Video of the “Big Fat Fiasco” Speech

      119 Comments on Video of the “Big Fat Fiasco” Speech

Took awhile to get Premiere and YouTube to play nicely together, but I finally managed to chop up the speech in an acceptable format and upload it — twice. The first time, it turned out one of the clips exceeded the 15-minute limit, so I had to re-edit and re-upload.

I elected to edit the slides into Premiere for better clarity, but of course some of the text is difficult to read if you’re not viewing the slides on a nice, big screen.  The tape ran out shortly into Q & A, so I’m skipping that.

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119 thoughts on “Video of the “Big Fat Fiasco” Speech

  1. Hendrick Smit

    Excellent presentation. This applies to more than dietary policy (E.g. HIV, Climate).

    There’s bad science all over the place. It was a real letdown when I began to understand that.

  2. SnowDog

    Excellent! You knocked it out of the park! I didn’t expect that from you. 🙂

    Thank you … wait, you didn’t expect that? Hmmm. 🙂

  3. Ginger

    Brilliant as always, Tom! I just wish more people would take the time to sit down and listen to this. It could save so many lives. Sadly, I have many friends who just pop whatever prescription the doctor gives them and keep eating what the doctors tell them to eat. Most of them still think pizza is healthy, especially on whole wheat crust! So frustrating.

    It is, but all you can do is put the information out there. If they don’t listen, you’ve at least done your part.

  4. PrimeNumbers

    Superb talk. I like how it starts with some great examples on how bad science “works”.

    Thank you. I figured when I’m disputing what “everyone knows,” I’d best set a foundation first.

  5. Brian

    I’ve gone through the first two and will go through the other two later. But in those first 30 minutes, you laid out better than any other I’ve seen the genesis of the dietary recommendations. Hope this page becomes your most popular!

    I’d happily take that result.

  6. Healthy Picky Eater

    Good stuff! And you’ll reach far more people on the Internet, than you did with the twenty or so folks who came out for this excellent speech.

    I certainly want the loyal blog readers to have a look.

  7. Linda Schuerholz

    This was very good. You are preaching to the choir when it comes to my husband and I. I am encouraged because of people like you who are dedicated to educating people. Unfortunatley none of my friends will stick with low carb – it is too hard for them. I think the problem is they are trying to lose weight for vanity and not for health. If you TRULY believe your health is at risk it is easier to stay low carb. Who knows, but you are great! Keep up the good work!

    It’s tough to see people choosing temporary pleasure over health, but of course in the end, it’s their decision.

  8. Jonathan

    You have a nice speaking voice. Definitely need to do that more.

    Why is it that if someone comes carrying crates full of black swans, they get shot at?

    Those scientists must keep a whole dug in the back yard all ready to bury any black swans they find.

    The shots are fired by people who profit from the belief that all swans are white.

  9. ben

    Awesome speech.. very organized and well thought out!

    Concerning that part about David Freedman, I thought I would check out his blog to see if he’s come up with any conclusions based on all his analysis of (clinical) diet studies..

    While I haven’t found anything too definitive, the last paragraph of this post suggests he prefers a low saturated fat diet.

    Is this surprising, considering all the data he is has reviewed and scrutinized?

    That is surprising. Not sure why he still believes that one.

  10. Stephen Taylor

    Thank you for uploading this video of your speech, so we get to see your clear and humourous look at the situation modern man has got himself into. I’ve changed the foods I eat and feel great, thanks to you and many others who have debunked the “Lipid Hypothesis”. I think this Quote from Aldous Huxley is very fitting – “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored”.
    Thanks again.

    My pleasure.

  11. Jo

    Thank you for letting us see this. It’s fab. I’m moving to NZ next year just so I can see your documentary! LOL. Well there may be other reasons too.

    I agree with an earlier poster. Well thought through and planned. Needs a bigger audience.

    Thank you. The library speech was, I hope, just a start.

  12. M Lewis


    Thanks for putting this up Tom.

    Let us know when you decide to put this out on DVD.

    It was sad that CSPI Guy couldn’t make an appearance.

    I’m saving him for a different speech.

  13. labrat

    Loved the clogged drain and your experiment with the kids. Cute and effective.
    Loved the Journal of BS, black swans, bad science and ahem …………
    Loved Lipitoup.
    Loved definition of a national crisis vs problem = celebrity!
    Loved “still wearing skirts”!
    Loved the Big Fat Slob theory.

    Would have liked to have seen more emphasis on just how bad an idea changing your diet for heart disease was. If lowering cholesterol through diet is such a good idea – why do we need Lipitor? As the commercial says – diet is not enough (never worked!). I can understand why you left exploration of that alone but a brief mention – never mind – how could that be explored briefly……..

    Great job – but I was already a big fan – that’s why I check this blog regularly. 🙂

    Thank you.

  14. Sam

    Superb talk – I just finished watching the whole thing.

    One thing that you might start incorporating is the essential role omega-6 vegetable oils and fructose plays in causing insulin resistance (not to mention inflammation). The carb/insulin connection is easy to grasp for most people, but it is only part of the story.

    (And debatedly, the harmful effects of excess carbs in the absence of high PUFA and fructose is not that significant.)

    I’d like to get into that, and also into the fructose issue. My first draft was way too long, so I had to simplify. I’ll save the other stuff for other speeches.

  15. Kelly

    Thank you for sharing these! I purchased a copy of Fat Head for my parents (Mom thinks all fats are evil, Dad has high triglycerides problems and is eating a much-hated vegan diet on recommendation of his doctor) in the hopes that it would dawn on them what has been prescribed and CHANGE!! Despite my threatening to tie them to the couch and tape their eyes open, they have yet to watch it (perhaps they’re afraid to know the truth).

    If they don’t want to watch the movie, perhaps I can get them to watch these clips instead and realize the load of crap science they’ve been fed.

    I hope they watch, but even if they don’t, you did your job. I have vegetarian friends who refuse to give up what they’ve believed for all these years.

  16. Luke Hugget

    This is excellent. You really take the ideas of Taubes and others to a whole new level by putting them in terms that average people can understand. Thanks and keep fighting the good fight.

    That’s my goal, translating the science into something a lay audience will grasp.

  17. Dave Fish

    Great job Tom. You need to take this show on the road. I wish I could think of a way you could get paid for that.

    I’m working on that.

  18. Jan

    Well, I’ve bought Fat Head for yet another friend, along with Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution (I thought that would be a better fit for her than Protein Power Life Plan) – she’s diabetic, suffers from high blood pressure and is considering lap band surgery. Now I will send her the link to this post, as well.

    Marvelous work as usual, Tom.

    Thank you, Jan.

  19. monasmee

    Standing ovation! Nice to see the essence of your Fat Head message distilled for the masses.

    In addition to the insulin response, I’d enjoy hearing more information on the role of inflammation, especially how our subsidized grain-fed diet extends over into our livestock thus returning back to us as an Omega 6 double whammy.

    You also deserve a dedicated spotlight both literal and figurative….

    My first draft included a section on grains and lectins, but the speech was over the limit, so I had to cut. Another speech, I guess.

  20. Hilary Kyro

    Wow, you’re a dazzling public speaker Tom!
    I love the Black Swan theme. I’ve used that logical aid myself in debasing hoaxes, but often it’s misunderstood as being anti-science and of course racist, Islamaphobic and Cretan.
    Almost all “science” is junk science, that’s why we have peer-review, to filter out the snitches, party poopers and bright little girls. It takes a lot of cheese and cracker eating with the outsized ego philadendrons to make a living with your PhD skills of not being allergic to rats or rat droppings. It broke my heart at 12 to realize that most all university research was dedicated to getting date rape drugs and human subjects for animal experiments. Big Science is corrupt and dirty.
    Let us believe in our own excellent outcomes, it’s not rationally objective, but who wants to look scientific in the mirror?

    I was delighted that the article in the Atlantic happened to appear this month, because when a comedian stands up there and tells people a lot of “science” is nonsense, it doesn’t pack quite the same punch as when a Harvard M.D. says it.

  21. Tammy

    Thank You Tom, that was excellent !! I hope you keep it posted for a little while as I need to refer a few folks to the site to watch. I’d pay to see your speech (I’d actually pay for others like family members to see it). I’ve purchased a few copies of Fat Head to give as Christmas gifts. I think this speech is even better than the movie actually. I agree with you about Spurlock, but for people who haven’t seen Supersize Me, Fat Head doesn’t really get in to the meat until Part 2.

    If I were producing Fat Head today, it would be all part two, expanded.

  22. qualia

    EPIC presentation. probably the best i’ve seen so far about this topic. it’s not too simplified, but also not too complicated for normal people to understand. the perfect dosage to make most people seriously question the whole low fat dogma. i bet 5-10 years from now, no one will even believe that low-fat/high-carb once was considered healthy. the same will probably be true of grains and especially gluten.

    I hope you’re right.

  23. Haig

    You’ve outdone yourself with this great talk. I now have a go-to resource to send people that is concise, appropriately detailed, and entertaining enough to hold their attention and cover the major points regarding this whole issue. Thank you!

    Thank you for watching.

  24. Dan Moline

    Excellent Video, Tom. Very informative and you methodically take the audience through the entire dilemma we now face. I really appreciate the way you inject humor. It really makes it easy to watch and left wanting more. I hope many of my friends will take the time to watch it. I look forward to more productions.

    Thank you.

  25. Elenor

    Loved it Tom! You’re such a good speaker!

    You could put it out as a complete video through and we could buy, eh? (Hint hint!)

    I haven’t actually heard of Lulu. Guess I’d best take a look.

  26. Scott Moore

    This is so great. Watched it after a beer with my wife for part of our Friday night date. (Keep your thoughts to yourself! It’s too easy of a set-up.) Fantastic, super-duper, great job. I loved your explanation of the relationship between eating and getting fat. It was a tour de force. Just a great refinement of what you did in Fat Head.

    Personally, I enjoyed how you started the talk with a description of the different types of scientific inquiry and the relative value of each. I worry that it starts too slow for a general audience who doesn’t know where you’re going with your talk. For me, it was really great, but I’m one of your biggest fans.

    I hope you’re able to build a tour around this. Keep everyone up-to-date with how you plan to take this on the road. For all you know, we might figure out a way to get you to *our* neighborhood!

    Great great job!

    I also wondered how an audience full of people who don’t follow this topic would react to the explanations of science. I thought it was necessary to prime them for everything that’s wrong with the Lipid Hypothesis.

  27. Jeff

    Tom, you have got to put that on a DVD! I’ll give you seven million dollars for it! Ok, I only have $7, but your talk sums up everything I’ve been reading for the past year and I want to show it to my parents (they don’t like watching things on the computer).

    Very well done, my friend. Thank you.

    I’m not sure how good the quality would be, but I’ll see how it looks.

  28. David

    Very, very good. You imparted a lot of information in a relatively short period of time in an entertaining way. I wonder how much was gleaned by the audience at one hearing. I found it easy to follow, but I’ve been at this a while. What sort of feedback did you get from the audience? Great job.

    The audience response was good. A few seemed shocked to realize kids can become insulin resistant; let’s hope they think about that before they hand kids sugary junk.

  29. Bullinachinashop

    “It isn’t character, it’s chemistry”. That’s awesome! And it hits home.

    I spent years thinking I was some retarded chimp who can’t keep from raiding the fridge. When I first started reducing carbs instead of fat, life became much easier to manage. To be honest, I still have wicked cravings at night. But at least now they’re just at night. I don’t really understand why just at night, but at least now during the day I can go for 3-4 hours before I start thinking about food again (and I’m losing weight)

    Thanks for spreading the message and making information available.

    I’ve been thinking about character vs. chemistry for awhile now. I may expand on the idea for a post. I hope those night-time cravings go away, but it sounds as if you’re making progress.

  30. Liz

    Wow! This was absolutely fantastic! I accidentally came across this today and completely found myself hooked! So interesting and informative!

    Thank you.

  31. Sarah

    thank God. now I can give all my friends a free version of fat head =D woo! I also saw this in the related videos, I thought I was going to scoff at it, but surprisingly I didn’t. He’s not so hard on the boat, but he gets the idea I think.

    I’d say he’s pretty much on board. He’s recommending 100-150 grams of carbohydrate per day, which is probably fine for many if not most people and would of course be a huge improvement over the 400 grams we’re averaging today. Some people with more stubborn insulin resistance will of course need less carbohydrate intake.

  32. Oscar

    I’m going to sit down to translate this into Spanish tomorrow because everybody in my little village in Andalucía has diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure etc and they all eat the Med diet.

    I myself gained 10 kg of pure lard last year just by increasing my fruit (mainly watermelon) intake. I was still exercising like a demon but was constantly eating fruit. I could not understand what was happening to me. Now I know. Thanks for your website.

    Thank you for reading.

  33. Nick

    Perhaps it’s time for an Al Gore-esque speaking tour trying to educate people. It should be compulsory watching for everyone (along with Fat Head of course) and hopefully by the time our children are having children then CHD and diabetes will be a thing of the past.

    I’d really like to give this speech in schools or to parents’ groups. We see kids in our daughters’ school loading up on nothing but carbs for lunch, and it scares me to think what’s happening inside their growing bodies.

  34. David H. Freedman

    Just to clarify my own position on saturated fat in diets–I don’t have much of a position. I report (I think factually) that a rough consensus of evidence tends to favor caution from an overall health point of view, but in terms of keeping off excess weight (which is of course extremely important to health) the picture is a bit confusing with regard to saturated fat, and I do think many diet experts tend to overemphasize a need to cut way down on it. While the high caloric density of most fats (saturated or not) make them good targets for cutting back on for those struggling with weight, many people seem perfectly able to keep excess weight off while eating lots of fats, and I think sugars and refined carbs probably make a better first target for many people, if you have to choose one target. I (and many obesity experts, for what it’s worth) also believe that what really counts in diet success isn’t so much exactly what’s eaten but rather the behavioral approach to the diet–establishing many smaller, sustainable changes that are prompted, encouraged and reinforced by people and things in the environment. Being highly motivated and establishing sensible, healthy, permanent eating and exercise habits with modest weight-loss goals usually leads to long-term weight-loss success, almost regardless of what sorts of foods are in the diet, within reason. I am, for the record, somewhat skeptical of whether most people are likely to do well long-term on either very-low-carb or very-low-fat diets, in terms of keeping off excess weight, but I know that some seem to. Whatever works.

  35. Aaron Curl

    Most excellent! I could watch it over and over again. This absolutely needs to be put on dvd! I need to memorize this speech word for word….lol. The way you break things down is amazing. When I try and explain insulin resistance and sensitivity people ignore me for some reason. Again…AWESOME speech!

    Looks like I may be using my DVD burner more than I thought.

  36. Max Gazzara

    Very entertaining and informative presentation! Not that I expected anything less from you. Keep spreading the info!

    Thank you.

  37. Chris

    Brilliant Tom. Watched it in one sitting and am recommending to friends, family, customers and colleagues today. Thank you for your generosity in sharing it May that in turn lead to more notoriety and as many speaking gigs as you want. Surprised, though, that there was no mention of HFCS. Understand you didn’t have all day, but it seems that HFCS is a major contributor to fat storage. What say you?

    Yup, that was one of those areas I had to drop for time constraints. Sugar and HFCS are probably especially fattening, given that the fructose is converted to fat in the liver rather quickly, at least according to Dr. Lustig.

  38. David

    very good work! if you would burn this to a DVD I would gladly purchase several copies.

    I wasn’t planning to produce another film, but apparently this may turn into one.

  39. Nick

    Tom – Great Job!!!! Your presentaton will be seen by thousands over the Internet! Keep up the Great Work!

    I am a dedicated Fat Head!!!!!

    We’re at hundreds now, and I hope it’s thousands to go.

  40. mrfreddy

    great stuff! I rarely sit thru videos on the net, but I enjoyed these immensely! I know so many people who are heading down the wrong path-statins, half-hearted low fat diets, etc… if only I could force them to watch yer movie and this presentation…

    All we can do is put it out there and hope a few people listen.

  41. DamnDirtyApe

    Id like to add to those requesting for this to be expanded and put into a proper DVD. I’d buy 5 copies and pass them along to my friends and family!

    Doesn’t have to be fancy – Perhaps just expand on the content of this speech and maybe delve more into some of the things you had to cut short for time.
    You have a great knack for summarizing and presenting information, but when you combine it with interviews/quotes from scientists and MD’s it adds credibility for people who might otherwise be dubious about anything health-related presented by a laymen.

    Yes, I know the irony is that health professionals have been exactly the ones steering people wrong for so many years.. but still, when you threw in the “expert” interviews into Fathead it took it to a whole new level for people like my family who inherently trust doctors more than anyone else when it comes to health.

    Ideally, I’d love to see some new interview footage with heavy hitters like Taubes, William Davis, Kurt Harris, Richard Bernstein etc. along with anything you think is especially relevant from the Fathead interviews. I think some of the best quotes from those doctors is in the “extras” footage!

    Hope you consider releasing such a product because there is a HUGE need for a dedicated DVD on the variety of topics you cover in this blog. Fathead was great, but it only scratched the surface. You have the perfect skill-set and knowledge base to make the next great “killer app” of nutrition documentaries.

    I’m going to at least try to get the speech on DVD.

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