Peter Attia, MD. Emotional TED Presentation. Pip-Squeaks & Clowns

From the TED page.

…Prior to his time at McKinsey, Peter spent five years at the Johns Hopkins Hospital as a general surgery resident, where he was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including Resident of the Year and the award for Excellence in Teaching, and the author of a comprehensive review of general surgery. Peter also spent two years at the National Institutes of Health as a surgical oncology fellow at the National Cancer Institute under Dr. Steve Rosenberg, where his research focused on the role of regulatory T cells in cancer regression and other immune-based therapies for cancer.

Peter is a 2012/2013 recipient of the French-American Foundation Young Leader’s Fellowship, which recognizes the most promising leaders in the United States and France under the age of 40. […]

Peter earned his M.D. from Stanford University and holds a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where he also taught and helped design the calculus curriculum.

Yep, sounds exactly like the kinda guy who convincingly gets emotional on queue, and for effect. Them surgeon-calculus guys…

Here’s the presentation where in the last minute or so, Peter gets emotional, breaks up a bit.

A brief summary of the presentation is that he introduces by juxtaposing his visceral reactions as a surgical resident to a fat, T2 diabetic woman in need of a foot amputation…to a young, attractive, fit-looking woman who would nonetheless soon be dead from pancreatic cancer.

That serves as the backdrop for his recounting of his own discoveries: his own problems with fat accumulation and what he did about that. And now, his own commitment to make it his life’s work to help those he previously judged so harshly because they simply didn’t eat less and move more.

He and Gary Taubes initiated the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) that has already begun some research and fund raising is going well. Peter admits to his own bias in the presentation. He basically did his own cure with low carb. But he goes on to explain that NuSI is about gathering together top obesity researchers with differing hypotheses about obesity (the fat, the carbs, the reward, etc., etc.) and getting them the funding to duke it out.

Aside: so scary. It’ll be so awful to have a couple of guys biased towards the insulin hypothesis of fat accumulation heading an obesity research science institute. We’ve had like 4 decades of zero bias in obesity research and this is quite a step back. [/smirk]

He concludes by regretting his prejudicial assessment of one of those women. He gets a bit emotional about it.

…Ignoramuses, morons, bastards, bitches, cunts, cocksuckers, the proudly emotionally unstable—and I’m only talking about the bloggers—and their sycophants hit the road to expose their own biases that they always dishonestly hide…because they’re all liars from jot to tittle. All suffer from delusions of adequacy.

Peter hasn’t even blogged about his own TED on his own blog. Why? Take a guess. I’ll disclose that Peter and I are friends and for some silly reason he likes to call me up out of the blue and take whatever counsel I can offer. We had dinner at a French bistro place in Redwood City a few months back, our meal being interrupted continuously by the people at the next table captivatingly interested by our conversation (neither of us minded). Peter is a bit embarrassed about the TED. Trust me.

The reaction to his getting emotional is so funny to me. We sit here in judgment of every film or TV drama we see where a profesional actor doesn’t quite get their craft right on queue, when it calls for the one thing harder to do than a nude lovemaking scene: display convincing emotion. But Petter Attia, MD, former surgical resident, calculus curriculum geek, medical administrator and and medical research foundation founder—with not a single acting course in his curriculum vitae—get’s it just right and perfect. Perfectly on queue: perfect control—not too much, not too little. Wow, maybe we might want just this kind of automath talent to head a nutrition-obesity science institute. …Or something.

…Right now it’s like 95F here in San Jose, CA in mid-afternoon. I’m drafting this post on the back porch. I feel a slight comforting breeze. I’m attributing it to lex parsimoniae, in the sense that William of Ockham must be spinning rapidly.

At the same time, I’m reminded of my late maternal grandfather, Clarence Goodsell. A man among men. Owned property from the Bay Area to Reno, built houses on them by hand and rented and lived in them; hand painted all the signs in all the Reno casinos in the 60s and 70s, got most of his deer by headshot with a hair trigger .243 rifle, tied his own flies and with them, caught thousands of trout in the Trukkee right off his front yard, steelhead in the Kalamath, and enormous rainbows and browns in Pyramid lake.

He died when I was about 28. Up until then, from as long as I can remember, he never, ever got through a single Christmas, birthday, anniversary or father’s day card without a bit of an emotional display.

What a clever man. We were all such fools to ever think that he actually held values in ways and means that we simply did not fully understand or account for—except, of course, that when he got emotional it could sometimes end up in ridiculous emotional conflagration…people crying, appreciating one another, hugging. Y’know, all that kinda contrived, transparent shit. I’m sure that by the next day, money loans were going in all sorts of different directions.

You fuckhead bloggers and your pathetic, worthless sycophants: shame on you all. I wish all of you very bad things. I hope a lot of others do, too.

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  1. Ed on June 29, 2013 at 17:18

    I visit Dr. Attia’s blog occasionally. He is a very impressive gentlemen, I wish there were more Doctors like him. He is smart enough to realize that he doesn’t know everything and humble enough to admit it. Very refreshing.

  2. Carl on June 29, 2013 at 19:12


  3. diane on June 29, 2013 at 19:56

    You write so sensitively about Dr. Attia (and your grandfather), then launch into those awful, vile, streams of invective—even saying you wish all of the critics very bad things—yikes! The disconnect made me dizzy. I loved Dr, Attia’s talk, and honored his tearful confession.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 29, 2013 at 20:43

      You wish I lie to you, Diane, like Peter didn’t? It’s not “invective.” I actually wish them very bad things. The truth.

    • Robert Burns on April 25, 2015 at 11:28

      You, “wish them very bad things”???
      Freedom of speech is wonderful, in that respect, but you have some real issues and I dont think its about eating.
      Cheers, Bob

    • Richard Nikoley on April 26, 2015 at 12:48

      Yea, we’ll go fuck yourself cheery Bob. Pussy boy.

  4. Richard Nikoley on June 30, 2013 at 10:01

    Ha, OK, Wooo. Desperate for links? Temporary dispensation:

    And one of the various posts I implicitly referenced:

    You know, Wooo, things might be different if you knew how to take a compliment, didn’t fill your posts with lies, rewrite history (it’s all easily verifiable) and had an actual blog rather than a personal diary for the purpose of shitting on yourself until you happen to feel decent enough to shit on other people.

    Do a food post or something. With pics.

    And have an ice day.

  5. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on June 29, 2013 at 21:18


    it took me a while to get used to RN’s style too. XD

    (Dr. Attia seems real @ the end)

  6. diane on June 29, 2013 at 23:17

    Thank you, Dr. Curmudgeon Gee, I just happened onto this site for the first time earlier today so I wasn’t familiar with his style.

    Mr. Nikoley: No, I wouldn’t want you to lie, but I don’t think that is the only alternative. I’m not a prude, but don’t you think calling people “morons, bastards, cunts, and cocksuckers” might be a little shocking? It’s none of my business, of course, and my point was that it just seemed so incongruous with the lovely way the rest of your post was written. I suppose it does, however, go along with the name of your blog, which I love :)

  7. Carole AKA CarbSaneR on June 30, 2013 at 03:01

    Hi Richard,
    I’m glad you are friends with Peter. I think it was brave of him to admit to that bias against the diabetic woman. He seems like a great guy and I believe that he and Gary are doing what they are doing for the best of reasons ie they want to actually help people and take science forward as opposed to just bloating their own egos.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – your ‘colorful’ language is not offensive to me, people who are trying to make a career of sneering at people like Peter are. As you know.

    Regards, Carole

  8. Fred Hahn on June 30, 2013 at 05:49

    Nice post Rich. What is most shocking is to see Carbsane writing something non-invective about Gary Taubes! ;)

  9. Carl on June 30, 2013 at 06:58

    Fred, CarbsaneR is the pen name for Carole Sampson, who runs a fantastic “Carbsane watch” blog at

    Check it out, you will love it!

  10. Richard Nikoley on June 30, 2013 at 08:06


    Well I must congratulate you, being new here and not just turning away. I actually used to do a lot more of that sort of stuff, though directed at the purveyors of conventional wisdom in things dietary and socially. It used to be that other bloggers in the generalized community were hands off even if I disagreed because of the largely good work. But in this case we’re talking about just a few blogs and their commenters where almost all they do is tear down good people doing good work helping those who need it.

    So yea, I’m kind of a raise the black flag and start slitting throats kinda guy on that score.

  11. Carole AKA CarbSaneR on June 30, 2013 at 09:16

    Thanks Carl!

    Fred, I posted about your great take down of Evelyn AKA Carbtroll re Keith Frayn on my CarbsaneR blog (I am systematically going thru’ her blogs to expose her contradictions and dimwittery).

    Kudos to you!



  12. Richard Nikoley on June 30, 2013 at 10:05

    ….Oh, and I might add: try focussing on the _actions_ of yourself and other people for a change and put all the five & dime psychoanalysis to the back seat.

  13. Ilaine on June 30, 2013 at 13:14

    Hi Richard, the next time you talk to Dr. Attia, you can tell him that this TED talk caused one obese diabetic to shed tears, myself.

    Finally got serious about my diabetes after I got two diabetic food wounds. Yes, it took TWO for the light to finally go off in my head.

    Here is some information about diabetic food wounds — the gold standard of care is sharp debridement, performed by an experienced podiatrist. This means cutting away the wound tissue down to where it bleeds, because diabetic foot wounds need to heal from the inside out. This needs to be done weekly until the wound is completely healed from the inside.

    You also need to get your blood sugar under control. For me, this is accomplished by a very low carb diet and 2000 mg metformin daily. I also take various supplements that are helping with the diabetic neuropathy that caused the wound to not heal. Slowly the neuropathy is reversing. It can be done.

    I like Attia and Taubes, and am looking forward to the results of the research.

  14. Richard Nikoley on June 30, 2013 at 14:32

    Ilane. I wish very good things to happen to you.

  15. Larcana on June 30, 2013 at 15:48

    I reread my comment on Woo’s site..I don’t see it as sycophantic but, that may be your view of it. I read your blog and many others to see what’s up in the blogosphere. I think you have a lot of good information, as does Woo, but you and Woo share a trait of emotionality that can be entertaining and sometimes grating.
    I try to stay out of all this drama but if I comment here does that make me a sycophant of yours? Damned if I do…anyway, I do hope you continued success, as I hope it for Woo. After all, I’ll still keep reading.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 30, 2013 at 16:26


      Both Wooo and Carbsane have tiny dogshit little endeavors that are _defined_ by sycophant. Go plug address into Site Info on Alexa and you may get a hint of what I mean

      I know, I should not bother.

      It’s just for sport; its fun now & then given that most of my commenters–less than 1% of regular readers–are familiar. That’s actually why I dont mention or link them (commenters known; 99% of readers will never give a shit). they’re just archtypes of moron and mechant in a post.

  16. marie on July 1, 2013 at 16:29

    The reaction is not that surprising, is it?
    In a certain blog sphere of cynics, the young and those who haven’t realized that they are no longer so young as to know everything, “a little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.”- Oscar Wild

  17. marie on July 1, 2013 at 16:33

    Haha, typo on ‘Wilde’ amy be appropriate for Free the Animal blog:)

  18. Richard Nikoley on July 1, 2013 at 17:40


    I had a very good laugh this afternoon reading the increasingly dummy Wooo and sycophants. Set it aside for better, the third woman who trusts a 52-yr-old shit stirring blogger with her nude pics.

    In the large scheme of things, this is not hard to figure out. I think our primary affinity, Marie, is a certain understanding given of international travel and living. It forms our views, strong as they may be, to visit or live with people of many, many differing views who…uh…get through life fine.

    Reading about it is not living it.

    What do you want to bet that Wooo has never set foot outside the US? ….Thats in addition to my equally valid charge that her and M Mc are just young, almost zero life experience.

    That said, I have no prob giving Wooo the props she deserves and it was funny that today I had this weird off the wall thought…what if I ended up in the hospital in dire straights, looked up and saw her? I’d feel comforted. I am am absolutely certain she would to the best she could. I’d do the same, because wishing bad things is for one kinda hyperbole and second, not something I’d do myself and quite the opposite,

    The Internet is a funny, love & hate kinda place.

  19. marie on July 1, 2013 at 17:53

    What a coincidence, ‘a certain understanding’ indeed, down to details > I’ve commented before that the nursing profession is lucky to have her :)

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