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David Diamond's potted summary of everything

This is one of the best videos I've seen which manages to cover virtually everything anyone needs to know about diet - including the science, the politics, the history, and the impact of diet on disease. It's an hour long, but he fits an awful lot of hard facts into that hour. You COULD go and read half-a-dozen long books (some of which are mentioned in the video) ... or you could just spend an hour listening to this guy. I attempted to pick out a few quotes for those who are short on time, but I soon gave up: (a) because it's all good, and he wastes no time on filler, and (b) many of his points lose their subtlety if taken out of context. A good example of the latter would be his critique of 'meat is bad for you' studies at 40:40.

If I've understood correctly, Diamond has familial hypercholesterolemia, but remains healthy through dietary control. While the video basically documents his journey through the science and the nonsense (Diamond has a proper science PhD, unlike a lot of people who put 'PhD' after their names or call themselves 'Dr') this is in itself enlightening, because it's a journey that most people need to undertake. It's certainly not one that the health establishment will walk you through, or approve of.

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Thanks TheAwfulToad - I will watch this video sometime soon.

Zest :-)

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I haven't watched it all the way through yet. One point so far is what I consider a misguided assertion that all carbohydrate is automatically converted to fat. If that was true I and all other vegans would be obese. Also all the research would categorically show poor BMI for vegans. Whereas the opposite is true.

That's not to say that some vegans don't struggle with weight. Chef AJ is a leader in troubleshooting this with her ultimate weight loss approaches.

Also I'm not saying you don't lose weight on a high fat low carb diet. Anything that suppresses hunger and thus reducing calories will help in weight reduction.

Losing weight will then help in many chronic illnesses such as diabetes. But this does not as yey have the comprehensive evidence supporting longevity across chronic disease the way a high carb diet does.

Watching more...

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>> One point so far is what I consider a misguided assertion that all carbohydrate is automatically converted to fat. If that was true I and all other vegans would be obese.

He doesn't say this, and it wouldn't imply that anyway. Your fat cells are not a sort of one-way landfill for excess energy. They are a storage subsystem, so in an ideal world they have energy coming and and energy going out. It's a chronic imbalance between in/out that results in obesity (that's the origin of the 'calories-in-calories-out' theory, which is true as far as it goes but widely misunderstood).

However I agree that he doesn't adequately address the assertions of people like Dean Ornish, who have obviously had some success or they wouldn't be as famous as they are. He does (blink and you'll miss it) point out that these diets make multi-factor changes such that it's impossible to know which aspect of the diet is important. He does make clear that it can't possibly be meat per se that's the problem (a) because there have been enormous studies showing no harm associated with meat content and (b) because there's no known physiological mechanism that would make meat harmful. His suggestion is that these diets work for a very simple reason: they eliminate junk food, make people more aware of what they're stuffing into their faces, and reduce heavily-processed carbohydrates. He's not pushing low-carb as an ideal diet, simply pointing out the physiological reality behind it.

To that, I would add a crucial point that he mentioned ("carbohydrate intolerance") but didn't really elaborate on. Experiments have shown that there is a massive variation in carb tolerance. Diamond is obviously at the lowish end of the tolerance scale: he didn't get a dramatic correction in his blood markers until he went below 100g/day (which is actually not that low, in absolute terms). At the other end of the scale, there is a certain subset of the population who thrive on carbs; I can't recall the exact figure, but it's either 5% or 15% who can basically eat all the carbs they like (although not of the junk-food type) and show no signs of metabolic distress. I suspect these are the people who have spectacular results on Ornish-type diets. The thing is, that leaves a large majority who would react very badly to those diets, including the more mainstream protocols like "Mediterranean".

>> But this does not as yet have the comprehensive evidence supporting longevity across chronic disease the way a high carb diet does.

The whole video is a litany of evidence showing how and why an ultra-high-carb diet causes ill-health. He uses his own test results to illustrate the point. Keep watching - he does tend to leap around a lot, but there is a coherent thread.


Thank you for this TheAwfulToad , I will save this post and watch the video at leisure. Once again, thank you.

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Hasn't there tecently been a study showing processed meat has a link now to colon cancers?

Was on tv, I think the Superfoods program? (UK)


I followed that one quite carefully, because where I live has one of the highest rates of colon cancer on the planet, despite having a very low rate of beef and processed-meat consumption.

The effect, if one exists at all, is tiny. It certainly isn't a primary cause, or even in the top five. There have been quite a number of followup studies since the hypothesis was first mooted, and as the quality of the research has got steadily better the observed effect has got smaller and smaller, to the point where it's probably an artifact of something else. One hypothesis is that it's caused by carcinogenic compounds created in polyunsaturated cooking oils (i.e., the 'healthy' ones) at high temperatures. Another is that it's caused by overcooking/charring the meat, which also produces carcinogens.

As Diamond mentions in the video, most of these studies on meat fail to control for other factors; instead, they pick out the thing they're interested in (red meat) and assume that the entire observed effect (if there is one) is due to variation in that component. This is incredibly poor science, especially bearing in mind that there are statistical tools you can use (eg., factor analysis) to tease out the contribution of different variables.

This pretty much sums up the current situation:


Incidentally, there's a known large correlation with cardiovascular fitness (or lack of it):



Frustration with HU going down for a few hours. Back up now.

I've watched the video front to back and a number of comments (there's a surprise).

Although this guy is a phd, none of his CV is in nutrition. Psychology yes, neuroscience yes, nutrition no. Compare that with Caldwell esseltyn with over 60 years in research and still going, in nutrition at the highest level.

That's not to say david is talking wrong or rubbish, but please dont talk about accreditation such as PhD. I can talk about plant doctors, bloggers, YouTubers etc with PhD msc, you name it.

This guy has as much going for him as I have. He has a personal health history, he has advanced degrees and a strong interest in the subject.

But as I say, that doesn't mean he is wrong.

End of part 1

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Since you've split your points, I'll answer them separately.

While I agree that having a PhD in science does not in and of itself make you an expert on nutrition (Ancel Keys is proof of that!) it gives you a very strong basis for studying it. Conversely, having no science background puts you at a big disadvantage. As does having a fake degree.

In fact Diamond accurately addresses his own limitations in the video. He doesn't purport to be an expert, merely someone of above-average intelligence who's spent a lot of time studying.

In the LCHF thread, I did a critique of one particular doctor (a proper MD) who gets things so badly wrong I had to wonder if he'd even been awake during physiology classes. I suspect the main stumbling block for doctors and scientists in general (not to mention the general public) is that they may have a shaky grasp of physics and chemistry. In my mind these are absolutely critical. If you don't know the difference between a joule and a watt, or can't describe what a double C=C bond is or why it matters, you'll struggle.

I posted this video because Diamond is clearly a proper scientist. How do I know? In the first few minutes he says (I paraphrase): "I used to think XYZ about nutrition. I was wrong. Here is the research showing why I was wrong".

Bottom line is that Diamond does a good job of conveying the essentials of what he learned in a short timeframe, in a non-technical manner, so I thought the video would be a nice introduction for people who want a fast introduction to the basics.

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Beyond smoking I was heartened when he talked about bad carbs and margarine trans fats etc linking that to heart issues. This I can agree with fully. In fact I think the whole plant world would agree.

Very disappointed he didn't drill down into different types of carbs. Showing what the average American might eat in terms of carbs bears NO RELATIONSHIP to what i or any other health oriented vegan might. To me it shows an unwillingness to understand the difference. That unwillingness needs analysis and justification, on both sides.

For now let it be said that early on he just describes refined carbs as bad. And there is no argument from me on that.

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Well, he only had an hour, and the point of his talk was the American diet (and the supposedly 'healthy' version of it promoted by the USDA). Not veganism. His main focus is the "why is fat bad?" story, not carbs per se, which (again) is why I thought it was relevant and useful for Healthy Eating bods.

He does actually address your point by showing how the problem got much worse with the supersize generation and by doing a short "so what should I eat?" segment at the end, which focuses on proper food. I suspect he doesn't discuss different types of carbs for the same reason he doesn't discuss different types of fat: it would be boring. He'd lose the audience.

I agree these things are all presented rapidly and in outline, but that's what you have to do to get a theory of everything down to 55 minutes.

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Multi factor impact of diet against exercise social effects et al. David argues there is no research that isolates diet against all, and I mean all other socio factors in trying to decide if vegans have a health advantage. He is obviously ignorant of the adventist 2 health study which does exactly this.

Much of the research he quoted especially around eggs did not compare the effects of eggs when added to a vegan low fat diet. They compared adding or subtracting eggs from a high fat diet. So it is no surprise to me that these studies showed no further heart risk.

If you can provide exact pubmed etc links I'll go into this in detail.


>> They compared adding or subtracting eggs from a high fat diet. So it is no surprise to me that these studies showed no further heart risk.

What do you mean by "no further" risk? The whole point of the talk was that fat is not a risk factor for heart disease. There was a correlation factor on one of the charts - I think it was either 0.1 or 0.01. Which for all practical purposes means "no correlation".

I have no idea what happens when you add eggs to a vegan diet, but I suspect the answer is 'not much'. Some vegans argue that it's a good idea to eat some eggs, some don't. So whatever's going on with eggs, it's clearly not something dramatic.

The problem with any cohort study that shows a negative outcome is that you have to have some plausible theory for your result; if you see (for example) egg-eating vegetarians with a higher heart-disease risk than egg-avoiding vegetarians, you have to find something in the egg that causes that. If there is no known mechanism for what you've observed, you have to treat the result with extreme caution until that mechanism is elucidated. That's especially true if you investigate different cohorts and find the effect disappears.


Eskimos, eskimos. The eskimo myth. If eating lots of meat is so good,why don't eskimos have long lives. By contrast the okinawans are famed to be healthy until they are 100 or more. What do they eat? 75% carbs, and good carbs such as sweet potato, high in carotene for example.

Look back at the earliest research on eskimos and you find 2 out of 3 had atherosclerosis.


As I pointed out before, virtually everyone has atherosclerosis. I probably have atherosclerosis. So do you. Point being, atherosclerosis is not a disease as such. It's more like loss of bone density or loss of muscle mass: just something that happens as you get older. It only becomes a problem when it happens prematurely and/or to an excessive degree.

As for the Inuit: it's complicated. The data relating to health and diet are very old. The problem is that there really aren't any traditional Inuit anymore, and have not been for 30 years:

these were the top ten foods eaten by Alaskan natives, ranked by frequency of consumption:

1. Coffee and tea

2. Sugar

3. Whitebread, rools, crackers

4. Fish

5. Margarine

6. White rice

7. Tang and Kool-aid

8. Butter

9. Regular soft drinks

10. Milk (whole and evaporated)

Nobmann ED, Byers T, Lanier AP, Hankin JH, Yvonne Jackson M. The diet

of Alaska Native adults 1987-1988. Am J Clin Nutr 1992; 55: 1024-32.

I agree that Diamond didn't accurately describe the Okinawan diet. I live not far from Okinawa and I know for a fact that they don't eat a typical low-carb diet. But neither is it low-fat. What Westerners tout as the "Okinawa diet" is actually as corrupted as the "Mediterranean diet". Okinawan food is essentially a hybrid of cuisine from Japan and Taiwan, and it does indeed contain a lot of fatty pork. Pigs and/or goats are a critical part of the farming ecosystem on small islands; in fact Okinawa has a landrace pig (the Agu pig), and a method of raising them, of which they are particularly proud.


Thanks TheAwfulToad for posting this video. I enjoyed watching it. I recommend reading Nina Teicholz's book and Gary Taubes book which are mentioned in the video.


I agree, those two have produced some top-quality research and they're both engaging writers who are good at conveying technical stuff to a non-technical audience.

I posted this video because Diamond summarizes (as far as one can!) the bare essentials of what Teicholz and Taubes wrote about. Hopefully it'll encourage people to go and read them.


Thanks for the nice comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think most people are just busy though. An hour is a long time!

Most of the information was familiar, but yeah, I thought that bit about olive oil was interesting. The only bit I think he failed to explain was: if your body needs a certain amount of dietary fat, why are people like Dean Ornish (who advocates almost zero fat) still alive? Are they simply lucky, or is there some unknown effect that kicks in when you bring your fat intake below a certain level?

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To be fair, 80-90% people wouldn't have the luxury of spending so much time on video. As someone else kept asking for articles instead of the video (it was a reg poster), whose comment was consistently undermined and ignored. It's best to post an article, NOT video. Many people are at work. Someone's way is not necessarily someone else's way. It's not a criticism but you need to understand people have a life to lead and video is not welcome at work.

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Yeah, I realise that, and ordinarily I wouldn't have posted an hour-long video. I just thought that one was particularly good because of the sheer amount of content he managed to cram into it. And realistically, most people do spend at least an hour a day watching TV or messing around on the internet.

And if you're watching videos at work, shame on you ;)


Yes, for something a little more exciting to cope with the daily grind and to have a relaxing evening after the long work hours, I should think, if I'm honest. The key is to post a summary, not a thesis or video, which would forever take up to digest for busy working people.


Thanks TheAwfulToad

I too have fam chol. So i'll look at that with special interest! :)

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Thanks for posting the video. Diamond was engaging, sincere and informative. he had no hidden agenda and nothing to sell, which was refreshing.

The two things that stood out for me were the perplexing popularity of Ancel Keys' ideas ( I don't even think you could describe them as theories).......how did this guys ideas take such a hold of people's minds when they had nothing behind them?.......and the fact that vitamin K2 is best taken into our bodies when foods containing it are eaten with olive oil......does the fat act as a solvent for the vitamin and better enable us to digest it?

Diamonds own health journey was also very interesting. Most people who are interested in nutrition seem to become interested in the topic initially because they want to solve a health problem and find that the advice given to them by their doctors is either not effective or not sufficient to help them.

Maybe the best qualified person to find out what you should eat, is yourself, since you can become your own experiment.

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