The Manhattan Project to End Fad Diets


Today, a dream of mine came true.

Imagine what could be done if we had an X-men-like group of the world’s best scientists, independently funded and uninfluenced by industry, tackling the most important questions in nutrition?

Starting today, we have such a group: the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI).

I am thrilled to be a part of their Board of Advisors, alongside a diverse group of experts including David Berkowitz (Ziff Brothers Investments) and Nassim Nicholas Taleb (of Black Swan fame), among others.

Funded off the bat by a foundation started by billionaire hedge fund manager John Arnold, and supported by a world-class Scientific Advisory Board, NuSI is off to races.

Born from a shared vision of its co-founders, Peter Attia, M.D. and Gary Taubes, this non-profit will fund research that applies first-of-its-kind, rigorous scientific experimentation to the field of nutrition…

Contributing researchers will span the dietary spectrum, including scientists who personally adhere to veganism; low-carb, high-protein diets; and everything in between. This purposeful “agree to disagree” mix is integral to the success of the project, as biases are discarded in favor of solid, experimental data.

No hidden agenda, no corporate interests, nothing to do with food subsidies or ulterior motives. Just good science. It’s about time, right?

Kevin Schulman, M.D., Director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and the Center for Clinical and Genetic Economics at Duke University, had this to say:

“…Do we really have good science to support our diet recommendations? The answer is convincingly no. The largest public health crisis in the United States is being addressed with the type of data that we question in every other field of medicine: observational studies subject to selection bias, and small scale, short-term clinical studies which can’t offer definitive results…

It’s well past time for an effort such as that proposed by NuSI–to test our hypotheses with rigorous science. We owe this effort to the public and to our children who otherwise could suffer from the disastrous consequences of our scientific hubris on this issue.”

Here are two slideshows that introduce NuSI in more depth. The first is short (16 slides), the second is more in-depth (35 slides):

David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School Professor of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, echoes my sentiments exactly:

“…The need for philanthropic support of nutrition research has never been greater. With a willingness to focus its resources on the most difficult and risky projects, an organization like NuSI can have a transformative impact, not only on scientific understanding, but also on public health.”

And in closing, Peter Attia, M.D., the President of NuSI:

“Without all the elements – money, time and talent – working in concert, research efforts will continue to fall short of what is necessary to solve this problem [of obesity and related diseases]… NuSI will be successful because we are bringing together the best scientific minds and giving them the time and resources they require to find the answers we all need.”

Are you ready to settle some of these neverending debates, once and for all? I certainly am.

Learn more.
Join the team.

Posted on: September 12, 2012.

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216 comments on “The Manhattan Project to End Fad Diets

  1. Here is one of the problems I foresee:

    Multi-billion dollar industries rely on diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity. They can use legal tactics, data rigging, bribery, and even murder to protect their survival. But here is the real irony: If a study supports a multi-billion dollar industry’s position it will appear rigged and untrustworthy.

    There is a need for these experiments to have data available in real-time, where the scientist designed experiments are carried out by randomly assigned technician teams, and whatever other precautions can be implemented to protect the experiments, data, and people involved from the influence of wealthy interests.


  2. As long as Taubes is alive project will be fine. There is already Weston Price Foundation and Price-Pottenger Foundation and really, you can’t go deeper than those two.

    Yes, they have no “paper” proof to validate their position (at least not in a modern scientific sense) so hopefully NuSI will get enough money from sources other than pharmacy and food industry to evaluate their position.

    Personally I know they are right, I have no doubts saturated fats are the best fuel for our bodies, but personal opinions are not science :)

    I really hope they will be able to get a lot of hard scientific evidence to help spread the word. However, even if they menage to do this, still there is media… there are HUGE money from advertising (you know those “anti” FLU shit! to say the least) so situation won’t be easy.

    You know the next big thing?

    There was a car, airplane, atom, Internet… Now is time to buy HEALTH.

    Soon everyone of us will use something similar to credit card, however, instead of paying for “food” (I mean most people these days eat shit… not a real food…) we will pay for “health”!

    That’s where we go… In a sense we are already there and majority just don’t realize this.

    Thanks to universe, Garry and others are aware of that fact.

    P.S watch what you put into your mouth… If it doesn’t look like part of an animal, be careful! You can’t trust even broccoli these days…


  3. Tim,
    I was watching Forks Over Knives, and it seems like that documentary had a pretty straightforward answer on a lot of the causes for health in the ‘States. Will this team be working on more detailed things like what you talked about in The Four Hour Body?


    • Adam’s comment about Forks Over Knives led me to watch the documentary. I had tried eating healthy before that point and working out, but I just couldn’t keep the discipline needed to get into the shape I wanted to physically.

      I am incredibly happy to report that in the first 2 months, I was working out exactly the same, and eating AS MUCH AS I WANTED :) and I lost the last 15 pounds that had been staying on for the last year or so trying the other things. I am still VERY happy to report that I now structured a system of a “mostly vegan” diet. I knew I’d miss some foods if I completely cut them out, so on certain days of the year, mostly holidays, I will have non-vegan foods, like ham on Christmas, etc.

      So, the ONLY thing I changed was my diet to a whole foods, plant based diet as in Forks Over Knives and the Engine 2 Diet, and I am in the best shape I have been in in 5 years or more. It is actually to the point where I TRY to eat foods like Avacados and breads with some oils, because I DON’T want to lose any more weight, and that is a great problem to have :D


  4. Hi, Tim.

    Consider the possibilities of how breathing and food construction effect food consumption. Western science understands the effect of food ingredients on the body, but really doesn’t make a distinction between eating a soup of a chunky mash of food, and eating the soup ingredients separately off of a plate…

    Awesome project, I’d love to see it succeed, all the best.


  5. It was so nice to meet you today, I can’t wait until the book comes out. I am a huge fan of yours. It was a privilege to have had a conversation with you! Good luck with your new book, I will be promoting it!

    Best regards,
    Sherri Heller


  6. Hello,
    I am really impressed to the NUSI company and by that I would like to apply in NUSI. I’m just curious on what qualifications they are looking for and what does it takes to get a job on NUSI. Anybody who had experience on applying in NUSI pls do help me [Moderator: email removed]. Thank you