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Nutrition Scientific Discipline Inaugural (Nusi)

Some of you lot may receive got heard of an ambitious novel nutrition research foundation called the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI).  In this post, I'll explicate what it is, why it matters, as well as how I experience well-nigh it-- from the perspective of an obesity researcher. 

What is NuSI?

NuSI is a nonprofit organisation whose stated finish is to "facilitate as well as fund experimental research inwards nutrition amongst the finish of reducing the economical as well as social burden of obesity as well as obesity-related diseases."  In other words, its finish is to empathise obesity to a greater extent than thoroughly then it tin last prevented as well as reversed to a greater extent than effectively.  NuSI was founded past times MD Peter Attia as well as Gary Taubes, as well as is funded past times the Laura as well as John Arnold foundation as well as other sources.  MD Attia is primarily responsible for running the organization, as well as he's besides the writer of the weblog The Eating Academy

NuSI is attempting 2 primary things at this point: 1) lead together exceed scientists; 2) give them the funding to arrive at ambitious research that has never been done before, or examine questions to a greater extent than rigorously than they receive got been tested previously.  I tin attest to the fact that they're accomplishing finish #1.  MD Attia has told me who they've involved at this point, as well as it includes approximately of the exceed scientists inwards obesity research-- people who I strongly support.  Whether finish #2 happens remains to last seen, but if everything goes according to plan, NuSI may cease upwardly beingness a major novel funding machinery for obesity research.  Apparently, the potential for funding is pregnant plenty that NuSI has been able to depict the attending of sure senior researchers.

Why I Support NuSI

Dr. Attia as well as Taubes receive got asked for my back upwardly on this project.  As everyone reading this knows, I've had high-profile disagreements amongst Taubes.  MD Attia as well as I receive got had a few positive exchanges, as well as although I don't know him well, he strikes me equally a reasonable as well as constructive person.  Both of them are proponents of the low-carbohydrate diet, as well as they receive got both had personal successes amongst this eating style.  MD Attia besides has clinical experience amongst diet, including but non limited to low-carbohydrate diets.

NuSI is proposing major funding for approximately rattling ambitious experiments that receive got never been conducted before.  I'll permit MD Attia give to a greater extent than details on this, but suffice it to say that the projection could last rattling exciting if it materializes equally planned.  

So the enquiry arises, should I back upwardly an organisation that's run inwards business office past times a someone whose approach to scientific research I disagree with?  It would last remiss of me non to enquiry the wisdom of putting a major scientific discipline funding machinery into the hands of a journalist who is, shall nosotros say, rattling attached to his ideas.  To position my conscience to rest, I contacted MD Kevin Hall, an obesity researcher who is acting equally Pb scientist on this initiative.  He explained to me that NuSI volition receive got no command over research design, conduct, or reporting, as well as inwards fact he's contractually obligated to the National Institutes of Health non to allow NuSI to receive got whatever command over these things.  So although NuSI volition larn to lead what experiments it funds, it has no command over what happens later on that, as well as then its potential to compromise research integrity seems low.

I may non ever concur amongst NuSI's funding priorities (although I suspect I oftentimes will), but the bottom trouble is that it volition increment funding for exceed scientists inwards a tough economic/political climate, potentially brand experiments possible that were formerly inaccessible due to excessive cost, as well as add together to human noesis well-nigh diet as well as health.  That's why I back upwardly it.

My Concerns well-nigh NuSI

NuSI was organized ostensibly amongst the finish of promoting high-quality, objective scientific research.  However, reading the information on the website as well as press releases, it's obvious that the organisation has strong preconceived notions well-nigh diet as well as obesity. 

The linguistic communication of the website suggests an mental attitude that rejects currently existing nutrition research equally invalid.  I've seen this mental attitude before, as well as it's typically an sweat to discredit contradictory prove then it doesn't receive got to last incorporated into one's worldview.  Here are approximately examples of this:
If people had the right information- based on rigorously produced scientific evidence- well-nigh which foods predisposed them to obesity as well as its related diseases, most would brand the right choices as well as Pb happier as well as healthier lives.
Poorly controlled experiments are considered sufficient solid set down on which to shape dietary recommendations on the belief that they are the best scientific discipline tin offer, non because they are inherently rigorous plenty to constitute reliable knowledge.
There is to a greater extent than than a grain of truth to this, but the reality is that nosotros already know a lot well-nigh how to forestall obesity as well as type 2 diabetes, as well as a fair amount well-nigh how to scrap existing obesity.  Much of this noesis comes from good controlled experiments inwards humans as well as animals spanning decades of research.  The average someone doesn't consume donuts as well as pizza, imbibe sweetened beverages, as well as sit down inwards front end of the TV for hours a 24-hour interval because she thinks they're going to promote a leaner, healthier life.  There are sure enough gaps inwards our knowledge.  But the primary argue nosotros receive got an obesity epidemic isn't that nosotros lack the right information, it's that most people don't apply the information nosotros already have!  This doesn't apply to all individuals, but at a population score it does apply.

The NuSI website goes on to attribute the obesity epidemic to the the States authorities dietary recommendations since 1977, when Americans were advised to cut back fatty intake as well as supersede it amongst unrefined saccharide (the fact that the recommendation was for unrefined saccharide is non mentioned).  This is inappropriate for an organisation whose stated finish is to objectively back upwardly research on what causes obesity-- they should last keeping their personal opinions to themselves.  The agency the website is written, it sounds similar they already receive got their minds made upwardly well-nigh what causes obesity, as well as they're but looking to drum upwardly confirmatory evidence. 

The press discover states that "despite next electrical flow dietary recommendations- for example, reducing fatty intake- Americans are getting to a greater extent than as well as to a greater extent than obese".  Then comes the familiar graph of macronutrient changes over the concluding twoscore years showing a decline inwards the percent unloosen energy from fat, as well as an increment inwards the percent unloosen energy from carbohydrate.  Yet what escapes refer is that the exclusively argue the percentage of fatty went downward is that total saccharide (and calorie) intake went up.  The absolute, full amount of fatty intake inwards grams stayed the same or increased over that fourth dimension menses (depending on the information source-- USDA nutrient disappearance or NHANES surveys).  Does that count equally "reducing fatty intake"?  Below is a graph of macronutrient intake inwards the the States betwixt 1970 as well as 2006, expressed equally calories non percentages, from USDA data adjusted for loss.  You last the judge.


If nosotros become dorsum to 1909, a fourth dimension when obesity was less mutual than inwards 2012 or fifty-fifty 1970, the the States diet was 57 percent carbohydrate, equally opposed to 49 percent today.  Total saccharide intake inwards grams was besides higher than today, as well as most of it came from white flour (1).  Why would saccharide sweat an obesity epidemic today when it didn't 100 years ago, as well as it continues non to sweat obesity inwards numerous high-carbohydrate cultures throughout the world?

The reality is that the USDA dietary guidelines since 1977 didn't tell Americans to:
  • Increase our intake of sweetened soda past times 41 percent
  • Replace fresh potatoes amongst french fries as well as white patato chips
  • Increase added sugars past times sixteen percent
  • Increase our intake of refined instead of unrefined saccharide
  • Nearly double spending on fast food
  • Eat to a greater extent than than twice equally many snacks
  • Increase full calorie intake past times twenty percent
Are the USDA dietary guidelines perfect?  In my opinion, no.  Did they sweat the obesity epidemic?  Absolutely not.  If everyone inwards this province ate strictly according to the USDA dietary guidelines, including the recommendation to favor unprocessed foods as well as avoid sweetened beverages, equally a population we'd last leaner as well as healthier than nosotros are right now. 

For these reasons amid others, the materials released past times NuSI arrive at non scream "objectivity", which is troubling considering the organization's stated goals.  However, maintain inwards heed that NuSI is a funding machinery as well as volition non receive got command over how research is conducted or reported inwards scientific journals.

The Bottom Line

I back upwardly NuSI, despite its flaws. It's difficult to predict the long-term effects of something similar this, but I intend it has to a greater extent than potential to arrive at skillful than to arrive at harm.  I wishing it good as well as I'm happy to assistance if assistance is requested.


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