Diet, Health And The Wisdom of Crowds – 2018 Version

I’m back from Baltimore, where I delivered the keynote address at the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions 2018 Conference.  What a pleasure to give this speech to such a passionate and well-informed group of people. It was such fun, I considered giving the speech a belated birthday present to myself.

I’ve mentioned before that Murphy’s Law always seems to strike when I try to record myself speaking. If the speech goes well, the equipment malfunctions.  If the speech doesn’t go well, the recording is perfect.

The camera I positioned in the room shut itself off a few times.  Fortunately, the video crew streaming the event to WAP members noticed and turned it back on.  (Nice of them, since my camera wasn’t their responsibility.)  So you’ll see me fade in and out a few times.  No big deal, since the point of the presentation is the slides, not my face.  Luckily, the microphone connected to my iPhone didn’t malfunction, so the voice recording was good all the way through.

Anyway, here’s the speech.  I’ll write more about the conference later.

To our American friends, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  To everyone else, enjoy your Thursday.

If you enjoy my posts, please consider a small donation to the Fat Head Kids GoFundMe campaign.

39 thoughts on “Diet, Health And The Wisdom of Crowds – 2018 Version

  1. Firebird7478

    Excellent, as always!

    And I loved the Silver Streak reference. That was one of my favorite movies growing up and will watch it to this day whenever it is on.

  2. Michael

    Wow just listened to your (Whole) talk. I am speechless. Absolutely fascinated hearing most of what I have learned in the last 10 years of life being tied up in such a wonderful bow. Kudos Tom and if I was not such a good guy I would force so many of my peers to sit thru your talk and hope a modicum of this would sink in. Alas I will not hold my breath. Love your Blog Tom Thanks for all the hard work.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      The shame of it is that 100 years ago, diabetics were given correct advice. Then the ADA got involved …

      1. Firebird7478

        A friend of mine has a book written around 1920 by a well known strongman named Arthur Saxon. He and his 2 brothers were Vaudevillian stars, performing feats of strength around the world. The book was an instructional book on strength training. One chapter was dedicated to diet. The chapter was 1 1/2 pages long and it went something like this:

        * Eat meat
        * Drink Cream
        * Occasional spirits.

          1. Walter

            They had to be beat about the head and shoulders just to get that logo off Chocolate Coated Sugar Bombs, for years and to retract the advocacy of artificial trans-fats for over 25 years.

            1. Tom Naughton Post author

              Yup. And now they’re saying if cutting back on saturated fat doesn’t reduce heart disease, it’s because people increased their sugar intake. Gee, how could that happen?

    2. Firebird7478

      You learn something new every day: I did not know saccharin was around back then. I remember in the early 70s when they put warning labels on it that it causes cancer.

        1. Firebird7478

          Yep. In fact, I use to know an MMA fighter who would go to Rio to train, first athlete I came across who was low carb, high fat (use to drink heavy cream straight from the carton). Cyclamates were readily available down there. He’d stock up and bring it back with him.

  3. Laura S

    Thank you for posting this. I really enjoyed it. You are such a good speaker and the content was great too.

    Happy belated birthday!

  4. Dianne

    Awesome talk, Tom. I wish it were required in high schools, colleges, and medical schools. Not likely to happen.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Thank you. Dr. Doug McGuff said my “Science For Smart People” speech should be required in medical school. That was a quite a compliment coming from him.

      1. Dianne

        He’s right, too. As I’m sure I’ve said before, I just wish I could get my doctor and cardiologist to watch “Science for Smart People.” Maybe then they’d stop yammering at me about taking statins. (And maybe pigs will sprout little pink wings and soar aloft in a graceful aerial ballet.)

    2. Michael Gallagher

      I am a high school science teacher, and I make my students watch Science for Smart People and Diet, Health and the Wisdom of Crowds. I’ll assign them this latest version going forward. The kids “get it” while the adults do not. Although there are some young Health teachers that hate the “My Plate” advice, they are forced to teach it in their classes. I think it will be another ten years before Tom’s presentation becomes widely accepted. Keep up the good work. Tom! I always enjoy reading your posts and watching your presentations. Top notch science!

      Mike G

  5. Lauren Romeo

    Wonderful, informative and very entertaining! I recommend this low carb diet to all my patients…and direct them to this site as well as the ones you listed in your talk.
    Thanks for all you do,
    Lauren Romeo, MD

  6. Elenor

    Wonderfully done, Tom! Really enjoyed it. Just referred a new acquaintance (an RN!) to “Fat Head” and “Science for Smart People.” Now I can add this one!

  7. Walter Bushell

    If you’ve old at 30, a healthy 60 is like being reborn. Feels that way, I was over 60 when I tamed my sugar addiction and that basically alone caused me to lose over 120 pounds. I am far more active now than when I was 60.

    I had a beer belly in kindergarten and I was THE fat kid in class. Even in high school and college I was outstandingly fat. The rest of the world more or less caught up to me in my 40ties. I was still obese, but I didn’t stand out nearly so much.

  8. Scooze

    This is fantastic! You’ve pulled together all the far-flung arguments you’ve been writing about for years into one piece. It is the most powerful video I’ve seen yet on the subject of nutrition because of the way you have shown why and how each phenomenon came together to bring us to this place. And you are right that the genie is out of the bottle. The numbers are staggering – nearly 900,000 users on the keto subreddit alone. Good job!

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Thank you. I was grateful for the opportunity for exactly that reason. I’d spoken on the Wisdom of Crowds before, but that was five years ago and was tailored somewhat for college students studying nutrition. I’ve written quite a few posts on The Anointed vs. the Wisdom of Crowds since then, picked up additional thoughts from Taleb’s books, etc. I was really looking forward to making what I figured would be a better speech on a subject I consider important.

  9. Laura

    The talk was wonderful! Thank you! Just one thing…your voice sounded a little shaky. Everything okay?

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I was fighting a bit of voice strain, in fact. The banquet room was on the loud side because of the big crowd, and I was answering a lot of questions about Fat Head and such during dinner, sometimes talking to someone across the large table. A few minutes before I was introduced, I said I’d best rest the vocal chords. Probably should have made that decision sooner.

  10. Kate Miller

    I love this talk, especially because of your reference to Thomas Sowell, one of the smartest people around.
    I am in my 60’s and have been Low Carb/Ketogenic (with occasional lapses) for quite a while. I lost 20 pounds and my blood work is good. My high school friends are suffering from a variety of diet related ailments, but when I suggest they ditch the low fat and try something new, they look at me like I have two heads. “Everyone knows that all that fat will kill you!” Sigh.
    The wisdom of crowds and things that “everyone knows” are imperfect, but like market forces, we hope that success and failure are evident and people will make informed choices. Not holding my breath, though.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      David Mamet called Thomas Sowell our greatest living philosopher. I agree, although Taleb is becoming a favorite of mine as well.

      What “everyone knows” will change, but it will take time.

  11. Robert

    I did an inadvertent version of the “plumbing hypothesis” study you and your daughters conducted in response to the British Dietetic Association’s saturated fat ad. Various food particles gave my dishwasher a “heart attack.” The hypothesis is proven on both kitchen sinks and dishwashers. I gave it a “stent” (cleaned out the drain line). Now I’m a heart surgeon. 😂

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Remember, chocolate ice cream won’t clog your arteries, according to the plumbing test.

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