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.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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216 Replies to “The Manhattan Project to End Fad Diets”

  1. At least they don’t have to spend time and resources studying the effects of the fried, sugary, fast-food diet mixed with the Cheetoes and remote control workout regimen.

    That diet’s been tested for the last 50 years.

  2. Tim,

    I applaud your fortitude and constant thoughts and actions to make our world a better place for all!

    If you are not already proficiency at identifying, exposing and protecting against at least the basic logical fallacies then I strongly recommend you increase your understanding – here is a great infographic to hack this topic – as well as understanding the defining elements and precise methodologies that would qualify as “highest scientific standards” (the undefined term used by Peter Attia, M.D.)


    Great mission, yet their ’cause of obesity’ premise is both blatantly myopic, fallacious and biases, and now they need lots of money (“funding”) to hire a bunch of supposedly unbiased and independent scientists (apparently have either never done good science themselves or are just waiting to do good science with NuSI – based on Peter Attia, M.D statements in the videos that there is not yet good science) to finally confirm their bias. The answers to the questions presented on the NuSI do NOT qualify as “highest standards” science, yet it is a great advertising/marketing presentation!

    Peter Attia, M.D. Q & A videos

    “To many calories, type of calories – which hypothesis is right”

    “Improving quality of research.”

    The presentation by is basically saying ‘Everyone else is wrong and inadequate (“never been reliable answered” “none of the studies can identify the causal results between diet and health”) yet we and only we are gonna be the ones who finally make all good and inerrant science.’

    1) “Q2: What is NuSI seeking to accomplish and what do you need to get there?” NUSI seeks to “Fund rigorous, well controlled experiments conducted by independent researchers with a proven track record of doing excellent science. These experiments will unambiguously clarify the relationship between dietary nutrients, weight control, and chronic disease.”

    R: Where is the proven track record?

    2) “Q3: What are the leverage points that will make NuSI successful?”

    “The fundamental question about the nature of a health diet have NEVER been reliably answered, despite widespread preconceptions to the contrary.”

    R: NEVER is a pretty bold statement that can EASILY be dis-proven.

    3) “Q5: What are the metrics of successs for NuSI? “Meet the highest standards”

    R: The actual scientific methodologies termed by Peter Attia, M.D. as “highest scientific standards” that NUSI are misteriously missing

    It is obvious to me the already pre-existing non-scientific biases and lack of full wholistic approach.

    The underlying argument is blatantly fallacious, a myopic scientific premise and BIASED as an either or (false dichotomy) fallacious theory that obesity is

    EITHER “to many calories”

    OR a “hormonal defect a growth disorder triggered by the refined grains, starches and sugars in our diet”

    Completely leaving out exercise expenditure, stress (lack of adequate rest, mental, environmental…) hormone/chemical, timing of caloric intake…

    Presumption that ALL existing science on this topic are below standard and inadequate.

    Compos Mentis and Caveat Qui Credit!

    1. Excellent post JD. Lets simplify.

      1) What is the definition of Obesity?

      2) What is the definition of Metabolic Syndrome?

      And what are the associated metrics for both?

      1. Thanks Matt!

        Are you asking those question to me or to Tim or the responders?

        My BIG question is has Tim enough science sense to discern the valid conclusions from the fallacies and cherry picked “science” presented by NuSI?

      2. Question was to you. I can’t speak for Tim. I think some of your questions are valid. I would put your questions directly to Dr Attia or any of the scientists on board. Would be very interested in the response.

  3. Tim,

    I am thankful to you and the rest of the NuSI team. This is fantastic on so many levels. Good health starts with wise decisions, which are backed by education – something we don’t have enough of globally. I believe ultimately that we will learn that most disease can be prevented through proper diet. I am far from a health nut, by the way. I don’t have to be to realize other societies and their nutritional habits reveal patterns differing from ours in the U.S.

    The time is right – people are ready for the truth and they are tired of being sold something at every turn; Their trust is challenged constantly and they are confused by conflicting messages. It is refreshing to witness the birth of a not-for-profit dedicated to unlocking the facts we all need concerning our nutrition. Society and humanity will be as thankful as I am some day.

  4. On behalf of the world, thank you. Now, if only someone would do this with education and convert Wikipedia into a free university.

  5. Great initiative, but there is big money (corporations) involved that will squash this if it hits their bottom line. Sorry to by a cynic, but this needs to stay fringe before the PR companies throw all sorts of stuff on mainstream media to dispel any arguments otherwise and make it worse. If everyone eats healthy, A LOT of companies will lose A LOT of money.

  6. I have been doing the SCD for a year and half now. I dont want the NuSI to back up my decision to follow the SCD, but to conduct pure science without any preconceived notions where ever that might lead.

  7. I’m skeptical in all things diet related. Although this sounds like an interesting project, the Human Microbiome Project will likely yield more and better evidence of what really makes each person who (s)he is.

    We each need to figure out for ourselves what works best. There will be no “one size fits all” nutrition plan. Seven billion people, seven billion ways of eating right and exercising.

  8. Tim and readers,

    I am both humbled and energized by the amount of amazing feedback and support in this feed. As I sit reading your comments, I am reminded of why we must press on toward NuSI’s paramount mission. Thank you.

    As Tim clarified, NuSI is not about Peter or Gary, representing the interest of any private or public establishment, or “low-carb,” or “Paleo,” or any combination of egocentric maneuvering to prove a pet theory. It’s about getting the science done in a manner that leads to an unambiguous set of guidelines so everyone out there can eventually make the most informed choice about what they eat.

    What NuSI is about is people. And we are committed to getting this right. I will never lose sight of this. Over 200 million Americans are afflicted with a condition that reduces their quality of life, and the solution is within reach. Let’s be sure our children in 20 years don’t have to do what we are doing.

    Of course, we aren’t perfect, and I’m sure we will face challenges along the way, which is why your support and feedback is crucial. Keep it coming. This is for you.

    Peter Attia

    1. Great message, Peter. Thank you for doing what it takes and facing the many challenges that lie ahead and having the guts to take the risk and the heat that comes along with the coolness of stepping out and making a difference. I have a very intimate understanding of how hard that can be, as many others do.

      Perhaps you already know this and put it into practice, but I’ll say it anyway. Anyone that does anything for others should consider something vital to the success of working on projects of higher purpose. Find a selfish reason to do it along with the obvious unselfish reasons. Don’t reveal it to anyone, but know that there is something that helps you find balance in the challenges ahead. With both a personally selfish and a non-selfish reason for doing this, you and the rest of the team can deal with anything that comes your way… anything.

      People that may never know your names and what you have done will have an opportunity to get something immeasurably important to their lives and the lives of their children as a result of the work that can be accomplished here. Please let us know if you need any support or help.

    2. Peter,

      While I do commend you for this and think there will be many benefits, I think that this is barking up the wrong tree.

      The problem with health and nutrition in North America and other developed countries around the world is not the science, it is the politics and the other issues that capitalism brings.

      People are selfish and can only think short term. It is not hard to find out how to be healthy or how to lose weight, most people just don’t care enough to do anything about it. And large corporations spend tons of money convincing people that their product is good for them.

      Can the NuSi help over come the marketing and misinformation that large food manufactures are spreading? And the political ties to food manufactures and the policies that allow them to make money off of sick people?

      If it can then we will have a solution.

  9. I hope you’ll forgive me, I’d be happy to get excited about his, but I’m a little confused by that president video.

    1. Too gimmicky. “Real scientists” looking at big molecule mockups and pouring colored liquids in tubes back and forth. Really?

    2. Research has been going for decades all across the area of nutrition. Yes, it’s often contradictory, and there are dozens of . But it’s a pretty strong claim to say “oh, nobody knows jack and we are actually going to do things right”

    3. “People are trying so hard to listen to what they are told and it’s making them fatter. ” Thanks for the wake up call, now why should people listen to the new kid on the block?

    4. Are people listening? Hell no, I don’t know anyone who controls their pizza/beer/ice cream/burger binges and exercises AND is still fat. Others, however, keep complain while still eating that desert. Sure, no one has precise answers, but stay away from the damn table, get off your ass and voila — not obese.

    This honestly looks like a late night infomercial.

  10. Tim,

    I have made a study of problem solving and IMHO the first thing to get right is a good definition of the problem.

    The first thing is not to confuse symptoms with problems. Symptoms are situations or statements. Problems are questions.

    You have described a lot of symptoms and stated many facts but what you have not explicitly stated is the problem you are trying to solve.

    As slide 26 in the second slide set indicates, the scientific method is all about asking a question. If you are going to use the scientific method, get the question right.

    Some questions you might be trying to answer are:

    Is obesity an indicator of bad health?

    Will reducing the level of obesity in the general population result in improved health indicators? An associated question is “What are the indicators of good health?”

    If you are going to pursue obesity, some questions might be: What are the causes of obesity? Is the only cause diet? Is one of the causes diet? Is the cause nothing to do with diet? If one of the causes is diet what is the interaction with the other causes?

    I can think of many questions associated with the symptom that is obesity. My suggestion is that you spend a lot of time thinking about the real problem you are trying to solve and making sure that solving it will address a root cause, not a symptom.

    A few words of warning. This will be harder than you think. Obesity is a wicked problem (look it up).

  11. How fascinating … for the 1% of us who are actually interested in this stuff. However, I really don’t see this making any difference in the obesity problem.

    Why not? For starters, Weston A Price has most of the answers we need. If it’s been good enough for a million years of human evolution, it’s probably still good enough for us today.

    Secondly: knowing about good nutrition is one thing, telling everyone else is another. Money talks. Profits rule over nutrition. How are we going to change that?

    e.g. two of the biggest sponsors of the Olympics were Coke and McDonalds. What else do you need to know? Oh, yes, and GMO frankenfoods, irradiated foods, pasteurised dairy, etc.

    Until we can clean up that problem, learning more about nutrition is totally irrelevant.

    And another thing: most people eat far worse than their nutritional knowledge. So we need to fix that problem, too.

    Plenty to be getting on with 🙂

    1. Cynic gonna cyn!

      To many diet books that fly off the shelf to only sell to 1%.

      Movements tend to merge together to create change. Different groups hold a puzzle piece and eventually put them together. That or they die.

      Weston Price has great info. I dig much of it.

      They also suck at marketing/promotion.

      Plus, have you ever tried making half that stuff? (I Do but know many of my peers are not gonna cut up 5 heads of cabbage and ferment them.)

      So, maybe add your life coaching to the Olympians to change that side of the puzzle and encourage others to do the same where they have influence?

      1. I’m actually a massive optimist, but as my time & resources are limited, I check probabilities before selecting what battles to fight.

        Yeah, WaP could do better with marketing. Unf, it usually comes down to money buying media time 🙁

        I also can’t be bothered with that time consuming stuff, but do enjoy simple quick things like yoghurt, kefir, organ meats, etc, …

        Maybe the best we can do is be a great example of what works? Then others might ask, because we didn’t put them off trying to ram our opinions down their throats 🙂

  12. AWESOME!! Great work! Can not wait to hear more of everything…..

    Best regards,


    Paleo-Caveman from Helsinki – Finland

  13. Ok, here’s a thought experiment for everyone to perform. What happens if NuSI sponsors 10 nutrition experiments and 9 show that, say, the paleo diet is the most efficient way to lose weight and just the 1 study shows that an all-carb diet is best? Assume all else is equal in these experiments. Now what? Or what if the breakdown is 6 and 4 in favor of paleo? What has NuSI accomplished that the years and years of previous study have not? Or to put it differently, how has NuSI reduced the total volume of confusion over diet and health?

    1. Mikel, suppose that the scenario includes follow ups with the study subjects and finds that amazing results over and above weight-loss are significant… so that even if the non-Paleo weight-losers are slimmer, they are still ill?

      People are losing life-long symptoms of illness on this diet! That might be a significant finding that would lessen the confusion over diet and health.

      1. Susan, you’re missing the point. Pick whatever metric of effects that you find convenient and test the two diet-treatment groups (or whatever, this is hypothetical). 6 times paleo wins and 4 times carbs win. Or worse, it’s 5 and 5. The truth is that the scientific method can never explain way the minority result. It exists and must be accounted for on its own merits. Science is not democracy (thank goodness) where majority result (or opinion) rules the day.

        So I repeat my concern: how is a bunch of new studies by NuSI going to resolve the inevitable problem of opposing and conflicting results? Under the current scientific paradigm I do not think that it can. There is only going to be more confusion.

  14. I loved your 4HB book, and I hope and pray that this company can truly deliver what it is promising.

    Unfortunately I’ve become way too skeptical to believe much of any type of reports from institution or Government Agency.

    Please let this work for you….our kids deserve better.

  15. I’m writing a grant for a food pantry right now, and I just got an email from the nutritionist that assists & educates immigrant families. It made me realize how out of touch they are with what really matters. They educate at a very remedial level, and it is straight food chart off the cereal box. They are so focused on skim milk, whole wheat bread, and an apple a day. I guess that is better than Apple Jacks, cheetos and Pepsi, but I hope they read about NuSi. NuSi has its work cut out for them because there are thousands of nutritionists out there who are set in their ways and well intentioned. Sick and poor people just believe them. The Mexicans at this food pantry would be much better off if they just ate beans, rice, tortillas, chiles, veggies, meat, etc.

  16. Bravo, Tim. Our country needs more independent, non-special-interest driven research done to clearly provide the truth about food an nutrition – separate from any monetary interest. I applaud this group and project.

  17. Very interesting project. It definitely seems like in the nutrition and fitness industry, its pioneering independent studies like this are what make the real progress

  18. You guys got Taleb on board with this?!! That practically makes my knees buckle. He’s got the B.S. Filter to end them all. I know of and have respect for many folks involved in this project, but none more so than Mr. N. N. Taleb. This must be real. I look forward to learning more and participating.

  19. Um, has anyone read The China Study? Published in 2006, the most comprehensive study on nutrition ever conducted. All the questions posed in the slide are answered and it seems like some quotes are taken verbatim from the book.

    The first slide quote McGovern was mention in the book. He was the first senator who recommends increase fruit and vegetables vs. animal protein. He was supported with 6 senators. Unfortunately they represented agriculture states and all lost their reelection campaign.

    On slide 9 of 16 it states no definitive answers. How about whole foods, plant-based diet vs “western” diet of animal protein. Look into diseases of “affluence”. The goals of this group have already been completed. Bill Clinton changed his diet after reading his book. No tests? 1970, the premier of China, Chou EnLai, dying of cancer initiated a nationwide survey to collect data for this report. The book extremely well written, documented, investigates food industries, Big Pharma, Big Medicine, Doctors motivations, ego, and incentives (why recommend a diet change to solve heart disease if heart surgery accounts for over 70% of revenues at the best heart clinic in USA, Cleveland Clinic?), and government reports which are bought and sold by all the above to keep the public confused.

    I love Tim. He has changed my life and for the much, much better. But I do not see how with the scientific data already put forth in The China Study he can recommend any animal-protein diet (Slow Carb or Paleo) in good conscious. Hopefully this will group will lead him to this conclusion. Unfortunately the data is already available. I am still in support of this group and know Tim has the right intentions but argued before by Plato dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon in which they discuss the future of their cities (Socrates concludes “in this luxurious (affluence) city of sickness and disease, won’t lawyers and doctors become the norm?), and Seneca advising Nero (Ox is satisfied with the pasture, man alone supports himself by the pillage of the whole earth and sea, and George Macilwain in the 1800s, those who eat animals “anticipate death.”

    And if you are wondering how I knew those references to Plato and Seneca. I didn’t. But T. Colin Campbell did and he dedicated his entire professional career to these causes. Give the man his due. Read his book.

    The China Study.

    1. I was wondering when somebody would mention the China Study. Have read it a few month back and since switch to the proposed plant based whole food diet – works great for me.

      Can’t wait to see what results Peter Attia and team will come up with. Any comments on Dr. T. Colin Campbell and his findings?

  20. Tim,

    Here’s the thing I would like this group to do:

    Destroy the assumption that calories = weight.

    This is a generalized assumption that is not true from a physical sense that I think hurts people’s approach to weight control.

    In engineering school, I learned these two fundamental equations:

    1. Conservation of mass: Mass(In)=Mass(Stored)+Mass(Out)

    2. Conservation of energy Energy(In)=Energy(Stored)+Energy(Out)

    To lose weight, you have to have a net negative Mass(Stored).

    The questions should be then:

    1. What foods to eat to minimize the amount of mass storage while still maintaining nutritional and caloric needs

    2. What processes trigger the body to use stored mass and how to emphasize them.

    We will come a long way if we can learn how these processes work.


  21. Love it… it’s so difficult to sift through the existing material on nutrition that most people give up or pick randomly and bounce between different fads that don’t necessarily have their best interest in mind, or may just simply not be right for their particular situation.

    The key with something like this initiative will be to have a shortcut or intro version that is very accessible to most people without a nutrition background (or even interest). That way they can be gently pulled into the more comprehensive content.

    Simplicity is key to do the most good for the majority of people who need it the most but sound scientific proof and well-organized details for those who want them will make this an excellent resource.

    Great initiative.

  22. I am excited about the details and the results of this initiative. Once and for all, the fads should end so that we can save a lot of money and time on the useless.

  23. This post brought a huge smile on my face for many reasons.

    First of all, it’s always exciting to read Tim’s new projects and adventures. They are not just fun and inspiring but they always seem to be about helping others and improving people’s lives. I think you know how much we appreciate you, but it’s always good to remind you of it: Thanks Tim. Keep doing good work and you know we have your back, always.

    Second, and on a more personal note, I love reading how you created something I had in mind a few months ago. No, I didn’t imagine a Manhattan project about nutrition. I imagined one for stuttering.

    I know many of you don’t even imagine how it’s like to be a life long severe stutterer, but in one word, it’s HORRIBLE. Imagine how your life would be if you couldn’t trust your voice to come out when you need it. Imagine how stressful your life would be if you knew that every single introduction in your life is going to be an awkward and embarrassing situation. Imagine feeling anxiety just by hearing the phone ring, because you know it will be a stressful situation, no matter if it’s just a friend calling. Imagine have all this brilliant ideas and knowledge in your head, but not being able to express them at will. Life can be hard without voice, trust me.

    That’s why a few months ago I decided to gather up people in support of a joint effort to find once and for all the cause and solution to this issue.

    Sadly, mi sphere of influence is nowhere near Tim’s, and support has come not as often and very far in between.

    So I think it might be a good idea to just ask you, Tim, and people from this community to think about it for a minute. Would you mind checking out this blog post I created for this cause? It will take just a minute, please. Who knows, maybe one of you might be, or know the person, we need to get this thing off the ground.

    Link is:

    Thanks in advance to all of you.

    1. Off topic, but a wonderful effort, David. I’ll follow your efforts. Nice web site.

      My Uncle Harry was a very successful guy, though he stuttered, in Dutch and English.

  24. Tim,

    This looks great. Two things:

    The ‘Learn More’ and ‘join the team’ links do not work.

    Is Nathan Myhrvold involed?

  25. Manhattan Project scale is certainly a good way to describe it.

    To make it even more comprehensive you would need to include the HOW of eating, not just the WHAT.

    The data in the field of “Intuitive eating” and the research covered in the book “Mindless Eating” are very relevant to obesity, but rarely addressed by nutritionists. Hope it gets included by NuSI.

  26. This is awesome news Tim. So much information out there is misinformation because of the biases you mention.

    If I can put in my two cents, 🙂 the role of intestinal bacteria is being increasing shown to have an important link to both nutrition and development of various diseases. I would be very interested in any independent research on this topic.

  27. Hey Tim!

    Thanks for trying to make a difference in the world! No matter what these haters say. I’ve just recently discovered you and I think you’re the bomb! Any chance you could use your mad scientist ways to come up with a program for flexibility? I am a theatre performer, and I know it would be useful for dancers, actors, athletes, martial artists, etc. One way or the other, keep rocking!

    1. And I don’t mean touching your toes either, I mean like splits and the other hard stuff that everyone’s really intimidated of! Prove that you can be superhuman flexible at any age just like everything else you’ve shown is possible! I’m always rooting for you!

  28. Hi Tim,

    This is an exciting initiative. Have any of the findings to date changed your advice that you will be giving your readers in your upcoming cookbook?

  29. What a waste of time and what a shame that once again the bigger picture is overlooked with the launch of the NuSI. More stats, more navel-gazing, more science. The only science one needs to guide one’s nutrition decisions are nature and common sense. Do you need to know which fruit has the most vitamin C? Do you need to know how much protein is in red meat? Do you need to know which fish has the most omega-3 oils? No. Michael Pollen summed it up beautifully, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.

  30. I’m very curious to see what the results will be regarding the ingestion of meat.

    I’ve heard some interesting theories that humans are not truly carnivores being that we can’t really deal with raw meat; the toughness or the taste. We need to cook it in order to be able to chew it. We need to flavor it with vegetable matter in order to enjoy it. We don’t seem to digest it well. And it seems to cause disease in the long-term.

    Could all this be wrong or highly exaggerated? Let’s see.


  31. Morgan comments: From the sounds of it this is looking pretty much exclusively into obesity

    The narrower the focus, the more specific the results, it seems to me. If the project looks at mushrooms, gold, etc., it will dilute the findings, in my opinion.

    The world is already looking with alarm at obesity, thanks to recent press. Riding the horse in the direction it is going is usually a good idea!

    World attention to findings will be enhanced if there is a special focus on a problem that is very visible and troubling.

  32. The best nutritionist/scientist is Mike Dolce. That guy is the man. He helps a lot of the best UFC guys make weight without losing power, energy, and speed.

  33. Hey Tim,

    Have you heard about the glove developed by the Stanford professors to cool your core temperature quickly? They say using it for workouts BETTER than steroids. Any truth to that?

  34. in the end, an exclusively whole-food plant-based diet will be the answer to a disease-free, cancer-free, diabetes-free, obesity-free, long and beautiful life! :):):)

  35. It’s a lofty sounding idea, but it’s based on a flawed premise: That there is a “right” diet for everyone. In my practice, I see all kinds of people – some do great on a low-carb diet; others on a high-carb diet. I have one patient who has a borderline alkalosis – very low respiration rate, high breath hold, low pulse, low BP. When he eats low carb, he metabolically produces even less CO2 and goes into metabolic shutdown and has a major sleep apnea crisis each night as his breathing shuts down. SO, i put him on a high carb, low fat diet and give him extra thiamin and some other tricks to get his CO2 up and his physiology shifts and he feels better and has no apnea. Other patients get fat looking at carbs or go into hypoglycemic downward spirals when they dance with sugars and starches: for them, they do better on low carb, so-called paleo fare. I know top athletes who thrive on a very low fat, high carb diet and they have great lab numbers to boot. Others, again, have great numbers and feel great eating tons of eggs and bacon. The bottom line is: we all have unique metabolic and constitutional tendencies. This is just a given in the traditional medicines of China and India, where anyone promoting the “One Perfect Diet” would be looked at as an idiot. The biggest problems with ‘fad’ diets is that they are all written by so-called experts who promote usually what works for them, as if it will work for everyone. Your “perfect” diet depends on your genetic ancestry, your current state of health, activity, and lifestyle; the season and environment in which you reside, and so on. You can’t generalize about that. The problem with so-called scientific approaches to diet is that they are based on massive generalizations and averages over large populations of people. These people have different genetic backgrounds, different upbringings, different lifestyles, different diets, and very different health statuses that they bring to the table. I find most of these studies meaningless, clinically. Likewise how a rodent study on purified fructose consumption can be extrapolated to apply to a human drinking a glass or orange juice or two a day, also boggles my mind. The bottom line is: they can’t. What’s a lot more interesting to me is understanding how macronutrients, vitamins, and electrolytes effect things like cellular respiration, metabolism, and the autonomic nervous system. When we understand the state of a person’s oxidative capacity, autonomic system, etc AND we know how to alter those tendencies via diet and nutrients, that’s where the gold is.

    1. Hey Sean,

      Regarding your client, the first one you have described. Yes, he have problems on a low carbohydrate diet because his body don’t know how to use fat. In other words, his fat metabolism is screwed up heavily, also you I’m sure you know during what processes CO2 is produced and from where it comes… (on a cellular level I mean).

      Do not put him on a low carbohydrate diet. Instead, slowly reduce amount of CHO and VERY slowly introduce SFAs. He will thank you for that.

      And get rid of any PUFAs.

      Of course it all depends of his age, etc. but for most people, gentle reduction in CHO intake with re-introduction of SFAs get things done. Best results are observed at about 100g CHO a day.

      Anyway, full panel STD will tell you where to go and don’t kill the patient.

      Good luck.

      P.S get this “Life Without Bread: How a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Can Save Your Life” it’s a good introduction (basic stuff but worth a while).

    2. Is their any research on the role of genetics and carb/protein/fat ratio?

      It makes sense. We have evolved to survive in range of habitats and so our genes would reflect that. I am interested in cases where low carb diets DON’T work. Are their cultures that don’t adapt well to low carbohydrate diets. Referring back to the stats on diabetes and “obesity” in the general population it would seems that less and less of the gene pool can cope with the SAD.

  36. Great initiative, congratulations! But there could is something missing.

    My question is: is this the REAL problem? Knowing what to eat?

    I may be mistaken, but it seems to me that we pretty much know the basics for decades: avoid concentrated fats, refined cabs, animal protein, diary and recreational drugs (alcohol, coffee etc). Eat vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and whole grains.

    So…. given that we already what to eat, now or in the near future (after Nusi’s research) the problem is: we know what’s wrong but we keep doing the same self-defeating behavior for some reason.

    WHATEVER Nusi finds to be the perfect diet, I doubt people will manage to implement and sustain it before we address the psychology behing habit change.

  37. Do we need this to tell us what we intuitively already know???

    Eat more fresh vegetables. A lot more!

    Eat much less sugar. A huge amount less!

    Eat much less processed foods. A lot less!

    Eat no fast food.

    Drink no sodas or fruit juices.

    Understand that you are eating to live or perform and not eating to be satisfied! Everything doesn’t need to taste good.

    I have a yam, avocado, beet, sprouted mung bean, spinach and kale smoothie everyday. Crazy good. Add rice and beans for lunch. Do this because you want to feel great and perform great.

    I live in San Diego so very interested in getting an up close and personal look at all of this.

  38. Well…my hero Taleb notwithstanding, now I’m wondering why there are more finance geeks (etc.) than scientists involved as advisors. Seriously, there are only four on the science side. Whatup?

  39. Life is such a beautiful and miraculous thing…NuSI is going to change the world! it already is! The souls involved, are doing a tremendous thing for humankind…it’s only going to get better from here. May The Universe, God, and every / any form of higher power you believe in watch over and bless you all for not only getting this off the ground, but for actually making a difference in people’s lives, just as NuSI already has in mine! Godspeed, Namaste and rest assured, within me, there is a vehicle by which the word shall spread…*Presses both palms together in front of sternum and bows*

  40. The Manhattan Project was a complex physics problem. Nutrition is a wicked social problem.

    If you don’t understand the difference, it is highly likely you won’t succeed.

    The Zen of problem solving is – first understand the nature of your problem, otherwise you risk use the wrong tools.

  41. I think it comes from a person to have her/his initiative on what to eat to have a healthy life style. It is not necessarily to base it all scientifically.

  42. Amazing! I’m thrilled. For years I’ve been trying to sift through the net to find reliable research on things like Kombucha tea and Stevia. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be enough financial incentive for studies on these substances. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the results. Thanks ahead to all involved.

  43. 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.

  44. 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…

  45. 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?

    1. 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 😀

  46. 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.

  47. 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

  48. 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