get that look like I have two heads or something. Seems like the unenlightened folks in the audience really didn’t take him all that seriously. So glad people like him and you have the guts to get out there and educate, I mean I would still be eating wheaties and cream of wheat every morning with fake butter and sugar if it wasn’t for these kinds of speeches!

    I might have been nervous laughter, Dr. Diamond pointing out that sugar is a likely culprit in heart disease just as they were finishing their cheesecakes.

  17. David D

    hi Tom – Thanks for posting my video. The comments are great.
    You and I had remarkably similar ideas independently about Keys etc.

    It was a dinner talk with a high sugar dessert, which was served just as I said that sugar damages the heart.

    The powerpoint file can be found at a web article on the talk.


    I bought your Fathead DVD – absolutely brilliant

    Thank you, David. I enjoyed your speech very much.

  18. David

    This speech was fantastic. Dr. Diamond gave a very convincing presentation and he is a compelling communicator. He should give more of these speeches, as he would no doubt save lives doing so. I think giving someone you care about the Fathead DVD is a great start. If you can have them watch Fathead to break the ice, then make sure they watch The Big Fat Fiasco speech on the DVD, followed by Dr. Diamond’s speech here, then they should be well on their way to “deprogramming” decades of low fat propaganda. The information in these sources is just complimentary enough, as well as just unique enough, for people to really “get it” from that three and a half hour or so investment in total time. And what is three and a half hours when we are talking about one’s health?

    Unfortunately, it can be very hard to prod somebody to read a nutrition book, but it is much easier to get them to watch something. Ask for three and a half hours of somebody you care about’s time, three and a half hours to change their life for the better, then show them Tom’s and Dr. Diamond’s materials. If you can’t get them at least interested in what is really going on by that point then there’s not much else you can do.

    I believe speeches, films and podcasts are a great way to get the message across, even to people who do enjoy books.

  19. Tony


    Maybe if he was opening up with “you’ve been fed a load of bologna” then there might be something in it. When perceptive people analyse the same data and come to the same conclusion, I don’t imagine plagiarism has anything to do with it.

    I too was wondering what they were eating…Only shame about that video was that only a few of the slides were shown briefly. Couldn’t really track what he was talking about.

    I don’t think it was anything more than two people looking at the same research and coming to similar conclusions. He also dug up studies I didn’t.

  20. Ricardo

    Hi Tom i was just wondering can you get rid of the plaque inside your own arteries. I was just wondering cause i was watching this Video about this doctor named Dr. Jeff Life and he says with exercise and the right nutrition if you have coronary heart disease you can turn it around and get rid of the plaque in your own arteries. Also he says that high plaque is a result of low Testosterone and Growth Hormone Levels just wondering what are your thoughts on that. Thank you.

    Dr. William Davis in Milwaukee (HeartScan blog) has had some success reversing plaque buildup.

  21. LaurieLM

    @Jennifer VanderKooi- I have seen information about infection (bacteremia) being linked to heart disease (and Alzheimer’s) in at least two places. Both mention chlamydia pneumoniae being the suspected culprit. One is Dr Uffe Ravnskov in “Fat and Cholesterol Are Good for You” and the other was from Dr James Le Fanu in “The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine”. I will search around for the articles they reference specifically for you. Another place I may have read this was in Barry Groves’, “Trick AND Treat.” But definitely in the other two books. I was intrigued when I read about this possibility. Dr R also says LDL is part of the immune system- just trying to do its job tamping down the inflammation that ingested sugar triggers. Peter at Hyperlipid blog referenced an article that sugar promotes insulin release which then triggers blood vessels’ epithelial lining cells to convert to bone cells (hardening of the arteries anyone?) AND bacteria love sugar, and so do cancer cells. One more thing. Most people now seem to know that sugar is bad. But carbohydrate is sugar. Vegan diet = sugar diet.

  22. LaurieLM

    “Chlamydia pneumoniae and Cardiovascular Disease
    Lee Ann Campbell, Cho-Chou Kuo, and J. Thomas Grayston
    University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA


    Chlamydia pneumoniae is a ubiquitous pathogen that causes acute respiratory disease. The spectrum of C. pneumoniae infection has been extended to atherosclerosis and its clinical manifestations. Seroepidemiologic studies have associated C. pneumoniae antibody with coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, carotid artery disease, and cerebrovascular disease. The association of C. pneumoniae with atherosclerosis is corroborated by the presence of the organism in atherosclerotic lesions throughout the arterial tree and the near absence of the organism in healthy arterial tissue. C. pneumoniae has also been isolated from coronary and carotid atheromatous plaques. To determine whether chronic infection plays a role in initiation or progression of disease, intervention studies in humans have been initiated, and animal models of C. pneumoniae infection have been developed. This review summarizes the evidence for the association and potential role of C. pneumoniae in cardiovascular disease. ”
    Emerging Infections Diseases, Volume 4 #4 Oct-Dec 1998

    Uffe Ravnskov has also made an interesting case that heart disease is partly caused by infections.

  23. LaurieLM

    @Jennifer VanderKooi
    Dr Atkins’s book “Dr. Atkins’ Age-Defying Diet” also has information about Chlamydia being implicated in causing heart disease. CMV- cytomegalovirus is also mentioned.

  24. Ricardo

    Hi Tom I found this very interesting video. Isn’t all that meat bad for you?

    Naturally, it’s considered a “Heart Attack” grill because of the meat and cheese. Funny how now one calls Ben & Jerry’s the “Heart Attack” ice cream shop because of the sugar.

  25. Ricardo

    Also Doesn’t High HDL level reverse plaque buildup?

    I’m not sure it’s high HDL per se. Drugs that raise HDL haven’t worked. High HDL may be a marker for something else that does work.

  26. Patricia

    The day of your post was the day I received my copies of FH, Fiasco and Science. Felt very fortunate to have received them in time. Thank you!

    Enjoyed Dr. Diamond’s speech very much. Good to see the word is getting out on all levels. We really need to get back to the pre-60’s way of thinking about “diet” because conventional wisdom has been the ugly stepchild of health far too long.

    I may be taking this out of context from Dr. D’s speech, but there was one point he made in reference to increased rate of heart disease beginning in the 50’s that corresponded with increased smoking rates. I’m not very good at scientific research but the graphs that I was able to locate on the internet showed sharp increases in both smoking AND sugar consumption during the 50’s.

    Though smoking rates per capita have declined (as they should), heart disease has not. In fact, from what I saw on these graphs heart disease has continued to climb in direct line with sugar (or HFCS) consumption. It just struck me that though his speech included the dangers of sugars/carbs, he focused on the rise in smoking as the corresponding factor in heart disease and may have missed a valid variable that may have been more supportive of his argument.

    Is this a valid observation?

    Heart disease deaths did eventually come back down, but it’s difficult to pin that to a single variable, and we probably shouldn’t anyway. Much of the reduction in the death rate is due to advances in medical technology that have allowed doctors to save more heart-disease victims.

  27. Ricardo

    Oh i see will Growth Hormone Testosterone and Thyroid have been shown to lower cholesterol and raise HDL. There has been research that high cholesterol is also a result of testosterone and Growth Hormone since cholesterol is made from these hormones and when there low cholesterol will naturally be high. I know that the heart has the highest receptors for Testosterone than any other organ in the brain.

  28. Ricardo

    Tom i found this interesting video about the health affects of sugar it seems pretty old. But it had info that even i didn’t know.

    That’s terrific. I’m going to post it.


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