Busy Writing …

      48 Comments on Busy Writing …

I’m taking tonight off to work on my presentation at a meeting of the Office of Research Integrity in D.C., which is just over two weeks away now.

For those of you who don’t already know, I was recruited by Dr. Richard Feinman, who is on a mission to convince the ORI that biased, manipulated, and cherry-picked research is doing damage to the nation’s health.  His group is giving four presentations in all.

My assignment (with input from Jimmy Moore and Laura Dolson) is to explain why large and growing numbers of people no longer trust doctors, nutritionists, government committees and other officially-recognized experts and are turning instead to the internet and social media to find health and nutrition advice that actually works.

Not that I’d know anything about that …


48 thoughts on “Busy Writing …

  1. Ash Simmonds

    Well, good luck!

    I’m at some times really optimistic that there’s a big change coming within just a few years when I notice many of the people around me are discovering the truth (as we know it so far) about nutrition and health. But then I interact with other folks (eg, internets) and see that the indoctrination is well set, and people just aren’t ready to be unplugged from the Matrix.

    What the world needs is a big figure (so to speak) to go paleo/primal/keto, lose the weight, have all the good health markers become apparent, and become an ambassador for the LCHF movement.

    The obvious choice is Oprah, who is constantly going from fit to fatty boombah, but my choice is Stephen Fry, he has a great following of – dare I say it – folks who are more open to critical thinking. There’s a study that shows all an idea needs is 10% of the population to have it become an unshakeable belief, and a revolution happens where it goes from an outlier theory to conventional wisdom.

    Also, as a side-note I’d love for him to team up with Kevin Bacon, we could call this movement the Fry-Bacon Effect.

    The word will get around, thanks to the phenomenon knows as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon … or Fried Kevin Bacon.

  2. simik


    Any chance these presentations will be recorded and made available to the interwebz?

    I’ll take my camcorder, but I’m not sure if we’re allowed to record these things.

  3. Peggy Cihocki

    Awesome! I read about this on Dr. Feinman’s blog, too. It’s great and I hope the ORI listens to you all.
    @Ash Simmonds, love the Fry Bacon team, LOL.

    We can hope.

  4. Valerie

    My mother is one of those people who no longer trusts doctors. Her health has improved since she stopped listening to them and started doing her own research. She always says she doesn’t trust doctors anymore unless they prove their competence to her. She’s so cute on the computer. English is not her first language, but that doesn’t stop her one bit from digging into dense medical language. Once we taught her to use Google… she was off and running. Almost every day she’ll talk to me about something new she learned about health. We’re turning into nutrition geeks. Oh, and she’s always trying to get everyone to watch your documentary!

    Tell your mother thanks for the marketing efforts.

  5. Mark

    Sound like a fantastic dream job. I was wondering why you said in your last post that you were commuting when you are a programer. It all makes sense now.

    Yup, I drive about 25 miles to work now.

  6. Charlie

    Good luck Tom. You are a great asset and ambassador. Your ability to communicate complex issues in a humorous and interesting way is un-matched in the low carb community. Keep up the good work.

    Thank you.

  7. Sabine

    I am so glad to hear you will be doing this. You have a talent for getting information across. Any hopes that this may later turn into a disc a la Big Fat Fiasco and Science for Smart People? I got those a month ago and have watched them several times, learning as I go.
    Encouraging words from Ash that we may just need 10%. I had a sad encounter recently, after showing Fathead to a friend. Sadly, she saw what she wanted, and came away thinking your message was ‘calories count’. I guess there’s a limit to how many times I can make her watch it. 🙁 But if she were surrounded by people who thought differently…maybe, just maybe!

    I don’t have plans at this point to produce a DVD. I’ll only be up there for 20 minutes.

  8. Nina

    Tom is Dr William Davis involved with this? His latest blog (Wheat belly) has so many stories of people who solved their own health problems by reading around, losing trust in their doctor in the process.

    He’s not on this panel, but he’s going great work.

  9. Richard David Feinman

    We have been trying to reach Oprah on this in conjunction with the issue of exercise and strength on low carb diets. Now, Jeff Volek is one of the foremost researchers in low carb and also a power lifter. It’s obvious that a TV show with Volek lifting a platform that contains Oprah, a piano and the studio staff (probably not to large due to robot cameras) will nail the low-carb thing for us. So far, no takers.

    I’d actually watch Oprah in that case.

  10. Erik

    I don’t mistrust my doctors, exactly, but I do recognize that I have to take charge of my own health.

    There’s this one doctor that I sometimes see (not my regular doctor). Her entire “treatment” of my weight control issues consists of her pointing to a red dot on a height-weight chart, and then glowering at me for not being a green dot.

    I’d say “I know I’m fat. You telling me that I’m fat doesn’t make me thin.” Then her advice would come down to some sort of brief variation on “eat less move more”. But when I ask specific questions “how can I be less hungry?” “how can I slow down the rate at which I eat?” she has no actual answers.

    If I get even more specific, she gets testy. “How many calories should I have per day?” “How much protein should I eat per day?” “How much potassium should I get per day?” “How much fiber should I get per day?” And then “how the heck can I possibly get 80 grams of protein and 4000 mg of potassium and 25 grams of fiber and 6 servings of whole grains while consuming fewer than 2500 mg of sodium and fewer than 1500 calories?”

    At some point, I’d figure out that if I ditched the idea that I had to eat at least 6 servings of “whole grains” every freaking day, and stuck to a diet that was mostly high quality protein and vegetables, that I could have some success.

    Last time I saw that doctor, I had just lost 35 pounds. My blood pressure was under control. My blood / liver / kidney tests were all normal. I was consciously and mindfully eating appropriate portions of nutrient-dense foods. I was getting proper amounts of sleep and exercise. I was eager to tell her my success. I wore my old belt, which wraps nearly twice around my waist and has at least a dozen extra notches in it.

    She gets in the room, whips out a height-weight chart, points to a red dot a couple inches to the left of the old red dot and glowers at me for not being a green dot.

    Find a new doctor … one who doesn’t glower at you.

  11. Erik

    I’ve also figured out that what you call your diet seems to matter more in some circles than what you actually eat.

    If you tell your doctor, “I typically eat 3-4 ounces of grass-fed beef on a pile of mixed vegetables because I’m eating healthfully”, the doctor will be pleased. If you tell the doctor “I’m eating Atkins” or “I’m eating Paleo”, they’ll freak out.

  12. ethyl d

    Here’s hoping you will get through to them, but the skeptic in me says the more likely scenario is that you will confuse them with the facts. But at least they appear willing to ask the question and hear your answer.

    With four presentations on the topic (each covering different aspects), we can only hope we get through to somebody.

  13. Liz

    I sure wish that once people realize a Paleo-heavy diet will serve them well that the foods will be affordable to all classes. A lot of the times it seems that upper-middle class and above are able to have the luxury/philosophy about the way they eat. Most poor people in this country load up on processed crap because it’s cheap and subsidized. I guess this explains the low-fat chocolate milk and whole wheat everything in our public schools!

    Carbs are cheap, no doubt.

  14. TheMightyQuinn

    Any chance of slipping the Peter Gleick and Fakegate scandal into your presentation? Obviously not health related, but a fresh and prime example of a prominent scientist willing to do anything “for the cause”.

    There are enough fakes in the nutrition field to highlight.

  15. Tammy

    Tom – Good luck, are you going to be traveling and attending the meetings? If so we live in the DC metro area so if you need tips, info, or anything we’d (my husband and I) would be more than happy to help you out if we could.


    I’ll be in Georgetown, yes. I’ll do my best not to get lost.

  16. Eric

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for all that you do surrounding the whole “LCHF movement / Fry-Bacon movement”! 🙂 There are numerous people out there who are trying to get the word out and are doing a good job of it. However, in my mind, (warning: ridiculous praise for your work ahead) you are doing the best job of it. I feel that way because I really think you reach people where they are. In other words, you approach the whole topic from a “normal guy” approach. You have alot in common with other people and you present the information in such a way that it’s easy for someone to simply watch or read or listen and really follow along without feeling that this doesn’t really apply to them. Concerns are addressed well and at the appropriate times, etc. It’s not intimidating to follow along with you. You have really solid information and a great grasp of it yet you present it in a friendly, funny, “take the barriers down” type of way.

    Good luck with the ORI presentation. Hopefully it will persuade some folks over there to take some sort of action…..that is, before the lobbyists from Monsanto get to them. 🙂


    Thank you.

  17. LCNana

    Yeah, I think a low-carb celeb is the way to go…and sorry Tom, you would make a great poster boy, but we shoulda got ya a few years, and several more hairs ago!!!

    There are already several tennis players who low-carb with great success but I guess they are not main-stream enough….and that rapper who lost the weight low-carbing is not going to set hearts aflutter among the mall-shoppers either….and the female movie stars are already looking like the walking dead….so who’s left?

    As far as looking for a tipping point in the general population that may take a long, long time. Sad to say many ordinary folks who say they “do” low-carb are not good representatives of the lifestyle simply because they yo-yo on low-carb just at they would on any other diet. Just spend a few days on the various low carb forums and it’s obvious that many of them come back year after year after gaining all their weight back. When you think of how many millions of books the good Dr. Atkins sold over the years the mind boggles to think there are any fat people left in the world – yet there are plenty. Why?

    Using a low-carb diet to “lose weight” even if millions do it, is not the way to achieve a tipping point so as to have a low-carb lifestyle become the most healthy way to eat for everyone, heavy or slim.

    Sorry to seem so doom-gloomish but it’s surely frustrating to have so many obese people in my life shake their heads and roll their eyes when i suggest they even think about giving up ANYTHING to achieve good health, never mind losing pounds of ugly fat which they themselves say they hate.

    If I can interject a different, but related note. I think we need to bring back, somehow through educating our children and grandchildren the idea of delayed gratification, self-sacrifice, courage, generosity, charity etc. I know, I sound like a bore, but gee something has to change in our world!!! I remember when I was a kid we used to raise money (pennies and nickels at a time) to send to feed the hungry in African missions. And we did this by giving up the penny candy we used to buy – and I do mean “penny” candy. Ok, ok, off the soapbox……

    Tom, you’re going to be so good at that meeting!!! And don’t forget to throw in a few good laughs – keep the old farts awake anyway eh? And of course you’ll post your presentation we hope. It’s a fascinating topic.

    I definitely plan to put a few laugh lines in there. It’ll be interesting to see if the audience at one of these things has a sense of humor.

  18. Daniel Duncan

    best of luck to you Tom! maybe i’m just pessimistic but i think its going to take our currency tanking and our government to completely fail before most people will start thinking for themselves.

    but you do have a way with words and fight the good fight!

    Our government failing? You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  19. Thomas

    Maybe we don’t trust doctors and nutritionists because the advice they give us makes us waste 30 years of our lives being fat, hungry, depressed, tired, and in my case pre-diabetic. Maybe we are even a little pissed at them because we watched our grandparents die of cancers and heart attacks right after vegetable oils became widespread in part because they told our grandparents that these fats would be better for us than the stuff we evolved to eat.

    Maybe we are even a little more pissed when we think about the years of torment we went through as a fat kid because our parents thought they were doing the right thing and these doctors and nutritionists were making us feel even worse because we couldn’t possibly be eating as they told us and still gain weight.

    I would say it is a little more than a trust deficit. I for one would like an apology. I won’t hold my breath.

    I share your anger.

  20. Patricia

    omg! What if they really listened?! What if published studies actually had to tell the truth?! What if this changed the world as we know it?!

    What? Huh? No, no, I’m awake now . . . it was just a dream.

    But what if . . . ?

    Just tap your slippers together and you’ll be back in Kansas.

  21. Jana

    I just watched the presentations of the Weston A Price Foundation London conference from December 2011. Zoë Harcombe did a fantastic job at showing the UK conflicts of interest in their government dietary advice. No wonder no one trusts the ADA or other agencies when they’re sponsored by Mars and Soyjoy, etc. I’m sure you’ve already watched them if you didn’t go to the conference yourself but I definitely thought your other readers would like to go check it out. They’re posted in the video section of the Weston A Price foundation website.

    I hope your presentation gets some traction with the government officials. We need this bias advice to stop being promoted by agencies that have such a vast influence on society.

    I will give that a look. Zoe’s great.

  22. Dori Wilson

    Will they be recording this in any video type format? Would be awesome to see your presentation.

    On a side note, I really love reading your blog because you are so relateable and damn funny!! Opps, I meant @#$%!

    I’m not sure if anyone is recording. I suppose I should take my video camera along.

  23. CathyN

    Well, this is exciting news. What a great idea! I was just about ready to stab myself in the head with my pen from frustration when your wonderful announcement came up. I’m surrounded by vegetarians who are fat and sick and yet feeling somehow virtuous abut their piles of beans and soy. BTW, with nary a vegetable in sight on their lunch plates, where did the term “vegetarian” come from? Sorry, I’m just a bit torqued (no, really?).

    Tom, you and the others who are leaders of this Paleo revolution (that’s the best word I can come up with right now) are very pro-active and are making positive changes in many people’s lives. Thank you.

    I don’t know if I’ll make a dent, but it’s worth a try.

  24. LCNana

    Someone above made a comment about low carb or paleo being too expensive for poor people, but I think the gal who blogs on Weight of the Evidence proved that was incorrect. She used the same budget a welfare person would have (I think it was a little more than $5+ per person per day) and was able to shop in one store near her home, using the store flyer. The point there was that she didn’t have to drive all over town to find bargains. She bought nutritious food for a week and was able to stay pretty low carb – and no junk either. If I recall correctly she even bought organic milk for her son. It can be done!!!

  25. Kevin

    One of my best friends in high school (class of 2002) was a Type I diabetic. We played drums in the marching band, and he was allowed to leave and go to the concession stand to eat something as his glucose levels required. He also required someone to go with him, so I got to leave whenever I wanted (which was great). The concept seemed pretty simple back – diabetics can’t handle the fluctuations in sugar and must manually regulate, which ideally would lead them to avoid sugars and starch.
    Fast forward to 2012, and I have a 57-year old coworker who looks like DEATH every day, and that’s if he can make it in to work (he’s frequently been written up for missing work). He’s diabetic, and his wife bakes him cookies and treats, and all he eats is sugar snacks, bread, and low-fat turkey. The arthritis pain is so strong he drinks 6 – 8 drinks of alcohol EVERY DAY. After hearing this, the doctor was horrified and told him to keep the low-fat diet but not drink 6 beers a day. Fortunately, he’s now switched to lower-carb hard liquor. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guy just drops dead, and it’s just alarming that the doctor’s can’t figure out something that is on the level of a high-school science education.

    Also, there is another coworker of mine who is 50 years old, eats a diet right of Mark Sisson’s cookbook everyday, and is about 6’1″ and 165 on a heavy day.

    At 28, I can already see what the best preventative medicine is for my health.

    What’s the most typical questions you get when you get push-back from naysayers? Are there ANY studies that show an abundance of sugar and starch in the diet will make you any healthier? The more I read into this whole “nutrition” concept, the more I can’t believe what is considered fact is held as the standard.

    You’re fortunate to have this figured out at age 28. I was pushing 50. On the other hand, it’s nice when my wife insists I look better now than on our wedding day 12 years earlier.

  26. Elenor

    “I’m not sure if anyone is recording. I suppose I should take my video camera along.”

    Hey Tom,
    You might pick up a Sansa Clip — little bitty MP3 player/recorder that clips on your lapel — excellent mic, excellent recordings. I used to record my husband when he’d get in lecturing mode (economic theory, male-female relationships, history… whatever…) and it even recorded him well-enough in the car over the car noise! Having the Clip on your lapel would let you record your talk, and then you can add slides (if you use them — like you have in your speeches — or just make the audio file available.

    People don’t notice when you’re wearing a Clip and recording… (Anyway, it’s a public venue, no assumption of privacy, so probably no law against recording yourself and your interlocutors!)

    I’m really excited that you’ve been asked and are doing this. BRAVO!!

    I’ll look into that. Even if a camera is allowed, it would be good to have audio recorded close to the source.

  27. Galina L.

    I am sorry for being a pessimist, but I am sure they will not be able to put together the right advice, consider all interests involved .

  28. Nick P


    Why not just have them watch “Fat Head?” – It’s my favorite movie!!!!!

    We all appreciate you and Jimmy fighting the good fight!!!! Keep up the great work!!!

    If I could squeeze Fat Head down to 20 minutes, I’d show it to them.

  29. Auntie M

    I live about an hour outside of DC! The traffic sucks, but it’s been warmer than usual lately, so hopefully you’ll have good weather.

    If would be nice if you could make a dent in the armor. I’m not holding my breath, though. There are too many interest groups fighting it out there to make much of an impact, in my opinion. Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but I hope they don’t take your presentation and try to figure out how to make people listen to them by infiltrating or restricting the internet. They’re already trying to mess with us in that department…

    By the way, I’m not sure if I mentioned that I’ve gotten through to at least one co-worker, who now loves Fathead and watches her carbs. She’s grateful that she learned the truth after following the low-fat diet for so long. Yay, you!

    All we can do is make our case. Whether or not they listen is out of our hands.

  30. Michael Hall

    Federal health officials Tuesday added new safety alerts to the prescribing information of statins, cholesterol-reducing medications that are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, citing rare risks of memory loss, diabetes and muscle pain.
    It is the first time that the Food and Drug Administration has officially linked statin use with cognitive problems such as forgetfulness and confusion, although some patients have reported such problems for years. Among the drugs affected are such huge sellers as Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor and Vytorin.
    But federal officials and some medical experts said the new alerts should not scare people away from statins.
    “The value of statins in preventing heart disease has been clearly established,” said Dr. Amy Egan, deputy director for safety in the FDA’s division of metabolism and endocrinology products. “Their benefit is indisputable, but they need to be taken with care and knowledge of their side effects.”
    Diabetics and even those who develop diabetes while taking statins should continue taking the medicines, said Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Nissen has studied the medicines extensively. “These are not major issues, and they really do not alter the decision-making process with regard to statins,” Nissen said
    and Jesus Wept

    Rare side effects, my #$$.

  31. Ralph, Cleethorpes, UK

    I can only speak for myself; my mistrust started from the way that western healthy eating guidelines seem to follow each other like sheep, claiming to be ‘evidence based’, without explanation as to why important apparent contradictory evidence is ignored.

  32. Ari

    What really ticks me off about all the bad advice we get from the government and medical establishment is that it puts the good advice into doubt.

    For instance, the advice to get vaccinated and to establish herd immunity. Enough herd immunity, and certain vaccines won’t be necessary anymore (just like the smallpox vaccine isn’t necessary anymore).

    Well, with so much untruth coming out of government advice mills, why should we trust them about the vaccines? I know we should because good studies say we should and logic says we should.

    But the bad advice just makes the good advice look bad by association.

    Very good point.

  33. Jason

    Good luck, fine sir! You have really inspired me; your movie is the first piece of “alt-nutrition” information I ingested this summer. It made me curious, interested, and frankly a little bit upset.

    I switched my diet, began using IF, changed my training methods, the whole 9. My wife was nervous I would be compromised due to the large amount of fat in my diet. So I made an appointment for a full physical.

    Every single metric, BP, pulse, and all lipids were the best they had ever been, ever. The best BP I had ever had was 120/75, and it was measured at 112/64.

    My doctor was shocked and asked what I was doing. I had lost 30 lbs and my numbers were fantastic. I described everything I had learned to that point.

    He told me I needed to lower my fat content and get more healthy whole grains.

    I asked him, “Doc, what number would you like to see change?”

    He answered, “Well, none, I guess.”

    I answered, “Then why the hell would I change a single thing?”

    Then he actually smiled and said, “Fair enough. This definitely gives me something to think about.”

    Maybe, just maybe, my experience could change a doctor’s perspective, which in turn, could change many of his patients’ perspectives.

    Let’s hope he keeps thinking about it, too.

  34. LaurieLM

    You had us at Bacon. I know you are busy, but this is worth a quick look.

    “Overdiagnosis as a flaw in health care.
    If You Feel O.K., Maybe You Are O.K.
    Published: February 27, 2012 ”
    “The basic strategy behind early diagnosis is to encourage the well to get examined — to determine if they are not, in fact, sick. But is looking hard for things to be wrong a good way to promote health? The truth is, the fastest way to get heart disease, autism, glaucoma, diabetes, vascular problems, osteoporosis or cancer … is to be screened for it. In other words, the problem is overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

    Screening the apparently healthy potentially saves a few lives (although the National Cancer Institute couldn’t find any evidence for this in its recent large studies of prostate and ovarian cancer screening). But it definitely drags many others into the system needlessly — into needless appointments, needless tests, needless drugs and needless operations (not to mention all the accompanying needless insurance forms). “

  35. LaurieLM

    Five years ago my 83 year old Father-in-law died of, what I now think was, Lipitor- induced CHF. He wasn’t permitted much salt and not even allowed to drink too much water. Lowered cholesterol, not enough salt and not enough fluid most likely killed him.
    In the intervening time I’ve learned, outside of the medical establishment and online, that none of the elderly, neither men nor women, should ever take Lipitor. Yet millions in this category take it. As far as I’m concerned, Lipitor does not produce any medical benefit to anyone. It only makes mega profits for a very few. How many patients would willingly sign on to take an expensive pill (even if their health insurance ‘pays’ for it) that provides no benefit and can make them sick?
    No wonder lots of curious, intelligent people turn to the internet for information after losing patience and faith in their, mostly uninformed, beleaguered (most do mean well) docs.
    About three years ago, my husband and I decided to stop his Lipitor. He was 52 and had been on it for years by then. We were a little nervous, at first. Going against medical advice is uncomfortable. We are no longer afraid that that decision was dangerous or wrong.

    I saw what Lipitor did to my father. I wouldn’t take the stuff no matter what a doctor told me.

  36. TonyNZ

    In case you weren’t aware, which I would find hard to believe, the FDA has just added diabetes and memory loss to the list of “official” statin side effects, but still encourages you to take them.

    Good luck for your speech. Will this one be uploaded viz Science for Smart People and Big Fat Fiasco?

    Yup, I saw that.

  37. Erik

    You could make a 20 minute or so lite version of Fathead by focusing on the interviews with the scientists and taking out most of the Spurlock-specific stuff. You could hand out DVD’s to people who attend events like this.

    That would be the featherweight version.

  38. Ghost

    Hey there Tom,

    First off, don’t listen to the folks who say you need some sexy celeb, I think you’re adorable! Plus, you’ve got a voice that’s great to listen to, I like throwing FatHead on whenever I need something comfortable to listen to, that part about the “I’m actually feeling pretty good!” gets me EVERY TIME!

    Truth be told, I’m glad you’re going to go speak. I’d be way interested in a trans-script or a video (Bring your camera! ^_^) as I’ve had my own doctor-ly troubles in my recent past, from them enforcing their own morals on me (I want off BC for my health (I’m on it so I’m not in crippling pain and anemic all the time!), but my OBGYN refused to give me any options towards more permanent solutions that don’t involve bleeding because I ‘May change my mind’ on not wanting children, but she’d be totally willing to help me HAVE them! I’d rather regret not having them, than have them, and regret that!)

    It was about then that I decided that I needed to do my research on my own. And, thanks to your video, and Marks Daily Apple, I’ve been doing fantastic! 25lbs down! 125 to go!

    That’s a great start. Here’s to the next 125.

  39. Nowhereman

    There’s still some hope:


    Wow, red meat is okay, as long as it isn’t processed, and saturated fat is okay and even immune system boosting? Holy crap! What a concept!

    Now if the media would report more on studies, like the 2010 Harvard one cited in the article, we might get somewhere, and they need to consistently report on it, and not give contradictory information.

    Also, Tom or anyone heard of this study? I’d like to hear more about it, and I’d like to know why it never was publicized, like a lot of the anti-meat and saturated fat studies are.

    Not enough information there to track down the study.


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