This lecture is part of the IHMC Evening Lecture series.
For the past 60 years there has been a concerted effort to demonize saturated fats, found in animal products and tropical oils, and cholesterol, in our food and blood. Despite the well-established health benefits of diets rich in cholesterol and saturated fat, flawed, deceptive and biased research has created the myth that a low fat, plant-based diet is ideal for good health. I will deliver an update on a talk I gave 2 years ago at the IHMC in Ocala, which will provide a historical perspective on how poorly conducted epidemiological research, U.S. government intervention and misinformation conveyed by contemporary lifestyle researchers have contributed to the current state of confusion on dietary influences on health. In addition, I will discuss how biased research has created the false appearance that high levels of serum cholesterol cause heart disease. I will describe how researchers have used deceptive statistics to give health care providers and the public the false impression that statins produce a dramatic reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and mortality. I will point out that the miniscule benefits of statins are offset by their well-documented adverse effects, such as promoting the development of type 2 diabetes, cognitive impairments, cataracts, muscle pain and wasting, and increased incidence of cancer. This talk will serve as a wake-up call for the public to educate themselves as to how to optimize their diet and cardiovascular health.
David. M. Diamond received his Ph.D. in Biology in 1985, with a specialization in Behavioral Neuroscience, from the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California, Irvine. He is a professor in the Departments of Psychology and Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida, where he has directed his research program on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. Diamond has served on federal government study sections and committees evaluating research on the neurobiology of stress and memory, and has over 100 publications, reviews and book chapters on the brain and memory. He has served on the editorial boards of numerous medical journals and has received 30 years of federally funded support for his research. In the past decade, Dr. Diamond has expanded his research program to include cardiovascular disease and nutrition. His controversial research is an extension of an advanced seminar he directs at the University of South Florida entitled “Myths and Deception in Medical Research”, which emphasizes the critical evaluation of methods and conflicts of interest in health-related research. In recent years he added to his list of publications controversial papers on diet, cholesterol and statins, including one paper published in the peer-reviewed medical journal “Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology”, which described the deceptive practices employed by researchers promoting statins for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Diamond has been invited to present his myth-busting views on nutrition and cholesterol to lay people and physicians at nutrition, cardiology, obesity and diabetes conferences all over the world.