Dr. Attia at TEDMED: What if we’re wrong about diabetes?

Here’s the great and surprisingly emotional talk by Dr Peter Attia at TEDMED, just posted. It’s about completely reconsidering how we view obesity and related problems. Well worth watching! Dr Attia is likely to accomplish great things.

What do you think about the talk?


Here’s a recent interview with Dr Attia about the same topic: Medcrunch: Disguises for a Deeper Problem and Walking in Your Patients Shoes

Dr Attia’s blog The Eating Academy


  1. Totas
  2. FrankG
    Wow! As you say Dr Eenfeldt a great and surprisingly emotional talk. Combing passion with intelligence, I think, is not a bad thing.

    So many quotable quotes but the ones which reached out and grabbed me include:

    "What if some of our fundamental ideas about obesity are just wrong? Personally I can't afford the luxury of arrogance anymore... let alone the luxury of certainty "


    "...step one is accepting the *possibility* that our current beliefs about obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance could be wrong and therefore must be tested"

    Thank you Dr Attia.

  3. Christopher
    Beautiful talk. Thank You Dr Attia for speaking for all of us who try to have an open non-dogmatic minds. I must add however that the notion that obesity is one of the symptoms of metabolic disregulation caused by chronic high insulin levels has been known to science since beginning of 20th century - if it wasn't for the Second World War we would never have food pyramid and political/financial highjacking of medical science by USA.
  4. JAUS
    Absolutely brilliant! This is exactly the message that I tried for years to get through.

    He's a true scientist that follows the evidence.

    Reply: #12
  5. murray
    Peter Attia and Gary Taubes have been doing a lot of thinking into methodology. I have long maintained scientists ought to struggle through a lot of Nietzsche. Dr. Attia's talk is classic Nietzsche. Twilight of the Idols, Four Great Errors, Reversal of Cause and Effect. One should always ruminate on whether data can be interpreted to fit a reversal of the commonly accepted cause and effect. But, to Christopher's point, this is not how funded science has been done in the United States since 1945, which promotes branching and specialization that poses less threat to vested interests. The experience of those supporting LCHF eliciting wrathful prejudice from the establishment in the face of plain data is but one of numerous examples of this problem.
  6. ZellZ
    Amazing & Wonderful! Gives me hope the world IS changing....slowly....but few people have the emotional courage & intellectual honesty that Dr. Peter Attia displays in this video. Moreover, the world doesn't Want to give up its Favorite Scape Goat: Fat People. All you have to do is read some of the vile comments under this video at utube to know that what I'm saying is true. No, the world judges relentlessly & ruthlessly on appearance & woe betide anyone who dares to say: "maybe it's not fat people's fault, after all, for being fat and sick". Huh, how could THAT be true, all the know-it-alls say. "Don't fat people eat too much!?! I see them out in public, scarfing down ice cream cones & waffle sandwiches, waddling around all fat & gross, seemingly not a care in the world as they keep feeding their fat faces!" Yes, that IS the world's overall attitude toward obese people. In fact, it's become so extreme that even slightly pudgy people now are considered "obese" by the medical establishment and by regular people. Of course, nothing can deter all the blamers & shamers who upload "hilarious" videos of fat people going about their business in the world, shopping at Walmart (many of them can't afford better) & just trying to live their lives. Dr. Peter Attia is able to look back & see that he subjected a vulnerable woman, in his medical care, to CONTEMPT, yes: CONTEMPT! That is His word that he used, for how he treated this poor woman, who was FAT (That was her Terrible Crime) & suffering. All he could do, (in that moment) was judge the crap out of her. No wonder he now looks back in tears & great emotion at the Additional pain he gave her, but hey, she was USED to it, I'm SURE. That Doesn't mean it didn't Hurt, but fat people know they get blamed & shamed aplenty: they soon learn to Internalize that blame & start to hate on Themselves better than any doctor or utuber ever could. Or kid. Kids learn early that it's fun to mock fat people & that they are fair game. So what is the answer? Few people show the Immense Compassion that Dr. Attia, once he was able to put his judgements aside, came to have even for this woman. Especially for this woman. Dr. Attia learned Directly, from his Own Experiences, that doing all the "right things" wasn't getting him better. He was getting sicker. And I'm sure that whatever weight he gained, it couldn't compare to truly fat people, but it was enough to prove to him that the Same Old Same Old advice Doesn't work! Dr. Attia, wow, I Really Admire him, as he's working with a "Team Of Rivals" to help people get better. His emotional pain in this video is a beautiful thing to see. I wish all people could have even a tiny bit of his great ability to learn from his mistakes, not to mention his wonderful drive to help others. I sure wish more doctors were like him!!! Excellent Video! Thank you for posting it, Dr E!
  7. ZellZ
    The more I think about it, the more insight this Wonderful video generates in me. Even myself, sensitive to the stigma of obesity, am Amazed at the Incredible Comparison Dr. Attia makes in his talk. Think about it: What if Dr. Attia had told everyone he feels deeply sad & chagrined with himself because he treated the tragic newlywed young woman with Contempt: the one with pancreatic cancer. Wouldn't we All go: Oh my God, how COULD YOU, Dr. Attia!!!!??? She was Dying! It wasn't her Fault, HOW could you Blame her HOW could you be so CRUEL???
    Yet, for the fat woman w/diabetes, most regular people will be puzzled (at the Very Least) as to why Dr. Attia is upset about his past behavior toward her - and when they see him struggling to hold back tears, their reactions will be: "Much Ado About Nothing". Hey, she DID bring it on herself, they will say. And Plus, she was FAT!!! And even myself, I almost just resignedly shrugged it off: it's painful, but hey, what Else is new, a Fat Woman gets coldly judged in a medical stetting, knock me over w/the proverbial feather. (Why do you think we stay away from doctors??? Plus, it gets damn Tedious to always have to be the one to try to educate the Doctors). At least Dr Attia Learned from his callousness & is even Moved by the pain that the diabetic woman went through, some of which was at his own instigation. Yet, it was only when I switched the 2 women & gave the young, (presumably) slender, newlywed, tragic pancreatic cancer patient Dr. Attia's cold attitude of Contempt that I realized: WOW, if he had treated That woman the same way he treated the diabetic woman, it would strike me as almost crazy (albeit many doctors Do have rather-to-very sh*tty attitudes toward their patients. But I dare say Most Don't). Most doctors at least Want to help & be of some comfort. Unless you are fat, of course!!!! (Kudos, Major MAJOR KUDOS to Dr. Attia for learning & sharing that w/the world)!!!!!!
  8. ZellZ
    Perhaps the most amazing thing about this video is that Dr Attia is willing to question himself, question the science & keep at it with a Fresh & Bold Attitude!!!! We sure could use More of That in this world!
  9. Evie
    It's easy for me to believe. After all, I got fat eating 1600 calories a day (as a moderately active, 5'9" woman). By cutting out sugar and flour - but continuing to eat 1600 cals, replacing the carbs with FAT - I lost 50lbs and kept it off for the last four years.
    Anecdotal, but there it is.
  10. Christopher
    I hope Dr Attia knows how powerful the 'carbohydrate/sugar machine' is - with people on their pay-roll at the top of the editorial boards of influential journals, CEO's of hospitals, nutrition/biochemistry University departments, pharmaceutical companies not to mention governments et cetera et cetera
  11. John
    If you didn't well-up at the end of that talk, then you're heartless.
    That was very powerful.
  12. Jante
    Well, now we've all got to convince DietDoctor that it's not only wise but also neccessary to engage your opponents in the struggle in order to make a real change.

    So far I've been totally without luck...

  13. jake3_14
    For me, the video cut off in the middle of Attia's final remarks!
  14. murray
    Jante, in my view engaging with the "opponents" is not cost effective. Better to work diligently on building the science for your own case. The pro-carb lobby has for a long time worked to divert research funding away from scientists who produce results favorable to low carb. However, the Atkins Foundation and other sources have enabled the slow accumulation of supporting research. Recall that in numerous areas, new paradigms encounter fierce resistance and never make headway against the status quo. As one observer remarked, the opponents never change their minds, they simply get old and die out over time. One has to be more subtle, to get funding. Look at unfortunate Gilbert Ling and what the scientific establishment did to him.

    This move by Taubes and Attia is more subtle. They have secured significant funding from private donors (i.e., outside the government funding bureaucracy dominated by vested interests). The so-called "opponents" are not really opponents but are people who hold differing views. Taubes, especially, understands that in order to advance the science for the low-carb case, reversals of perspective are needed at the level of experimental design, in order that the science advances on a sounder footing. This is not like vegan cheer-leading, risibly flawed by confirmation bias that overlooks and exploits methodological flaws. We want to get the science right. This means risking finding results we did not expect. All experimental data admits multiple interpretations, and best to utilize the confirmation bias of others from other perspectives to design more focussed experiments and to flush out a fuller set of interpretations from experimental outcomes. In this manner, the science can inch forward on a more solid foundation.

    So there is no engaging with opponents in the sense of debating who is right. That leads nowhere, other than favoring the side backed by more vested interests.

  15. Jan
    Amazing, brilliant, awesome, thought provoking and emotional !

    Peters video is a must watch for everyone.

    All the best Jan

  16. stefan
    Dr. Attias clear cut message delivered with a radiating charisma just hit you in head and heart. I think he can turn the tide.
  17. Joe
    We need more doctors like him who question the establishment and healing their patient better through effective treatment.

    1,000,000 of those doctor in each continent would create a robust meta-anaysis of medical research and accelerated progress of implementation through rapid feedback.

    We can now have an affordable healthcare, empowered patient, and compassionate doctors.

  18. Chi
    IMHO, we need to/are about to, experience massive paradigm shifts in how medicine is practiced, as well as dietary recommendations.

    I base this upon tidbits gleaned various places, such as:

    ==It takes lots of cholesterol for the body to turn sunlight into Vit. D.
    ==Rabbit starvation: when a human has to subsist on -only protein-, no carbs, no fats--or a diet that approximates that, they will develop diarrhea then dehydration, and die, if they go too long without fats. They can also have kidney stones, gallstones, IBS, etc.
    ==There is no "minimum daily requirement" for carbohydrates.
    ==Humans currently have sweeping deficiencies of Vit. D, even in those spend all day, everyday, in bright sun. Yet, all the research has focused not on causes, only on identifying that the pervasive deficiencies exist, and, how much D3 must be taken to correct it.
    ==Food industries have gradually over-manufactured, adulterated, and denatured the nutritional value of our food supplies.
    ==Food industries have used a "3-pilar" [sugars, salts, bad fats] tactic to keep people addicted to over-eating junk food. This also includes flavor-enhancing chemicals, which artificial sugars could be classed as, along with many others.
    ==GMO foods are causing illnesses and deaths, related to consuming them, as well as to the environment, world-wide.
    ==Low fat, and/or high protein diets have been heavily promoted for decades,
    which MIGHT have a lot to do with why we now also have:
    --massive numbers and severity of Vit/ D deficiencies
    --more kidney and gallstones, and the collateral damage those cause
    --more IBS & Chron's disease, and the collateral damage those cause
    --more "GERD" conditions & the collateral damage those cause
    --more insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, and the collateral damage those cause
    --more arthritic conditions
    --more autoimmune conditions, and the collateral damage those cause
    --more cases of multiple chemical sensitivities
    --[the list is very long--you get the picture?]]

    Could all of these, & more, be substantively relieved using properly designed LCHF diets?

    If we were to convert to consuming truly organic greens, moderate good organic protein, and high-good fats, how much of the illness/disease conditions might be quickly healed, WITHOUT spending trillions of dollars to buy treatments from BigPharma and Medical Mainstream, right now?
    [[this could also create improvements in overall environment issues]]

    Properly designed LCHF diets would vastly lower insurance needs/spending, and vastly decrease the strain on our over-blown insurance/medical/pharmaceutical system.
    Of course, many in the Pharmaceutical, Medical, & Insurance industries might need to find work elsewhere....[[oh, darn. ?!]]

    We can choose:
    Spend a bit more to eat better,
    OR, spend a huge amount over time, to treat the diseases caused from improper eating.
    [[could turn the economy around, too]]

    The trick is having enough motivation to learn for ourselves what has historically, routinely worked [like the LCHF diet], & do it right;
    AND have the chutzpa to do it ourselves, flying in the face of the fear-mongering conventional mainstream medical professionals.

  19. Margaret
    Well done!

    Once in my career I designed and managed a program designated as a Centre of Excellence. The culture that led to a high level of discovery and publication was the very set of ideas expressed in this speech. That if a problem does not disappear before our intervention, the fault lies not with the non-compliant patient, but with the intervention. Prescriptions based on a faulty understanding of etiology and precipitating factors are bound to fail; we need to look there before we look ANYWHERE else. It is only when we dare to give up our fastly held but dismally flawed "truth" that we are released to go looking for what really makes things tick.

    Good luck, and God speed.

  20. Chi
    Margaret, yes, indeed---there has been far too much reliance, in mainstream medicine, and even some alternative medicine, on using excuses such as "non-compliant" patients, or, "it's genetic"
    --therefore the practitioner cannot do anything about it.
    These have classically been excuses that let practitioners off the hook, allowing disengagement from the situation, or to refer the patient elsewhere, or throw up their hands and assume nothing can be done.
    Generally, it's only that the practitioner lacks information to know what to do.
    It can also be that the patient needs more helps than the practitioner can offer--referrals to other specialists, or even from Social Services, etc. Even better, needs better education to help themselves.
    But it's more complicated than that.
    It is in human nature that people will devolve into conditions they "know how to manage with". That is, when there seems to be no improvement, the patient needs evaluated to learn if or what they stand to gain by maintaining their conditions--regardless of how horrible.
    The patient might need more information;
    The patient might need better/other treatments/venues;
    They may have personal agendas mandating continuing their conditions;
    They may not have resources available to allow getting better;
    Or there may be some other reasons.
    But all practitioners need to be honest and open with patients, about why they believe they cannot deal with a patient's conditions....it's gotta be OK for a Doc to say "I don't know", or, "I need to refer you to someone with more knowledge about this", etc.
    No more excuses about "non-compliant patients" or "sorry, it's genetic"!

    We've so much to learn--and unlearn!

    If something is not working, instead of throwing more drugs at something, how about we change how we look at things, and, for instance, take into account rationally thought out causes?

    Be well!

  21. Chi
    Yes. This is a brilliant talk.
    Mainstream medicine needs to "get it".
    Fat & diabetes & so many other ills, are directly being increased by consuming "bad fats", refined carbs.
    See my above posts, please.

    ALSO: Science has FAILED to study the broad spectrum of health issues caused by the many thousands of hormone-interupting chemicals we all "swim" in daily.
    These don't just block our body's ability to use sex hormones, they can block or interrupt use of insulin, thyroid, etc.

    Science also has failed to come up with more accurate testing for all the hormones.
    There's about a 40% rate of false results on thyroid testing alone--couple that with so many Docs who ONLY consider the test results, and avoid considering the litany of symptoms patients report...it's a set-up for disaster.

    As cancer is often a last-ditch coping strategy the body uses to keep living longer, as some describe, Obesity, Diabetes & Cardiovascular problems are signs & symptoms of deeper issues that cannot be fixed by "diet & exercise" alone.

    We NEED to address the effects of all those hormone-interruping chemicals everyone's exposed to daily, all their lives.
    Mainstream medicine's approaches & models need re-examined & brought up-to-date, across the board!

  22. Cindy
    This may be tmi, but I've grown so cynical about the medical profession that this almost makes me want to cry. I literally had my (old) GP tell me I was not be compliant and to stop eating. I'd go in, we would do the same routine where he just sits in his chair, and I beg him to rally consider something was wrong besides my diabetes. I finally got a wound care nurse that my BFF knew to get one of her drs Tao put me Qin her rehab hospital and start treating the two year old wound on my big toe. I got the wound in his office when he tried to treat a callous on the toe. Anyway, all he needed to do and my podiatrist included was take a simple sample of the infection instead of assuming I was not trying to keep my bs down. Obviously, they were jumping all of the place, and it turned out that my body was fighting off a serious MRSA infection.
    I truly believe the lack of professionalism and increased judgmental-ism in medical treating people with obesity and diabetes is causing many patients to lose hope and just plain give up ever getting someone to listen and help. Thank you Dr Atitia for giving us hope for a better tomorrow once again.
  23. Chi
    ALSO, Please consider this very well-documented video--lots of information.
    Please consider: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1m3TjokVU4

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